As a marketer, I’m sure don’t need to be explained why you need to invest in content marketing.
But I’m also sure that you’re all too familiar with the challenges of getting C-level execs to invest in content marketing. It may be a no-brainer for those of us who live and breathe marketing tactics, but, despite its recent growth in popularity, content marketing is still not as widely understood by top management.
Welcome to the marketer’s number one dilemma: how to sell your department’s best ideas.
I’ve been there. Not just with content marketing, but with marketing in general. And I know it’s equally hard to convince execs to invest in new approaches, whether they lead a multi-million dollar company or a penny-pinching, bootstrapping start-up.
In my role as a marketer, an employee of various companies in both categories, I have developed some very effective strategies to get buy-in for my plans. As the CEO of a digital marketing agency that offers copywriting and content marketing services, I have refined them and learned even more about content marketing and its incredible potential.
So I have put the two together to help fellow marketers get their execs on board.
The 5-Point Plan to Get CEOs and Stakeholders to Invest in Content Marketing
I know: no two companies are identical. Most importantly, no two C-level executives are identical.
However, we all have common drivers and respond to similar stimuli and incentives. Here are some of the things your board of execs (or boss) will respond to:
Have a Clear Plan
Small startups tend to be quite informal in their internal communication. And that’s great (my favorite job was working for such a startup!). But even if you gossip over a pint of beer with your CEO, don’t assume he will make business decisions as easily as sharing his take out with you.
Perhaps you don’t need a 100-slide presentation (by the way, you should avoid this even if you work in a huge corporation), but you still need to be convincing.
“Hey, how about we try some of that blogging thingie and see how it goes. I need $2000/month to hire SEO copywriters.”
This kind of approach is doomed to failure.
Honestly, would you go for it?
Instead, tell your exec(s) about your plan. Include:
- Why is it a good idea? (see below)
- What types of content will you produce?
- How frequent will you produce new content?
- Where will you post and promote what?
- When will you start and what are the resources (not just the financial ones) you need?
- What kind of results do you expect? (see below)
The fact that you have thought this out and have a clear action plan is a great start. It will get people to listen to you – after all, you invested some time and energy in this. A mere casual suggestion won’t cut it with someone who isn’t already convinced of the value of content marketing.
There’s nothing that C-level executives respond to better than numbers. Especially when those numbers work for them.
And oh, boy, does content marketing have favorable numbers for anyone!
Remember when I mentioned the results in the point above? This is their time to shine. Tell your bosses what exactly you expect the investment in content marketing would yield.
Ideally, you should steer clear of vanity metrics (traffic, followers, fans and so on) and speak of relevant metrics instead. If you must mention traffic & co. be sure to do it passingly so you have time to focus on what really matters.
- Lead generation (how many new leads will your content marketing investment yield?)
- Return on investment (what is the ROI % you expect from your content marketing?)
- New business (how much new business will content marketing attract?)
- Conversion rate (how will your conversion rate increase thanks to content marketing?)
Additionally, you can also refer to how your content will support the sales department and/or how it will increase brand awareness.
Your goal here is to speak clearly on the benefits content marketing could have for your company. Pull up internal stats and missed conversion opportunities to support your claims.
Use Statistics and Trustworthy Reports
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a rookie marketer was to assume that the C-level execs I worked with knew all about marketing tactics. After all, they are smart people, right?
That may be true, but it doesn’t mean they know marketing. At least not as in-depth as (shockingly!) marketers do.
Don’t be like me. Be better from the start!
There are tons of useful reports from trustworthy sources that can help you convince anyone that it’s worth to invest in content marketing. Here are some examples you can use:
- Content marketing generates three times more leads than any other traditional method. According to HubSpot, this is the number one challenge for companies, so your execs are bound to love this one.
Image via HubSpot
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional tactics (talk about a bang for your buck!)
- Blog posts generate a lot more traffic in time. 1 in 10 blog posts will become compounding, meaning that its search traffic will increase over time. After a while, your blog can account for as much as 38% of your website’s total traffic.
- Companies that blog 16+ times per month generate 4 times more leads than those that publish 0-4 posts per month.
- 90% of companies used content marketing in 2016.
- Your customers want content – 47% of B2B buyers consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before being ready to speak to a sales rep.
- 60% of responders in this study say they will search out a company or product that they read an article about.
- Better yet, 70% of people prefer to read about a product or a company in an article than in an ad (according to the same study).
Show off Your Plan to Beat the Competition
Aside from numbers, beating the competition is the best thing to get the attention of your execs and get them to invest in content marketing. Do your research and find out what the competition is doing. Then show your execs how you can beat them.
Whether your competitors invest heavily or not at all in content marketing is beside the point. An opportunity for you to be better exists in both cases.
You want to convince your bosses to invest in content marketing. And it can get frustrating if they don’t respond favorably from the first try.
But this doesn’t mean you should promise results you can’t deliver. If you’re unsure about how much it will take for your content marketing to produce tangible results, it’s always better to moderate your execs’ expectations than to have to explain what went wrong.
As a rule of thumb, great results appear after 1.5-2 years. Some results can appear in as little as 1 year. And, if you’re incredibly lucky (or have an unlimited budget), you can get results in less than a year. Again, this is not set in stone for every company and every industry. The results can vary depending on an incredibly high number of factors.
Explain clearly what content marketing is and how it’s different from ads. Content marketing takes time to work, but the results will appear.
Wrapping Things Up
Don’t rush through your boss’s door to pitch him or her content marketing just as soon as the idea dawns on you. Take your time, do your research. You have a few great starting points and links above, but I strongly suggest you also do some research on your specific industry.
Compile all the information you need before you make your grand entrance. Also, try to anticipate the questions you will get and have your answers prepared. You want to look like someone who knows all the ins and outs of what they’re proposing, don’t you?
Already convinced your bosses to invest in content marketing? Awesome! Let’s get started! You’re a contact form below from top experts in content marketing.