This article was co-written by Natalie Stezovsky.
I'm sure that marketers everywhere would agree when I say that it can be tough to get leadership's buy-in for content marketing spending. Executives want to know that investing in a content marketing strategy will yield business results and directly impact the bottom line. And even when the marketers on their team tell them that content marketing is worth it, it seems like executives have a barrage of objections at the ready.
That's why our team has outlined five of the most common objections, debunked them, and provided you with a short response you can use to make the case for content marketing. Read on to learn how you can combat five common objections to investing in a content strategy.
This is an objection that our sales team hears all too often. But in reality, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.
This misconception often comes down to a couple of key things: faulty comparisons or a lack of a goal-oriented strategy.
We often see people try to compare the cost of a comprehensive content marketing strategy to the cost of a single freelance writer. The problem? To execute on content marketing that drives business results — complete with high-quality written content, search engine optimization, public relations, and a goal-driven strategy — you'll need more than just one writer who's executing on a content plan. You need a team of content creators and marketers who are developing that strategic plan, as well as executing on it. And that will certainly come with a higher price tag, especially if you're hiring a team internally, but it can be well worth the investment. (Plus, you can gain access to a team of content marketing pros at a lower cost than hiring internally by partnering with an agency.)
And as I mentioned before, some people think content marketing is too expensive because they haven't seen results from their efforts in the past. To that, I would ask, "Did you set a goal and key performance indicators before creating any content?" When you approach content marketing with a goal-oriented mindset with specific success metrics to measure against, it's much easier to connect content to business results and prove the return on your content marketing investment — making that investment feel worth it.
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads. And companies that utilize blogging for marketing purposes see 13 times more ROI than businesses that don’t.
Let's be honest: While some quick wins are sometimes possible, seeing real results from content marketing does take time. In Influence & Co.'s decade in business, we've found that it can take six months to a year to see tangible, consistent results, which can make content marketing an unattractive expense for businesses when it's compared to the quick wins of something like pay-per-click advertising.
But here's the thing: Content marketing can have an impact on so many aspects of a business and can generate better results for the long haul. It can help companies build thought leadership in their industries, generate more leads (and more qualified leads, which aren't always attracted by PPC advertising), improve the sales cycle and close rates, and improve SEO results. And with the proper tracking and reporting processes in place, you can tie revenue directly back to your content marketing efforts.
Here's a screenshot from our content management system, HubSpot, showing how much revenue has been attributed to one piece of our content:
Need a template to track your marketing KPIs?
Proper nutrition and exercise. Investing. Reading the Harry Potter series. Like most worthwhile things, content marketing can be a slow process, but it's an effective one. It takes patience and proper execution.
We can supplement our marketing strategy with quick paid ad campaigns, partner referrals, and other sales tactics, but if we want high-quality, educated leads, (to borrow a quote from "The Mandalorian") this is the way.
Content marketing can help us set our company apart from the competition, generate more leads (and more qualified leads), improve the sales cycle and close rates, and boost SEO results. And with the right tracking and reporting processes in place, we could tie revenue directly back to our content marketing efforts.
There are very few instances when investing in an SEO strategy might not be a fit. For example, if you're a venture capitalist or part of another profession with a very limited number of potential clients, I can understand not wanting to spend your budget on reaching a wider audience through search results. However, everyone else needs to have a presence on search engine results pages (preferably near the top). That's where SEO efforts come in.
If you don't fit into that category and your business isn't investing in SEO, you're missing out on the opportunity get in front of your ideal customers and position yourself as a solution for your target audience's needs.
And the results don't stop at SERP positioning. We worked with a home remodeling company to incorporate SEO tactics into its marketing strategy. After implementing the first phase of ProSource's content marketing strategy, our team tracked progress over the course of four months. The content that was optimized saw a:
Also, ProSource went from a 44/100 to a 51/100 domain authority and increased the number of domains linking to its site by 285%.
(Read the full case study to learn more about how we worked toward these results.)
From the mom-and-pop shop down the street to the huge warehouse department store franchise, everyone needs some form of SEO. Even the oldest of legacy industries, including construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas, are undergoing digital transformation.
Our potential customers are searching for what we offer, and if we don't show up near the top of search results, they'll most likely move along to our competitors. After all, less than 1% of searchers click on results on the second page.
Looking for a quick visual to show SEO results content marketing can provide?
Content marketing does involve a time commitment. But you know what? Most things that are truly worth it do. Plus, I'm willing to bet that your competitors are making time for content marketing, so you should probably make time — or pull in a partner to help.
Influence & Co. saves clients upward of nine hours on each guest-contributed article we help them create. And that's not even considering that we also save clients time on other content initiatives including blog content, PR, whitepapers, case studies, SEO, and more.
Need examples of content marketing results to illustrate why it's worth the time? Check out our content marketing case studies.
Content marketing does require a significant time investment in order to be done well — but it does need to get done.
If we don't have the capacity for content marketing in-house, let's explore partnering with an agency or a vendor to offload most of that responsibility. A good partner can help us develop a workflow that's manageable for us while still allowing our company to reap the benefits of content marketing. (For example, one agency saves clients upward of nine hours on each guest-contributed article they create together.)
Content marketing is a long game. So the sooner you start, the better.
Implementing a content marketing strategy is kind of like investing — like money appreciates through interest, content continues to deliver results over time. As you continue to publish content and as that content gains traction, you'll build brand awareness, earn backlinks, build an audience, equip the sales team to streamline the sales process, and improve SEO.
Even if your company is rebranding, going through a hiring surge, or encountering other changes, you shouldn't wait to start building a content strategy. If you do, you'll miss out on the exponential growth, and you'll leave opportunity on the table that your competition is likely taking full advantage of.
Looking for examples of content generating results in the long term? Check out this blog post.
Because content marketing is a long-term strategy, the sooner we can start, the better. Kind of like investing, content continues to deliver results over time. As we keep publishing content and that content gains traction, we can earn backlinks, build an audience, improve SEO, and equip our sales team to streamline the sales process. But none of that can begin until we start on our content strategy.
Getting pushback and want to brainstorm how you can justify content marketing at your business?
Certainly, you might hear even more objections when pitching an investment in content marketing. But I hope that debunking these five common objections will help you gain the buy-in that you need in order to start on a fruitful content marketing journey.
I'm a VP at Intero Digital's Content & PR Division. I like my coffee black, my whiskey straight, and travel when I can afford it. I think most people just want to feel heard, and I’m happy to comply. I've also taken a sworn oath to never eat sushi.