How do you get your executive team to recognize the need to expand your content marketing program? Columnist Rachel Lindteigen shares tips to help you lay the groundwork and find success.
While you understand the importance of content marketing and the potential it has to drive business, do those above you? If you’re struggling to secure buy-in from your management or executive team to expand your content marketing program, here are a few tips that can help.
Understand their position
Most executives are responsible for a budget and, in turn, proving ROI on the expenditures they approve. To secure buy-in for your content marketing program expansion, you need to make it easy for them to see the return they’re getting.
If you want to expand what you’re doing today and need extra help, new tools or a bigger budget, you must make the case but explain it in terms that matter to the executive team. Can you tie your efforts to the bottom line somehow? That’s probably what matters most to them.
Many higher-ups aren’t as familiar with the day-to-day work involved in running a successful content marketing program. They don’t have the time to be in the weeds with the details. They are responsible for multiple business areas, and you need to make a case for content expansion.
If your program is working well, can you show them with data? Program ROI is often what’s used to determine the success or failure of an initiative.
Set yourself up for success
Since you know you need to prove ROI, make sure everything you do is easily trackable. Create your strategy and tactical plan. Establish baseline program metrics. What are your goals for this program? Outline them. Make it easy to follow.
If you don’t have ROI metrics from what you’ve done to date, it’s OK. It’s time to set yourself up for next year so you can focus on the work this year and go for the expansion in the future.
If your goal is to drive brand awareness, then be sure you have baseline metrics that will support this goal. You may want to use vanity metrics like social media likes and shares — or if you have access to share of voice software — that can help prove awareness.
Your overall website traffic should increase with an increased brand awareness, too. Create a baseline report with your year-over-year traffic and SEO percentage of traffic (SEO traffic/total site traffic) and establish your trend lines.
You need to know what your traffic grew YoY last year to this year so you understand what your normal expected growth rate is. To prove your effectiveness, your traffic for the next year should grow at a larger percentage increase year over year.
If you’re trying to prove content can drive revenue, then you need to make sure your analytics program is set up right. If you’re hoping to expand your blogging program next year, then you need to show how much revenue your blog drives.
In Google Analytics, you can do this by viewing the traffic your blog refers to the website (if it’s set up this way). You can determine how many visitors you’ve driven, what they purchased, and how many were new visitors. When you can show that your blog drove X number of new visitors, X number of orders, X number of dollars in revenue, it’s easier to ask for more budget next year.
If your analytics account is set up with goals and e-commerce information, you can tie revenue back to the specific blog post. You can prove how much you make off each post that’s written.
If your goal is to increase keyword rank and use content to support your SEO efforts, take a baseline keyword rank report before you begin your efforts. Establish your keyword strategy and targeted keyword list. Track your keyword rank for those words over the course of the year.
As you add more content, and if it’s good, targeted and linkable, you should see your keyword rank start to increase. You can also track your domain authority and backlink profile to show the increase in the number of links you’re earning and the DA growth.
Maybe you work for an organization with a sales team, rather than an e-commerce website. You can track the number of leads that content generated.
If you can get information from the sales team on the number of leads they’ve connected with or those that have converted, you can prove your ROI that way. If there’s an established value for each prospect at X place in the funnel, you can determine the potential ROI if the actual isn’t available yet.
Analyze your social media feeds for customer sentiment. Rather than just focusing on the number of likes or shares, focus on the comments and determine how many are positive vs. negative. What’s the average sentiment? Are customers happy with the brand? Are their concerns addressed in a timely manner? Has customer sentiment changed over time?
Ask for the expansion
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, established your baseline metrics and worked on the content marketing program for a while, compile your results and schedule time to present to the team. Be prepared, share your data, prove the ROI and provide a forecast for next year’s ROI based on the investment you’re asking for. What can they expect to receive next year if they approve the requested program expansion?
Keep it straightforward, and focus on the ROI this year and what you expect to drive next year with a bigger program. Good luck!
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