content marketing Leadership

Investing in content in 2021

Next time you’re in the board room, be completely prepared to make the case for the budget your content marketing team needs to succeed.

In content marketing, change is constant. COVID-19 accelerated the rate of change and required companies to radically alter how they market and sell their products and engage with their customers. In 2021, executives expect to work even harder to survive and thrive.

Surveys reveal that company leaders plan to make big changes to meet customers’ evolving needs. In order to succeed, companies must invest in content just as they invest in operations, R&D, and sales.

How can content marketing teams get a fair piece of the pie? By ensuring that content and communications are part of the company’s DNA, to start. But more importantly, they must effectively articulate their value to the C-suite. It’s not an easy task. Work that people often consider to be of greater intrinsic than extrinsic value sometimes inspires less confidence than more transactional work.

Creating content isn’t counting widgets, but it’s a vital function that requires time, talent, and money. Here are some ways you can make the case for a meaningful investment in content in 2021 – and beyond.

Tether your content to company goals

Don’t just show that you understand the brand’s objectives: Embody them. Business goals should be woven into your content strategy and inherently part of the content itself. Executives need to see that content is an expression of what they value most.

Talk about key metrics, but do so in a way that’s values-driven and goal-oriented. Money may be the C-suite’s top priority, but great leaders also understand that profit is driven by culture, strategy, and engagement. Great content and content teams will embrace all four.

Educate your company leaders

Effective content marketing is about playing the long game. Results won’t necessarily come overnight, but over time, your brand recognition will soar, inviting enthusiastic buy-in from internal and external stakeholders. Because content marketing is cheaper than traditional marketing tactics, it will become evident that it’s a worthwhile investment that supports the bottom line while building long-term value.

While many executive understand what the company’s content marketing operation does and why, some struggle with the how. Don’t bury them in minutiae: Give them a high-level glimpse at the content operation and the opportunity to share questions and insights. A few ways to approach this:

  1. Process oriented. Discuss goal-setting and strategy development, and then walk your leader(s) through the steps you take to identify the resources needed to create and distribute content. Highlight free and low-cost technologies and show how they fit into the equation. Identify gaps. Show how stakeholder reviews and quality-control measures uphold the brand’s integrity and strengthen people’s skills. Share anecdotal insights.
  2. Team oriented. Start with the people you have, their skills and strengths, their goals, and their innovative ideas. Sketch an org chart in pencil that shows how each person contributes to the content marketing operation. Identify risks and gaps. Better yet: Show the connections between your gaps and risks. Even better: Assign a dollar value to risks and weight that against the ROI and/or overall value of the content marketing operation. Here’s a simple content ROI calculator.

In addition to building awareness and getting a chunk of budget, you have sowed the seeds for long-term partnership with executives, who can offer cross-disciplinary perspectivces on how to organize your operation-within-an-operation and assess its performance. Mentorship from senior leaders will help you realize your own leadership potential, as well.

Treat leaders like your most important customers

Correction: Leaders are your most important customers.

Consider the best practices for communication and collaboration to be doubly important when presenting to your CMO or COO. You don’t have long to make a strong impression, so use your time wisely.

  • Be open and direct, vivid and energetic.
  • Share new intel – don’t tell them what they already know.
  • Showcase your expertise.
  • Present in TL;DR format but provide additional resources and documentation.
  • Provide a clear call to action.

Most importantly, listen. Your content marketing efforts are part of a larger conversation – within the company, the community, and the industry. The more you understand and participate in this conversation, the more you can empower your team to contribute to the company’s success.

Contact Consummate Prose today to learn how to make the case for best-in-class content for your organization.

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