The phrase “less is more” applies to many situations in life — but not when it comes to building your business case for content marketing. Less content means fewer leads, fewer website clicks, less engagement, less search traffic, and — ultimately, less success.
When it comes to your content marketing planning and budget, your leadership needs to know that “more is more.” More leads, more engagement, and more customers equal more success.
Consistent development of meaningful, quality content will help your organization reach and exceed your long-term goals in a sustainable way. Here’s everything you need to know to make a business case for content marketing.
Critical concepts for building your content marketing business case
We will lay out specific details related to the value of investing in content on several high-profile platforms. Build a business case that speaks to your organization’s particular needs.
The information, data, and analysis provided here will allow you to convince your leadership that consistent content created in focused ways will allow your marketing efforts to surpass short-sighted campaign efforts.
But first, let’s quickly define a few terms to make sure we are all on the same page:
- Brand awareness: The ability of customers and potential customers to recognize and associate the content and other offerings your organization provides.
- Business case: A value proposition intended to convince a decision-maker to pursue a particular course of action.
- Content: A message or thought expressed through a variety of mediums. For our discussions, we’ll focus on digital content.
- Content marketing: A marketing approach that delivers consistently valuable content intended to attract and retain defined audiences. Rather than focusing solely on products and services, content marketers focus on providing helpful content.
- Customer acquisition cost: A critical measurement of the amount of money an organization spends to obtain a new customer.
- Customer journey: The defined path and touchpoints your organization provides to potential customers during their decision-making process regarding your products or services.
- Engagement: A measurement of the way customers or potential customers interact with your digital content.
- Lead generation: The strategies, tactics, and tools associated with locating potential customers and potentially moving them into your marketing funnel.
- Marketing funnel: The visualization of the stages of a customer’s interactions and decisions, organized from initial interactions to specific decisions related to a product or service.
Why data is your secret weapon to getting leadership buy-in
Even though the opportunities are immense, so are the obstacles associated with consistently developing quality content. This is usually a big hurdle when building your content marketing business case.
The main obstacle for many marketers is convincing executives to invest in content in ways that will yield meaningful long-term results.
Yes, that seasonal ad campaign will probably generate some leads over the next few weeks — but then what?
Some organizations throw money at paid campaigns because they don’t have the appetite to wait to see the fruit of long-term content development plans. This choice leads to money being wasted on short-term efforts instead of being invested in long-term results.
So, what do you do to get out of the cycle of running extensive ad campaigns on a minuscule day-to-day content marketing budget? You build a marketing business case that proves that a long-term investment in content will reap the rewards in ways short-term campaigns and content development simply cannot.
Consider the reach of the digital channels your organization can use to connect with your target audiences:
- More than 9 in 10 people communicate through text messages. (Statista)
- More than 9 in 10 people percent communicate through email. (Statista)
- Greater than 8 in 10 people communicate through social media. (Statista)
- Nearly 7 in 10 people communicate through messaging apps. (Statista)
- 8.5 billion Google searches occur daily. (Hootsuite Global State of Digital 2022)
- 694,000 hours of content are streamed on YouTube every minute. (Statista)
In other words, data is greater than opinion. To overcome objections, show leadership compelling statistics that prove the power of content marketing is worth the investment.
3 considerations before you build your content business case
The reasons you might invest in particular content vary, but a few considerations apply to most content discussions. These considerations include:
You must define your audience before building a content marketing business case. The definition of your audience — including demographics and psychographics — will allow you to better determine the types of content your organization should create and how to distribute it. To be successful, you must create content that engages your target audience.
2. SEO value
Search functionalities are ubiquitous across many platforms and delivery methods. When developing content for any platform, discussions about the findability of the content should be prominent. Focus on the most important SEO strategies and tactics to be successful.
The old adage about a tree falling in the woods with nobody around is true. Specifically, if a piece of content drops in a sea of digital information and nobody can find it, does it really exist?
3. Organic vs. paid distribution
When considering organic vs. paid marketing, remember how your organization should distribute content. You may have different paths of delivery to intended audiences based on the types of content being developed, the delivery platforms, and the intended customer journey.
How to make a compelling content marketing business case
You’ll find everything you need to build a business case for content marketing here. But don’t cannonball into the content development waters — tiptoe. Remember that it is up to you to do sufficient marketing planning to determine the audiences, objectives, and desired outcomes of your marketing efforts. Once you do this, you can dive into platform-specific information related to your strategy.
Whereas the items listed in the previous section apply to almost all content you develop, the content below requires marketers to make deliberate decisions that are closely related to the platforms in question.
