Businesses across industries and verticals have been benefiting from the power of content marketing for more than a decade now, but if your company has yet to jump on board or has recently scaled back its marketing output, you may need to offer a timely reminder to executives about the value of content.
A pitch will enable you to express the essential features and benefits of the practice succinctly with an end goal of getting a content marketing test programme or pilot campaign up and running. Here are a few pointers to consider.
Canvass for content
Canvassing for content marketing internally is important according to HubSpot senior director of acquisition Matthew Howells-Barby, who believes that there is nothing “better than repetition” when attempting to get an idea heard by key decision makers and stakeholders.
The onus is usually on marketers to pitch for content marketing, highlighting the benefits it can bring and how it can support a company. Howells-Barby notes that marketers should have a fully formed story for how content can have a positive impact on tangible goals and objectives, rather than merely putting forward a simple idea or course of action.
Content Marketing Institute (CMI) offers a few tips for pitch preparation. It should be personalised for the listener, cover simple and easy-to-grasp points that educate that listener so that they can buy into what is being said, and link to company goals such as driving brand awareness, increasing revenue or enhancing customer service.
If there are objections to your pitch on the grounds of time or resources, you can redouble your efforts and outline how content marketing can be cost-effective. Having a few success metrics already outlined and a strategy of how you will go about implementing content marketing is also important.
Don’t exaggerate, be realistic
CMI founder Joe Pulizzi believes that people often undermine their own pitches by failing to set the right expectations for content marketing strategies and campaigns. Being too optimistic about potential results is not recommended as your push needs to be grounded and realistic.
Pulizzi also says that it’s a good idea to explain what exactly will happen if you implement content marketing in the coming weeks and months. This is linked to metrics and key goals, but it should also cover things that can show how you will measure the true value of content. Being clear about this at the start will avoid any confusion further down the line.
Don’t forget the customer perspective
Content is by and large an audience-centric activity. It is not designed for hard sells or for the benefit of managers and executives within the company.
When pitching content ideas, it is common to run into a higher-up stating that they don’t like a particular idea, video or article series you had in mind. A gentle reminder here that content is crafted for an external target audience and not C-suite can raise awareness of the true goals of content marketing.
Following this up with proof that the content you are looking to craft will resonate with key customers and clients is a great way to showcase the value of marketing.
Get to the point
Your content marketing pitch should be short and sweet. You can save comprehensive analysis and in-depth overviews for a later date. SquareFoot head of marketing Nell Lanman notes that “more is not always better”.
To ensure that your pitch has a steady flow and covers all of the crucial points without going overboard, you should start with an executive summary and then follow up with several important bullet points that are fleshed out with details. An explanation of what will be measured to determine the success of content marketing and how you plan on executing your ideas can cap a pitch-perfect marketing proposal.
Back up with data
Stats and fact-driven research can influence higher-ups on the lookout for cold, hard data that can support the benefits of content marketing. Leadership wants to know what will work and how, rather than your own personal opinions on what can be achieved.
Marketers are always following trends, but you need to tailor these trends to your niche or industry. You must show why customers in your market will want to engage with your brand through content. Coming up with research, a study or first-party data to support your theories will go a long way. It will also help everyone involved to decide on the best formats to use and the best platforms to distribute content.
Orbit Media co-founder Andy Crestodina says that bringing competitor data to the table can aid you in your efforts to get content campaigns greenlit. This is because higher-ups always have their eye on close rivals and will be driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO) if you can show that competitors are benefiting.
You can do this by pointing to certain keywords and topics that competitors are ranking well for in search engines or by highlighting the growing email list a company has access to that you could start building if you published a weekly or daily blog.
Never lose sight of the wider business
Marketing expert Kerry O’Shea Gorgone says that marketers can often fall into a trap of pushing for “random acts” of content where articles or videos are published in isolation without any thought of how it will tie into the wider business. Even if one piece of content gets a large number of page views, it will fail to have a positive impact on the business if it is not aligned with general strategies and goals.
This is also a good time to think about a documented strategy for content marketing. Two-thirds of the most successful content marketers have one in place, with these top performers claiming that it keeps teams focused on priorities and allows for optimal allocation of resources to support results.
Finally, if your pitch has been successful and your boss has ordered either a pilot programme or gone all in on a full-scale campaign, you can start discussing precise details about the time and resources to get everything up and running.