Making the Case for Content Marketing: How to Get Buy-In

August 15, 2016

Few things are more frustrating for a sophisticated marketer than butting heads against inflexible upper management.

You know that content marketing is the best way to reach your audience. You’ve seen the stats: 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it. And 74% of companies say content marketing is increasing their lead quality and quantity.

More importantly, you’ve seen the writing on the wall: 25% of smartphone users have ad blockers installed, and that number will only continue to rise. Buyers are far more likely to seek advice on search engines and via social media than engage directly with your brand. As Seth Godin said, “Content marketing is the only marketing that’s left.”

So what’s a sophisticated marketer to do if all of the above isn’t enough to get buy-in for creating a content marketing culture? The only thing left to do is answer management’s objections head-on.

Here are three of the most common objections to (really, misconceptions about) content marketing, and how to counter them.

Objection #1: There’s Too Much Content Out There Already

“I read that 27 million pieces of content are shared every day! There’s as much content published in 48 hours as there was from the beginning of recorded history up to 2003! How can we hope to make our content stand out from the crowd?”

Response: Content Isn’t the Answer: Content Marketing Is

It’s true that if you start out with the goal of adding onto the content pile, you will have trouble reaching an audience. Ditto if you start out with no goals documented at all. If all you do is publish content, management is right: You have very little chance of getting it seen.

Content marketing, on the other hand, means strategically creating, publishing, and amplifying content so it finds its most relevant audience. You’re not throwing buckets of water in the ocean. You’re building a lighthouse for poor lost souls in the content ocean, so they can find their way to what they really need.

Objection #2: Everybody’s Way Farther Along than We Are

“Look, maybe if we had jumped in on the content marketing fad back in 2012, we could actually be a player in the game. But we’re late to the party. What’s the point in trying to compete with people who have been doing this for years?”

Response: Everybody’s Doing It, But Few Are Highly Sophisticated

It’s true that over 88% of B2B marketers do some kind of content marketing. But less than a quarter say their practice is mature. And only 8% say they have a sophisticated practice, defined as, “Providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization.”

Even if you do the bare minimum of documenting your content strategy, you will vault ahead of two-thirds of the competition. So it’s worth learning from the brands that are enjoying success, but there’s no reason to be intimidated by a late start.

Objection #3: I Don’t Want to Pay for “Brand Lift” and “Awareness”

“Yeah, yeah, content marketing is great at stuff like “engagement” and getting us more followers on Facebook. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the numbers, isn’t it? We need to focus on what we can measure, where we can show the effectiveness in deals closed and dollars in the bank.”

Response: Content Marketing Has Proven ROI

It’s true that content marketing is effective at raising brand awareness and building an audience. But it’s also a powerful driver of actual conversions and sales. Strategic content marketing is designed to accomplish specific business goals, and includes metrics to measure progress. Conversions can be directly attributed to content if the mechanisms for measurement are in place.

The results that content marketing can achieve are striking. Kraft’s Julie Fleischer said the ROI of their content marketing was four times greater than their most targeted advertising. NewsCred deployed a LinkedIn-based content marketing strategy that brought in seventeen times their investment.

Dispel Content Discontentment

Content is the last, best way marketers have to reach an audience. Content marketing ensures that content won’t get lost in the noise. As a sophisticated marketer, it’s your duty to make the case for content marketing—for the good of your marketing department, your customers, and ultimately your business.

To learn more about developing a sophisticated content marketing program, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.

Photo: Blair_25