First off, congratulations for believing in the power of content marketing! Now, you’re a step closer to joining 94% of B2B marketers, 86% of B2C marketers, and 94% of small businesses doing content marketing to meet their goals. Just get a green light from your boss, and you’re set to roll out your content marketing strategy. I’m sure you’re excited to hear that sweet “Approved!”
You don’t need a keynote speech as good as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to persuade your boss to say “Yes” to content marketing. But, it will increase your chances of approval if you bring your A-game when presenting your pitch.
Hit the bull’s eye when your boss asks you, “So what? Why should we do content marketing?” Here’s a guide to help you do that.
Educate Your Boss
When designing your pitch, focus on educating. Your boss may be as clueless as you were before learning about content marketing. A go signal won’t be easy to get when your boss doesn’t fully understand this strategy. In case your boss has already heard of content marketing, he/she may not have learned its dynamics and business benefits well to appreciate its real value.
Educate. Educate. Educate. Help your boss understand the world of content marketing. Aside from explaining what content marketing is, discuss the inbound methodology and content marketing goals. Case studies, statistics, content marketing resources, and testimonials from credible sources will come handy.
Set Your Goal: Pitch for a Pilot Program
Giving it all for content marketing may be too much for your boss given the level of his/her uncertainty about it. You wouldn’t gamble on something you’re not sure of. Give your team time to test the waters first. Ask your boss to try a pilot program for a certain period of time. Six months will be enough to see conclusive results.
Set a goal for your pilot program, and make it SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). Here’s an example: Increase your number of sales qualified leads by 15% in six months.
Personalize Your Pitch
Preparing your content marketing pitch is similar to developing your marketing campaign for consumers. You need to relate to your target audience, but this time, it’s your boss.
Make content marketing relatable and easier to understand with a personalized pitch and messages. Put yourself in his shoes. What are his interests and hobbies? What could he possibly be reading online?
For instance, if your boss plays golf, ask what kind of content he reads online to ensure a good game of golf. Has he tried reading golf tips and must-haves before buying a new set of golf equipment? Has he read golf guides and reviews that have influenced him to make a purchase? Explain the buyer’s journey to him using examples that are close to his heart.
Emphasize What’s In It For Your Business
“What will we get from content marketing?” That’s probably the first question you will hear. Be ready to answer this by identifying the business goals, which content marketing can help you achieve, and explaining how to measure return on investment (ROI).
Let’s make things easier for you. Aside from increased revenue, here are other content marketing goals you can highlight in your pitch:
- Create brand awareness
- Establish thought leadership
- Increase the number of both marketing and sales qualified leads
- Lower customer acquisition cost
- Improve your conversion rates
- Customer engagement and retention
- Relevancy and Authority to improve organic ranking, traffic, and conversion
Since every marketing strategy requires funding, you will have to explain returns. Discuss direct and indirect ROIs.
Direct ROI. Does your content give you paying customers? The best way to know this is by looking at the source of your revenue-generating customers. Were they referred by a blog post? Remember, even when customers converted on your Contact Us page or any of your webpages, you should attribute them to their first touch on your website.
It’s also important to know Brand Interest. Just because some blog readers do not convert into customers does not mean that there’s no gain at all. Brand Interest tells you how many of your unique visitors checked your other webpages after reading your blog post.
Why is Brand Interest important? They may not contact you the first time they see you, but learning about your company and what you have to offer will stick your name in their minds. So, the moment they need your service, you’re on their list.
Be sure to understand other blog metrics like Pageviews, Backlinks, and Social Shares.
Bonus! Read our infographic to learn how to design a blog that brings direct ROI: What a High-Converting Blog Page Looks Like.
Indirect ROI. Another good thing about content marketing is that it brings positive impacts on your other digital marketing efforts. For instance, inbound links to your content and social shares help improve your website’s relevancy and authority in your niche. This boosts your SEO rankings, which helps drive more converting traffic through organic search.
Tip! Produce quality content that will attract other publishers to link back to it and consumers to share it. Reach out to influencers and bloggers in your industry.
Of course, you and your boss want to see a numeric value to determine if your content marketing strategy is working or not. The next question is “How do you calculate your ROI?” Below are three methods to calculate ROI for content marketing.
1) Calculate using the standard ROI formula
One of the common and probably the calculation method you are most familiar with is the standard ROI formula:
Simply adopt this to your content marketing program:
Profit from Content Marketing. This refers to the sales increase resulting from your content marketing strategy.
Cost of Content Marketing. This refers the total amount of your expenses (e.g. total cost of blog posts, ad spend, tools, etc.) from the beginning to the end of the campaign.
2) Calculate ROI on a per sale basis
In case you don’t have a full-blown content marketing program, you can calculate your content ROI on a per sale basis. This, however, is only recommended for big contracts instead of small purchases and to those who have the means and skill to track the source of their paying customers, which you can perform through Google Analytics.
For example, each blog post costs $100. Your customer reads up to five of your blog posts and then closes a deal worth $30,000. This means that your Content Revenue is $15,000 while your Content Cost is $500 ($100 x 5 blog posts). Then, your Content ROI is 30x.
3) Calculate using Adwords value
If your content marketing goal is not sales-driven, you can calculate its return value using Adwords. Author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott, suggested a calculation method, which he calls AdWords Value Equivalency. It allows you to find out how much it would have cost you if you paid for traffic.
