How to get a content marketing strategy signed off

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A key frustration for many marketing teams is achieving senior stakeholder buy-in for content marketing plans. Here are some handy tips on speeding up that all important budgetary sign-off process…

1. Establish clear objectives

Rather than use your content marketing strategy to detail every little thing you are going to do – the ‘how’ – focus on the ‘why’. Stakeholders and senior management will be interested in what the projected ROI of your marketing strategy will be, and how it fits in with the overall business objectives.

Establish clear metrics and methods of measurement to justify your marketing spend, and demonstrate what the projected results will be. Also, communicate marketing goals in terms of the wider corporate business. If it’s customer communications, for example, show how your strategy complements, and feeds into, sales objectives. Anyhow, a content marketing strategy will only succeed if it’s seen as a central part of marketing, driving results in multiple areas of activity.

2. Consider all engagement channels

You can’t afford to focus on one content stream alone. If you have a brilliant content marketing idea, demonstrate within your strategy how you plan to roll it out across a variety of channels – on- and off-line, and segmented for multiple audiences. This justifies spend more easily when your content is seen to be used across the business.

Stakeholders will be interested to see a top-down breakdown of which channels you plan to use – be it social media marketing, customer experience management, email marketing, printed materials or video – and which audiences you plan to target. Demonstrate the projected benefits of each channel and how you plan to measure effectiveness.

3. Get buy-in from the business

If you want all areas of the business to be on board, in terms of brand behaviour and a shared brand vision, it’s crucial that colleagues view marketing as an organisation-wide department. It needs to be integrated into the rest of the business, and not operate in silo.

An effective content marketing strategy will impact the whole business – from the bottom to the top – so work with departments and help them understand the role they play in the marketing mix. If you consult with, and get input from, the wider business, you are more likely to get buy-in and sign-off later down the line.

4. Keep it concise

While you may have spent hours creating the most comprehensive, well-researched content marketing strategy possible, time-poor senior colleagues don’t have time to read a 50-page document, when a seven-page summary will do. Even if you write a longer form version of your plan for personal reference, present a shorter version to stakeholders, with key points easy for them to digest.

Likewise, if you are emailing your strategy to stakeholders and require urgent sign off, then keep the email short and to the point. If you want the reader to take action, state it clearly in the subject line – e.g. ‘Q2 Marketing Plan – for your approval’. Presenting face to face for something this important is always preferable, though.

5. Establish a clear approvals process

Consider who in the business needs sight of your content marketing plan and create a clear process for approvals. Rather than send your strategy to everyone at the same time, ask your marketing team, including management, to review and check the document first. They may refine the plan before it’s passed to more senior stakeholders within your business for review and approval.