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Calculating the ROI of your Content Marketing


By Boaz Grinvald, CEO, BrightInfo

With content marketing a growing trend, businesses spend a lot of time and effort creating more content to attract the right audience and engage with online visitors. But when you are working on a new piece of content, how do you know if it will generate results? What can you learn from your existing content to inform new strategies and maximize ROI?

Here are some key steps to understanding and quantifying the ROI of content marketing:

1.      Calculate costs

The costs of content marketing are typically divided into three buckets – strategy, creation and distribution. For each content piece, you will spend man-hours (in-house, through outsourcing or both) creating a content strategy and roadmap, generating specific content items and distributing the content through organic means (Web, Blog, Social) or paid channels. The collective costs of planning, creation and distribution can be calculated based on your costs per hour of labor and fees for services.

2.      Define your KPI

What is the objective for this content item? Are you hoping to drive engagement? Attract more visitors or have them stay longer on your site? Perhaps your content is gated by a registration or contact form and your goal is leads. Defining your desired outcome will determine what you measure and how.

Measuring engagement

Typical goals for content engagement include more visitors, higher content consumption, better SEO rankings (as search engines pick up on your non-gated content) and potentially more inbound links if your content lives within other publications. Metrics such as time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate are also good indicators of your content quality and how engaging it is for your visitors.

When you introduce a new content piece, you will want to measure how many times its read compared to other similar items and if it is helping you improve your overall site performance in terms of visitors, time on site, pages viewed etc.

You might also consider the typical “customer journey” a visitor to your B2B site might take from general information to product- content. If you want visitors to progress through your content toward conversion, you must ensure all the stepping stones are in place. If you’re missing a solution brief, for example, you may want to create one to see if it helps buyers move faster from your industry content to product oriented content.

Measuring leads

Leads are typically measured in terms of quantity and quality. Clearly, quality takes longer to measure because you need feedback from farther down the sales pipeline, but paying customers are what really matter in the end. Short term measurement would include the number of leads you got from your new content piece, and once sales contacts those leads, you can quickly measure their quality in comparison to other content items.

3.      Analyze and take action

By establishing your costs, goals and methodology, you can begin to compare the ROI of different content items and optimize your content marketing efforts. Are those complex white papers worth the time? Are your flash-based product demos hits or misses? Should you ramp up your pursuit of customer case studies?

You put too much effort into your content marketing to guess at the cost/benefit ratio. Put some numbers behind your strategy, and you’ll market more efficiently and successfully.