Content Marketing HOME RUN: Convincing The CEO To Give It A Go

Communicating with the C-suite requires a level of financial wizard speak — language that goes beyond new shiny things, industry trends, and gut feelings and into the realm of red and black. The fact is, content, when done correctly, does provide a worthwhile return on investment.

But that has to be communicated to the head honcho, whether it be the CEO, CMO or VP of Marketing. And not just communicated, s/he must be convinced to allocate precious resources to get the job done.

Establish the case for quality content in a way that resonates with those whose eyes are constantly on the bottom line. Map out the value in a manner that speaks to the overall business goals and illustrate how content can play a leading role. In the process, a strategy will be created that lays the framework for a successful digital marketing engine, from content to conversion and back around again.

Make Marketing Investments COUNT

Investing in one aspect of digital marketing without considering the entire ecosystem and full funnel layers leaves plenty of organizations discouraged with time- and money-sucking marketing efforts. Let’s break down the two most common errors: investing in content without a solid strategy for paid promotion and, on the flip side, knocking it out of the park with paid promotion without a solid content base.

The typical story of the latter content error heartbreak goes a bit like this:

Let’s say an IT network security service provider recognized that in order to be competitive and position itself for future success in the online age, it had to invest in digital marketing. So it did.

First, it invested in search and social advertising. It began to understand how advanced and spot-on psychographic targeting can narrow in on qualified consumers who legitimately need, want and are interested in its services.

Second, it crafted creative copy that spoke to each targeting segment and positioned itself directly in front of its target audience. It spoke their language.

Third, it directed users interacting with the advertisement to its website, which lacked intuitive layout. Or, it sent the viewer to a blog post that offered no real value and lacked tracking elements.  The promise delivered through the ad creative — the reason they took time out of their important and busy lives to click on the ad — struck out. The consumer left and hasn’t looked back. Ever.

In this situation, content failed the team. Sure, targeting investments paid off with amazingly complex psychographic segments and the ad creative copy caught the attention of those with whom it was seeking to communicate. But without the investment in content marketing, none of it really mattered. The company totally missed the ball — and felt the pain.

strike out


What could have been done to turn the score around? An investment in content that speaks to the search queries related to the company’s services. The team could have worked with the PPC team to glean information from user query data. What are people looking for? Or, when selling specific products, what information queries are excluded? Use that data as a starting point to answer questions already being asked by the target market. Answer their questions; craft valuable content that can be used as an asset to solve a customer’s problem or help to lead them in the right direction on their buyer journey.

On the other hand, investing in content that is thoughtful and valuable is only as good as the audience it reaches. Just because you built it, does not mean they’ll come — make the content known with a solid paid promotion strategy. Think of it as loading the bases before swinging for the fences… Grand slam!

Bottom line: Overcome CEO objections (based on past experiences or tales told) by communicating the value of content in the overall marketing strategy, utilizing current PPC campaigns to collect keyword data and pushing content out to relevant audiences who give a darn. It’s a game changer.

Make it Measurable

Anyone who’s worked closely with the C-suite knows data is required to show investments are paying off. It’s all about the Benjamins. And why shouldn’t it be? Investments should pay off. Just be careful not to promise the world without understanding the tools necessary to prove content’s worth or the key performance indicators for success. It can be tempting to do, but it’ll come back to kick the marketing team in the long run.

To first understand what tools and software are necessary to track results, pinpoint KPIs that will be used to measure content success — and hold the marketing team accountable.

Depending on the analytical granularity the C-suite seeks, the methods for tracking success can vary. However, because most people are not psychics, step one is to understand what success looks like to the CEO. That takes a little planning and research, but it’s better than assuming (and looking like an ass).


Very basic analytics will show very basic statistics, including page views, click through rates (CTRs), average time on page, average pages visited (what they were), etc. It will give very elementary insight into whether people are clicking on the content. That’s nice, but it doesn’t translate to the big bucks.

