An Objectives and Key Results (OKR) strategy is essential for a successful content creation plan. This framework helps engage in-house staff and freelance writers, ultimately leading to content that drives results for your organization. A recent survey by Mooncamp and Scaleon showed that OKRs met or exceeded expectations 87% of the time while improving communication by 28%.
OKRs in Content Marketing: A Strategic Overview
Created by Intel’s Andy Grove, OKRs were popularized in John Doerr’s book Measure What Matters. The goal is to help organizations set and manage goals through objectives while creating key results to measure them. This model helps marketing teams stay on top of their content creation goals. It also allows them to measure how each piece of content performs against those objectives.
You can create OKRs with a simple phrase:
We will [objective], as measured by [these key results].
For marketers, this could mean:
We will increase our brand’s online presence by achieving a 30% increase in web traffic, boosting social media engagement by 25%, and increasing newsletter sign-ups by 15%.
Setting OKRs can help improve focus, accountability, alignment, and transparency within your organization. Clearly define your objectives and how you will measure them. This information will allow strategists to plan the activities that will most impact achieving those goals. That, in turn, gives writers more guidance as they work on creating compelling content.
Leveraging Freelancers for Dynamic Content Creation
Even the most experienced team of marketing professionals could benefit from freelance support. To meet the demands of busy periods, freelance writers can add valuable capacity to an existing team. Additionally, they can inject subject matter expertise into complex projects, bringing fresh perspectives and skills to the table.
Within the OKR framework, you only define the objective and how you’ll measure it, not the steps you’ll take to get there. Adding freelance writers and strategists to your content creation process can significantly improve your team’s capabilities. This approach also enhances diversity and flexibility within your content creation efforts. That support enables brands to push the boundaries of what they’ve tried.
Your team members may be experts in social marketing, but they might not have experience crafting cornerstone content. Cornerstone content is essential for creating additional posts, videos, and articles. If your team lacks this expertise, consider bringing in a freelance writer specializing in crafting cornerstone content.
This strategy allows your team to continue to work to their strengths while leaning on the expertise and viewpoint of the freelancer. If that piece of long-form content moves the needle enough to hit those OKRs, great! If you find you still need to do more to connect with your audience, leverage freelance talent. Their expertise can help you bridge the gap and deepen your connection.
OKRs and Content Creation: Balancing Agility with Consistency
There’s agility in this method of working. When the goal and the measurements are clearly defined, trying new things to pursue those results is possible. This allows organizations to test new content creation methods to see how the market responds. It’s possible to pivot to a new strategy when something doesn’t work.
However, marketing teams must recognize the value of consistency. While it’s important to stay agile, you still need to give a project (content type, freelancer, or campaign) enough time to understand how it impacts your overall objectives.
As part of your OKR and content strategies, including your planned initiatives, tasks, and deadlines is important. Your key activities should be set in stone, but leave room for flexibility. Doing so will help you balance consistency with agility. For example, you might define a series of product-focused content to bring more awareness of your offering to your target market. Still, working on these pieces may make it clear that your audience also needs a broader context to help them engage with your brand.
Scaling and Adapting Content Strategies with Freelancers
Here’s where freelance writers come in. With your team focusing on those initial product pieces, freelancers can step in and support creating additional content that might not have been in the original strategy. This helps you try new things while keeping your core activity consistent.
Regularly reviewing your progress on OKRs is crucial. These insights help you understand the additional steps needed to achieve your goals. Mooncamp’s survey respondents revealed that the average cycle for OKRs is three months. During this time, check-ins typically occur weekly (34%) or biweekly (31%). Regularly reviewing progress can impact how you continue to move forward.
For example, you might see that a single piece of content is responsible for significantly increasing email sign-ups well ahead of the OKR cycle. Analyzing your target market and their responses can reveal valuable insights. Consider how these insights might necessitate changes to your content creation plan. Scaling your content strategy starts with understanding your audience’s tastes.
Once you know their preferences, you can look for ways to expand on that content type or topic. For example, you could add newsletter content to re-engage existing subscribers. Alternatively, you could create articles and guides to delve deeper into the subject matter. You can increase engagement and grow your business by giving your audience more of what they want.
When this work falls outside the scope of your marketing team’s capabilities, or they’re at capacity, you can bring in freelance writers to fill those gaps. As your freelance team continues to create content, you can monitor your OKRs to ensure things are moving in the right direction.
Best Practices for Integrating Freelancers with OKRs
If you want to incorporate freelancers into your OKR-centric content strategy, here are a few tips:
- Share your OKRs with the freelancer and the progress you’ve made so far – this will help them create content that works towards those goals but also help engage them in the process.
- Lean on the specific experience and subject matter expertise of freelance writers, as this will help you extend the capabilities of your team even further.
- Ask for freelancers to pitch ideas based on your specific OKRs. This could help open up new content opportunities you hadn’t yet considered.
Defining Content Creation OKRs for Ongoing Success
Your OKRs ultimately define what success looks like for your content strategy. Maintaining consistency while bringing in freelancers to support your agility and scalability will ensure you hit those objectives. Implementing OKRs requires time and effort, but this results-focused approach offers several benefits. First, it helps you better engage your marketing team in the goals of the wider organization. Second, it makes getting the most from freelance writers easier and more effective.
About the author:
Jess Shanahan specializes in business, motoring, and technology features. Some of her past clients include Cybereason, Goodyear Tire, ETQ, and Jaguar Land Rover. Hire Jess for your next automotive tech assignment today!