Content Strategy

12 Ways for Content Marketers to Get Leadership Buy-In

Jimmy Daly
May 24, 2022

Hey folks! This post was created by Terkel, which is a new Superpath partner. Terkel is an alternative to HARO that helps you source subject matter expertise and get ready-to-publish content. I simply asked for ways that content marketers can get leadership buy-in and they did the rest. You can learn more about Terkel here.

What's one tip you have for content marketers who are struggling to get buy-in from management?

To help content marketers get buy-in from management, we asked the Superpath community and marketing leaders this question for their best insights. From learning to speak your stakeholders’ language to justifying your budget, there are several strategies to help you get leadership buy-in and support for your content marketing vision.

Here are 12 ways for content marketers to get leadership buy-in:

  • Learn to Speak Your Stakeholders' Language
  • Educate Management About Content Marketing
  • Hype the Ongoing Value of Evergreen Content
  • Focus On Benchmarking and Numbers
  • Show How Your Content Can Help With their Goals
  • Ask Management to Get Specific About their Concerns
  • Show What Competitors Are Doing
  • Anticipate Questions & Priorities of Management
  • Speak to What They Care About
  • Show Them the Data
  • Have a Plan for Proving the Value of Your Content
  • Justify Your Budget

1. Learn to Speak Your Stakeholders' Language

Most of the time, CEOs/managers and clients don’t think about content the same way a practitioner does. They don’t (usually) care if it’s a podcast, a book, or a blog post. These are tactics. They might humour us for 4 minutes while we talk about search intent or Instagram Stories, but by minute 5 what they really expect to hear is how the content we produce will solve a business challenge, This is strategy. You'll make yourself more valuable and employable when you start understanding how your work fits into the larger picture, and move from ‘just’ delivering like a tactician to *also* thinking like a business owner.

—Fio Dossetto, contentfolks

2. Educate Management About Content Marketing

If management does not understand how big content marketing is then they do not have all the information. I would focus all my efforts on educating management about content marketing. This could be a presentation, a webinar or something else. I would even suggest adding them to (say the Superpath community) to just see how many facets of marketing there are and how many marketers are talking about this.

—Iliya Valchanov, 3veta

3. Hype the Ongoing Value of Evergreen Content

One tip for content marketers to get buy-in from management is to emphasize the benefits of evergreen content. Rather than solely focusing on the immediate results of a campaign, you can highlight the ways that this content can be repurposed and continue to bring attention to the brand in the future. By avoiding references that might date the piece and keeping messaging on-brand and relevant, you can reuse the assets. Thus, a one-time investment can continue to benefit the company.

—Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding

4. Focus On Benchmarking and Numbers

The time it takes to get content ranking is an obstacle that can't be mitigated. However, benchmarking and relating to competitors who are now ripping benefits of their work done 12 months ago can provide a relatable reference point. Then, extrapolating several indicators can help gauge the expected results. For instance, if our competitor is garnering 10'000 visits from individual blog posts and we have a 0.1% conversion rate for visitors of similar website segments, we can expect to get around ten leads per month. Multiplying that by the average deal size or margin can indicate the expected value and even calculate ROI based on the hourly cost of writing content.

—Michael Sena, SENACEA

5. Show How Your Content Can Help With their Goals

Management is focused on their goals: how to get more leads, grow brand awareness, or close more sales. Be clear about your content marketing project's aim, the potential impact it can have on the business, and the resources you need to get it done. Be ready to answer questions and back your plan up with data such as organic traffic, conversions, and costs from a previous project or competitor benchmark. If you come in prepared with the right solution, you may get their approval.

—Stephanie Bernardo, Spiralytics

6. Ask Management to Get Specific About their Concerns

If management seems lukewarm towards your ideas and isn’t giving you the support you need, ask them to specify what exactly is giving them pause. Often, managers have very specific reasons they’re hesitant to invest their company’s resources into a marketing strategy, though for a variety of different reasons not everyone is always forthcoming. But by meeting with them, one on one, and asking them for specific reasons for their hesitance, you can build yourself a checklist of items to work on in order to best convince them of your ideas.

—Rob Bartlett, WTFast

7. Show What Competitors Are Doing

Show executives what industry competitors are doing with content marketing and the associated benefit as a result of it. Match outcome to output. For example, maybe your competitor launched a gated e-book that resulted in leads. Or perhaps a competitor's content strategy led to a national press appearance because a producer found an article they wrote and reached out to them as a source. Content is the lifeline of any digital marketing campaign. All digital roads lead back to a solid content foundation. Not having a robust content strategy can result in fewer media opportunities, lower search engine rankings and decreased sales volume. The best way to get buy-in from management is to compare the wins to losses. Show the pain reduction that content marketing can bring by dialing up the volume on content output. People don't value what they don't understand. Help them understand the value content can bring to your organization to increase C-suite buy-in.

—Kristen Ruby, Ruby Media Group

8. Anticipate Questions & Priorities of Management

Anticipate questions that management might have regarding your content strategy and provide the answers in your proposal. For example, your proposed marketing strategy may work in another market with a different target audience, but what supporting data can you provide to show promise within your niche?Another consideration when crafting a marketing proposal is the balance of analytics and creativity – some advertising leaders may weigh one more over the other. Do your homework, consider the priorities of marketing leaders, and believe in your ideas.

—Cesar Cruz, Sebastian Cruz Couture

9. Speak to What They Care About

The best way to get buy-in for your content initiatives is to frame them towards a goal your management cares about.

If your boss is all about revenue, show the link between content and lead generation.If your boss is obsessed with product-market fit, show how your best-performing content is speaking to customers' needs. If you know your management's KPIs, even better.

Report on your content marketing performance or initiatives relative to those goals.

—Eric Doty, Butter

10. Show Them the Data

Show them clean, hard data about what they stand to gain, and they simply won’t be able to ignore it. Often, management types respond better to facts and figures than they do to emotional appeals and slogans. Simply show them the number of customers you are going to reach with your content, and present them with the choice: Are they going to leave all of those customers behind? Present a graph of the markets you are going to penetrate, and ask them: Are they happy to ignore those valuable markets? If you have done your homework and presented it in a clear manner, they will get on board.

—Umer Usman, AvantStay

11. Have a Plan for Proving the Value of Your Content

Whether you're pitching a content marketing strategy from scratch or just the next quarter's content, include a plan to measure the value in your pitch. If you've already been measuring, this will be easy and ideally, your value has already been proven. If it's a new program, it lets management know that there will be accountability and changes the conversation to KPIs and contents role in the organization rather than whether or not to invest more time and money.

—Jeffrey Jensen, Message Lab

12. Justify Your Budget

It’s important to highlight that you have a plan for how you plan to spend your content marketing budget. But, it’s just as important to prove that your plan is data-driven and ROI-focused. Start by creating a baseline. What are your current monthly/quarterly metrics? How much traffic are you getting to your website? How many leads are you generating? Once you have this information, you can create goals for the upcoming quarter or year. Make sure that your goals are achievable, but also ambitious enough to warrant an increase in budget. If possible, try to find other areas of the business where you can save money so that you can put more towards content marketing.

—Danielle Bedford, Coople

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