Content marketing has come a long way over the last 10 years.
More and more companies have come to realize the tremendous return and savings from investing in inbound marketing like blogs, white papers, and video.
Still, there’s a surprising number of businesses that either don’t leverage content marketing at all or have fairly slim content budgets.
While some 88% of marketers are using content marketing to reach their audiences, only about 30% see their campaigns as effective.
That can create a problem when it’s time to try new things, launch new campaigns, and venture into new content formats.
Getting management to invest in more content is a difficult, especially if the company struggles to create engaging content and produce effective campaigns.
If the value of or return on the content isn’t readily apparent, you’ve got a challenge to win over your leadership when it comes to content marketing.
To get them to buy in, you need to be well prepared with a smart plan that makes them see additional content marketing as a worthwhile investment they can’t live without.
Here’s how to do it.
Build a case for content marketing
If content marketing is already a part of your strategy, you’re halfway there. I run into countless marketers who try to sell leadership on content after visiting a workshop, only to be shot down.
Thankfully, you don’t have to get that initial commitment as your boss is already behind content marketing to some degree. I hope at this point you’ve got some data to prove that content marketing is working in your specific business and industry to back up your claim that a greater investment is needed.
Regardless of the size of the investment or how lofty your goals are, you need to put together a solid pitch and presentation. It shouldn’t be a casual or passive ask.
Keep these points in mind when you’re preparing your pitch:
Education is still important
Just because your boss understands content marketing doesn’t mean they understand it to the extent you do. They may see the value in blogging but may feel video is costly with minimal return because they don’t understand it.
Basic education on the formats and channels you propose to expand into should be a large part of your pitch.
You can’t expect leadership to invest more in something they don’t understand.
Focus on the value
Make sure you’re expressing the value of the investment, just like you do when highlighting the value proposition when selling something to your consumer audience. This way you’re not stuck on the technical aspects of content marketing expansion.
It’s also a good time to show how your content strategy aligns with company goals. For instance, give examples of how to use content to boost relationships, resulting in a greater customer LTV and revenue lift.
Back it up with data
It’s not always easy to show the ROI or effectiveness of content marketing, but pull the data, and find a way to present it. This could include content metrics such as:
- Increased on-site time
- Content drawing in new traffic that moves fresh leads into the sales funnel
- Increased opt-ins from prior content offer campaigns
- Sales and revenue traced back to email campaigns
Leverage the content marketing metrics and data you have to show that your current efforts are moving the needle.
You can also use data from outside sources. This can come from case studies as well as research, trends, and benchmark reports in the industry that support the type of content marketing you plan to expand into. That data shows that it’s not just you who is planning to expand—it’s a direction the industry is headed.
Showcase a competitive analysis
A smart way to sell an expanded content strategy to leadership is to show what the competition is doing (and what they’re not) with an analysis of your competitor’s content marketing efforts.
Part of selling the value of your proposed campaigns is detailing how it will put the company ahead of major competitors to grab more market share.
Performing competitive content analysis takes significant upfront time, but doing so will help you set a realistic content strategy that will allow you to compete, and eventually overtake, your competitors online.” Corey Eridon writing for Hubspot.
Rather than copying their efforts, show—while speaking to company goals—that what you’re doing (and what you plan to do) will help outpace competition.
Align with company goals
Demonstrate why content marketing makes sense for your business and how the company (and customers) will benefit.
This can include goals such as:
- Greater brand visibility and increased brand awareness
- Improved thought leadership
- Increased frequency and volume of qualified leads for the sales team
- Reduced cost of customer acquisition
- Improved customer satisfaction/delight
- Reduced customer churn
Alignment between marketing and company goals is critical. Be prepared to make your case and provide research to back up your claims that your proposed strategy and the tactics you’ll use will help the company meet current goals.
This is a good opportunity to circle back to the competitive analysis and present case studies in which other brands have used similar tactics to accomplish their own objectives and engage their audiences.
Be ready for objections
You’re likely to come across objections when making your case for a greater investment in content marketing. With an existing investment in content, you’re not likely to get a hard no, but you should still be prepared for some pushback and the need to negotiate.
For leadership, everything comes down to the bottom line. If you want the dollars you’re asking for in your budget, you need to be prepared to counter the objections that may arise.
Here are some of the most common:
- People don’t want to hear more from us (we’re not interesting enough)
- Let’s just move resources; limit old campaigns to run new ones
- We don’t have the budget for it
- We’re giving away too much
- We don’t want to hire more people
For cost and resource related issues
Make sure you clearly lay out how to get around resource limitations. If you don’t need to hire anyone or the costs can be minimized with strategic outsourcing, showcase that in the proposal.
Don’t just discuss how much the expansion of your content marketing will cost. Be sure to include details of how much they can save. Circle back to your existing data that highlights things like:
All of it equates to savings, providing a greater return on the initial investment.
The “We’re Not Interesting Enough” argument
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, your prospective and current customers will have questions. They face issues every day in their businesses. Every issue, question, and concern is a content opportunity that can turn your business into a hero, solving problems while asking for nothing in return.
Counter this argument by presenting common questions and concerns from your customers and showing how your company can create content to solve their problems.
The “Move Resources” argument
Sometimes management might suggest turning off other campaigns in order to test new ones. When you want to fill a container faster, you don’t turn off one tap to turn on another.
You turn on multiple faucets to let more water in.
Use your data from previous campaigns to show that virtually every campaign has some ramp-up time, necessary to gain traction to see a return. Shutting down or limiting existing campaigns to move resources would actually cost more when you factor in revenue and leads lost in the interim.
The “Giving Too Much Away” argument
This is the point of content marketing: give away vast amounts of value-rich information in order to create a winning experience for your audience. It’s the only way to build your brand as a trusted, reliable thought leader.
All of that content has a tremendous influence over purchasing decisions. When customers feel you have their best interests at heart, they are more likely to buy from you.
Even if you share the bulk of your knowledge, your customers won’t go to great lengths to learn how to do it all on their own. They’ll still need you.
This is where you make the case that limiting the amount of information you share only provides competitors with an opportunity to be the better resource.
When you make your presentation, you should have a strategy to showcase your vision, including the expected results. Have a plan ready that shows how serious you are about the expansion of your content marketing.
Even if you are presenting a pilot program, detail its implementation, ownership, ways content is created, cost allocation, distribution, promotion, and the measurement of its success against company goals.
From there, all that’s left for you to do is to make your case and ask for the investment. With a detailed pitch outlining a solid content marketing plan, you should be able to overcome any objections your leadership may have and get them to buy into growing your marketing efforts.
Have you ever tried to convince your boss to invest more in content marketing? How did you do it?