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The big hairy audacious goal or BHAG has cropped up from time to time in marketing circles. Coined back in the 1990s by a couple of Stanford graduates, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, the phrase was originally defined as follows:

“A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organisation can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”

I like it because it’s fun, visual and serves as a powerful reminder to focus the mind on what your over-arching business goal should be (and no doubt this was the clever authors’ intention).

When it comes to content marketing, the BHAG is something that can easily get lost in the general fog of other metrics – traffic, newsletter sign-ups, social engagement and so on. Summoning the BHAG at the beginning of every content marketing cycle is important.

The big hairy audacious content marketing goal should tie into the even bigger aim of the business itself – which can be pretty simple, for example – achieve £X revenue.

You can then work backwards to deliver that objective via your content marketing plan:

The content marketing BHAG

Working backwards from the business plan, the BHAG for content marketing, in a B2B marketing scenario this could be to supply 100 qualified leads to your sales team per month and/or grow your customer numbers by Y. From existing conversion data, you should know that this would translate to Z revenue.

In consumer marketing, the content marketing BHAG could be a database focused one – to generate X number of new subscribers, or Y amount of traffic to specific landing pages on an ecommerce site each week.

In talking about BHAGs and qualified leads or subscribers, we’ve moved straight from the top of the content funnel to the bottom, whereas all the clever content marketing stuff goes on inbetween. More on that another time, but meanwhile, it’s worth checking if you have a content marketing BHAG in your organisation and if not, think about creating one.

More from Jerry Collins on BHAGs here.

Photo courtesy of kodacrome



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