In the book, Epic Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi mentions that a common characteristic among struggling content marketers is a lack of executive buy-in.
Executive buy-in is interesting because it often means many different things given the diversity of business models and the nature of executives to handle different tasks.
However, executive buy-in is always about gathering support and resources to pool into a project or other initiative. In today’s article: Content Marketing.
As content marketing further proves itself to be effective at driving consumer engagement and sales, gathering buy-in is becoming equally as important.
After all, without buy-in, the content marketing strategy that a business employs will not be given enough resources or time to sustain itself and provide results.
This is bad!
Content marketing naturally takes time to develop heavy results. Without a little patience (that must be granted by executives) the strategies will not be around long enough to prove their effectiveness.
So, in today’s article, we are going to dive into the ways that you can gather and explain the benefits of content marketing to the c-suite to ensure a healthy and happy content-creation journey!
Steps For Gathering Executive Buy-In
Step1: Determine if Content Marketing will aid your business model.
As with all marketing strategies, there are some instances in which a certain strategy won’t do much to help certain business models.
This must also be considered given the model of YOUR business, and whether content marketing can actually be beneficial to you.
Think of it this way, content marketing (nowadays) is often used in tandem with the wide-spread reach of the internet! This means that people near and far can consume your content.
But you must ask, how scale-able is your business to meet the needs of these people. A mom and pop store will have difficulty truly benefitting from the increased demand without the scale to provide products or services with such range that the internet provides.
That being said, local content marketing exists also, and would be a better choice in this instance.
In other instances, where products are NOT often researched before they are bought (think of necessities, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.) then content marketing may provide little actual value that converts consumers.
Overall, your content marketing efforts need to be considered alongside the scale and nature of your business model.
Step 2: Put the advantages of content marketing in terms that executives will understand.
Assuming that content marketing will provide value to your organization, next you must define that value and place it in terms that executives find useful and actionable.
Think about it, executives care less about the details, and more about the results. That’s the very nature of their jobs.
.Therefore, instead of communicating what content marketing is and how it works, you must communicate the following points:
1: Does the Content Drive Sales
2: Does the Content Lower Costs
In fact, often, content marketing does both of these things simultaneously by lowering the cost of customer acquisition.
That being said, these two points make up the majority of what executives really care about. And communicating the benefits of content marketing in this way (and based on reasonable projections) can help you increase the potential for executive buy-in.
Step 3: Connect Content With Culture
In ways similar to making a sale, gathering executive buy-in is about producing desire AND quelling concerns or mitigating risk.
Ultimately, the more you prove that content marketing can make a seamless transition into the culture and lifestyle of the organization, the higher the chance that it will be accepted and funded within the organization as well.
To connect content with culture, you’ll have to keep in mind what your brand message says to consumers. This will help maintain continuity among your content, as well as provide more of that content to your audience.
Your content also needs to match the branding and formality of your products or services. Without this consideration, your brand will suffer from presenting inconsistent “personalities” to your audience.
You don’t want high-energy when your brand is relaxed and laid back.
Similarly, you don’t want to present relaxed content if your brand is high-energy!
These small but impactful characteristics make the difference between content that blends into the culture, and content that alienates and polarizes an audience.
And we DON’T want that!
This was a shorter blog post of mine but full of useful considerations nonetheless! Ultimately, this simple three-step process is beneficial in gathering executive buy-in, and in MORE than just content marketing.
Usually, to gather buy-in, you first have to prove the effectiveness of something (Step 1). Then you have to communicate that effectiveness (Step 2). And then you must simply prove the strategy sustainable as a part of organizational culture (Step 3).
With these simple considerations, you can gather mountains of buy-in around any strategy or idea that you have! Being a content marketer myself, I happen to notice that executive buy-in around content marketing is still not where it should be given the proven effectiveness of content campaigns in today’s world!
Here are the three steps again:
1. Determine Content Marketing Effectiveness
2. Communicate that Effectiveness in Terms That Executives Will Understand
3. Connect Content With Culture
Hopefully I helped you gather more buy-in today! Best of luck!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, coming soon: KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.