Why the Greatest Content Marketing Companies Start and Stop with CEO and Management Involvement

by Marcus Sheridan

trickle down effect

More than ever, the trickle down effect of management buy-in with content marketing is imperative to big success.

Whether or not you feel trickle-down economics work well in national government, there is no question of their incredible importance when it comes to content marketing success for businesses large and small. In fact, I’ll just toss this one out there for a second:

If your company CEO and/or management team do not fully embrace content marketing, your efforts to find massive success online and have a cultural transformation will very likely fail.

Yeah, sure there are outliers in every realm. And yes, there will be renegades that do amazing things despite the lack of buy-in from leadership.

But the more I seek to help companies go big or go home with building their digital brand and business through content marketing, the more I realize nothing great happens without full buy-in from the top dogs.

Why?

Because success in this business doesn’t happen overnight.

Content marketing isn’t a chia-pet—water today, a vine jungle tomorrow.

chia pet and marketing

Yes, I did just integrate a chia pet into content marketing. :-)

Rather, it follows the principle of the Law of the Harvest.

  • The field must be prepared.
  • The seed must be planted.
  • The beginnings of life must be continually watered and nourished.
  • The crop must be protected.
  • And the harvest eventually comes.

For some businesses, like my pool company, this success can happen quickly.

For others, like those in deeply competitive industries, success may be slower to appear.

But done right, it comes—without fail.

Doing It Right

I think about my clients a lot.

Some are doing very well. I’m not just talking about small gains either. I’m talking about millions of dollars in sales and impact.

I’ve got other clients that struggle. For whatever reason, roadblock after roadblock seem to appear with their content marketing efforts.

  • There is never enough time.
  • The employees are too busy.
  • The website isn’t right.
  • On and on and on.

But the funny thing about this is the fact that companies who have top buy-in never seem to be stifled with these same obstacles.

And when I say “buy-in” I’m not just talking about a CEO who is generally aware of what’s going on.

Rather, I’m referring to someone who is actively engaged in the process and walks the walk with everyone else.

Real Examples of Trickle Down Content Marketing Success

Last year, Yale Appliance’s website and business exploded. A +50 million dollar company, their CEO, Steve Sheinkopf, acts as their head content producer. He spends hours each week producing content, studying analytics, and focusing on ways to improve their content marketing efforts. Although he could easily afford to have someone else do what he does, he realizes the greatest ROI he can have right now with his business is found by leading a company, and an industry, with a new way of thinking and doing business.

Steve Yale Appliance

Despite being the CEO of the company, Steve Sheinkopf has lead his company’s tremendous web and business growth by taking such an active role in their content marketing efforts.

Josh Block of Block Imaging is like any business owner in that he has multiple “issues” that come his way each and every day from all branches of his company. Notwithstanding, he makes the time to write blogs and produce content. He awards employees that are active with the content marketing efforts. He attends marketing conferences just to get an edge. Simply put, he gets it and because he buys in, Block Imaging has experienced massive success through content marketing.

And just last week I did a content marketing workshops for a IT company near Washington DC—Segue Technologies. And how important is content marketing to their Executive Vice President Ron Novak? Here are just a few things Novak has done to ensure these marketing efforts are a huge success for his company:

Segue Blog Strategy Infographic

Ever considered doing an in-house infographic to give employees the vision of content marketing? Here is how Segue Technologies handled it.

1. He brought in over 40 of his employees to participate in a half-day content marketing workshop so they could understand the “How,” “What,” and “Why” of the new marketing approach.

2. He had his team produce an in-house infographic(above) showing the company culture and approach to content marketing, just so the vision would be very clear to all employees.

3. He made it known to employees that content marketing wasn’t simply a “fad” or “option.” Rather, it was a part of the company culture and makeup, and they were “all-in.”

4. He allowed his team to set up an on-site video “booth” where they could produce not just textual content, but video content as well.

With over 100 blog articles already being lined up and delved out to produce, my gut tells me Segue is about to do some pretty amazing things in their industry.

But again, it trickles down from the top. That’s where it starts. That’s where the magic lies.

Get Your Hands Dirty

I’d love to go on about more clients I’m seeing do amazing things with content marketing, but you get my point.

Am I saying here that the CEO of Apple (or any massive company for that matter) should be blogging? No, I’m not. But at a minimum, the guy needs to understand how consumers think, shop, and research these days—and the role that social media and content marketing play in that process.

And when he knows this, he needs to do something about it, and get his hands dirty in the process.

Speaking of getting your hands dirty, 4 years ago, when my swimming pool company was about to go out of business, I barely even knew what the word “blog” meant.

I certainly didn’t have a clue as to how marketing worked online.

My business partner Jason, equaling my ignorance, had never picked up a camera to record videos in his life.

Today, about 800,000 words later, some people think I’m pretty good at blogging and content marketing.

And Jason, beyond the 1,000,000+ views we’ve had on our YouTube videos, is now creating pieces that make me smack my forehead, something that further distances us from our competitors:

YouTube Preview Image

My point with this article is a simple one. Content marketing is not a passive approach to business. It’s all-in and all hands on deck.

And it starts with the top.

Your Turn:

What has been your success in getting top to bottom buy-in for blogging, social media, and content marketing? Have you seen occasions of success without this buy-in? And in your opinion, how much do you feel that ownership and management need to be involved to make content marketing work?

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