How to Sell Content Strategy to Your Boss

I know content strategy is important. You know content strategy is important. Who doesn’t know? The people who are going to pay you to develop and implement a content strategy, that’s who.

To sell content strategy to your boss and organization, you’ll have to perfect the art of pitching projects with the intention of not only presenting your ideas and convincing your boss to sign off on them, but also to educate him or her on what content strategy is and its value to any organization.

If you can quantify how much of an impact content strategy will have on the bottom line, I guarantee your boss will listen.

Point Out The (Not So) Obvious

Take advantage of opportunities to inform your boss of where your organization could be losing revenue through a poor content experience. Take a look at your website and make a list of any potentially revenue-impacting issues such as:

  • Pages with high bounce rates or form abandonment
  • Incorrect prices, content or data
  • Broken links or contact forms
  • Trending keyword searches related to your organization that are not covered by your content
  • Contact information for employees no longer with the organization
  • Typos and grammar mistakes

To put this in business speak your boss will understand: These are your opportunities for conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Do The Math

Ahava Leibtag, author of The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web, led a great workshop on the importance of defining workflows around content production and maintenance at this year’s Confab Intensive conference. Not the most exciting topic, but surprisingly influential on an organization’s bottom line.

To drive her point home, Ahava shared a personal story about receiving a hotel upgrade worth several hundred dollars because of an incorrect room description on the international hotel chain’s corporate website.

“Imagine how many people this must happen to,” she asked. “How much money is being unnecessarily lost because of a typo?”

I’d ask American Airlines, who in August 2015 accidentally listed round-trip flights from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Hong Kong, China for $350 USD instead of the normal fare of $3,350. That missing ‘3’ discounted flights a whopping 90%!

A solid content management and governance plan would have had reviews and controls in place (such as a triggered email alert for human review whenever a fare dipped below a certain price threshold) to safeguard against errors like the one American Airlines experienced.

Assuming they sold an entire flight (approximately 400 seats) at this discounted price, American would’ve recouped only $140,000 instead of a potential $1,340,000–a $1.2 million loss on a single flight!

Now ask yourself:

How much is each issue on your list costing your organization in lost revenue?

Your boss wants the answer to this question when you pitch your content strategy. If you can connect the dots between content strategy and your organization’s greater goals, you’ll go a long way towards convincing your boss that content strategy projects are worth the effort.

To put this in business speak: You want to increase revenue by raising the conversion rate. (Better data = higher conversion = more revenue).

Make An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Ever had your boss say to you, “I want you to bring me solutions, not problems”?

This is exactly the situation he or she was talking about. Once you’ve pointed out content problems and done the math on how much revenue each one could be losing, it’s time to close the deal by making it as easy as possible for your boss to say “yes” to your project.

Map out exactly what work needs to be done, who will do it and how long it will take. Come prepared with a roadmap of tasks, resources and timelines. Condense that plan down to a single sheet of paper and share it with your boss. The simpler you can make things sound, the more likely your boss is to listen, understand and approve.

Talk with your co-workers ahead of time, even if only informally. Present your ideas and let them kick the tires on your project before you go to your boss. Talk things through, discuss the feasibility of your ideas on the ground level and get the buy-in from key stakeholders that will sway your boss in favor of your project.

Before presenting your ideas to your boss, have ready answers to the following questions for each problem on your list. The more questions you can answer upfront, the better.

How can content strategy solve this problem?
What is the scope of work that needs to be done?
What are the benefits of your approach?

What skills/roles are needed to fix the issue?
How many people will you need and for how many hours?
Can this be done in-house, outsourced or with a combination of both?

How long will it take to complete the project?
When can you begin?
How soon will you see results?

To put this in business speak: You are laying out the return on investment (ROI) for completing your project. (Gains – Investment = Return).

More Than A Dog And Pony Show

This might seem like a lot of work just to fix some typos on a website–but it is so much more than that! Content strategy has real value on the bottom line; it’s just not always easy to make the connection between the two. Use your skills as a storyteller to connect the dots for your audience and get your content strategy projects approved.

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