By Joe Pulizzi published March 16, 2013 Est Read Time: 3 min

2 Foolproof Methods for Getting Content Marketing Buy-In

content marketing buy-inEven though content marketing is not new by any stretch, it’s a fairly young discipline. That means there are a number of marketers and business owners that need to be persuaded into trying content marketing for the first time.

As our recent content marketing research has found, 22 percent of North American B2B marketers and 21 percent of B2C marketers are challenged with getting executive buy-in. 

Robert Rose, lead author of Managing Content Marketing, makes the argument that the content marketing business case takes on the same components as a proper business plan.

  1. What’s the Need? What do you hope to accomplish with your content marketing?
  2. How Big of a Need Is It? Is the need big enough to build an entire plan around?
  3. What’s the business model? How does it work? What do you have to do?
  4. What’s Your Differentiating Value? Why is this initiative more important that other things you’re spending resources on?
  5. What are the risks? What’s in the way of success – or what happens if you fail?

But sometimes, even though we may do everything right in making our business case, buy-in is still hard to come by.

Throughout my years in content marketing, I’ve seen two methods work the best when it comes to getting buy-in for new content marketing projects or additional budget for content marketing activities.

The Pilot

As most people know, before a television show is signed on by a network, a pilot is produced. A pilot is a sampling of what’s to come, and gives the network executives enough consumer feedback to know whether more episodes should be produced.

If you present your content marketing plan as a pilot, you’ll immediately see the key decision makers let their guard down. It’s not as much of a commitment as a full-blown content marketing strategy.  But as you sell the Content Marketing Pilot, be sure to include the following:

  • The length of the Pilot – should be at least six months.
  • The overall goal of the Pilot…or how the business will be different after the Pilot.
  • Agreed-upon metrics that, if you hit, will enable you to move forward with “more episodes.” This could be an increase in leads, more subscriptions, shorter time to close business, an increase in “quality” leads…just to name a few.


When all else fails, fear can work as well or better than a rational argument. For the “fear” plan to work, you have to do some research up front on your competition. Pick the leading content marketer in your field and determine:

  • How many subscribers (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) do they have to their content versus yours?
  • How do they rank in key search terms versus your rankings?
  • A comparison of social sharing
  • Positive, online word-of-mouth (check Twitter for this one)
  • Recruitment activities (are they landing the best talent?)

These are just a few. The key here is to determine what’s of critical importance to the lead decision maker toward buy-in. Clearly show how the competitor is using certain content strategies that are leaving you (and your content) in the dust.

I’ve seen this work dozens of times to perfection when rational arguments are simply ignored. So, if the Pilot idea doesn’t work, give the fear tactic a go.

Get the support you need for successful content marketing. Check out our starter kit, Mastering the Buy-in Conversation on Content Marketing, for stats, tips, and essential talking points.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the bestselling author of seven content marketing books including his latest, Content Inc. He has founded four companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and his newest venture, The Tilt. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in 35 states. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi