You know content marketing will work for your company—your competitors are doing it, and they’re kicking your butt.
But never mind what the facts say, you're still having a hard time getting buy-in. Here are 4 strategies you can use to get your content marketing budget approved in 2016.
Lead by Example and Start Small
Even though 88% of B2B marketers are using content marketing (with 42% increasing their budgets for 2016), it doesn't mean that they’re doing it well—or are going to do so in the future (and I’m sure many companies that post to their blog once a month have been included in this statistic).
Whether you’re working on a massive, full-blown digital magazine or a monthly newsletter, the concept of content marketing is the same: develop great content, get it in front of your prospects, and convert the lead traffic.
Okay, it may be slightly more complicated than that (but not really).
Realize, however, that most large-scale content marketing programs started out by testing the waters with a small pilot project.
Because the results are easier to measure than a branding campaign, it should be easy to develop something of value (like an infographic, white paper, or webinar) that lives behind a gate, then write some blogs that include links and references to it, email out your blog link in a newsletter and social media, and see what happens. It only gets bigger from there, and the better your content and distribution are, the more results you’re going to see.
Once you’ve demonstrated some success, it will be easier to propose that cool digital magazine you want to develop.
Focus on Measurement
If you’ve been focused on content development for branding and awareness purposes only, it’s no wonder your buy-in is suffering. Every executive knows that half the money they spend is wasted (although they don’t know which half).
When you focus on conversions (and not just web traffic), you can put this idea where it belongs—in the history books. If what you’ve developed as a conversion asset is hitting the right niche with something of value, it’s a pretty good bet that the leads are going to be at least marketing qualified. Getting them sales ready is a different issue, but suffice it to say: better content = better leads.
Analytical tools are useful in helping to determine what your audience is responding to, but ultimately if you’re converting leads that turn into appointments for sales, your executives will be hungry for more.
Build a Content Culture
Content marketing done well requires consistency and time—after all, this isn’t a project, or even a series of projects, it’s a lifestyle. So it’s time to do some PR for yourself and your content marketing initiatives.
How can you do that? Get others in your organization enrolled in your vision—especially your thought leaders. Ask to interview them and write a blog article. Don’t forget about your clients, either—when you get them involved in your projects, not only will they be honored to help, they’ll probably help you distribute the article to their network. It’s that whole killing two birds with one stone thing.
Involve other employees in the content creation process, whether it’s just topic ideas or article contributions is also helpful in not only building a content culture, but also keeping it relevant to the target audience.
Features, Functions and Benefits Are for Closers
Seriously, if you’re still talking about how great your products and services are in your content marketing efforts, please stop. It’s just not going to help you at the top of the funnel.
No one cares who you are or what you sell. Really.
If you don’t believe me, make a couple of cold calls and let me know how excited people were to talk to you.
Content marketing is, first and foremost, about building an audience and serving their needs by adding value, solving problems, providing thought-leadership, entertaining, sharing, and providing a unique experience in general where they keep coming back to you for more. Once you achieve that, then developing consistent lead generation over time becomes a much more natural process.