Tips for building your content business case

We’ve been there: convincing the powers that be to invest more in content can be incredibly tricky, especially if you’re talking to traditional marketers who still think in very campaign-based and advertising-based ways. True content marketing is a challenge for them to get their head around, because it’s less about timed pushes and more about a long-term relationship with your audience. Thinking more like a publisher and less like a marketer will not come easy to the old guard, but it can be done.

A little bit of preparation and a little bit of research, combined with a shedload of data, will give you a decent shot at it. With that in mind, The Content Type presents some key issues and key data that will help you to build your own business case.

Remember, though, that every industry – indeed, every business – is different. While the below is a good guide, you will need to relate it to your own situation and elaborate appropriately.

Steps to building a business case


It should go without saying, but we’ll say it: do not embark upon a content marketing programme blind. You should do your research – what are your competitors doing? What does your audience want? Where are the gaps you can really own? Your CMO will want any spend tied to quantifiable results, so make sure you do your homework.

Do not embark upon a content marketing programme blind

Set appropriate goals – and align them to company goals

Don’t go promising a 5-fold increase on qualified leads if you don’t know it’s achievable or whether the company can even handle that increase. It may be that company strategy is for slow and sustained growth. Find your company’s documented strategy and look for places that content marketing could help to achieve those goals. Tie them into your business case. It will show you understand the wider needs of the business and make sure you’re taken more seriously.

Document the content strategy

There’s not much point in writing a full content marketing strategy until you know you have budget and go-ahead, but it’s worthwhile thinking through some of the basics to show you are serious. We’ve previously looked at what you need to include in your strategy, and it’s a good place to start.

Ask for a realistic budget

Know what other teams are working with, and how the full marketing budget is apportioned; this will help you to pitch the content programme just right. And if you’re not sure what you can ask for, then go for a few different scenarios – the best case, the medium case, and the budget version. It may be that you have to start small and prove your worth before you get what you need, so be prepared for that.

5. Show synergies with other teams

Talk about some of the benefits of content marketing that have nothing to do with ROI, such as:

  • It can give a recruiting edge and help attract talent
  • It can boost company morale
  • It opens lines of communication
  • It helps to fosters trust

Also think about the impact on the rest of marketing: for example, content marketing plays into brand awareness, lead generation and sales enablement. With no content, marketing automation becomes difficult. Campaigns need to be built differently. Lead scoring would stop as there would be nothing on your site to browse. How can you tie these other teams into your business case?

Some data to make you sound impressive

From: Curata

  • 76% of marketers are increasing investment in content marketing
  • 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier
  • 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally

From (Hubspot)

  • Inbound Leads Cost 62% Less than Outbound 

From Kapost:

  • Best-in-class marketers are 86% more likely to use content marketing tools, processes and best practices than laggard marketers. (Aberdeen via Kapost)

 70% of the buying cycle is complete before sales is contacted; marketing must generate leads and nurture them into opportunities.

From NewsCred:

  • 85% of consumers regularly seek out content from trusted experts when considering a purchase.

  • Consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average prior to making a purchase.

  • 57% of marketing leaders polled by Forrester saw top-line benefits such as increased sales or revenue from content marketing.

  • 75% of marketing leaders polled by Forrester saw bottom-line outcomes, such as loyalty or reduced marketing or media expenses from content marketing in 2014.

A case study from a leader in the field

Alicianne Rand writes for NewsCred: “Investing in content requires an entirely different mindset than what traditional marketers are used to. It requires CMOs to move away from the crutch of traditional digital advertising, and instead move towards a more customer-centric, value-led approach to marketing.”

She gives the example of a Fortune 500 customer that drove significant top-line growth and bottom-line efficiencies through content marketing:

  • Increased monthly page views by 2.6x, driving 4 million page views in just one year (67% licensed content, 38% original content)

  • Increased unique visitors by 700%, Facebook followers by 19x and LinkedIn followers by 35%

Need more help convincing the bosses?

We’re always happy to help you put together your business case. Get in touch for a chat.