Let’s set the scene: You’ve invested countless hours in understanding the nuances of your audience, dove deep into the depths of your performance analytics, obsessed over every tiny metric, all while keeping your eye on ever-changing SEO algorithms.
Imagine auditing your entire content inventory, pinpointing gaps and populating your editorial calendar with fresh assets that support your business priorities. You've identified the most effective content formats and devised a fool-proof plan for distribution and promotion. It’s fine-tuned, glimmering, perfected down to the very last detail.
But then, in a twist worthy of a Shakespearean drama, an executive strides in. And almost with the air of a monarch, they overrule you—unravelling the tapestry of your carefully woven content strategy.
It's a scenario that's all too familiar in the corporate world, where logic and data often bow to the whims of the Highest Paid Person's Opinion (HIPPO). HIPPOs carry some real heft in meetings—and usually for good reason. They have the experience, the expertise, and let’s be honest, a pretty thick hide that can make it hard to get your message across.
“Let’s do a video on <insert suggestion>”
“And what about a blog on <insert idea>? “
“Oh, and let’s make sure we’re all over <latest trending topic> just like <insert name of global consumer tech company>.”
Well sure, they might understand the value of great content. In fact, they may well know that great content is an unquestionable prerequisite for any successful business. But if they simply believe that content is content is content, you’re going to find a hefty herd of HIPPOs trampling all over your content strategy.
How to throw your weight around
When the marketplace is ultra-competitive and when budgets are being cut, everyone thinks they’re a content marketer. But while C-suite views are invaluable, so too are yours. Let’s not discount the skill, education, and effort it takes to create knock-out content.
That’s why it’s essential to strike a balance between respecting higher opinions and backing up your own perspective with hard scientific data and solid strategic planning. Let’s face it, you’re the expert here. The C-suite needs to listen to your opinion, too. And we’re going to show you how to make that happen.
The key lies in providing evidence that:
- Reinforces the value of your content marketing
- Aligns stakeholders on key priorities
- Helps everyone step back and see the bigger picture
Step one: Communicate your content strategy to executives in dollar signs
We already know the big guns speak a universal language: money. So, the obvious starting point is correlating your content strategy against the business objectives and outcomes that the C-suite really cares about: the amount of revenue, the number of leads, and the percentage of conversions generated by your content.
Now that we have their attention...
Step two: Empower your content strategy through alignment
To really emphasise the value of your efforts, you’re going to want to think beyond comparing the cost of content to the revenue it generates. Alignment is the key to really hammering the message home.
1. Align your content to your purpose
Every piece of content should have a clearly defined mission, vision, and goal. And each message fitting neatly into the jigsaw of the relevant larger-scale marketing campaign. By aligning your content marketing with overall business ambitions, you’ll be able to show that your content marketing has an important role to play in supporting the sales team, strengthening customer loyalty, and helping the business achieve its long-term goals.
2. Align your stakeholders to content priorities
First step is to make sure everyone is on the same page. Define clear content marketing goals and objectives and make sure everyone is onboard, from your immediate teams to wider organizational units. What exactly are you aiming to achieve with your content marketing efforts? Boost website traffic? Generate new sales leads? Increase sales? A transparent calendar that offers a bird's-eye view of content efforts can be a big help here (hint hint).
3. Align your communications
Open up lines of communication with your leadership team with regular updates on the progress of your content marketing initiatives. Remember: proving content marketing ROI is as much about showcasing numbers as it is about effective communication, so don’t hold back from highlighting success stories that bring to life how your content marketing is driving leads, conversions, and revenue.
4. Align your roles and responsibilities
Setting clear expectations per project, team, and colleague, along with concrete timelines and a solid workflow, will make sure everyone knows their role and understands their responsibilities. The more efficiently you work, the more value your strategy is likely to add – and the more weight your opinion is going to carry.
Step 3: Back your content strategy with cold hard facts
1. Root your decisions in data
Dive into your metrics to understand what content is performing and what isn’t. Most likely your KPIs will include such things as website traffic, social media engagement, email click-through rates, conversion rates, and the cost of customer acquisition. Sharing these insights with executive leadership will help you demonstrate the direct impact of your content marketing. Second hint: a content marketing platform equipped with analytics and reporting tools will be a big help here.
2. Attribute conversions to your content
It’s absolutely essential to demonstrate the role your content marketing plays in clicks, conversions, and sales. A multi-touch attribution model will help you to track interactions across different channels and along each stage of the customer journey. That in turn helps you trace a direct link between content and revenue.
3. Enable reporting with readability
Finally, if you want a busy HIPPO to digest your findings, make sure you present them in clear, visual manner using charts, graphs, infographics, etc. That will also make it easy to highlight your key metrics and the progress you’ve made in achieving your content marketing ROI objectives.
To sum up
Demonstrating content marketing ROI to C-suite leadership requires a strategic approach that combines setting clear objectives, tracking KPIs, effective attribution, and showcasing the financial impact of your efforts. By consistently communicating the value of content marketing, you can gain the support and resources you need to continue driving business growth through your initiatives.