You’re stuck. You’re frustrated. You know that content marketing can bring tremendous value to your business, but you can’t get your management to buy-in.
You’re not alone. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 22% of B2B marketers have difficulty with getting the C-Suite to buy into content marketing.
Maybe you’ve seen very successful examples around the internet? Maybe you’ve read studies which show that content marketing reduces cost per lead by over 31%?
But despite the evidence that it’ll work, you can’t persuade your CMO, CEO and other management to invest in content marketing. Here’s some common objections:
“We can’t afford it”
One of the most likely barriers you’ll come up against is, “I can’t find $X a month in my budget to spend on content creation.”
It’s understandable. The economy isn’t booming, marketing budgets are tight, and CMOs have many other expenses such as brochure printing, trade shows and agency retainers.
But content marketing isn’t an expense. It’s building an asset.
If you spend several thousand dollars on Google AdWords, you’re only buying clicks to your site. It’s a marketing expense. And once you stop paying, the traffic stops, too.
“If you spend $5,000 in a given month to hire a freelance journalist to write a bunch of interesting blog posts relating to important phrases people search on to find your business, you will have assets that live on forever that will drive people to your content from the search engines for years to come. The content will have value many years after it has been paid for,”explains inbound marketing veteran, David Meerman Scott.
Content isn’t an expense, it’s an asset. Much as the same as owning prime real estate, a factory, or owning a great brand. Content will keep generating your company revenue long after you hit “publish.”
“What’s the point?”
Managers can be put off from buying into content marketing if they don’t understand why you’re so insistent.
Marcus Sheridan, a man who built one of the world’s largest pool businesses through inbound marketing and is now a marketing consultant, puts it like this:
“In my research with other companies, I have concluded two simple truths:
1. Nobody cares about ‘blogging.’
2. Everyone wants to be a better teacher.
If the movement that is blogging and content marketing is ever going to truly catch fire, we need to boil it down to its essence. We need to better explain to the world what it truly is. And what it truly is—if done right—is great teaching and communication.”
“So the next time you decide to go to your management team to convince them of the need to embrace this stuff, try it without even using the words blogging and content marketing in the main body of your pitch. Instead, shift the focus of the conversation. Place it on principles that have been a pillar of our society since the beginning of time and if you do, the results just may astound you.”
“OK, but how do we track it?”
Even once you have persuaded your bosses, there’s always a big question mark over the measurement and analysis of inbound marketing. They may not understand what they’re looking at. They can’t get a spanner on it, as veteran adman Dave Trott would say.
There is a whole range of metrics to measure. You can now create graphs documenting increases in things like traffic, tweets, and email list subscribers. And that’s good. But these are ‘soft metrics.’ You can now also measure the ‘hard metrics,’ like lead and revenue generation, with new technologies. That’s the language that the C-suite understands. And it’s what successful content marketers are already using.
“We know how much revenue our content marketing has brought in. We can track the amount of traffic that our content brings to our site, and how many of those people go onto buy insurance through us. Then I can show that revenue figure to my boss to show the value we add,” says Sharon Flaherty, Head of Content and PR at price-comparison site Confused.com.
Getting buy-in is all about simplifying content marketing
Getting buy-in for content marketing isn’t always easy, as you probably know already. But I think if you can simplify the ideas, you have your best chance of convincing those on high.
Simply put, content marketing is a long-term investment. It will build trust by teaching potential customers new information on topics they care about, and it will also generate those all-important ‘hard metrics’ that make your bosses look good. And what’s more, it’s easy to track. Surely that’s got more sustainable than throwing ever more money at ad campaigns which may or may not work.
And what if your bosses are unswayable? It may be time for you to move onto a new job. Your skills and enthusiasm for inbound marketing are in high demand, and you’ll be much more valued at companies which believe in content marketing. LinkedIn currently have listings for 3,398 content manager vacancies at the time of writing. And that’s only part of the job market!
Let us know your challenges about getting buy-in for content marketing in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Sybren A. Stüvel under a Creative Commons licence.