Just by reading the headline of this article you may be thinking “I already know how to measure the return on investment of my blog.” After all, checking your click-to-conversion data is relatively simple. However, calculating blogging ROI isn’t as straightforward as other ROI data.
Click-to-conversion data doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to the return on investment of your blog, and if, like 53 per cent of marketers, you’ve made blogging one of your top inbound marketing priorities, then it is crucial that you’re measuring the time you spend on blogging and determining if it really is worth it.
Blogging isn’t free, and to really excel at a content marketing plan you have to invest a lot of time and resources into the content you create. Because of this, you owe it to yourself and your business to ensure that your efforts are worth the time and energy being put towards them.
Every time you publish content you are creating a new opportunity to attract business. Whether your customers are B2B or B2C, here are four ways you can measure the effectiveness of your blog and truly capture all of the metrics for your return on investment.
Before we get too far into things, let’s start by defining ROI. ROI or return on investment will strongly be determined by the content goals of your business. As such, the key performance indicators you choose to focus on may vary depending on your individual goals, but it’s safe to say increasing sales is likely a goal of your company.
These, then, are the metrics you should be paying attention to:
- Leads generated
- Conversion rate
- Website traffic
- Direct sales
Which metric(s) you focus on will largely depend on what stage of the process you are at, but until you have a significant amount of traffic coming in (this can vary depending on industry and marketing goals, but a good ballpark is 10k unique visits per month) then there’s an argument to be made for only paying attention to website traffic. After all, without consistent, incoming readers, all other numbers could be skewed or inconsequential.
ROI isn’t JUST these metrics, however. There are more complicated ways blog content can provide ROI such as:
- Brand awareness
- Better customer retention
- Links from large publications
- Strong relationships with thought leaders and influencers
- Higher Google search rankings
Engagement and Content Reach
If you’re already running a blog and struggling with engagement or just getting started, the first things you should focus on are engagement and reach metrics.
Build your audience by blogging on a number of different topics within your niche market. See which posts resonate the most with your audience then encourage your audience to share those pieces.
To increase engagement consider increasing the promotion of your blog content. This alone could be an entire job on a marketing team. Look to build relationships in your community, syndication opportunities and share your content on free sites such as Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn. Additionally, paid channels such as Outbrain or LinkedIn ads could be a good resource for growing engagement.
Cost of Customer Acquisition
To truly evaluate the cost of customer acquisition, track the unique traffic you get and from which sources. Gather information like social shares, comments, and visitors. With that information, you can calculate the cost of writing and publishing that post by how many views, shares, and comments it received. Once you have that number, you can determine an average cost-per-view and compare it with your other online channels. Are these numbers similar? Worse? Better?
By understanding how much it costs your business to acquire a new customer you gain valuable insight into how much you and your business should invest in blogging or how you can change your current strategy.
Unless you’re specifically blogging about a product with a direct link to an online shop, blogging doesn’t always mean a direct sale. But that doesn’t mean it’s not contributing to the final deal.
One way to measure the ROI of your blog is to track lead generation. The most common of lead generation techniques is to encourage readers to subscribe to your blog – via sidebar ads or sign-up forms at the bottom of your content – or to submit contact info in exchange for gated content like research, a white paper or a how-to guide. This is a great way to start a connection with your customers because it’s not intimidating. If you’re offering relevant and high-quality content, potential customers will be happy to submit their contact information. Couple this with a well-run sales team and many of these prospects will become qualified leads.
The metric to focus on here is the cost-to-get-a-prospect. From this cost, you can determine the percentage of prospects that become qualified leads and then the percentage of qualified leads that become customers. Eventually, you or your marketing team will be able to calculate the revenue generated from leads that entered the sales funnel via your blog.
When considering the overall usefulness of your blog, keep in mind that you need to track intangibles like: time spent researching, networking, writing and engaging with industry. Time is money, and if a great deal more time is going into these activities while the ROI is low then it may be time to reconsider your blogging strategy.
But also keep in mind that blogging is a long-term plan. While you may not see a return in the first couple of months, you should be seeing one after the first year. Keep an eye on your sales cycle, referrals and lead generation as key performance indicators of how your blogging and content plan is going.
Measuring your blogs’ ROI may seem a little daunting and cumbersome, however, it can be made easier by keeping a strong focus on your goals and objectives. This will lend weight to the metrics that will ultimately mean the most to your business.
A blog is a great first touch point for your business to create leads and garner interest in your product or service. Focus on making your content valuable to your target demographic and in no time, you should be able to measure the success of your campaigns.