Here are 4 ways to get buy-in for a content marketing strategy:
- Build a big tent to co-create strategy.
- Educate about why the company needs content marketing.
- Advocate for customer-centric content.
- Run pilot programs to produce proven successes.
1. Build a big tent to co-create content marketing strategy
To get buy-in for a content marketing strategy, host a content marketing workshop so people learn side-by-side with the whole team. Build a big tent.
Invite executives, Marketing, subject-matter experts (SMEs), Sales, product management, agencies and freelancers. Get everybody together in one room, face to face.
Bring in an expert who can educate the team on:
- An agreed-on definition of what is content marketing
- What other companies are doing in content marketing
- What content marketing success looks like
- How to achieve content marketing success using a step-by-step formula.
Co-create your mission and strategy
By working together in a workshop, your team gains a common language, plus tools and templates they can put to work right away.
In my content marketing workshops, we co-create a content marketing mission statement (also known as a content marketing editorial mission statement).
Why? Because it gets everyone on the same page. Also because it serves as a litmus test for which content to create.
To get buy-in for a content marketing strategy, use this content mission template.
A written content marketing mission statement gives you a leg up in developing content marketing strategy. After the team agrees on the mission, have them co-create a 1-page content marketing strategy.
Co-creation gets people aligned
Your written content marketing strategy aligns content marketing with the needs of the business by spelling out:
- 3 company objectives, what the company needs to achieve over the next year
- 3 company goals, to measure achievement of objectives quantitatively
- 3 marketing strategies, to guide content marketing activities in the year ahead
- 3 marketing metrics, to measure achievement of strategies quantitatively.
The strategy defines who is the target audience, what’s in it for them, and what calls to action will move content users along the path from learning to buying.
To get buy-in for a content marketing strategy, use this 1-page content marketing strategy template.
Build buy-in for a content marketing strategy by co-creating a 1-page strategy. Give everyone a say. Let the team hash out the big issues.
In a full day workshop, you have time to co-create a snappy marketing message on a Message Map.
To get buy-in for a content marketing strategy and your marketing message, co-create a Message Map. Here’s how.
Now your whole team is fully aligned around a content marketing mission, strategy and message. That alignment makes everything else about content marketing easier.
2. Educate about why the company needs content marketing
To build buy-in for a content marketing strategy, make sure your workshop educates the team about the why of content marketing.
Why do you need content marketing? In short, because buyers’ habits are changing.
Buyers turn to the Internet, not the sales force, to get educated. For example, most B2B buyers consume 3 or more pieces of content before calling Sales, found the DemandGen 2018 B2B Content Preferences Survey..
Buyers consult lots of content before calling Sales
Buyers have specific information needs, which you can find out through buyer persona research. Buyers look for answers to questions, topics of interest and social proof.
Advertising isn’t always an effective way to reach buyers. Buyers increasingly skip TV commercials, ignore print ads and direct mail, and block banner ads and pop-ups.
Yet buyers seek out content marketing because it helps them get specific jobs done.
When you offer trustworthy content that meets buyers’ needs, you build a relationship of trust, which will help you when it’s time for the buyer to make a decision. That’s the magic of content marketing.
3. Advocate for customer-centric content
To get buy-in for a content marketing strategy, teach people with content before you try to create the strategy. Here’s a blog on how to use content to gain buy-in for content marketing.
Great content marketing is all about the buyer, the customer and their tribe. It’s not about your company, your brand or your product.
Great content teaches buyers before it tries to sell them. Teaching creates buyers who become smart enough to buy from you.
Teach first, then sell
Good content leads with information, then bridges to selling.
Don’t try to sell too soon. That approach backfires.
For example, the Michelin Guide wasn’t about tires. It wasn’t even about cars.
Instead, it was about meeting the information needs of drivers – the tribe served by the Michelin Guide.
Another example is John Deere’s magazine The Furrow.It isn’t a catalog about tractors and plows. In fact, the brand is rarely mentioned in the editorial pages.
Instead, The Furrow is a magazine dedicated to helping farmers run their business more successfully. Its information serves the tribe of farmers well.
- Which information does your tribe need, exactly?
- What questions do they ask?
- Which questions would they ask, if they were smarter buyers?
The best content marketing teaches before it sells.
When you create great content, you create a single source of truth that helps build relationships across all your key audiences:
- Distributors and retailers
4. Do pilot programs to produce proven successes
If you’re just starting out in content marketing, or if you detect hesitation in the team, make content marketing a “pilot program.”
Even in companies that are risk-averse and fearful, people understand a pilot program. It’s a small-scale experiment designed for learning.
Design your pilot project not only to learn about content marketing, but also to succeed by bringing in revenue. That’s the best way to gain buy-in for a content marketing strategy.
Give your pilot program long enough to work. Content marketing generally takes 1 or 2 years to prove its full potential.
Better to run a small content pilot program for a year or two than to crash and burn with a big project that lacks enough support to run for a year.
“How do you get buy-in for a content marketing strategy?” is one of marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing. Here are the answers.
Here are related blogs on how to get buy-in for a content marketing strategy from specific people such as subject-matter experts (SMEs) and executives:
- How to help subject matter experts (SMEs) understand the need for content marketing?
- How do we get executives to buy into content marketing?
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.