How to sell: Content marketing

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. ~Content Marketing Institute

In one sense, if you accept the above definition of content marketing, it’s something companies should always be doing: Distributing a consistent, focused message design with the customer in mind.

In recent years, as content has become more common in our marketing speak, it’s become categorized, conceptualized and, yes, marketed. But, for many of us, it’s easier to understand and get behind a concept, no matter how old it is, if it’s packaged nicely.

And, it makes it easier to sell to clients, to your boss and to define what you do.

I’ve been in “content development” my entire life — as a journalist, in media relations and PR, as a website and SEO writer, and in social media.

No more fence-sitting

Not sure yet you need a consistent, audience-focused approach to the words, images, video you send to consumers and media?

Then consider:

  1. Two initiatives that last year had the biggest impact on B2B digital marketing are predicted to lead again in 2016: content marketing; and marketing automation, via MarketingCharts
  2. In 2016, B2C marketers are allocating 32% of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing (vs. 25% last year), via Content Marketing Institute
  3. In a survey of  donors to nonprofit organizations, 72% said poor content would stop them from donating, via eMarketer
  4. 77% of all companies rate their social media marketing as successful at achieving the most important objectives set for it to some extent, via Curata
  5. Lift in affinity was higher for branded content (28%) than pre-roll (18%), via MarketingCharts
  6. Owned media is now trusted as a source of general news and information by 46% of the general population, via Edelman’s Trust Barometer
  7. 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media, via Campaign Monitor (emphasis added)

But how do you sell content marketing?

Well, I just gave you one way in the stats above: Proof. There are countless legitimate sources to show your boss or your client that structured content marketing works.

FOMO/Fear Of Missing Out: By using the success of other, similar companies via case studies, including B2B case studies, show clients what can be done, with a strategically-focused plan.

Consistency: An objective look at a company’s digital content ensures consistency of its messaging.It’s not easy to see the inconsistency in a company’s range of communications. A holistic content view unifies content — and brand messaging. Through a content audit, you can point out inconsistencies and develop a recommendation with solid objectives.

Of course, any successful content marketing effort should be customized to mesh the needs of the company AND the audience. If you’re only speaking on behalf of one or to the other, your ROI will be SOL.