When I was 17, I made my first list of life goals.
Visit every continent (save Antarctica). Write a book. Get published. Go white water rafting.
(Check, check, check, and check, by the way.)
I did it because a mentor of mine suggested it. She said that by writing out my goals, I’d get clearer on what I wanted from life. And when an opportunity arose, instead of hemming and hawing about it for ages, I’d know what I wanted and take it.
Boy was she right.
Pretty much immediately, I was invited on a white water rafting trip. And instead of thinking about it or missing the opportunity, I jumped—and had a great life experience.
I’ve been a goal lister ever since. Both in my personal life and in my business.
And I’m not the only one. Lululemon helps employees write out their health, personal, and career goals. Coaches—from professional sports to life to financial—start with goal setting nine times out of ten. And many successful online marketers do the same for their businesses.
Because just like a list of life goals, a list of business, online marketing, or content marketing goals can create direction and clarity, helping you remember, focus on, and frame your actions and decisions around the outcomes you really want.
This is why mission statements matter.
They’re not part of your marketing plan, a way to communicate with customers, filler for your website. They’re a serious and well-thought-out statement about why your company exists and, perhaps, what impact it’s going to have on the world.
That mission statement, once honed, can help you make key business decisions (if our mission is to make communication simpler, you can bet we won’t be using jargon or writing in an academic paper style). It can help you both attract and identify like-minded employees and contractors. And it can help you find your ideal, like-minded clients as well.
And that’s just on a large scale.
On a smaller scale, goal setting for your overall content marketing efforts and even for specific campaigns can have a huge impact, helping you focus your efforts and creativity and make smart decisions about your time and budget.
Which is why today I’m recommending that you set aside some time and start the process rolling. If you don’t have a mission statement, start crafting one. If you don’t have defined goals for your online marketing, it’s time to figure out what they are. If you haven’t outlined the desired outcomes of your content marketing, today’s your day.
Because once you have a clear vision for the outcome you want, you can start to make quicker and better decisions, come up with creative solutions, and find ways to make those goals happen.
Just like me with my white water rafting.
The first step to getting what you want—in business or in life—is knowing what you want.