A Guest Post By Jason Sprenger, President & Founder, Game Changer Communications
Content marketing as a discipline is still relatively new, and it’s evolving into whatever we professional communicators and marketers say it is. But we’ve been strategizing and executing around its essential elements for decades. How do you most effectively package your company’s unique value propositions and expertise, and deliver it to the market? What’s the right channel to use? What’s the right timing? How do you capture leads and stimulate sales through these assets?
It’s fascinating to me just how many people in executive leadership have been resistant to these kinds of discussions. It could be because they see it as the latest passing fad, they just don’t know enough about it to make an informed decision or something else. But I’ve seen first-hand how content marketing can make a significant impact, especially to B2B organizations.
In no particular order, here are a few of my own tips for how you can sell content marketing to your bosses, and secure the buy-in you need to bring value to your organization:
- Follow the money. Of course, executives are concerned about return on investment; will the expense of time and resources on content marketing show a direct return, and how long will it take to do so? So show them how content feeds the sales and marketing machine. Create forms to capture consumer information, and track them through the sales cycle – and ultimately tally revenues. Generate unique web links for your assets, so you know exactly how much traffic you’re driving and what impact that’s having on sales opportunities. If you don’t have a plan for measuring and proving the value of your efforts, and growing that value over time, your pitch is dead on arrival.
- Focus on the content. Remind them that people consume information and learn in a variety of different ways, and that a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing simply won’t reach the entire target market. Also remind them that many pieces of research today show that people read and digest many pieces of online information before making a major purchasing decision. You’re either in the game, and relevant as an option, or you’re not. This is a big reason why, in my opinion, the best content strategies create a wide variety of deliverable assets – videos, white papers, blog posts, social media dialogues, webinars, byline articles in media, testimonials and more.
- Set the agenda. The simple fact of the matter is that customers, partners and other stakeholders of an organization are having conversations about that organization in formal and informal ways on a regular basis. Do your executives want to know what those conversations are about? Do they want to help shape the narrative, instead of letting everyone else set the agenda? Do they want the competition to determine how you are perceived in the marketplace? In my entire career, I’ve never heard an executive say “no” to any of these questions. A simple way to participate in and shape the dialogue is to create assets and engage.
- Play to their ego. In the majority of organizations, top executives are also top thought leaders. As they are showcased in content marketing, their personal brands and reputations are bound to get a boost – and that can lead to any number of good things both for them and the organization.
Thoughts? Comments? We’d love to hear from you…
Jason Sprenger is the president of Game Changer Communications. Jason founded the agency in 2012 to help organizations propel themselves forward using the entire spectrum of public relations. Before starting Game Changer, he led North American PR for FICO and built a successful corporate PR department at data storage firm Xiotech (now called X-IO Technologies). Jason has also held various roles with three Twin Cities public relations firms, and has worked for a wide variety of organizations, from large to small and public to private, and has been a corporate, agency and freelance counselor.