Your content marketing strategy is vital to your organization’s overall success, so getting buy-in from stakeholders outside the marketing department is crucial to keep everyone aligned toward business goals. When everyone puts their heads together to provide input into the new plan, fresh perspectives and ideas are uncovered to make the strategy work better for each department.
We’ve spent years discovering the most effective approaches to get buy-in from stakeholders, so we combined our knowledge to create this guide. Keep reading to discover our 3-step process to winning your entire organization over to your brilliant new content marketing strategy.
Why Does Getting Buy-In From Stakeholders Matter?
There are many reasons why getting buy-in from stakeholders for your content marketing strategy is a step that should always be remembered. It may take hard work and patience, but it’s worth it — when everyone is aligned on a strategy:
- Non-marketing employees feel more invested and engaged in the marketing department’s activities and are often more willing to contribute to efforts as subject matter experts.
- It becomes easier for your business to develop its brand identity and present a strong, clear impression of it to the market.
- The long-term success of the strategy improves with greater internal support.
- Project planning becomes easier because everyone is aligned on priorities.
How To Get Buy-In From Stakeholders in 3 Steps
Marketing is constantly evolving, so you must be strategic about getting buy-in when you propose changes to your strategy. Leadership especially wants to be reassured that any changes are highly likely to deliver results, so you’ll need to come prepared with plenty of data — but that’s not all:
1. Determine who your stakeholders are. Focus on their concerns and priorities.
Map out how various departments interact with or may be impacted by your strategy. Examples may include outside sales, customer service, IT, and others. Start thinking about their responsibilities, needs, and possible objections. What will you need from them, and how can you ease the burden on them to provide that?
Depending on your organization’s size, it might be worthwhile to have a different session with each department. This can help you avoid bogging anyone down with extra information irrelevant to them, tailor your presentation more closely to your audience, and provide them with individual attention.
When it comes to getting leadership buy-in, ensure you understand what metrics leaders are most interested in improving and can demonstrate how your plan will help move the needle toward the company’s goals.
2. Lead with transparency: be clear about what you want.
Make sure everyone knows the purpose of each meeting beforehand, so stakeholders know what to expect. Don’t wait until the end of the session to finally get to the ask — tell stakeholders what you want from them at the beginning, then provide a clear explanation of why they should agree.
Set a baseline by explaining how things are currently done and where there’s room for improvement. This is an excellent opportunity to incorporate data showing where your current strategy could improve.
Pro tip: don’t just rattle off facts. Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool — don’t just use it in your content marketing strategy. Use it to create an engaging and impactful presentation that pulls your stakeholders in just as you would a customer.
3. Prove your claims and call on them to act.
Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention and imagination, appeal to their logical side by providing data to give your proposal more legitimacy. Make sure it’s easy to understand and leads to a clear conclusion. Share examples of other organizations that have seen success with similar strategies. Most stakeholders don’t want to be the first to try a new tactic, but if they can see that others have succeeded, they’ll feel more comfortable giving it a try.
Clearly describe the benefits of your plan. A strong content marketing strategy makes customers feel more comfortable interacting with you because they’ve come to you. It also often costs significantly less than outbound marketing strategies while netting higher quality leads and improving visibility online. Make sure your audience also clearly understands any benefits specific to their department or goals, and make a clear and concise ask for exactly what you want them to do next to support your plan.
Overcoming Obstacles To Get Buy-In From Stakeholders
Sometimes there are factors beyond your control influencing stakeholder decisions. For example, if you’ve just joined the company, your peers and leadership might not have had enough time to get to know and trust your expertise. While it can be frustrating, it is understandable, and there are ways to help stakeholders warm up to your ideas even if they haven’t yet warmed up to you. For example, consulting with an outside expert, someone likely to be trusted and respected, can be valuable in helping to reinforce your claims.
If your plan requires marketing skills you don’t currently have and you aren’t ready to make a significant investment in headcount, you can outsource key roles. It’s common to do this for tactical roles like website design or content creation, but you can also hire part-time executive-level content marketing help in the form of a Fractional Content Marketing Officer, or fCMO. An fCMO can lead your team in both strategy and execution of your content marketing strategy without the high overhead of adding another full-time member to your C-suite.
How To Measure the Short-Term Success of Your Content Marketing
Content marketing is ultimately a long-term strategy, but stakeholders are often interested in hearing about short-term results whenever possible. At the outset of your plan, establish your baseline to measure against. Short-term goals to track include social media interactions (likes, shares, mentions, followers), backlinks, and leads and conversions. Search engine traffic will take longer to rise, but with a baseline, you’ll be able to see any quick bumps if they do happen.
Get Help Telling Your Story
Whether you need help creating an impactful story for stakeholders or customers, we’ve got a roadmap for you. To help you successfully lead your hero down the path to their own happily ever after, &Marketing has broken down Donald Miller’s StoryBrand roadmap into easily digestible bites. Download our free guide to narrative marketing for a simple breakdown of each step.
&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.
Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?
We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.