During our Brand Values, Message Architecture, and Strategic Communication-course at the FH Joanneum Graz we had the chance to present a proposal for a brand-driven content strategy initiative in front of Margot Bloomstein, a leading content strategist and author of Content Strategy at Work. As our final assignment, we had to write and present a proposal for a company. In this rather personal blog post, I want to share five learnings on how to pitch a content strategy.
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This was one of the most exciting tasks this academic year so far: putting theory into practice, writing a proposal for a real world case 🚀🤓 #cos18 #contentstrategy @ContentGraz https://t.co/LNjxvsBwHr
— Dominik Berger 🦊 (@attentionfox) January 18, 2020
Don’t focus too much on methods
Your prospect won’t buy your methods, they care about the deliverables and how those will help their business to grow or reach their goal. To my mind, it absolutely makes sense to explain the various steps that are involved in reaching the prospect’s goal but you should always be aware that prospects usually don’t care about the methods but rather on the results you will deliver.
Keep it short and simple
Time is valuable and most clients won’t have time to read 50 pages or listen to a 1-hour pitch. If you get five minutes of the client’s precious time, make sure you are able to stick to that time frame. A rehearsal will help you to get a clue of how much time it takes to present your ideas. This is one of my personal weaknesses, I often lose myself in details. So usually I set myself a timer on my phone to see how much time is left.
Don’t overuse buzzwords, clients don’t like to do buzzword bingo when they listen to your pitch or read your proposal. To my mind, it’s crucial to explain the whole process and each step that is involved, at least at a high level. According to Margot Bloomstein, you should also explain why each step is valuable.
Your prospects won’t buy a content strategy for the content strategy’s sake. They usually face specific symptoms of a missing content strategy. Maybe it’s a chaotic editorial process, missing communication goals or the brand doesn’t convey the company’s values. And even there are more specific underlying business problems such as low conversion rates, bad customer loyalty or simply unsatisfactory sales figures.
Some of my colleagues at the FH Joanneum already wrote about why a content strategy has not be “sold” as content strategy per se and that the definition is actually not that important when it comes to solving business problems:
- Müssen Content Strategen darauf bestehen als solche bezeichnet zu werden? (German, Melanie Wimmer)
- What is Content Strategy? – Why we don’t need a definition (Melanie Massinger)
- Was zu tun ist, wenn man nicht weiß, was zu tun ist (German, Emanuel Mauthe)
Use active voice
Using an active voice in your proposals makes them more effective. A passive voice conveys no ownership. If you want to persuade your prospects, you should write in a strong and clear language, it makes the proposal more decisive and convincing.