- Elisa Cool, Founder The Narrative
I was a fifteen-year-old-know-it-all. Among many other things, I knew I needed a cell phone. I was participating in two to three extra-curricular activities a semester and that meant staying after school, often hours after they locked the doors. The pay phones were inside (yes, we had pay phones then). If I was outdoors, I was stuck. I tried my best to estimate when and where I needed to be picked up by my parents. But, 15 year-olds aren't great at estimating. The result? A French farce style circling of the school by both parties.
Many car rides escalated into grand debates on how we could have avoided this situation. Worse, several were silent. I knew the solution was to have a phone of my own. I was certain I was objective and rational, yet my arguments fell flat.
Didn't they realize that this "would solve literally everything?!"
Turns out, that my parents did realize that a cell phone was a solution...they just weren't ready to hand one over to me. They had rational concerns about my handling the phone (and the bill) responsibly. They had irrational concerns in coming to terms with my growing up. They had stigmas about mobile phones representing a yuppie class. They had fears that this level of independence was a gateway to other (scary) things.
I lacked a window into this thought process, and thus I lacked a means to combat their unshared arguments. So I did what any over-achieving-super-brat does. I began to tally up the minutes (and dollars) that would have been saved by direct and immediate conversation to combat their rational concerns. I also took notes on their less rational arguments and prodded them to understand where these concerns stemmed from. Soon I was presenting them with a white board argument so strong that they not only caved, they felt comfortable handing me a phone.
Getting a content budget as a marketer today is not unlike getting a cell phone as a teenager in the 90's. It may be crystal clear to you that content is going to continue to be wildly important throughout 2017. You likely know many other people who agree that it's important now. You can source statistics from all over the Internet that support its importance. But none of that matters if the board, your boss, procurement, or that so-and-so-who-generally-torpedos-the-fun-out-of-life-at-every-meeting won't budge.
Arguments for something new can trigger irrational thinking by both parties. We lose and lick our wounds by telling ourselves that they're the problem.
"I can't believe they don't trust me, they're completely out of touch!"
Sound familiar? The truth is that if you're not getting what you need to create excellent content, it's time to stop and think that your naysayers may actually agree that content is a good idea. They may, however, not be ready to commit.
Stop, breathe, and seek to uncover what their arguments are really about. Ask the form of questions that get to the root of their concern. Remember that those concerns may not be rational or objective, but they cannot be dismissed because they are still very real roadblocks to you getting what you need.
When you are told that something "isn't in the budget," although plenty of other things are, you're actually being told, "this isn't as important, comfortable, or necessary as the other things that are already in the budget." To turn that around you need to understand where each -and there may be several- argument comes from. Do they stem from:
- Fear of the unknown (aka lack of explanation)
- Misconceptions/stereotypes (aka lack of education)
- Concerns about what's next (aka lack of planning or direction)
- Complacency (aka lack of inspiration)
Every situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are several great resources out there to help you with each of the above. Arming yourself with the rebuttal that matches each argument (rational or not) will give you a much better shot at securing what you need, and respect from your colleagues in the process.
Explanation of the importance of content marketing:
- The Content Marketing Revolution
- Evangelizing Content - The Ultimate Playbook
- Why Storytelling SHOULD Matter to Sales
Education on how content marketing works and what benefits it provides:
- How Content Marketing Works
- It's OK to Publish Self-Serving Content
- 25 Brands That Made it Big with Content Marketing
Resources for building a sound content plan and strategy:
- 10 Common Reasons Content Plans Don't Work
- The Content Pyramid, Content Panning Done Right
- Content Marketing Crash Course - Online University
Inspiring stories that support and engage:
- How Content Marketing Changed the Role of the CMO
- Top Content Marketing Trends for 2017
- The Me Meter - Stop Talking About Yourself
Just in case you need to get fired up before said engagement with your naysayers, listen to one of these. It'll put you back in the shoes of a 90's bad-ass:
Liked This Read? If you got something out of this story, we recommend you check out the following reads on content planning & strategy: