At times, does it seem like you’re blogging into the abyss? When you first begin to get serious about content, it can be tricky to know whether your efforts are paying off. After all, with all the time and money devoted to making your website a genuinely-useful hub of information for prospective clients, are you actually going to make any money at the end of it?
Relax. As long as you’re following the right advice, chances are you’ll be making sales already from your content. But to put your mind at ease, we’ve one or two tips to help you on how you can figure out exactly how much revenue can be attributed to your sparkling new website content so you can make an informed decision about your approach to content in the future.
Check out our guide to important SEO metrics or for help with reporting on content performance, get in touch with the FINALLY team.
What is content ROI?
Content marketing ROI – or return on investment – is a tricky thing to get to grips with, at least initially. It’s estimated that only 43% of B2B companies measure it but as you’ll soon discover, tracking your content ROI is essential if you want to make a success of your content marketing.
Put simply, content ROI is how much money you make from your content versus how much you spent. Usually presented as a percentage, content ROI is a pretty useful metric to have since it’s based on the actual revenue your content makes. And nothing spells success better than Cold. Hard. Cash.
That said, there are plenty of other content performance metrics, including sessions, page views, shares, and other engagement statistics which aren’t necessarily tracked by content ROI. It’s up to each individual business to incorporate these into their KPIs – or key performance indicators – to keep a close eye on how your content is performing.
How to measure content marketing ROI?
Measuring content ROI is crucial if you want to keep devoting resources to activities where they’ll make the most impact. But how do you do this?
Let’s put this into perspective: say it costs you £200 to produce a 1000-word blog. Bear in mind that your costs come from more than just writing content – keyword research, uploading to your website, and marketing your content once it goes live should all be included in your overall figure. And don’t be fooled, even free marketing platforms like social media are an expense (for instance, the time to publish a post and report on its results) and should be factored into your costs.
Now from that blog, you could tell that ten readers went on to make a purchase, the revenue of which equates to £300, your ROI would be £300 - £200 = £100. And, because we’re marketers, we love to put these figures into a percentage which makes your ROI for this example look a little bit like this:
By working out your content ROI as a percentage, you’ll create a yardstick for your content marketing that is comparable to your other outreach efforts (for instance, paid advertising).
Four steps to managing your content marketing ROI
Step one: work out how much you currently spend on content
Add up all of your costs associated with producing a piece of content – even the things which have nothing to do with the actual writing, from your keyword research to the time it takes to publish it on your website.
Step two: establish a budget
Next, work out how much to invest into your overall content efforts. This could include the writing, and promotion of all of your different content formats, but should not exhaust it. There are loads of other outlets for your content production line which can deliver a respectable ROI. Guest blogging on other websites in your industry and contributing to comments or webinar chats can be highly lucrative. SEO guru Neil Patel famously generated $25,000 by leaving 249 comments on other blogs.
Step three: get your tracking right
Setting up tracking links to add to the URLs you’re including as links in your blog will allow you to keep tabs on where your visitors go, and more importantly, what they buy on your website after visiting your content. These tracking links can be easily set up in Google Analytics. For help with setting up Google Analytics on your website, read our guide.
Step four: calculate your cost-benefit analysis
Once your tracking links have been active for a while (just how long will depend on how much traffic your website gets), your next step would be to start a cost-benefit analysis of your existing content. Using the content marketing ROI formula above, try to find out how well your content performs, on average. This will not only become your baseline figure (that is, what all future success is measured against), it’ll also give you an idea if your content is costing more to produce than you make from it.
If your content ROI is on the low side, it’s important to keep things in perspective. If you’re new to content marketing, chances are it’ll take a while for you to find your feet. Read on for some tidbits of advice on how to maximize your content ROI today.
Content marketing and ROI: how to make it a success?
Businesses with an active blog generate 68% more leads than those without one, with most experiencing a boost after they publish 20+ articles. However, this will only work if you’re consistent. Don’t make the mistake of blogging every once in a while when you want to let off some steam about something. This isn’t your Livejournal (remember those?), this is your company blog.
Keep content on point
Ahead of putting fingers-to-keyboard, it’s crucial to have a content strategy in place which not only has your keywords, title, content format, and subheadings sorted, but also buy-in from those in charge of marketing your content and measuring its success thereafter. If your content performs well, you need to know exactly what helped so you’re better able to replicate this success in the future.
Measure, measure, measure!
The only way to know if your content is working is to track its performance – and to keep tracking it! As well as your content ROI, measure the metrics that are closely associated with your KPIs, for instance, sessions, dwell time, and bounce rates – each of which will give you an indicator of how engaging your content is.
By looking at both engagement and content ROI you can make assumptions about your content performance: if engagement is high but ROI is low, perhaps you need to include more compelling calls to action to your converting pages within the content. Equally, if your engagement is low but your ROI is high, perhaps you need to think of new ways to market your content, for instance via paid advertising? Start analysing content marketing performance metrics and you’ll get a true measure of how well your content is performing.
To improve your content’s performance, get in touch with the FINALLY team.