Pick and choose from the statistics below to make a persuasive business case for content marketing. Show decision-makers where their target audience is hanging out and the best ways to reach them through high-quality content. Doing so can help you get the buy-in — and budget — you seek.
Social media content
Social media content includes text, images, short-form videos, GIFs, and other easily consumable content developed for platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other similar sites and apps.
Why should your organization invest in social media content?
Simply put, there is no other place where you can distribute content and expect others to help amplify it for you than social media. Although algorithms can be fickle and not spread your content as widely as you might like, this can be remedied by developing content that aligns with what people want and what algorithms favor.
If your content marketing strategy is focused and deliberate, you will deliver content users actually want to share. In many ways, social media is a marketer’s dream.
Quick facts about social media content to help make your business case:
- Estimates predict that, by 2027, nearly 6 billion people will be social media users. (Statista)
- A full 56 percent of adults who use the internet use multiple social media platforms. (Pew Research)
- More than 9 out of 10 millennials use social media; nearly 8 out of 10 Gen Xers are social media users. (Pew Research)
- Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook. Precisely 40 percent use Instagram. (Pew Research)
- Nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. residents between the ages of 18–29 use TikTok. (Pew Research)
- In a 2021 survey, roughly 25 percent of marketers said they would invest more in Facebook than any other platform in 2022. (HubSpot)
- Sixty-nine percent of marketers say that their companies work with social media influencers. (HubSpot)
- Nearly 99 percent of Facebook users access the site on mobile devices — meaning there are near-constant opportunities to reach these users. (HubSpot)
- Nine out of 10 Instagram users follow at least one business. (Instagram)
- More than two-thirds of Instagram users say they “like” or “don’t mind” ads that appear when they watch videos on the platform. (Instagram)
Podcast content marketing can be defined as the development and distribution of audio files intended to entertain, influence, or inform. Podcasts are often hosted on a variety of sites where they can be streamed over the internet or downloaded and listened to later. Popular podcast platforms include Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
Why should your organization invest in podcast content?
Podcasts typically include content your audience or potential audience seeks out. Because users want specific content, many niche opportunities exist to develop podcasts or collaborate with hosts or distributors.
Likewise, people often have emotional or intellectual attachments or affinities to the hosts of the podcasts they listen to. This increases trust and, ultimately, the likelihood that your brand could gain favor with listeners if the podcast hosts speak positively of your organization. Creating a great business podcast requires work but can pay huge dividends when done well. Learn how to craft great business podcasts.
Quick facts about podcast content to help make your business case:
- Nearly 3 in 4 podcast listeners tune in to learn something new. Almost the same amount listens to podcasts to be entertained. (Edison Research)
- 1 in 4 Americans ages 12 and up listen to a podcast at least once a week. (Buzzsprout)
- Nearly half of podcast listening occurs at home, while 28 percent of U.S. listeners consume podcasts while they drive. (Buzzsprout)
- More Americans listen to podcasts each week (80 million) than have Netflix accounts (69 million). (Edison Research)
- Roughly 2 in 5 podcast listeners consume between 1–3 podcasts each week. Nearly 1 in 5 podcast listeners consume 11 or more podcasts per week. (Edison Research)
- Podcast listeners are often active social media users, making cross-promotion easier. Nearly two-thirds of weekly podcast listeners visit Facebook and Instagram daily. Likewise, roughly half of weekly podcast listeners visit TikTok daily. (NuVoodoo)
Email content is sent to a distribution list of subscribers or other potentially interested parties. While it can focus on several items, most messages are related to welcoming customers, promoting products or services, inviting subscribers to read blog content, rewarding and encouraging brand loyalty, sharing testimonials, inviting survey responses, or requesting feedback.
Why should your organization invest in email content?
Think of the last time you went an entire day without checking your email (work or personal). It is nearly impossible. Email is everywhere. Likewise, email has been around for a long time compared to social media or podcasts. Because of this longevity, marketers’ ability to optimize has had more time to mature and blossom as well.
Email provides marketers multiple opportunities to reach current and potential customers. It’s highly trackable as well. If you’re attempting to carry your target audience through a customer journey, you can monitor their behaviors through email tools. Regardless of what part of the funnel your email recipients find themselves in, the data that email services provide will help you understand how to improve your efforts to foster engagement.
