In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, The Lorem Ipsum Co is featured as one of the Top Content Marketing Agencies in the United States. Check out their profile here.

Content marketing has swept the business world over the last decade with businesses committing up to 80 percent of their marketing budgets to the relatively new phenomenon. But do you know if that investment is paying off? If you don’t have a clear way to measure ROI on your content marketing, you’re not alone. In fact, 59 percent of B2B marketers either don’t know or are unsure what successful content marketing looks like, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Image Courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute

If you don’t know if or how a specific piece of content contributed to the bottom line, it’s time for a wakeup call. In order to understand how content can help your business, you need to be able to measure ROI (return on investment) on your content marketing quickly and effectively. Accurately measuring your ROI will ensure you are getting the best results from content marketing.

What is Content Marketing ROI?

Content marketing ROI is the value you receive from your content marketing efforts compared to the costs associated with said efforts, especially the cost to create and distribute content. In order to understand content marketing ROI, you must first understand the goal of your content (i.e., web traffic, brand recognition, revenue, etc.) and then set key performance indicators (KPIs).

A few important KPI to monitor include:

  • Sales/Revenue
  • Web Traffic
  • SEO Improvement
  • Lead Quality
  • On-page Metrics
  • Social Media Engagement

In order to determine ROI, you must understand the cost associated with creating and distributing your content.

Calculating your ROI

For this explanation, let’s assume the goal is increased revenue. Even if you create all content in house, there are costs associated with that time and labor, not to mention your content distribution costs (i.e., PPC or social media advertising). Factor in the cost of stock video and images and any outsourced work as well. Once you have a firm grip on the cost, there’s a simple formula to help you weigh the costs vs. benefit of your content.

When content marketing works as planned, it produces clear, measurable results in the form of web traffic or new sales prospects. The formula created by Convince and Convert, a digital marketing analysis and advisory firm, is one of the best: “Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage.” Here’s an example:

If you spend $1,500 creating and promoting a piece of content and that specific content nets two new sales valued at $2,500 each, that’s a 233 percent ROI.

  1. Return minus investment – $5,000 – $1,500 = $3,500
  2. Divided by investment – 3,500/$1,500 = 2.33
  3. Expressed as a percentage – 2.33 x 100 = 233

If you spend less creating a piece of content than you can accurately measure it earning in sales, it’s successful. However, content doesn’t always translate into direct revenue. Many content marketing metrics produce an ROI without obvious ties to income.

Here are a few of the top content marketing KPIs and how to measure them:

  1. Web Traffic: Web traffic is perhaps the single most important metric to measure content marketing success. Without traffic, there’s no revenue. To monitor the amount of traffic a specific content asset is producing, Google Analytics is the choice of most content marketers. You can build UTM tags to track and monitor content or campaign performance.
  2. SEO Improvement: Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand in hand. When a piece of content performs well, your entire website benefits through increased domain authority. To gauge SEO performance, you need to monitor how your content ranks for the target keyword. Many free and paid software services, such as Moz, monitor keyword performance.
  3. Social Media Engagement: Successful content can also produce ROI offsite. Social media is a perfect example. If the goal of your content is to grow your social media following, monitoring engagement is crucial. With so many purchasing decisions influenced by peer recommendations, social media growth should be a top ROI metric. Most social media channels have built-in analytics to help you monitor week-over-week or month-over-month growth and engagement.

It’s important to know that you do not need to track every single KPI. You can choose which metrics best suit your business and content goals. You can also change which metrics your monitor between content pieces. As long as you set concrete goals, you can easily and effectively measure ROI on your content marketing.

Now that you know what to measure and how; it’s time to get busy creating content with those specific goals in mind and watch the returns roll in!

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Jeramy Gordon

Jeramy Gordon is the Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company, a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in content marketing. With nearly two decades of experience creating and honing award-winning content strategies, Jeramy and his team strive to help brands break through the barriers and static associated with online marketing and grow their businesses. The Lorem Ipsum Company has offices in Orange County, Calif., and Santa Barbara.

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