You’ve become convinced that your company really needs to get into Content Marketing. You’re tired of trying to depend on SEO tricks, gaming Google and making constant course corrections to adapt to algorithm changes. You see that Content Marketing ought to occupy a core piece of real estate in your company’s pursuit of visibility and connection. But you’re the only one in the company that’s seeing it! So what can you do? How do you bring about buy-in from the executives in your company? I found 3 steps to content marketing buy-in that I want to share with you.

Joe Griffin of iAquire wrote an excellent article, detailing the 3 steps to getting buy-in from your executives. If you want to read the entire article, posted originally at the Content Marketing Institute, click here. Let me summarize those points for you here:

3 Steps to Content Marketing Buy-in Among the Execs

“The essence of content marketing is creating valuable content to pull and convert customers toward a product or service. You already know this, but do your organization’s CMOs, CFOs, and CEOs get it? They may hear whispers that “content is king,” but are not yet sold on the idea of investing in a full-scale content marketing initiative. Here’s how you start:”

FIRST: Understand content marketing’s value yourself!

Get your own story straight first! Make sure you’ve got a clear grasp of the issues surrounding content marketing’s real value.

  • Visibility: People are turning to websites as the primary source of finding information.
  • Share of voice: Consumers widely consider a search engine’s top result to be the most relevant and authoritative page on the web. Optimized and quality content marketing can help you reach those top results.
  • Customer interaction: People no longer like to be sold to — they like to be communicated with. Content strategy supports this.
  • Branding and reputation nurturing: When someone searches for “Apple,” they are introduced to a portfolio of proprietary headlines and links created by that company. Controlling that message by implementing a sound content marketing strategy has demonstrable value.
  • It’s a lower cost per lead: Unlike display advertising, print and television advertising, PPC, PPI, or even social media advertising, there are no recurring costs inherent in content marketing (other than the cost of in-house content marketer salaries or freelance writers, or SEO outsourcing).
  • Higher-quality leads: Inbound leads generated through content marketing channels are eight times more likely to convert than outbound leads.

SECOND: Pitch it well to the key execs.

“To get full buy-in within your organization, you’ll likely have to sell your technology, marketing, and finance departments on the idea of content marketing, as well as executives at the VP level and those in the C-level suite. This means you will have to knock each one of these groups’ socks off with your presentation.

Tips for your presentation to the stakeholders:

  • State your intention: Don’t wait until the end to state your presentation aims and goals.
  • State the current situation: Cover where your current marketing mix lies and where the opportunities may lie to incorporate content marketing.
  • Define content marketing and its value: You have a great idea, but why is it good for your audience?
  • Bridge the gap: Don’t just tell — prove your points through data analysis and case studies.
  • Define your action plan: Executives are begging for solutions and a well-thought-through plan of action. Create a 90-, 180-, and 365-day plan of attack for your content marketing efforts.
  • Make the ask: Tell your audience what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to take action right away.

THIRD: Test drive and report

“Executives are all about the quick-and-dirty report, so if a particular marketing strategy upticks their sales, they’ll buy in with little argument. In your pitch, ask for a trial period of six months to a year to test out a content marketing program — chances are the executives will be more comfortable with this than they would be with making an all-or-nothing, long-term commitment to a program they may be unfamiliar with. Then, be sure to follow up near the end of the trial period to report on your results, using the following tools and analytics to demonstrate success:”

  • Immediate gains: Some key metrics include Facebook “likes,” retweets on Twitter, LinkedIn shares, reblogs, the number of followers you have on your social sites, and the number of social mentions your content has received.
  • Baseline everything: A huge indicator of content marketing success is in your search engine rankings. Develop baseline reports using a service like SearchMetrics, SpyFu, or SEMRush.
  • Back-links: The number of inbound links to your domain is another indicator of content marketing success. Tools like Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, and Link Diagnosis are all available online (for free) to track the number of back-links to your website.
  • Leads/sales: Track the number of website visitors you receive month-over-month and week-over-week using Google Analytics.

O.K., I admit, it’s a lot of work. But if you aren’t willing to take these steps, you’re unlikely to see buy-in take place.

Read more: A New Formula For Content Marketing That Converts