How to build a business case for content marketing

The business case for content strategy.

Content is the cornerstone of marketing. So why does getting budget approved for content programs sometimes feel like an uphill struggle? This can be a frustrating fact of life for marketers, especially when you consider that content marketing, when done properly, connects a prospect’s challenges with your solution to drive demand and build sustainable growth.

One issue is that content marketing often delivers indirect benefits such as brand awareness, brand loyalty and thought leadership status which are more difficult to quantify in terms of pipeline value and impact to the bottom line.

To help you get content marketing projects off the ground, we’ll explore four ways that content marketing brings demonstrable value to your organisation.

Content marketing is the engine for the business

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the most effective marketing strategy for demand generation for 83% of marketers, way ahead of organic SEO (67%) and paid advertising (53%). And the story doesn’t just end at demand generation. Once your prospect is engaged with top-of-funnel content, you can nurture leads and foster long-term relationships.

Content isn’t created for content’s sake. It’s there to engage, entice and encourage buyers throughout the complex buyer journey. Content must be tailored to address the specific needs and concerns of buyers at every step of their journey, whether that’s at the awareness, research and evaluation, consensus-building, purchasing, renewal or advocacy stage.

B2B buyers increasingly rely on digital channels and platforms for each of these stages and so marketers must develop integrated, omnichannel strategies that provide seamless experiences across all touchpoints. This is more important than ever, as the number of on- and offline touch points required before a prospect makes a buying decision is growing.  

Whether you’re using social media, email, core content, PR or events, your content will need to be generated in many different formats. Crucially, the messaging must remain consistent across all channels.

Now let’s look at the four ways content marketing supports business growth.

Goal 1. Generate demand: Thought leadership

At the heart of any successful content marketing strategy lies the ability to attract attention. By providing valuable and relevant content, your brand can position itself as a thought leader within your industry, thereby capturing the interest of potential customers.

But only a small percentage of your target audience is ready to buy at any one time. Strong content marketing will help earn the attention of those prospective buyers and keep your brand top of mind, so they think of you when the time is right for them to start the buying journey. Your content must provide value to the audience, build relevance and showcase your expertise.

 Content needs:

  • Customise your top-of-funnel content to align with your audience segmentation. This will allow you to frame your value message and narrative specifically to the needs and interests of each group.
  • Tell your story in multiple formats. Some of us are visual learners and will prefer video and infographics, while some will prefer long form written content, and others will prefer audio in the form of webinars and podcasts. A strong content strategy accounts for all these preferences with a strong emphasis on reuse of the core asset to maximise value in the market.

Goal 2. Nurture leads: Inspire, educate and convince

The nurturing process fosters deeper connections with leads, gradually moving them closer to making a purchasing decision. Engaged prospects in the mid stage of the buyer journey want different things than early-stage prospects. Your content must adapt accordingly.

Content needs:

  • In the consideration phase, tailor content to address specific pain points, educate prospects about solutions and highlight the benefits of your solution. Bring use cases to life in written and visual formats, providing data points and research to build credibility.
  • In the decision phase, offer testimonials and case studies to alleviate concerns and instil confidence. Investment in a strong customer reference program allows you to capture success stories in a variety of formats and further strengthen your brand credibility.

Goal 3. Retain customers: Generate loyalty and advocacy

The value of content marketing doesn’t end when contracts are signed. It remains instrumental in engaging existing customers and cultivating long-term relationships. Ongoing support encourages advocacy, as satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, further expanding your brand's reach and influence.

Content needs:

  • Provide your customers with content that helps them realise the full benefit of your solution. Again, a variety of formats will help reach your customers in the communication style they prefer. This commitment to customer success will help strengthen loyalty and support customer retention.
  • Keep customers informed and involved. Whether it’s via regularly updated blogs, timely educational resources or personalised communication channels, show your customers you value them.

Goal 4. Grow LTV: Cross-sell and up-sell

An effective content marketing program doesn’t just win customers — it helps to grow the lifetime value of those customers over the long term. You must continue to engage, enrich your value story and demonstrate credibility.

Content needs:

  • Encourage customers to upgrade to the latest features in their solution set and deepen their relationship with your brand.
  • Demonstrate the value for customers to adopt additional elements of your solution set to improve outcomes.

How to address ROI and content attribution

Measuring the impact of your content marketing efforts is essential for optimising performance and maximising ROI. The success of your content marketing strategy is measured in more than just clicks and opens and there are many signals you should track to ensure your content strategy is working. 

Key metrics to track include website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates and customer retention. By analysing these metrics, you can identify what's working well and what needs improvement, allowing you to refine your strategy and achieve better results over time.

By taking a data-driven and customer-centric approach, you can create content that drives demand, nurtures leads and secures long-term contract renewals.

Justify your budget: Commit to a few things and do them well

A successful content marketing strategy lies in understanding your audience and delivering value at every touchpoint. One size doesn’t fit all — you need to experiment with different formats, channels and messaging strategies to see what resonates best with your target audience.

Plan your content strategy to address your biggest business challenges to get the most return from your efforts. Perhaps you need more leads in the top of the funnel, increase conversion rates, or reduce customer churn. All these challenges can be addressed with a strong content marketing program.

What next?  Download our free content strategy bundle including a comprehensive set of templates, tools, and guides designed to supercharge your marketing - or get in touch if you'd like to explore further.