FORBES Council Feature: Creating A Content Strategy That Speaks To The C-Suite
Welcome to the C-suite. If you’re looking for the decision-makers and executives to pitch your digital marketing strategies to, you’ve come to the right place. For those new to this domain, finding the right strategy to approach these executives can be challenging. I’ve worked with C-suite executives to manage their branding, content strategy, and digital marketing. More than any group of business leaders, if you want to get and keep their attention, you need a focused strategy that speaks directly to them. You have to grip their attention quickly and respect their time. These men and women don’t have time to browse social media looking for you—they have businesses to run. So, let’s look at how you can build a winning C-suite content strategy.
What Is The C-Suite?
The C-level or C-suite encompasses the high-ranking executive titles in an organization. The “C” is derived from the word “chief” in many of these titles—chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and so on. These individuals matter because they are the ones who sit on the board for corporations. They are the ones in charge of green-lighting projects, including marketing and outreach.
Working at the C-level has challenges you won’t typically find with small-business owners and mid-level decision-makers. These individuals have a different focus when it comes to their business. Whereas a small-business owner is still in the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day operations of their business and looking for a partner to carry some of that weight, a C-level executive has likely left that part of running the business years ago. They’re not looking for someone to pull weight and save time; they need innovation.
3 Components Of A C-Suite Strategy
If you want the attention of the C-suite, you must show them that your methods are innovative. Prove to them that you know your business (digital marketing) and their business. Remember that you also have to get through their gatekeepers—assistants and midlevel executives—who filter out unimportant messaging to these executives. So, what gets through?
• Design that gets attention: Your designs should be bold and purposeful. When I create visual content, I don’t just take into consideration color and what words or images I should use. I look at where those words are placed, giving weight to the most important message.
• Content that addresses specific C-level needs: When you target the C-suite, you need to know what they’re looking for and have an answer ready for them. For example, I follow Web3 and cryptocurrency carefully because so many high-level investors are actively engaging with these markets. Understand what your audience wants to know. Be ready to show them how they can convert their time and investment into something marketable, and provide them with direct answers.
• The source (you) needs to be credible: You must demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise in both marketing and the niche you’re using when you target the C-suite. You also need expertise in their business. But having that knowledge is not enough. Get yourself out there to demonstrate your know-how and expertise. Book a guest spot on a podcast where C-suite professionals are a target audience. Purchase ad space where they will see you.
Creating Engaging Digital Content For The C-Suite
Now that you know what your content needs, let’s look at how to get the work done. How do you create engaging content that will get through the C-suite gatekeepers and to the eyes you’re looking for?
• Create content that looks toward growth: Executive audiences are always looking for ways to grow their business, whether through innovation, acquisition or reaching new markets. If your content can show them a novel way to grow, you’ll get their attention.
• Keep an eye on what is important in organizational changes and growth: If you’re suggesting strategic business changes, be ready to address specific needs and opportunities. When I look at innovations in digital marketing, I look at what has succeeded and what pitfalls others have fallen into so that my clients are prepared for success and avoid failure and unnecessary risks.
• Make technology and innovation key features of your digital marketing strategy: C-level executives are always looking for ways to make their organizations more efficient. If you can present to them a clear ROI (return on investment) for your digital marketing plan that features the efficiency they’re looking for, you will have a winner.
• Become a resource for innovation: Stay on top of new developments in technology and digital marketing, then become a resource. I maintain a blog where I feature digital marketing innovations and regularly tweet and retweet about new trends on Twitter. By becoming a source of reliable information, I position myself to be who executives reach out to for new strategies.
Risk And Reward
The C-suite is a target demographic that requires something important. Engaging with this level of decision-maker requires a willingness to put yourself out there, to engage directly with risk, and sometimes even speak to and about a controversial topic. This means learning about risky innovations that may succeed or fail.
Why do I talk about emerging technologies and their possibilities, even though they’re still in development? The reasoning is twofold. First, being in a new, energized conversation gets my name out there. I get past the gatekeepers and into the eyes of the C-suite because I’m talking about the kinds of innovations they look for.
Second, if I’m willing to take a risk with my own digital marketing strategies and see them succeed or pick up and rebuild when they don’t, I prove my ability to do this for the C-suite as well. Risk is inherent to any large undertaking and failure is not an endpoint. If you demonstrate your understanding of this key facet of high-level business marketing, you will win the trust of the C-suite.