Quick facts about email content to help make your business case:
- The average open rate for emails from all industries is roughly 21 percent. Certain sectors fare better than others. For example, emails related to government (29 percent), hobbies (28 percent), and religion (27 percent) all have open rates higher than the average. (Mailchimp)
- Roughly 4 billion people use email daily. This amount continues to grow rapidly. By 2025, it is expected that 4.6 billion people will use email daily. (Statista)
- People send and receive more than 300 billion emails daily. (Statista)
- For every $1 an organization spends on email marketing, it can expect $42 in return. (DMA Marketing)
- Nearly 90 percent of marketers use email marketing as a part of their organic content distribution strategy. (Content Marketing Institute)
From a marketing perspective, website content includes the words, articles, descriptions, and other information published on a web page that is typically managed and operated by the sponsoring organization.
Why should your organization invest in website content?
Whereas publishing content on social media is equivalent to building a house on rented land (the content is yours, but the platform is not), publishing website content is similar to building your home on land you own. This is why web content should be a priority for your organization.
A website is often the hub of most of the content an organization develops. Even though your organization might create social media, email, or podcast content, the purpose is often to drive traffic to a website where a marketer can control the customer journey and get people deeper into the marketing funnel.
Simply put, your website should be the foundation of your content marketing efforts. Blogs and long-form content are helpful building blocks to use for this foundation.
Quick facts about website content to help make your business case:
- In 2022, approximately 71 percent of small businesses operate a website. This number has increased significantly in only a few years, as only 50 percent of small businesses had a website in 2018. (Top Design Firms)
- More than two-thirds of the amount of time a user spends on a website is focused on the left side of the page. (SAG IPL)
- For every $1 an organization spends on UX design for its website, it sees $100 in return, on average. (Forrester)
- More than half of the businesses that invest in content marketing publish content on their channels daily. (The Manifest)
- Organizations that maintain a blog receive 67 percent more leads each month. (Demand Metric)
SMS content is delivered by text message to customers and potential customers. Like email content, SMS delivery is a direct marketing form. Most often, SMS content includes news, promotions, and other updates.
Why should your organization invest in SMS content?
The effort needed to develop SMS content is minimal — but it can yield big results. Between 2020 and 2021, promotional SMS content increased by 75 percent. In the same period, SMS marketing facilitated 106 percent more orders. Although brands often don’t consider SMS content development a high priority, data suggests they should.
A closer look at SMS marketing data shows that SMS marketing is cost-effective, efficient at providing real-time updates, boasts exceptionally high open rates, and has proven its ability to help close deals.
Quick facts about SMS content to help make your business case:
- A full 90 percent of SMS messages are read within the first three minutes of delivery — making text messages one of the most-effective media for real-time updates. (MobileSquared)
- Recipients read as many as 98 percent of SMS messages. (Gartner)
- Approximately one-third of the recipients of SMS content will engage in some way with the message’s call to action. Of this group who engages, nearly half of this group will make a purchase at some point. (Omnisend)
- In 2022, 70 percent of U.S. consumers opted to receive SMS marketing messages. This number indicates a year-over-year opt-in rate increase of more than 10 percent. (SimpleTexting)
- Most consumers subscribe to SMS messages from between 1–5 businesses or organizations. (SimpleTexting)
Video content is essential — but not all video content should be YouTube content. Content developed for this platform should be searchable, actionable, and provide value to the consumer. The best YouTube content often is evergreen and serialized.
Why should your organization invest in YouTube content?
YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine (right behind Google, which owns YouTube). Because of this, an organization’s opportunity to reach audiences is immense.
Although building up a subscriber base on YouTube helps push content to interested individuals, having users pull your content through search is the most valuable aspect of this platform. Develop a YouTube strategy before you develop content to see success.
Quick facts about YouTube content to help make your business case:
- More than 3 in 5 U.S. YouTube users access the site daily. (Statista)
- A full 92 percent of individuals in the U.S. say they visit YouTube weekly. (Statista)
- YouTube features 694,000 hours of streaming video every minute. This is significantly more than streaming platforms like Netflix — which stream about 452,000 hours of content each minute. (Statista)
- Roughly 80 percent of parents say that their children ages 11 and under watch YouTube. (Pew Research)
- YouTube exists in more than 80 languages and greater than 100 countries. (YouTube)
- Nearly two-thirds of businesses use YouTube to publish video content. (Buffer)
Always keep the bigger content marketing picture in mind
There are hundreds of reasons to invest your organization’s time and resources into developing meaningful, substantial content that builds organic traffic and engagement.
Help your executives keep sight of the bigger picture. Share small content wins along the way, but make sure all your organization’s decision-makers remember that investing in organic content is a long-term strategy that can pay huge dividends for organizations that are patient.