Heading into 2023, one in six marketers said their biggest challenge would be to secure, gain, and retain stakeholder support for their marketing budgets.
This can be particularly difficult in the world of content marketing. Why? Allow us to explain.
Why It’s Hard to Demonstrate Content’s Value to the C-Suite
Rarely do the stakeholders who control a company’s purse strings come from a marketing background. Fewer still are content marketers. This means they might have little knowledge of (or interest in) what you’re trying to achieve.
Without this content marketing background, it can make it difficult to find common ground and persuade them to your side.
Secondly, it’s notoriously tough to demonstrate content marketing ROI. Paid media teams can point to acquisition costs and click-through rates; SEOs can highlight upticks in organic traffic and keyword rankings. But because content interactions rarely result in direct sales, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the value of a single blog post or ebook.
Yet research shows that the most successful marketing organizations are four times more likely to dedicate at least half of their marketing budgets to content marketing.
In other words: lots of content marketers have clearly been able to convince the C-suite that content is well worth investing in — and they’re reaping the rewards. But how are they doing it?
Tapping Into the C-Suite Psychology
In many ways, selling the C-suite is a case of psychology. Once you understand their priorities, you can figure out what results they want to see from the content you create.
Maybe this team is passionate about positioning the brand as a thought leader — perfectly understandable, given that 60% of buyers say thought leadership builds credibility when entering a new category. Or perhaps they’re obsessed with generating more traffic to your website.
Once you figure out what the C-suite wants, you can tailor your approach around it, from the strategies you choose to the content types you produce.
Continuing the examples above, you stand the best chance of convincing a web traffic-obsessed C-suite to invest in content marketing by doubling down on SEO, or perhaps investing in paid search to get your content in front of a wider audience.
If thought leadership is what they’re targeting, you can focus your resources on in-depth content, subject matter expert interviews, and original research.
Choose KPIs & Metrics That Align With C-Suite Priorities
Senior leaders simply don’t have the time to dig into granular marketing metrics; they’re too busy looking at the bigger picture. Their only means of gauging the success or failure of your content campaigns is the data you show them.
This can be a blessing and a curse.
On the downside, there’s next to no chance they’ll ever come up to you, pat you on the back, and say, “Well done on that last blog post you published! How did you manage to get such a low bounce rate?”
But it also means you retain more control over the stats they see, giving you the opportunity to weave a data-driven story that demonstrates the vital role of content in achieving their overarching business goals.
So if they’re suckers for traffic, you can showcase metrics like:
- Your top traffic-generating blog posts
- The proportion of site traffic generated by your blog (and how this has increased over time)
- Social media traffic stemming from content you created and shared
Of course, these data points aren’t the only type of reporting you carry out. Plenty of other metrics and KPIs might be useful for internal, team-level purposes. It’s just that you don’t want to muddy the waters by presenting every data point to the C-suite.
The simpler your narrative, and the more closely it aligns with their goals, the better your chances of selling the value of content marketing.
Playing the FOMO Card
Back when you were a kid, you probably tried to convince your mom or dad to buy you the latest toy with something along the lines of, “But everyone else has got one!”
That approach rarely works on parents, but it might work on your C-suite.
If you can’t get them on board by demonstrating the impact of your current content strategy, show them what your rivals are up to — especially if they’re outperforming you. Log into your Ahrefs or Semrush dashboard and run some competitor analyses, focusing on areas like:
- The keywords they’re outranking you for
- How many more backlinks they’ve built (and why it matters)
- Their estimated organic traffic levels compared to yours (and the value of that traffic)
Above all, make it clear that if your business fails to invest in content, you risk losing market share, sales, and revenue. That’s the type of stark messaging that should make the C-suite sit up and take notice.
Keep It Simple
We get it. It’s frustrating to feel like your hard work is going unappreciated, and that your efforts to sell the value of content marketing are falling on deaf ears.
But these things take time, particularly when it comes to nuanced topics like content marketing ROI. Your best bet is to stick with a simple message; keep showing the C-suite how traffic from your blog is increasing, or how more and more people are reading your thought leadership content.
Eventually, it’ll start hitting home.
In the meantime, if you need support creating high-quality content, we’re here to help. Get in touch with Content Conquered today to discuss your content creation needs.