Having management support is crucial for your content marketing strategy. Without it, you’ll find yourself running into barriers that will certainly impede the success of your marketing efforts. These hurdles may make it challenging for you to:
- Secure a budget and resources
- Get cooperation from internal partners to provide information
- Gain enough runway to experiment, learn from mistakes and make improvements
- Ensure company influencers will share and promote content
To avoid these corporate roadblocks and secure executive buy-in, you should present your content marketing initiative in a strategic way. For this, you will need to embrace your inner salesman.
Here are five steps to ensure buy-in from your management team for your content marketing strategy:
1. Explain the Need for Content Marketing
When writing content, you should always keep your target audience in mind. Presenting your content marketing plan to your management team should be no different.
First, you will need to explain what content marketing is and how it will bring the company value. Express the importance of a content marketing initiative for your business. Explain to your management team how more and more companies are recognizing the massive impact of content marketing, and those choosing to ignore it are falling increasingly behind. In fact, 88% of B2B marketers are using content marketing as part of their marketing strategies.
Through examples, show how content marketing aligns with your company’s goals. Determine what business challenges matter most to your executives, then tailor your message to how your strategy will ase those concerns. For instance, a director of marketing may worry what type of ROI a campaign will generate, while the director of sales may be concerned with meeting sales quotas. In knowing this information, you can point out to both that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads. Making a business case for content marketing will be a key factor to winning executive buy-in.
2. Present Supporting Data for Your Initiative
In business, numbers speak louder than words, so facts and figures will be essential during your pitch. When listing the benefits of content marketing, present supporting data. These statistics will give your presentation more credibility.
Here are a few content marketing stats to help you win executive buy-in:
- A strategic content marketing plan is essential for staying competitive in today’s market
- Content marketing builds relationships with customers and keeps them engaged until they are ready to buy
- Content marketing impacts organizational goals
When presenting statistics, do your research. Provide the most recent data and make sure it’s relevant to your message.
3. Show Examples of Content Marketing Success
There are many examples of content marketing brilliance to share with your management team. Here are a few examples:
General Electric (GE) has mastered content distribution through social media. Through various social media outlets, GE shares original blog posts, pictures and videos reposted by the thousands. With 1.7 million Facebook followers, 432,000 Twitter followers and 269,000 Instagram followers as proof, GE certainly knows how to engage its audience.
In 2013, GE hosted a social media campaign called the “Six-Second Science Fair,” where company marketers shared six-second Vine videos of entertaining science experiments. GE posted the best videos on a Tumblr page and promoted them through Twitter using the hashtag #6SecondScience. The videos quickly gained hundreds of thousands of viewers.
HubSpot takes pride in being a leader in “inbound marketing,” a term it coined itself. Inbound marketing is a technique for bringing potential customers to your products and services through content marketing.
HubSpot produces content for not just one, but seven, blogs on its website. Each blog publishes about five articles per day, totaling about 35 articles within a 24-hour period. Those articles are shared through social media outlets to be viewed by a massive audience. This consistent stream of content has gained HubSpot 1.3 million Facebook followers, 737,000 Twitter followers and, most importantly, more than 20,000 customers.
Yes, Denny’s Diner is taking the content marketing world by storm with its hilarious social media marketing strategy. Denny’s produces sassy, witty and grammatically incorrect content all aimed toward one group—millennials. Although the content sounds like it’s coming from a sarcastic teenager, it’s actually written by a team of social media experts.
“I think it’s a voice… that’s unique, slightly off-center, but very, very welcoming,” Denny’s CMO John Dillon told Entrepreneur. “The kind of person you can literally sit down next to at a diner and have a conversation with.”
For example, the humorous voice Dillon mentioned recently posted the tweet, “chicken strips. rt if you agree.” Such a nonsensical tweet was retweeted more than 6,000 times. With 1.1 million Facebook followers, 348,000 Twitter followers and 88,100 Instagram followers, Denny’s content marketing strategy has successfully made the 60-year-old diner relevant to a young audience.
4. Explain How You Plan to Execute Your Strategy
You’ve laid out the facts and given examples—now it’s time to tell your potential success story. Lay out your content marketing strategy to the executives in a clear and easy-to-understand format. Walk them through a typical customer experience and demonstrate how your idea will close the gap between your company and the customer.
Get the management team excited about the idea of generating more qualified leads and creating long-term relationships with existing clients. Once the management team is engaged, your executives will be more likely to buy in to your idea. Then, you can start the new and challenging process of lifting your content marketing strategy off the ground.
5. Introduce a Pilot Program
Think of a content marketing pilot as a small sample of what’s to come. Your management team will get a preview of the potential of your plan without feeling pressure to make a big commitment. You may find that they relax at the idea of testing your strategy.
As you sell your plan, make sure to include:
- The length of the pilot (at least 6 months)
- The overall goals of the pilot
- Costs to implement the pilot
- Agreed-upon success metrics
Examples of those success metrics could be an increase in leads, more subscriptions or a shorter amount of time to close business. If those metrics are hit, your executives should agree to move forward with implementing a full-scale content marketing initiative.
In conclusion, there are many approaches to take when presenting a content marketing plan to your executives. The main keys are to do your research, know your audience and believe in what you are proposing. With a solid strategy, a bit of persuasiveness and the above tactics, you’ll be able to gain your management team’s trust—securing a win-win for you and the whole company.