Marketing is competitive and expensive. Continually outbidding your competition in ads can deplete your budget quickly. And securing a spot in a newsletter that reaches your target audience can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Not to say those opportunities aren’t worth the return on investment. After all, you can get great reach, boost brand awareness, and meet your lead generation goals.
But they don’t always help you build trust. Once you get the leads or the eyeballs on your website, people will look for more information about what you do. You need content to educate and engage potential customers.
It sounds like a strong case for a content marketing program.
But not everyone on your team might feel that way. Between writers, editors, and graphic designers, business leaders sometimes look at content as a big cost center.
So if you’re looking for reasons other than SEO to do content marketing — or you’re a content marketer who needs a boost in conveying your overall strategic vision — you’ve come to the right place.
Here are five ways to sell your vision of content marketing to the executive team.
For an individual, setting up a blog is easy and relatively cheap. You can buy a domain and managed host, and launch your blog in less than an hour.
For a company, it’s a lot more expensive. There’s the matter of making sure there are web development resources on deck to help with launch and maintenance. It might require hours from the internal creative team to come up with a layout that feels on-brand. And then there’s the downside if the blog doesn’t do well. If the content isn’t high quality or there’s an irregular publishing cadence, people might notice, and then your company might be embarrassed.
If your executive team is hesitant to launch a blog, address their fears. Are they worried no one will publish on the blog at a steady clip? Show them your editorial calendar and how you’ll get the work done. Are they worried the blog will take up too much of the creative team’s time? Scope out a couple of WordPress themes and show them a short list of already-designed possibilities.
Finally, there’s nothing like the fear of missing out to grab their attention. Tap into their FOMO by creating a traffic projection spreadsheet, like ours. After doing some keyword research in Ahrefs, plop the keyword search volume data into a spreadsheet. Add in a formula that shows your article publishing cadence, and have it populate what your expected traffic looks like over the year.
If you really want to instill a greater sense of urgency, include competitor insights. Show your leadership team what the competition is doing well with their content, why it’s effective, and how you can produce something better.
Typically, when a company has major news like a funding round or big brand partnership, they’ll issue a press release on a hub like PR Newswire. And for good reason: many reporters have alerts set for press releases, and some publications will automatically distribute your news. It’s a singular tactic to reach reporters en masse.
But press releases are expensive, costing several hundred to a few thousand dollars for each one. Plus, not every company announcement will be press release-worthy. In fact, it’s common for companies to issue a release only a couple of times per year.
For smaller announcements like a new product or feature, write a blog post that serves as a press release. Act as though you’re a journalist who has the exclusive on your company’s news. Explain what the new product is or how the new feature works, source a quote from someone on your leadership team, and write about what this means for your users.
The news might get picked up as a brief article or in a roundup, or it might make for a longer article on a niche news site. If that happens, those reporters will link to your blog post as the source of info.
So with a blog, you’ll accomplish PR and SEO goals for “free”:
Content marketing is also a scalable way to offer customer resources. This is especially true for software companies, like Ahrefs and Zapier. They both produce thought leadership content geared towards their audiences; they produce thorough help content for users; and they also create blog content that blends the two — providing ways to make their thought leadership content tactical.
Zapier has a recent blog post on using LinkedIn lead generation forms. They explain the value of using LinkedIn as a place to find qualified customers and they show how to set up an ad campaign. They then link to their own help page of LinkedIn Zapier integrations. It’s an elegant example of taking a broader idea, and then distilling it into how you uniquely provide a solution.
Here’s another example of content used as a customer resource: Levels. They make continuous blood glucose monitors for people who want this data to track their diet and exercise progress. Their blog features in-depth information about metabolic fitness that applies to health enthusiasts at all levels, from people who want to learn more to super users of Level’s monitor.
So in reading the blog, people who don’t yet have the monitor can better understand how it works and how they can use it. Meanwhile, people who already know and love the product can continue to benefit from the advice.
If you sell a product with other business partners, make the case to your leadership team that co-creating content will make marketing easier. It might be a joint case study or an educational resource for potential customers.
You could get buy-in from your business partner by pitching them an idea and then doing the legwork for them. Managing production makes it easy for them to say yes, which in turn makes it easier for your leadership team to get on board.
This approach worked well for Corinne Watson, who previously worked in content marketing at BigCommerce: “When we created, say, a guide to e-commerce, we’d offer it up as white-labeled content to our clients. We’d put their logo with ours, and package it up nicely. So you’re doing the work for them.”
Corinne now leads content marketing at Postscript, and she recently joined the Growth Machine Marketing Podcast to talk about her experience in content and working with senior leadership in the e-commerce space.
If you’re in the business of selling to other businesses, creating content to help your sales team is a must. Internally, the marketing team might work on client testimonials, demo videos, and other how-it-works content. Consider how you can use these assets for external-facing content on a company blog.
For instance, you might have a client reference program where you use quotes or testimonials in a pitch deck. Turn that testimonial into a bigger story, and publish it as a case study.
If you have a how-to guide for new users of your software, consider writing a blog post called something like, “7 Must-Have Software Features in Your Industry” that generically explains all the benefits your product has over competitors. It’s an excellent way to highlight what’s unique about your product while nudging readers to consider buying from your company.
You now have five solid ideas for selling team leadership on content marketing. They’ll next ask how to gauge overall success. It might feel obvious to point to projected traffic goals and keyword rank. But while those should certainly factor into your key performance indicators (KPIs), they shouldn’t be the only ones. Think about how you can go beyond SEO-focused metrics for success.
Consider content’s impact on:
Once you have your content marketing program up and running, give us a call so we can help you take it to the next level.
There’s no chance Growth Machine would be the company it is today without her.
As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in the creation hamster wheel — only wanting to create, create, create. But even if you write the most poetic, Pulitzer-worthy piece, no one will read it if they don’t know it exists. That’s where content distribution comes in.