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B2B: How to Successfully Pitch Content Marketing to Your CEO

Content | Strategy

Top 10 Strongest Pitch Points to Get Your CEO to Sign-Off on a Content Marketing Budget

First things first, if your CEO doesn’t know what content marketing is you’re going to have to start by introducing the subject. If you’re not sure how much they know about it, present it with “As I’m sure you probably know content marketing is…”

And to make it easy here’s a well-rounded definition from the Content Marketing Institute: “A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – an ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

1. Show an Example

To help give your CEO a visual – put some good examples of content marketing in front of him/her. Show an E-Book, an Infographic, a video – reveal to your CEO all the different, cool things content marketing can be. Bonus points if your content marketing visuals are relevant to your industry!

2. Start with Some Stats

Some of the most powerful stats about content marketing are:

  • 94% of small businesses use content marketing. (KISSMetrics)
  • 93% of B2B companies use content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 74% of companies say content marketing is improving their lead quality and quantity. (Curata)
  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about – and are more likely to buy from – a company that delivers custom content. (The Content Council)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3x as many leads. (DemandMetric)
  • 9/10 B2B purchasers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their buying decisions. (Lenati)

3. Show How Your Competition is Using Content

If you have competitors who are doing a great job at content marketing, show strong visual examples.

If your competitors aren’t doing visual-example-worthy content marketing, a simple list of competitors who are using content marketing (even if it’s just blogging) will help light a fire under your CEO.

4. Push that it’s Not About Promoting

Often CEOs (and others who don’t understand the science behind content marketing) think content marketing is all about promoting their products/services/brand. Not true!

Content marketing is 90% about fulfilling the consumers’ needs by providing valuable information – and in the B2B realm, that information is usually educational. The other 10% is what marketing mogul, Gary Vaynerchuk, describes as the “right hook.”

The “right hook” is when you directly ask your audience to do something for you (i.e. sign up for our newsletter, buy this product, etc.). When you deliver valuable content to your audience 90% of the time, you can occasionally hit them with an acceptable “right hook”. But again, 90% of content marketing is about engaging, delighting and educating your audience – NOT about pushing your products/service/brand.

5. Illuminate Your Company’s Initiatives

Remind your CEO what the company’s most significant initiatives are, and then tie in how content marketing can help your company achieve those initiatives.

Some of the biggest initiatives content marketing can help with include:

  • Brand Awareness
    • Videos
    • SlideShare Decks
    • Blogs
    • Webinars
  • Attract New/Prospective Customers
    • Infographics
    • SlideShare Decks
    • Webinars
    • E-Books
    • Whitepapers
  • Driving Traffic to the Website
    • Blogs
    • Articles
    • How-to Guides
    • E-Books
    • Whitepapers
  • Generating Sales Leads
    • E-Books
    • Whitepapers
    • Checklists
    • Webinars
    • Email/Newsletter
  • Converting Leads into Customers
    • Case Studies
    • Demo Videos
    • Testimonials
  • Enhance Existing Customer Relationships
    • Exclusive Content/Offers
    • Industry Blogs
    • Webinars
    • Podcasts

6.  Serve up Some Solutions

As you’re preparing your content marketing pitch, keep in mind how your CEO thinks – what questions and concerns will he/she have – what kind of answers will he/she want?

Keeping these things in mind will help you prepare answers and solutions ahead of time, so you don’t find yourself up against the proverbial content marketing creek without a paddle!

7. Connect it with Case Studies

Even if you don’t have case studies that directly related to what your business does, you can still find relevant examples in your industry.

For example, if you’re a B2B medical supplies distributor – a great content marketing case study to connect with could be Cleveland Clinic.

To get your case study creative juices flowing, we’ve listed a few examples of companies doing exemplary B2B content marketing:

8. Seal the Deal with a Strategy

To seal the deal, have a strategy prepared that covers the target audience you want to reach, the goals you want to achieve, your execution plan, and the measurements of success.

Knowing the thought and effort you’ve put into the strategy will not only ease any worries your CEO might have (or better yet, create confidence in the program and your ability to run it!), it will also convey the science of content marketing, which is critical to the program’s success.

9. Propose a Pilot Program

Even after all your compelling proof points & positive attitude – if you still think your CEO is going to turn you down, offer a pilot program – 3 months for set-up & 6 months to execute/run.

Getting the sign-off on the three-month set-up is critical because it’ll give you time to do the legwork necessary to make your pilot as successful as possible!

This set-up legwork often includes competitor analysis, personal interviews, persona creation, brand messaging and positioning, keyword research, strategy, topic ideation, content/editorial calendar, content creation, and content proofing.

The content distribution, promotion, and analysis will be covered during the actual execution portion of your pilot program.

When discussing the pilot with your CEO, it will be crucial to convey the importance of the setup and its direct correlation to the success of the program.

Bonus points if you can also get your CEO to sign-off on a content promotion budget, so you can make the pilot even more successful with targeted, paid promotion!

10. Tie it back to ROI

In the end, always tie it back to ROI because that’s what CEOs care about!

If you put together a projection of metric goals you expect to hit and tie it back to investment in the program, as well as the anticipated ROI, you’re practically guaranteed to get your CEO to sign off on content marketing!

If You Don’t Ask, You’ll Never Know

If your CEO agrees to give you a content marketing budget, ask what tipped the scale or what part of the presentation was most impactful…
This way, when you ask for a bigger budget down the road, you’ll know what sort of proof points best resonate with your CEO.

If, for some reason, your CEO still refuses to grant you a content marketing budget, ask what other hesitations he/she has. If you’re not able to address those issues on the spot, go back to the presentation drawing board and start crafting counterpoints to those arguments/concerns.

This way, you’ll be better armed next time with the kind of information your CEO needs to seal the deal.