Needing to effectively sell your content strategy to the high-level executives within your company? These three simple ways will help you to achieve just that.

In an age where almost every company is a publisher, responsible to produce content to sell, persuade, inspire and educate their customer base, content and the management of content has become critical.

More and more organizations are becoming aware that content strategy is something they must implement. While many define content strategy using different definitions, perhaps the easiest and most simplified way to think about it for the purpose of this article is as digital publishing strategy.

3 Simple Ways to Sell Content Strategy

If you’re an internal content strategist, an external consultant or an advocate that has the ear of the executives, here are three simple ways to sell content strategy:

1. We know content is an asset, so let’s start acting like it.

A great old The New Yorker cartoon shows a board meeting looking at a graph. The caption reads, “Surprisingly, our sales numbers started plummeting the day we fired our sales staff.” Content is in a similar “we know you’re important, but we don’t really get it” category. Executives want to hear that initiatives will drive revenue, and want to understand how that happens.

At the end of the day, looking at the numbers at the end of the long spreadsheet, executives want to see growth, even in our challenged economy. No matter what industry you are in, whether it is for-profit, or not-for-profit, everybody has an achievement threshold. When speaking to leadership, stress that content is an asset, defined as:

A. a useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational ability is an asset.
B. a single item of ownership having exchange value.

When selling content strategy, it is critical to highlight content as an asset that drives numbers -- show your leadership how content will drive revenue. Any seasoned content strategist should know that their primary job is to match content management to the bottom line. This brings me to my next point:

2. We can benchmark and prove ROI.

Most executives are data-driven. So look at your organization and find examples of where you can prove content helps to drive the bottom line. Do not set yourself up for failure by making a direct line, unless you can. However, show that traffic is up, collateral is downloaded, you’re gaining popularity on social media sites, that you’re driving engagement and awareness. By having numbers to back up your ideas, your senior leadership will be more open to the need to create process around content.

3. Emphasize the cornerstone of content strategy.

One thing comes across when you talk to high-level executives: they want their employees to understand the big picture AND the small picture. Many companies manage to this end -- they move the rising rock stars around the company so they learn as much as they can about how the company makes money. They do this for a number of reasons, but the main thrust is so rising executives can see how all the different pieces of a company fit together. Finding efficiencies and ways to do things better are the hallmarks of great leaders.

Final Thoughts

Content strategy fits perfectly into this model because the major goal of any content strategy is to take the guesswork out of execution so creativity can flourish. By stressing to high-level leadership that you are creating and managing content as an asset, and measuring that success, you are sending the message that you are looking for ways to make something typically unmanageable and inefficient manageable.

Going into the corner office to make your pitch? Remember these three guidelines and find organizational data to support your points.

Already been to the corner office? Any pointers for those of us who have not yet made our pitch? Please share…

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