Working in an agency, especially in a creative role, you learn pretty quickly that coming up with an awesome idea is only half the battle. The other, and sometimes much harder, half is convincing the client how great your idea is and why it will work.
Pitching a content idea to a client is particularly hard because you not only have to convey your currently intangible idea, but also convince them that this is the idea that will help them hit their goal – be it links, coverage or brand awareness. Unlike technical work which can often demonstrate minor successes as it moves ahead, it’s difficult to know how successful a content campaign is until it’s fully underway. That’s why convincing a client of your content campaign’s worth from the off is so important, and so difficult.
If you’re wondering how to pitch content marketing ideas, here are five ways you can ensure success the next time you’re in front of a client
1. Prep properly
‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’ – this maxim is especially true when it comes to pitching a creative idea. Something can look brilliant in your head, but it will stay in there unless you take the time to consider how you will properly explain the idea.
Don’t ever just wing what you’re going to say. You might have created an exciting, colourful image in your mind’s eye, but it won’t make much sense to anyone if you’re blurting it out like a kid with a new toy. Take a few minutes to think about how you are going to describe the idea, and come up with an internal script (or at least some monologue notes) you can follow. Try to think of the pitch like a political speech – you’re not just sharing your idea, but trying to convince others that it is the right idea.
2. Bring stats
As part of your prep, you need to crunch the numbers. While it’s hard for others to envisage a creative concept, everyone responds well to numbers.
Be sure to include figures around prices and delivery dates, as well as projections on numbers of links or pieces of coverage you expect to be won by the piece. It immediately conveys the scope of the project and helps get people excited by showing them exactly what success will look like.
The client you’re pitching to might have to report back to their higher-ups in order to get the sign-off, and you’ll be making their job a lot easier if you send them back with some attractive numbers.
3. Show other examples
It might seem like you’re admitting to a lack of originality in your idea, but don’t be scared to show examples of similar pieces of work during the content pitch. This helps not only get your visual concepts across effectively but also demonstrates that similar ideas have been successful before (but yours will be much better, of course).
This works even better if you can show them an example from your own portfolio. Perhaps you’re pitching an interactive timeline content project? If you’ve created a timeline content piece before, or if you’ve developed a tool that utilized similar features to the one you are pitching now, make sure you show it off to demonstrate your creative and technical abilities.
4. Show every part of the process
When presenting a content idea to the client, one of the most important aspects is convincing them that you can carry the project through to completion. Always be sure to include a bit of information on how you plan to carry out the research, how many designers/writers/developers will be involved in the project, and how you plan on outreaching the piece to get it noticed and picked up.
The client, or whoever you are pitching to, will instinctively hesitate if they get the impression that they will have to be picking up the pieces of a partially-finished project, so make sure you convince them that you have the ability to manage every part of the project from start to finish.
5. Accept their alterations
So, you’ve spent the last 15 minutes pitching your idea (bonus tip: Don’t spend more than 15 minutes, tops, pitching a content idea – any longer and you’ll lose their interest!) and you’re confident that it’s gone well. Naturally, you’ll turn to the client and ask: ‘Any questions?’
Of course, what you get is five minutes of questions, and then 10 minutes of them poking holes in it. We know – it’s disheartening and leaves you feeling pretty dejected. But to ignore their comments here is a grave mistake.
Firstly, it’s always good to have a cynical eye looking over your idea and pointing out any issues you might have missed. It gives you a chance to explain how you’ll solve them, and in the end, can lead to a stronger concept altogether.
Secondly, if the client (or whoever you’re pitching to) wants one thing in your idea changed and you grant this to them, they will instantly become more invested. It’s an old office adage: the quickest path to success is to make your boss think your great idea is actually theirs. The same is true in pitching an idea. If you listen to the client’s feedback, incorporate some of their ideas in the concept, and then show them the finished result, they are far more likely to give you the green light. Obviously, we’re not suggesting that you just sit back and let them do your job for you, but never underestimate how well people respond to being part of the creative and decision-making process.
Pitching content ideas is rarely easy, and by definition, you can’t find success every time. To make sure you’re amplifying effective content, preparation is key. As a digital marketing agency that firmly believes in the importance of great content, our tips here might just get the response you crave the next time you put a content idea in front of a decision maker. Get in touch today to find out more- we’re here to help!