The ROI of blog content isn’t as obvious as a conversion click, but its success can be traced in other ways.
ROI metrics show the profitability of different marketing strategies. The usual equation is simple: the income from the investment minus the cost of the investment, divided by the cost of the investment. However, for many of us in the content marketing arena, just focusing on a revenue to blog content ratio isn’t always the best way to measure the effectiveness of your content. Hosting a blog for your business is a great way to provide your customers with educational resources, build brand awareness, and engage in the industry conversation, but it can get frustrating when you can’t measure its direct success.
Any good salesperson knows that it takes repeated contact to make a sale. A blog is part of that total sales funnel, not a single item. Measuring the revenue impact of a single sales funnel item only considers first / last contact situations – when the blog was the first or last place a prospect visited before they did. a purchase. Instead of looking at the return on your blog content investment in dollars alone, consider a combination of three measurable categories to track the effectiveness of your blog content.
1. Commitment and reach
By blogging and creating written content, you are exposing your brand to a wider audience. When starting your blog content efforts, you should first focus on engagement and audience metrics. Grow your audience and understand what type of content resonates most with your readers before trying to convert them directly into customers.
See also: How LearnVest Became a Trusted Authority Through Content
To boost engagement, focus on encouraging readers to share your content and comments. Track unique traffic, the number of social shares your blog receives each month, and the number of comments you receive. How many likes and shares are your social media posts getting? Based on the ROI, you can calculate the cost of writing and publishing that post based on the number of views and shares it gets. Determine an average cost per view and compare it to the costs of other online channels.
Promoting your content is just as important as creating content. That alone should be a full role in your marketing team – just focusing on improving the reach and engagement of your content through partnerships, syndication, social media, etc. Posting your content through social channels and user-generated content websites like Reddit are great ideas that are free. For paid channels, consider using promotional services like Outbrain, Disqus, or LinkedIn ads.
Examples of blogs that encourage subscription commitment:
2. Lead generation and subscriptions
Blogging doesn’t always drive immediate sales, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t contribute to the final deal. That’s why one way to measure ROI is to track lead generation. The most common lead generation techniques are to encourage readers to subscribe to your blog, join your newsletter list, or submit contact information to access blocked content. It’s a great call to action (CTA) once you start gaining traction after hitting your reach and engagement goals. A blog subscription is a very effective lead generation tool because it offers a soft and organic CTA. It’s not intimidating and if you have relevant, high quality content then your audience should be happy to give you their contact details.
With a well-managed lead generation team and a marketing automation tool, many of those leads will become qualified leads over time for sales to be made. The obvious ROI metric here is to focus on the cost of getting a lead (relevant email address). From this cost, you can determine the percentage of leads that become qualified leads, the percentage of qualified leads that become opportunities, and the percentage of opportunities won. Ultimately, your marketing team will be able to calculate the revenue generated by the leads that entered the funnel from the blog content.
An example funnel might look like this:
Or the Marketo funnel:
Examples of blogs that capture information about prospects via newsletter subscriptions or secure content (usually ebooks, white papers or guides):
3. Direct sales and revenue
The third category of measuring your content’s ROI is a direct sale or registration for a product or service from a blog post. Blog posts are usually not the best place to promote a direct product or service CTA, but in some situations this can be a great strategy. Placing a CTA to entice blog readers to buy a service or product is not recommended as that reader is usually not very qualified and it may be too early to push a sale. A blog is often a place to learn and research a topic or general question. Still, if you have significant blog traffic, consider pushing direct sales and measuring conversion rates for ROI.
Some blogs direct readers to account creation for their service or direct them to their product page:
Atlassian (Product page CTA):
Udemy (Register CTA Account):
CopyBlogger (CTA registration):
It’s important to remember that measuring the effectiveness of your blog content can be categorized into different categories. It’s not as simple as placing an ad and measuring direct clicks on conversions. In fact, some of your blog’s content efforts cannot be measured. Consider this situation: A potential customer watches a blog and it is updated once a month versus another blog which is updated daily – which corporate brand promotes a more trustworthy image? You can try to measure this by looking at how many subscribers are reading your blog before making a purchase, but it depends on whether they are viewing your blog and making the purchase on the same visit.
Having a strong blog presence helps build brand awareness, trust, loyalty, lead generation, and sales. Start by creating content that encourages an engaged audience and get that audience to subscribe before you sell your products or services to them.
How do you measure the success of your blog content? Share your stories with us in the comments section below.