Content Marketing You worked hard to convince your CEO that content marketing is worth the investment. You quoted articles, pulled statistics and presented industry best practices and you were bequeathed a content marketing budget.

Now what?

You know that the first question the CEO will ask at every meeting going forward is: So, how is that content marketing going? And you are going to need an answer. Your CEO doesn’t want an update on strategy and tactics, your CEO wants to know one thing…

Is it working?

Well, that is a very good question and you need to be prepared to answer to have a hope of keeping your content marketing afloat.

In order to deliver results on a content marketing program, you need to take 4 simple steps:

1. Define your content marketing goals

To demonstrate the value of content marketing to your CEO, you must first understand what you and your CEO hope to achieve with content marketing. Sounds simple, but most people don’t think about what they are going to need to measure to understand the success of the program. Content marketing can achieve many different goals, but it is important to understand which of these resonate with your CEO and the business’ long-term strategic goals.

Content Marketing Institute published a blog by Derek Miller on the possible valuable outcomes of content marketing including:

  • Content is lasting and permanent and can generate leads at a significantly lower cost-per-lead than other lead generation options, like paid search.
  • Content benefits your visitors and improves your search rankings which increases your chances of being found by new leads, especially the right leads (content marketing has a much higher lead close rate vs. outbound marketing).
  • Content gains trust and trust gains customers. It is much easier to close a sale with people you have already developed a trustworthy relationship with online (before you even speak to them).
  • Content marketing taps into the potential purchasing power of Millennials.
  • Platforms may change, but content will always remain.

So, think about and establish your content marketing goals with your CEO upfront. Are you looking to generate more leads? Increase quality of leads (close rate)? Will your CEO want to keep an eye on cost-per-lead? Whatever the goals are, you need to ensure that you set up the ability to measure them right from the start. And don’t forget to set up benchmarking results so that you can demonstrate where you have come from (pre-content marketing) and where you landed.

2. Create a strategy and tactics solely focused on achieving your goals

Now that you know what you are trying to achieve, you can create a content marketing strategy and execute tactics towards achieving your goals. You will want to develop a content marketing editorial calendar to plan your content and tactics. Ensure that everything you do while creating your content has the core goal in mind. For example, if you are looking to drive quality traffic in a specific segment, you will want to create the right content that answers their questions and concerns throughout the buying process so that you can develop trust with these visitors through every stage of the process. Think about creating a downloadable guide that will help them through the buying process. They will remember that your website was helpful and will come back for more.

3. Develop and deploy your content marketing to the right audience

Content is not valuable until it is consumed by the right audience. So, you need a plan for how you will get this content to the right eyes. This starts with a keyword strategy to ensure that you are incorporating the right keywords (that you are able to compete for) that will drive the right traffic to your content. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial when developing content so you will need to have well-structured and optimized blog content. Leverage your existing email and customer lists and distribute the right content to the right segments. Test your content channels to see what type of content your audiences are interested in and how they want to consume your content on various channels. Social media is a great way to test your content; it can be a simple as a post or a tweet or there are some great paid options that allow you to target and test your audiences. Don’t be afraid to test see what works best for you.

4. Deliver metrics that your CEO will care about

When reporting to your CEO, keep it straight-forward and top-level. Don’t get caught in the weeds of metrics that don’t really matter. Instead, direct your CEO to the most important metrics – the ones that speak specifically to how the content marketing is performing in relation to the goals of the program. If you have sales-focused goals, deliver before and after results on sheer # of leads, ROI on leads, close rate on web leads. If your goal is for the company to be more prevalent in the industry, report on twitter stats, social media shares, follows and likes, engagement metrics on the blogs themselves, increased number of email subscribers. If you need a starting point, here is our guide to creating digital marketing reports that management will actually use.

Demonstrating success to your CEO is the key to a successful content marketing program

If you can align with your CEO on the value of your content marketing program by seeing eye-to-eye on goals and strategy and then demonstrating strong results, you can expect continued support of content marketing in your company. You may even find that next year, your budgets will increase.