In order to kick content into money-making mode, an investment in tracking software is necessary. There are plenty to choose from, but the right fit should provide the ability to retarget users who visit the content asset and provide a clear CTA with an easy-to-use process for obtaining user data — whether it be through a blog form that unlocks a valuable e-book or a landing page that unlocks a user-friendly cheat-sheet download. Just be sure to avoid the mistake of not having the software set up correctly. To avoid a software mishap, take time to audit tracking set-up and implement tracking correctly to capture the data you need to measure performance.

Taking it a step further, KPIs can be narrowed down into two categories: lead gen and straight sales.

For lead gen, consider goals — whether it be a set number of subscribers (names, email addresses) obtained through gated content forms or inquiries resulting from content CTAs — define the expectations and utilize necessary software (as mentioned above) to track valuable data.

Going for straight-up sales? Follow through with a measurable system that is able to track a contact’s history through the funnel. That way, when a sale is executed, the marketing team is able to clearly identify the course the contact traveled to get to that point. If content was part — or key in — that final conversion, your team has the data to prove it. That’s where you’ll find sweet, sweet ROI figures to serve up to the CEO.

The information is all there, and the stats don’t lie.

Bottom line: Don’t just ask for content creation funds, ask for the tools needed to support proper reporting. When the top dog asks how the content campaign is going, be prepared to show the data that speaks to the C-suite’s concerns.

Owning the SERPs

When an investment is made in quality content marketing, an organization is not just receiving an asset that fits into an advertising campaign. Sure, it’s an important part, but an organization is also attaining a valuable asset that will take up search real estate in its vertical space for the long term (assuming the content is of value).

There are two benefits to this. On top of being a perpetual resource for those researching topics relevant to an industry, it also works to build up the content log that, over time, contributes to SEO.

It does so in a few different ways:

Link building. Crap content is crap content, but if a writer produces something that offers value to its audience, it will be used as a resource. And links will likely gather. Those backlinks give the publisher (the organization) authority in search rankings and play into the bigger SEO picture. (Maybe psychographic targeting to influencers who are likely to link to the content is part of this strategy… ). 

Providing value — to search engines and real humans (since 1989). Blogs, e-books, articles, white papers or any other form of written word that answers the questions people are asking and gives unique insight is valuable. Evergreen content, which withstands fads and time-sensitive industry news, can continue to serve as a research resource for potential customers and please Google’s algorithms that are evolving to judge rank based on the level — and quality — of content as it pertains to the topic. For a CEO, that means that the investment it takes to create one piece of content doesn’t necessarily have an expiration date… and its benefits can contribute to the company’s ROI for more than one quarter (or year).

Content is Versatile — Repurpose to Fill Funnel

For a content “ecosystem” that supports different types of buyers at different phases of the buyer journey, it’s worth assessing what sort of content your department currently has and identifying potential gaps that need to be filled. Have a ton of short-form, quick-glance content? Great! Having trouble leading buyers down the funnel to conversion? Maybe it’s time to expand and create detailed, long-form content that takes buyers one step closer in their level of understanding — and one step closer to conversion.

That doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch.

Don’t forget that content can be repurposed: Communicating to a CEO that the investment in the creation of one e-book/blog post/infographic/whitepaper is actually worth much more can help put this into perspective. Hiring a journalist/writing pro to create a kickass e-book that’s both informative and digestible means the organization on the receiving end will walk away with not only an e-book, but the material it needs to spin off content in many forms (blogs/infographics/landing pages), valuable at varying phases throughout the buyer journey.

Bottom line: Make the most out of a content investment by repurposing long-form content into an array of other useful pieces of content that fit into the overall digital marketing strategy, and be sure to fill in the content gaps along the buyer journey.

Ready to give content the love it deserves? Wahoo! Just remember: An investment should never be made without a clear understanding of its risks, benefit and return. When it comes to digital marketing content, communicate the pros in a way that speaks to the bottom line — and set your organization up for digital marketing success.

Want to get started? Make sure you’ve covered your bases — download the content checklist today. 

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