For instance, you shelled out $3,000 to run your content marketing program, which includes content creation, amplification, and other costs. Determine the number of traffic from your content and divide your program cost by it. So, if you have 5,000 unique visitors from your blog, your cost per visitor is $0.6.
Check Adwords to find out how much you could have paid if you had bought the traffic. If the cost per visitor is $2.50 or anything higher than your calculated cost, then that’s a lot of savings for you.
Are Your Competitors Doing It?
We’re pretty sure that your boss wouldn’t want to be left behind. The competition is tight, and you cannot be complacent with the same old marketing tricks while others are innovating. Identify your top competitors that are doing content marketing. This will help your boss to realize that content marketing is a widely accepted practice in your niche.
Show your competitors’ blogs and describe their content marketing strategy. Are they offering downloadable eBooks? Or are they regularly publishing content that offers solutions to problems of your target audience?
Supplement this with a competitor analysis. Use Ahrefs to export your competitors’ blog data, which include social shares and links. Although these metrics do not directly show an increase in the number of sales qualified leads, these are still important to marketing goals such as brand awareness and search engine ranking.
Respond to Objections with Solutions
Turn that “We can’t.” into “We can!” Anticipate potential concerns and identify their corresponding solutions before your presentation to have an ace up your sleeve once objections arise.
Objections shouldn’t ruin your proposal. It should open opportunities for you to raise solutions and clear doubts flying around your boss’ head.
Here are common doubts and responses you need to know.
We can’t afford the cost. Every marketing strategy entails costs—be it money, workforce, and time, among others. Your boss is responsible for making sure that the strategies the company is funding are driving revenue.
Well, compared to outbound marketing, content marketing costs 62% less, and it generates three times as many leads. If your boss wants details and concrete answers, here are some solutions you can discuss.
Utilize Internal Resources. No matter what industry you’re in, your organization has experts who can help you out with brainstorming and crowdsourcing content ideas. Insights from your sales team members will allow you to determine the common questions of your customers, which can serve as your guide when generating content topics. Your marketing staff members like graphic designers and copywriters can build the content for you. These should be enough to pull off a trial program.
Outsource. In case your boss thinks that content marketing will eat much time of regular employees, suggest outsourcing professionals to do the work for you. A large pool of content creators are open to freelancing out there, so finding one will be a walk in the park. Another option is to hire a content marketing agency to roll out the entire program for you. The advantage here is that they are experts in content marketing, hence success is more likely guaranteed.
Highlight Potential Savings. Right after addressing cost concerns, drive the focus on savings. For instance, you can say that content marketing can help reduce paid search costs as it increases organic traffic.
We are boring. No industry is too boring, only boring content. With a creative mind, you can produce a long list of content pieces that are informative, helpful, and relevant to your target audience. Regardless of your niche, your customers will always encounter issues that need solutions and questions that demand answers.
Explain the concept of buyer persona and how you can use this to guide your content marketing strategy. Using your buyer persona, enumerate sample questions and problems of your customers, and provide a list of content topics you can write to address these. This can help your boss realize that, hey, you’re interesting and relevant at all!
We can’t just share what we know. Content marketing is not about giving away your secret ingredient for free. It’s about educating your target audience about your expertise to nurture them through the buying cycle. In fact, 73% of B2B marketers publish case studies as a content marketing tactic, so there’s nothing to be afraid of sharing knowledge.
After all, if you don’t put into writing the solutions to your audience’s problems, they will most likely find it on other sources, and these could be from your competitors. So, don’t keep what you know to yourself. Use it to your advantage by attracting potential customers with relevant and helpful information.
Prepare and Show Your Content Marketing Plan
Show your boss that you are serious about doing content marketing. Present your content marketing plan even before they ask for it. Send the message that it’s all systems go and a green light is the only one missing.
Here are the things to include in your content marketing plan:
Content Marketing Objectives. Align your content marketing objectives to your marketing and business goals. Which business and marketing goals will your content marketing strategy strengthen? Will it strengthen your lead generation, give your brand awareness, or build a relationship with your target audience?
Implementation. Illustrate the process and identify your resources. Who will perform each task in the content marketing process? What are the resources that your need and where will you get these? Which blogging platform will you use?
Editorial Calendar. List down the content topics that you intend to produce, including their target publishing dates. Are you publishing an infographic, an eBook, or a regular blog post? How often do you intend to publish content?
Distribution and Amplification. Once your content is live, how do you intend to reach your target audience? What is your promotion strategy? How will you connect to influencers and bloggers to build links?
Key Performance Indicators and Metrics. How will you measure the success of your content marketing strategy? Determine your KPIs and metrics to help you assess whether you are hitting your target or not.
Plant the Idea in Your Boss’ Mind
When everything else fails and you still get “no” for an answer, the story shouldn’t stop. Perhaps, your boss is not yet ready to venture on a new strategy, but that does not mean that it can never happen in the future. The world is rotating. Marketing trends are shifting. It won’t be long before your boss realizes the impact of content marketing on your business goals, especially that 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.
So, don’t let the meeting end without leaving something to return to. Plant the idea of content marketing in your boss’ mind, and let it sit in there until an opportunity emerges. Of course, we do not want you to put your boss to sleep and enter his dream the way Leonardo DiCaprio did it in Inception. But, you get the point.