How to convince your boss to invest in content marketing.

For me content marketing is the future as well as the ‘here and now’ of marketing. Many marketers agree with me and are investing in it. However, my guess is there are probably way more who aren’t – and they need convincing about the business case for content marketing.

So how do you do this? How do you build a business case for content marketing? For me there are three killer points that work really well with senior marketers.

1. It’s essential for SEO.

Content marketing business case
SEO Ranking Factors 2014 – Searchmetrics

Search engines still dominate – they drive on average 51% of all website traffic to business sites. Being ranked on the first page is essential – it accounts for on average  91% of all traffic for a given keyword.

But it begs the question – how does a business rank well on Google these days? The answer used to be ‘get lots of high quality links’ to your site. Google got wise to how these were being manipulated and now the emphasis is on ‘produce lots of good content’. In fact, Matt Cutts from Google says you don’t even need to do good technical SEO as “Google will still find good content”.

As you can see from the ranking factors in the diagram (right), social signals are key in helping Google work out what good content looks like.

2. The new customer journey needs content 

The customer journey for both business and consumer buyer has changed. Google estimate that on average consumers use 10 different sources when researching a new product or service. Google call this the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ (ZMOT). In B2c you need content that will attract attention and ensure your brand is prominent at this point.

In the case of B2B tech buyers, research shows they are 60% through their decision-making before they actually talk to a sales-person.

So it is great content that talks to their pain points, helps add value rather than just pushes product information and features. It helps them make better decisions – it doesn’t sell to them.

I talk more about what ZMOT means for a business in this article.

3. The effectiveness of ‘traditional marketing’ continues to decline

Content marketing business case
Trust in traditional marketing is falling

I was talking to a client recently who were worried about the complexity and cost of content marketing. But we concluded that all sales and marketing are complex and expensive. It’s just there is comfort with traditional methods that keep people doing it and perhaps prevent them from trying something new. (BTW, I don’t see it as an either/or).

But there are two things that favour this ‘new content marketing’ over ‘traditional marketing’. Firstly the amount of time people spend watching or listening to traditional media where you can advertise to people, continues to decline. Between 2010-2014, time spent on print newspapers declined by 25% and magazines by 19% according to ZenithOptimedia.

What is more is that trust in traditional advertising continues to decline. Research from the Nielsen survey (right) shows that people trust the views of complete strangers online above a corporate website, let alone any form of advertising. This is something we all intuitively know – people trust what other people say so instead of trying to advertise to people, lets create content that they can engage with and share.

There are three starters for you. What other points would you add? What seems to resonate with budget holders – please do share your thoughts!

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