Do you understand the value of content marketing, but are struggling to get buy-in from executives at your company? When they want billboards and press releases, how do you convince them to broaden their horizons to include blogging, white papers, infographics and e-books?
This merry-go-round of frustration can cause even the most optimistic professional to turn into Peter Gibbons from Office Space, telling his therapist that every day he works is the new worst day of this life.
It’s time to stop the madness and find an effective way to make your point. A powerful content marketing strategy requires support across the entire company, yet if the organization isn’t currently content-focused, creating that cultural shift can feel like landing the first man on Mars.
Well, prepare your rocket ship for takeoff! Here are a few strategies that just might work when pitching your content marketing ideas to management:
1. Highlight how far your content reaches
Content is an extremely powerful tool but only you have the right kinds in the right places. A great way to start the conversation is to help management understand just how big the term “content” is. Successful content comes in many different types and objectives:
That’s a lot of content and it’s only going to succeed if you’ve got a plan in place. Impressing upon management the importance of making sure it all works together will make your content marketing plan seem absolutely vital.
2. Stop saying “content is king” immediately
“Content is king” is the mantra of content marketers around the world. Bill Gates first said this phrase in 1996 and since then content marketing experts including industry pioneer Joe Pulizzi have been repeating it. You understand it and believe it, but that doesn’t mean your CEO does.
The truth, however, is that revenue is king, especially when you’re talking to the C-suite. It doesn’t matter what’s in your content marketing plan, if you can’t clearly show how it will support revenue, you’re going to fail.
How will the blog fill the sales pipeline? How will white papers support the demands of the board? How will that awesome new infographic help you ship more products? Be prepared to make the connections so it’s clear that what you want to do matters and will improve the bottom line.
3. Back up statements and use numbers
Numbers are like a picture — they’re worth a thousand words in the eyes of an executive. Therefore, use data as much as possible to back your content marketing plans. Start by researching the expected increase in organic traffic — people who go to your website via a search engine — that should result if you blog regularly. For example, Brandpoint clients can reasonably expect to see a 50 percent lift in organic traffic after 9 months of blogging. That’s the type of ROI managers will notice!
What’s more, show how other strategies connect back to sales, and therefore, revenue. White papers and e-books are effective content marketing tools that fuel a company’s sales force. Add them to the blog page and your social channels, and then make the content accessible when the user provides their contact information. Use software like Pardot or Hubspot to automatically send lead information directly to the sales team. Finally, track inbound leads and sales conversions back to that single white paper. Add to the momentum with new papers that highlight the company’s thought leadership.
Check out this multi-faceted Topco blog page as a great example. At the bottom there’s a CTA for a free e-book that captures inbound leads. Additionally, it offers readers the ability to subscribe to the blog at the right.
4. Use psychology and appeal to the need to win
Switch gears for a minute and really get inside the minds of the managers whose approval you’re trying to gain. What do they want to do more than anything else? Answer: Smash the competition! Every brand wants to be No. 1 in their respective industry or segment; use this desire to your advantage.
Conduct a competitive analysis of content marketing efforts across your top three competitors. Analyze what is being done well and where the areas of opportunity exist. When you search key industry terms, do your competitors’ sites pop up well before yours do? Does their impressive content library pull in website traffic that should be yours? Do they already have a reputation for being subject-matter experts?
Don’t just point this out to managers — show them. Let them see the type of blog topics they are tackling. Show them the collection of white papers providing inbound leads for other companies. Analyze and point out how many social shares their most recent infographic received. Nothing will light a fire in them more quickly than feeling like they are falling behind the competition. All that’s left to do is pitch your content strategy and be the hero.