How to sell colleagues and execs on content marketing

Extolling its virtues in a vacuum probably won’t yield much. Analyze how it could be tailored to your organization and get support from trusted co-workers. Then pitch the big bosses.

You’re probably aware of the potential benefits of implementing an inclusive content marketing strategy. You’ve seen how it can transform a brand, and now you’re itching to put the channel to work for your organization.

However, your colleagues are probably less enthusiastic about this approach—if they’re aware of it at all. An inclusive content strategy often entails involvement across the entire organization and additional investment from up the ladder. Your co-workers might be resistant to extra responsibilities, and your higher-ups might already have a budget that’s stretched thin.

There’s no denying that selling your organization on content will be tough, but the results make it well worth the effort. So, how do you champion this idea and persuade those in your company to embrace content marketing?

Become an educator

You probably understand how powerful content marketing can be because you read blogs on the subject, pay attention to the latest innovations in the industry, follow thought leaders on Twitter and, if you’re nerdy like me, probably even talk about it with friends in your spare time.

In other words, you’re sold on content marketing because you’ve been educated about it and have seen its merits in action. A great way to sell your colleagues on this approach is to teach them about what makes content marketing worth caring about.

Once you’ve got buy-in from leadership, set up training workshops and practice what you preach by creating content that supports your organization’s interests on platforms such as LinkedIn, Medium, or your company’s blog.

Recruit your co-workers

Persuading key decision-makers to invest in a content marketing strategy will be easier if they sense that other employees are on board. Before you start attempting to educate your boss or draft a plan, talk to your most trusted colleagues first.

Begin with those you are closest with in your department, telling them why you want to focus on building a content marketing strategy. Show them the research you’ve compiled, your plan to approach content marketing and examples of content you’ve produced in the past. This way you’re not bossing them around; rather, you’re asking them to be your ally.

Once you’ve received the stamp of approval from your department, you can begin spreading your message further. Your organization’s structure should dictate your approach. You could float the idea in a memo or bring it up in your next marketing meeting and have supporters back up your suggestions.

Selling people on your plan might go slowly at first, but if you’re persistent and methodical with your pitches, you should begin seeing results. Fighting inertia is incredibly difficult, and winning over your entire company all at once is virtually impossible, unless you’re part of the leadership team. However, persuading people individually helps you to slowly turn the tide. Eventually the momentum will start to tip in your favor, and that’s when you can move on to the next step.

Create a content strategy

In theory, creating a compelling story can help any brand, but each organization is different-and individual content marketing strategies should reflect those differences. Now that you’ve convinced your team members that content has the potential to help your organization, you must figure out what your complete strategy will look like.

Draft a plan for implementing content across your organization, and then invite others to collaborate and give feedback. Encourage people to take ownership of certain tasks and share how their individual talents can enhance your overall plan.

This strategy should illustrate your goals through proposed content, the audience you’re trying to reach and the topics and types of content to best reach them with. It should also demonstrate the ROI of your proposed content marketing efforts as it relates to required budget changes. You might also want include potential partners in your strategy brief to show you are thinking long term and can scale your strategy if all goes well.

An abstract plan might have been good enough for management to sign off and implement, but showing that your strategy has input and buy-in from other members of your team is a surefire way of influencing approval.

Pitch your strategy to leadership

At this stage, you probably have a plan you’re proud of and confidence that it can succeed. It’s time to present your idea to the key decision-makers in your organization.

Make sure your presentation conveys a few things. First, it’s important to sell content marketing as a means to reach your organization’s audience in a non-disruptive way. Include data points to support your argument for investing in content-for example, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.

The next step will be to show that members of your organization support your proposed content strategy and that they are ready, willing and able to make content marketing work. One fear executives might have when considering whether they should sign off on your plan is the potentially unfavorable reception of additional responsibility that workers must assume. That you’ve already sold some of your co-workers on content marketing means your boss won’t have to worry.

The last step will be to show that you have a fully fleshed-out plan that is ready to be implemented with little more than their feedback and approval. Not only do you believe that content marketing will work to drive results for your organization, you’ve also already determined how it will operate.

Though there are no guarantees and every organization is different, following these steps should help maximize your chances of championing content throughout your company and cementing yourself as the content innovator at your organization.

Brian Honigman is a freelance writer, a marketing consultant and a professional speaker living in New York City. A version of this article first appeared on Skyword.

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