When it comes to running a business effectively, nothing exists in a vacuum. Every part of the business affects other people and various aspects of the company.
To content marketers, that can be frustrating. You know that content marketing is one of the best ways to reach new customers, but it can be challenging to measure and quantify results in a way that decision-makers will understand.
Learning to measure your content marketing ROI, or return on investment, is a great way to demonstrate the power of the strategy you worked so hard to put together. To start measuring your content marketing ROI more accurately, follow these steps.
1. Outline How You Want Your Report to Look
First things first: choose how specific or general you want your ROI to be.
Do you want to know the overall ROI for your entire content marketing strategy? Do you want to know the ROI for each individual blog or content piece? Perhaps you want the ROI for a theme campaign within your content marketing?
All these questions will guide the data you use and the way you reach that magic number. For the purposes of this example, let’s say you want to see the overall ROI for your content marketing blog over the past three months.
2. Calculate Your Creation Costs
The first step in any ROI calculation is adding up all your costs. With content marketing, you need to think about every stage of the content creation process.
Include the cost of your content creators’ time, including the time they spend going back-and-forth with edits and revisions. If you have a separate search engine optimization team, calculate the cost to have them optimize each content piece.
Don’t forget about the publishing process. How much did you pay for an eye-catching stock photo? What about the time your team took to publish the piece on your site and share it on your social media platforms? If there are any paid tools you use to manage different parts of the process, include the cost of those, too.
3. Calculate the Cost to Promote the Content
For companies who want to put extra power behind their content marketing, you’re likely to have paid to promote your content as well. This could include pay-per-click ads, social media ads, and more.
If you did, be sure to write down those costs. Don’t forget the amount you paid your staff to manage those ads, as well as the cost of any tools they used.
4. Identify the Metrics to Watch
Now that you have all your costs in one place, it’s time to look at the “R” in ROI: the return you’ve earned.
This is tricky with content marketing. There are so many different ways your content can lead to a sale, both directly and indirectly. It all comes down to knowing which metrics are relevant in your calculations.
To measure the direct revenue your content is bringing in, start simple. Look at the revenue you earned from people who clicked onto a purchasing page from your content pieces.
This is more difficult if customers can’t purchase items or services on your website. In these cases, though, you can look at the revenue from people who list your blog as their referral source. Of course, to know this, your staff needs to ask that crucial question every time a customer calls: “How did you hear about us?”
On top of this, include any revenue you received which you can trace back to your blog.
For example, let’s say your blog is the first page on your site that a customer visited. They then hopped around to your “About Us” page, the general information page for one of your products, and a few other product pages before making a purchase. Your content marketing should get the credit for that sale because it’s the reason the customer came to your site at all.
5. Add Up Your Revenue from the Content Marketing
Now that you’ve assembled all those metrics to watch on your website and your internal records, add them all together. This gives you the total revenue your content marketing has brought in.
Depending on how your site is organized, this can be a tricky task. However, the trick is to get a system in place so you know exactly where to go and what numbers to use every time you need to find your content marketing ROI.
6. Calculate Your ROI
With all your numbers in hand, it’s time to do the math.
First, take your total direct revenue from your content marketing from step five. Subtract your total costs to produce, publish, and promote that content from steps two and three. This result is your total profit from your content marketing.
Next, divide that profit by your total costs from steps two and three. If you move the decimal to the right two places, that is your content marketing ROI percentage.
For example, let’s say you made a total of $10,000 from your content marketing in three months. You paid a total of $3,000 to produce and promote the content.
That puts your profit at $7,000. When you divide $7,000 by $3,000, you get 2.33. This means you have an excellent ROI of 233%.
7. Take the Indirect Benefits into Account
If your content marketing ROI isn’t as high as you would have hoped, don’t get discouraged. The reason it’s difficult to calculate a true ROI from content marketing is that content marketing plays such a powerful role in the overall big picture.
In reality, the process above tells you the absolute minimum that your ROI could be. Chances are that it’s much higher.
This is why it’s important to have other metrics on hand. Look at how your site’s overall traffic has increased in the time your content marketing has been in place. Are your visitors spending more time on the site? Visiting more pages in each session? Coming from organic search results more often than they used to?
All those statistics demonstrate indirect ways your content marketing is pulling in revenue.
Knowing Your Content Marketing ROI
Keeping tabs on your content marketing ROI is vital for several reasons. First, as we mentioned, it’s the ultimate number your company’s decision-makers will use to justify your content marketing investment. Second, it’s a helpful way to know when your strategy is on track and when it needs some tweaking.
To take your success even further and learn how we can help you boost your online revenue, contact our digital marketing team today.