It’s a scenario that nearly everyone in the creative sector will have experienced at least once. You come up with a brilliant marketing idea – something with the potential to transform something for the better – but, despite your best and most passionate efforts, you’re unable to get your boss on board. It can be frustrating, somewhat exasperating, and often confusing. You believe in your idea, so why don’t they?
Senior stakeholders – even those in companies that focus on innovation and creativity – want to mitigate risk at all times, and that means refraining from signing off on projects that are seen as too much of a gamble. If you present a novel idea, but can’t offer up any supplementary details, you’ll be more likely to be met with a head shake than a nod.
However, all hope is not lost! The key to getting your boss to give you and your creative idea the go-ahead is to speak their language, know what content you want to produce, and answer their questions before they’ve even asked them. You need to think beyond the idea itself and focus on application, as well as creation. As Benjamin Franklin so famously said, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Follow these seven simple steps, and you’ll be well placed to bring your creativity to life.
Ensure you know your idea and your target audiences, back to front
When trying to sell an idea to someone, you must first ensure you know it from every angle. You must be able to identify pros and cons, and acknowledge areas that will require additional thought or refinement. You must also have an idea of the audiences you are trying to reach, why exactly you’ve selected them, and what makes you believe you’ll be able to attract and engage them. That’s one of the reasons we design personas, and encourage others to do so.
This is your concept, and you must ensure you are an authority when it comes to waxing lyrical about its merits. It is well worth taking the time to fully assess and perfect your idea before attempting to get your boss’ approval.
State the potential benefits and how they will be achieved
For any company interested in making money – and most are, let’s be honest – it’s important to only progress with campaigns, products, schemes or purchasing decisions that are likely to reap financial rewards. Detail how your marketing campaign is going to deliver ROI, how you’re going to attract new customers while retaining old ones, why such a campaign will be good for the organisation’s reputation, and whether the idea – should it be a success – can be replicated going forward. Similarly, if you are looking to produce an internal communications campaign, state what you believe it will achieve and why it is necessary.
Also, don’t be afraid to highlight examples of other companies that have taken similar approaches. If you can showcase that another organisation has benefited from adopting tactics or methods that are a little out of the ordinary, they will be far more likely to give you the opportunity to take your concept further.
Identify any risks, and say how they will be dealt with
This is absolutely key. There are no perfect ideas, and no marketing campaign – regardless of how unique or exciting – is guaranteed to be a triumph. By identifying potential risks, and describing how you have designed a content strategy to overcome such hurdles should they arise, your boss will be placated. You’ll have shown that you’re in charge, that you have thought everything through, and that you have the right answers.
Also, if you are looking to utilise social media, it’s worth mentioning that some stakeholders still have concerns about the use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And, with a constant stream of media stories surrounding these platforms, it’s hardly a surprise. However, by putting together a social media strategy and a set of guidelines – if they don’t already exist – you’ll be able to put any worries to bed.
Understand the timeframe, channels, metrics and working hours
Once you’ve made clear the pros, cons and objectives, you must then show that you have considered how long the project will last, and what will be implemented/promoted/published at each stage of its lifespan. By fleshing out the idea in this way, you will not only be showing that you have planned and prepared adequately, but it will show that the idea has legs, and that you can be relied upon to drive it forward.
Once you’ve decided upon the idea and the timeframe, you will need to state how you are going to push out your content. Will you be using social media channels? Will you be looking to sponsor your posts? How often will content be published? How will you track success, and how often?
Also, it’s definitely worth detailing how exactly all relevant content will be produced. Do you have capacity to do work internally, or will certain elements need to be outsourced? If work is to remain in-house, how extensive will it be? If it is to go externally, how much will it cost? Much of this information will be little more than estimates, but a rough approximation is far better than no estimate at all.
Communicate with all relevant parties
If is your idea, then more than likely you will be accountable, and the last thing you want is for poor processes or weak internal communications to hamper the campaign’s success. Discuss progress, problems and pain points with all relevant parties, and ensure everyone that needs to be kept up to date is part of significant email chains and meetings. Also, if you can get senior stakeholders to sign off on your ideas early, it will save having to make amends or edits further down the line when they are likely to be harder to implement. This is relevant to all of your marketing activities.
Listen to advice, opinion and feedback, and utilise it
Even though it’s your idea, it’s very unlikely that you’ll have thought of everything. Try and see everything as objectively as possible, and be willing to make alterations that will make the content more robust, and subsequently more effective. Work closely with your team, because they will often be able to offer advice and insights that are incredibly valuable.
Always remember that stakeholders and managers are not your enemy. They don’t knock back a concept just for the fun of it; they are often looking at your idea from a different angle to yours. Describing an interesting content marketing campaign concept is all well and good, but if it is presented in a way that is flimsy, or hasn’t been planned out efficiently, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to getting support.
By following these seven steps, and by becoming an expert on your idea, you’ll be giving yourself the foundations upon which to build a strong, durable and successful content marketing campaign.
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