On March 15, three of the biggest names in content marketing strategy came together at a Google+ Hangout on Air to talk about something we all want more of:
Specifically, they discussed ways that marketers who are keen on content strategies can win the backing they need — and the budgetary support they need — to proceed with a plan.
The result was more insights than we thought we could cram in 30 minutes — like an Imelda Marcos-sized closet of content marketing persuasion.
The content marketing context
Early this year, my company kicked off a series of conversations with some of our content marketing heroes, who gathered to discuss a hot topic. This installment of the Content Marketing Hangouts featured Joe Chernov, Michael Brenner, and Ardath Albee, with Velocity’s Stan Woods as host.
The 9 nuggets that generate content marketing investment
Without further ado, here are the highlights of our experts’ recommendations (with a direct quote, its source, the context, and a time-stamp, for easy access):
1. “I got started with content marketing by seeing it as a PR hack. Content was a Trojan horse for communications.” — Joe Chernov
Joe describes how he got started in content marketing via PR, and his discovery that old techniques were not working because people were not interested in engaging with the latest press release about a product or new hire (6:06).
2. “The real problem at a large corporation isn’t to get funding to do something new, but to get people to stop doing what isn’t working.” — Michael Brenner
Michael shares one of the early challenges that people in companies like his (SAP) find in getting started with content marketing (10:10).
3. “Don’t force the organization into making a false choice between the marketing they’re already doing and the marketing you want to see them doing.” — Joe Chernov
Joe describes how a strategic investment in content should be able to lift a company’s investments in all other areas of marketing, thus making it much easier to buy into (10:47).
4. “One of the things I see a lot is that people can’t get their heads wrapped around the change in terminology.” — Ardath Albee
Ardath describes how content marketers need to adopt the terminology of conventional marketers in order to set a common context, and effect change from there (12:37).
5. “The way to sell content marketing at the pilot stage is by attaching some vanity metrics to it, so you can show that it worked; there was a cause and an effect.” — Joe Chernov
Joe offers marketers a way to get their projects going without building the massive ROI case — though he’s quick to add that an ROI case must eventually be built and delivered on (17:35).
6. “What I was able to show to instill fear in the minds of our executives was the number of conversations that were happening around our solution areas that we weren’t involved in, at all.” — Michael Brenner
Michael describes how, by demonstrating SAP’s lack of presence in conversations about big data, SAP leaders who were eager for growth in data opened themselves up to new ideas (18:30).
7. “What we were able to do was develop content programs in parallel with more conventional programs, then show how we generated greater return engagement.” — Ardath Albee
Ardath shares how you can win the day for content marketing, not by generating an absolute take-up, but rather by beating comparable investments (19:53).
8. “If you have a good foundation, good personas, a good strategy, and realistic expectations, you can make enough of a point in a three-month pilot to get an extension.” — Ardath Albee
Here, Ardath describes how businesses struggling within the quarterly revenue cycle can manage to get funding for a content strategy (24:00).
9. “One of the reasons why many companies struggle to adopt content marketing is that they don’t know where to put it.” — Joe Chernov
Joe observes that many companies don’t know where to fit content marketing within their organization, vis-à-vis the web team, PR, demand gen, social, etc. (25:12).
How many of you have used these techniques to win budget? Have any successes to share, or pitfalls that you can help your fellow content marketers to avoid? Let me know in the comments.
For more tips on getting the support you need to bring content marketing to your organization, read “Managing Content Marketing,” by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi.