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According to the Content Marketing Institute, 9 out of 10 marketers are using content marketing. Additional statistics from KISSMetrics show that 94 percent of small businesses, 93 percent of B2Bs and 77 percent of B2Cs use content marketing.

This means that most of your competitors are likely using content marketing to get their message across.

If you have one of those bosses who declares that you don’t need to do everything the competition is doing just because they are doing it, you need to realize that by not participating in content marketing, you are losing loyal followers and potential customers to the competition.

Here are points to present to the CEO to help win over your argument for the use of content marketing:

‘We’ve already tried advertising’

Maybe you spent money on traditional advertisements in print, radio or television that didn’t bring in a good ROI. The CEO may feel it was a waste of money. Thus, it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to go back to advertising.

Content marketing is not advertising. However, many bosses confuse advertising with content marketing. This is where you have to help with definitions and explain that these practices are not at all the same.

Advertising is advertising. When you advertise, you are putting your message out there and trying to sell yourself to customers. Content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute, is a “strategic marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action by changing or enhancing consumer behavior.”

With advertising, you are trying to sell your brand. With content marketing, you strive to get customers to understand and interact with your brand. The “selling” then takes care of itself as customers trust you, your message and information you provide. When they value it, they allow it to become part of their persona and they share what they like. They become influencers.

‘It will cost too much’

No, content is not free. It will cost you something. Like everything else in business, you get what you pay for. KISSMetrics finds that generating a lead through traditional marketing costs $373, but with content marketing techniques it is only $143. B2B companies with strategic content marketing generate 67 percent more leads than companies who don’t.

In fact, Demand Marketing, a global marketing research and advisory firm that helps B2B marketing organizations, found that content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.

“I think entrepreneurs assume they need a star-dazzling six-digit marketing budget,” says Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications. “Nothing could be further from the truth. To get started, when income isn’t yet rolling in, I suggest my clients allot just 10 percent of their revenues to marketing. As revenues increase, you can increase the amount or set a dollar amount.”

Of course you have to weigh the ROI, but in order to compete, you have to be in the market. If the majority of your competition is already using content marketing to generate sales, your lack of sales means that you have to spend money and resources to eventually make money. No customer will find you out there if you aren’t out there.

‘We’re not a media company’

Maybe your boss is hung up on the fact that putting together great storytelling and delivering relevant information to your audience is what the media does. However, storytelling in content marketing is a great way to convey your unique position in the industry. Providing content that engages and informs your audience creates value. Emotionally engaging them creates brand loyalty. Research by the Content Marketing Institute shows 61 percent of content marketers make storytelling a larger part of their overall content marketing strategies.

In a whitepaper by TrackMaven, a company that helps digital marketers analyze their marketing content in comparison to competitors’ content, reminds that content creates engagement and helps improve customer retention. They found that Twitter was the social media channel that does the best job, with 73 percent of tweets receiving customer attention.

Unlike advertising, content marketing educates. In their “State of Inbound 2015 Report,” Hubspot found that “half of the buyers coming from inbound marketing efforts such as content marketing were somewhat knowledgeable before they reached sales.” This is because, when you offer information that educates and provides value to your visitor, you can capture data from that visitor. This data can be added to your “sales funnel.”

The “sales funnel,” shown in a diagram, looks like an inverted pyramid. It illustrates the buying process customers go through when purchasing a service or product. According to entrepreneur Saad Kamal, there are four steps in the conversion sales funnel: awareness, interest, desire and action. When you create content, you are making prospects aware of the product or service. When you promote this content via social media and newsletters, you can create valuable landing pages that gather information such as names, email addresses, companies, zip codes, etc.

Having this information is vital to the next steps in your marketing efforts where you can follow up with visitors to spark their interest, create desire and then have them take action. Content marketing allows you to build a relationship with customers. Over the last few years, consumers have learned how shut off messages from the traditional world of marketing and today, good customer-company relationships require the customer to be involved in the give and take. It is what the customer expects. They don’t simply want to be sold to.

Executives who continue to ponder a content marketing strategy despite the many advantages should look at the business goals. Marketers can use these statistics to bolster the argument, but always examine your overall marketing strategy and make sure what you propose aligns with the brand and business goals.

If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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