Show me the money!! Pitching Content Marketing to your boss
When it comes to convincing your CEO about any marketing proposal, they’ll want to know how it impacts their bottom line. How does signing this cheque make us more money?
It’s this focus on return on investment (ROI) that keeps the wheels of commerce turning and marketers – both agency and in-house – face a constant battle to prove the value of their campaigns.
When it comes to investing in quality content, most c-level execs get that they should be doing it. They just need a bit of a nudge to make it a priority and allocate some proper budget to it.
So, if you’re an in-house marketer trying to sell the concept of content marketing internally, here are some of the arguments you’re likely to run into:
– You’re my marketing guy, why can’t you write our content?
– I can buy articles on the internet for $10, why do I need to spend more?
– I like the idea of having a blog, but how does it make us money?
Enough time in the day
A common complaint from the in-house marketing people we deal with is that they have so much to do, tasks like blogging and updating Facebook just don’t get done. There is also a lot more to content marketing than writing the odd blog post. You need time for the production, but you also need time for the strategy – what types of content should you roll out, where should you publish it, how should you share and promote it, how does it fit in with your wider marketing plan?
Content marketing, even for a small business, isn’t something that can be done while you eat your Subway at lunchtime. It needs dedicated resource allocated to it and increasingly a broad range of skills.
Getting what you pay for
That brings me to the second point, which is often the toughest battle. The truth is, you can buy in articles from cheaper overseas markets, but here are some questions you can push back with when your boss tells you to give that a try first:
1) Will these articles be well-written and optimised for search?
2) Will they be original articles or syndicated from elsewhere?
3) Have they been sourced properly or are they going to get us in trouble?
I mentioned the range of skills involved in content marketing and the truth is writing basic articles is just one of those skills. As you develop your content strategy it’s likely that you’ll want to develop more sophisticated types of content from case studies and downloadable whitepapers to infographics and video.
If you do article writing on the cheap, you could end up having a bad experience and putting your senior execs off the idea of content marketing for good. On the other hand, a properly-targeted content campaign – where the research has been done at the beginning to figure out what your target audience is interested in reading; what keywords they’re searching on; and how that links to your products – has a much better chance of generating a return.
Securing a return
That brings me neatly to the third challenge, how does content benefit your bottom line? Of course the answer depends on your business. It might be more sales, more enquiries, more likes, more downloads or just more traffic.
Done well, content marketing can grow your presence on search and social media; it can get more of the right people on to your website and push them towards your conversions; and it can build your brand and improve engagement with your target audience.
This is a great article from Michele Linn of the Content Marketing Institute, which includes some useful ammo for justifying a proper content budget. Of course, paid search can work alongside a content marketing strategy. Also the data from paid campaigns (best-performing keywords, for example) can help you generate effective articles, graphics and video to drive organic leads.
The beauty with content though is that once you’ve built it, you own it, and it can keep working for you long after you paid for it.