“What’s the point of content marketing, anyway?” It’s a question many in-house marketers hear from those higher up the chain. It doesn’t matter that YOU know it’s worth it; the question is how to convince your C-level colleagues that this kind of marketing is worth their investment. My experience of doing this shows that there are four areas you need to cover to show what content marketing can achieve.
1. Paint a Picture
First of all, it’s important to show the evidence that content marketing works from sources the executives will trust. That means bringing out the heavy hitters like Gartner, Forrester and Pew Internet to present statistics like:
- In 2015, 12% of marketing budgets will be spent on content marketing (Gartner)
- Businesses need to allocate dedicated resources to content marketing to achieve its potential (Forrester)
You can also show the benefits many businesses get such as traffic, engagement, leads, sales and more.
2. Create a Baseline
At the same time, create a baseline for where the company is now. Look at:
- your social media profiles, paying attention to branding, activity and engagement
- your web and social traffic
- blog content publishing and related social sharing activity
- other content publishing initiatives
Then see how all of these translate into leads and or sales. This tells you where you’re starting from. Put these in a spreadsheet before you move on to the next step.
3. Set Realistic Expectations and Goals
This is where you create your plan, moving from what’s achievable from your current position. In other words, if your Twitter account is dormant, it’s not realistic to expect it to bring hundreds of people to your website. But you can set some goals for:
- getting more of your customers to sign up for your email newsletter
- increasing your social media mentions and conversations (the numbers will follow)
- boosting the numbers of people who decide to download your free report
- connecting with customers
- expanding your digital footprint
All of this helps you to build trust with your customers, which takes time. It’s like the difference between a first date and a one year anniversary date. Content marketing helps you bridge that gap.
4. Measure and Report
Once you know what your goals are, it’s all about robust reporting. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help with that.
- Almost all social media sites have some form of analytics so you can track the raw numbers, and there are plenty of other social analytics tools that show how your content is doing across the spectrum.
- Web analytics helps you figure out which content is doing best, and how your content affects search engine positioning, web traffic and social sharing.
- Email marketing providers also have analytics on opens and clicks.
You could also track everything at once with an all in one dashboard like Cyfe or Hubspot, or simply enter updated figures in the spreadsheet you created in step 2.
Whichever method you choose, you will soon be able to see the impact of your content marketing efforts, so you can report on it to the people who are paying your salary.
And if you still need more, check out these compelling arguments for the ROI of content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute.