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Producing great content has been proven to be an effective marketing tool, and businesses across all industries have started to take notice. However, there are still many marketing departments that have not implemented a content marketing strategy. One reason these companies are behind? They’re bosses aren’t convinced they should invest in content.
When I speak at content marketing workshops, I often hear that when students get back to the office, they have difficulty convincing management to allocate resources to content marketing.
Marketers in this situation need to find a way to persuade bosses to get behind the concept of content marketing before they have created any content. If you find yourself in this position, here are a four proven ways to get executive buy-in for content marketing:
1. Start with a Pilot Program
Convincing your boss to go “all in” with content marketing is extremely hard to do, and is unachievable for many. Without proof that the strategy can work for your business specifically, it’s unlikely that your boss will allocate a substantial budget to the initiative.
Instead of trying to get your boss to go “all in,” aim to get buy-in for a pilot or test program. To start this pilot program, give yourself a timeframe (six months is a good place to start) and set clear objectives to accomplish. For example, you will increase sales qualified leads by 20% over the next 6 months.
To pitch this pilot program, it’s vital that you thoroughly explain what content marketing is, and how it can help your company. Describe the philosophy of content marketing – the helping, teaching, educating, and entertaining – as well. Then, perhaps most importantly, be prepared to explain why it makes sense for your business and how your customers can benefit from it.
2. Explain How Content Marketing Can Help Reach Business Goals
What business goals can content marketing help to achieve? In addition to increased revenue, common content marketing goals include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Gain thought leadership
- Increase marketing qualified and sales qualified leads
- Improve conversion rate
- Enhance customer service
- Retain customers and upsell
Once you identify and present the goals that make sense for your business, show your boss how other companies are using content marketing to complete business objectives. Provide case studies that show significant ROI. Here are a few stellar case studies I suggest taking a look at:
- IBM creates Big Data & Analytics microsite
- InsideOut implements content-first strategy (includes social media and email marketing campaigns)
- PTC creates Creo microsite
3. Handle Objections With Solutions and Examples
No doubt, your boss will have several objections to your pitch and this is when you must handle these objections with alternative solutions. In order to get a content marketing budget, you’ll need to be able to tackle objections with ease.
Of course, objections will vary across industries and depend upon on your boss. However, here are a few common objections to a content marketing strategy:
“We don’t have the money.”
Often times when executives are pitched new marketing ideas, they immediately want to know how much it will cost. But, content marketing doesn’t need to be expensive, and small businesses with limited budgets can utilize content as an effective marketing tool.
Your boss will want details – be sure to discuss how content marketing can be a cost-effective strategy and how you plan to implement the resources:
- Savings with Repurposing Content: Discuss ways to repurpose your content. Show your boss how one piece of content can be used in several ways in order to make the most out of the initial investment. Brands using these marketing tools save more than $14 per customer acquisition. For a guide to repurposing content, see Curata’s content marketing pyramid framework.
- Internal resources: Your current staff can certainly help brainstorm content ideas. Employees can provide excellent insight into common problems or questions customers have, which are often great subjects for future content. Also, employees with specialized areas of expertise can be leveraged as subject matter experts for crowdsourcing ideas and potentially content creation (interviews, videos, etc.). If your fortunate enough to receive funding to hire content marketing positions, use these interview questions and list of traits to hire the highest-quality candidates
- Outsourced resources: If your boss is worried about taking time away from employees’ regular responsibilities, suggest using outsourced resources for support. There is an abundance of outside resources available to assist with content creation and strategy. A few resources to tap into include freelancers, content marketing agencies, writing services (refer to Curata’s list of content marketing writing services) and consultants.
“We aren’t interesting enough.”
Though many bosses may think their business or industry isn’t fit for content marketing because it isn’t “interesting enough,” your job is to prove them wrong. In truth, consumers in all industries have issues or questions that need to be addressed, which provides the opportunity for you to help.
This SlideShare presentation from marketing consultant Barry Feldman shows examples of “ dull brands,” such as Charmin, using content marketing successfully:
In addition to sharing success stories from other “dull” industries, show your boss that there are content possibilities that will benefit your company’s target audience. A few ideas to start:
- Top Lists
- How-to Posts
- Spread Your Industry Knowledge
- Seasonal Content
See this guide to content development for more inspiration.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
After you have carefully crafted your pitch and explained your proposed, strategy, implementation and success metrics, you simply need the confidence to ask. Ask for buy-in for a test program, and be prepared to discuss how much money and time it is going to cost. Ensure the program’s goals and objectives are well documented and hold yourself accountable for completing these goals by the end of the program.
Keep all of the above information in mind as you pitch, and you’ll be sure to “wow” your boss.
Did your boss already invest in content marketing? What convinced them?
For more content ideas to impress your boss, download Curata’s eBook, How to Feed the Content Beast (Without Getting Eaten Alive).