As a content marketer, you’ve probably spent considerable time during your career defending the benefits of marketing. It’s easy to understand why. Despite the attention, engagement and trust that it generates, marketing costs money. And unlike sales or advertising, it’s harder to clearly attribute ROI to individual marketing tactics or campaigns.
It gets even more challenging when we get to the fuzzy world of strategy. Every practice area within the realm of marketing has a unique element of strategy. Your company may have a digital strategy, an email strategy, a social strategy, a search strategy, and a blog strategy (if not more). And all these may roll up into an overarching, holistic content strategy that defines the who, what, when, where, why and how for each channel.
No wonder marketers are always in the weeds.
But as we’ve talked about many times on this blog, content strategy is vital to the success of your marketing and content initiatives. Without it, the investments you make may never truly show any return. So you need to sell the importance of content strategy internally to acquire the necessary resources (time, effort, outside consultants, etc.) and get it nailed down.
For many marketers that means, at some point, you will have to sell content strategy to a non-marketer.
To prepare you for the inevitable, I’m providing you with some key tips and information that can make the sale a little bit easier. Much like the key tenant of marketing, “knowing your audience”, selling content strategy to non-marketers requires you to speak in a language that they understand.
For those concerned about costs, you have to point out how content strategy helps teams deliver higher quality and less waste. For product managers, you’ll need to express to them how a content strategy can truly convey what the product does. And for anyone in the c-suite, you must express its total value. Ready for more?
Document Your Content Strategy’s ROI
Content marketing does significantly contribute to ROI, and you know it. HubSpot’s 2018 data found that 53% of marketing leaders deem content marketing as their strongest ROI source. Meanwhile, only 16% said other activities produced better ROI for their company.
Your content strategy is vital to your content marketing efforts. You need both a content strategy and a content plan to enable your content marketing efforts. However, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy.
This could impact your ability to generate ROI and prove the worth of a content strategy. Thus, developing a content strategy and sticking to it is the first part of demonstrating your ROI.
What other content strategy ROI proof points can you bring to the table?
- Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see a positive ROI.
- 72% of organizations that calculate ROI say their marketing strategy is effective.
So, how do you explain content strategy ROI to non-marketers?
You can use relatable metaphors for those not familiar with content strategy. By explaining ROI and how you calculate it, they can feel informed and less skeptical. You can break it down by saying that content marketing is an airplane and your content strategy is the engine.
If your objective is to increase website traffic—which any person in your company will agree is a good thing—then having a content strategy that focuses on developing original content and posting it on social media is the engine.
Bonus tip: Content marketers that calculate the ROI of their efforts are 1.6 times more likely to receive an increased budget.
Communicate How a Strong Content Strategy Benefits Every Group
To get the buy-in you’d like from non-marketers, you should put yourself in their position. This can go a long way to gaining the support you need. Look at each stakeholder group and define why a robust content strategy is a benefit to them. Also, identify how it can positively impact broader company goals. You can even impart how effective content could make their jobs easier.
Here are some examples for different groups:
A kickass content strategy makes sales more effective. Content strategies help sales by:
- Homing in on the most effective sales messages
- Defining buyer’s journey stages and identifying content gaps
- Identifying new content assets to generate new top of funnel leads
- Improving sales enablement and prospecting
- Providing customer evidence for later funnel stages
- Adding additional information and context to lead scoring
This group has the most direct contact with customers, and with a content strategy, they’ll derive benefits as well, including:
- Delivering higher quality customer experiences
- More consistency in brand personality, voice and tone
- Improved governance of support resources
- Creation of resources for common support issues
- Development and testing of messaging for renewals or repeat purchases
By getting product teams on board, you’ll also gain their trust, which could help you create better content about the products they know so well. Make sure they understand how a content strategy can help them:
- Better define the user roles that will interact with the product
- Develop a better user experience through in-app content
- Launch new products (generate buzz, attract users, etc.)
- Deliver feedback on products
- Provide information on features and benefits
- Position products effectively and competitively
Offer Examples of Companies Doing It Well
Are their certain brands that your stakeholders admire? Then it may be a great idea to share with them how those brands are effectively executing a content strategy. This could also be an opportunity to point out evidence of how your competitors are leveraging and executing their content strategy.
These examples can be great for creating benchmarks and comparisons, as well as inspiring ideas. Think of it this way— when you craft a blog with a certain point of view, you need facts to back it up. You’ll need to do the same with your stakeholders. Use formats like:
- Case studies and business profiles
- Interviews with marketing industry thought leaders
- Reports on content for different industries
- Opinion pieces from experts on the future of content
Share the Cool Tech You Use
Probably any group in your business can understand the advantages of technology. Maybe they thought content marketing lived in a silo without the help of technology. Possibly, the addition of technology makes the discipline seem more legitimate, so use that to your advantage.
The fact is, content marketing software can have a great impact on the effectiveness of your content strategy. This is especially true if you have a solid foundation that allows you to do a variety of things from creating a content calendar to automation. By the way, a content calendar is an excellent tool for helping to get buy-in from non-marketers. That’s because it’s an accessible, dynamic road map of all your content efforts.
Plus, a content marketing platform has many more features that non-marketers may be interested, including content analytics. This goes back to the ROI discussion. With specialized reports, you can pull information from multiple sources into one central dashboard. Then you can send reports to stakeholders regularly so they have a clear view of what impact a piece of content had on brand awareness and revenue.
Once non-marketers understand the sophistication of your technology and how each piece of content is able to be measured, it may help them realize the true value of your content strategy and marketing efforts.
Investing time into “selling” your content strategy to non-marketers is worth the effort. Use these tips to help you get your message across and to get the buy-in and hopefully cooperation of your entire organization.
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