It’s perhaps the longest-running issue in the world of content marketing. How can you prove to your boss, or your client, that all that hard work and budget you’re pouring into your content strategy is actually paying off?
The good news? You absolutely can tie content marketing to ROI in some concrete, measurable, and numerical ways. The bad news? If your manager or client is constantly hounding you for more evidence that content is bringing in dollar signs, then you have an education problem on your hands.
Here are some tips on firstly, how content is different from other marketing channels when it comes to ROI, and how to explain that to your manager or client. Then, we’ll get into what methods you can use to define the value of your content efforts.
Lesson 1: Not all content should be directly tied to revenue
Yes, there are some types of content that are very easy to tie to revenue. Optimised product and service pages, for example, can easily be linked to the amount of conversions they drive. Even some more casual content, like inspirational pieces or case studies, can be tied.
But it’s important to understand (and teach your managers/clients) that some types of content have other goals – usually this means raising awareness and reaching untapped audiences. If your boss is obsessed with figuring out how much money that funny viral video you put out is bringing in, then they are misunderstanding the purpose of the content piece.
Lesson 2: By its nature, content is a slow revenue stream
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client chase me down a week or so after a content piece has gone live to ask me how well it’s performing. Clients and managers who are used to fast revenue streams, like PPC for example, will want fast results and immediate reports. Unfortunately, content doesn’t work like that, and it likely never will. Content success is cumulative – the more of it you do, the clearer your results will get.
Three ways to track revenue from content
Once you get over the educational hump, and your manager understands the two points above, then it’s time to dive into the actual ways you can report on the value of your content.
1. Track page value in Google Analytics
This is the most basic – and straightforward – way to tie your revenue to content. Setting up page value is pretty simple, and once it’s done, it can easily become a normal part of your reporting or dashboard. It will also help you understand what elements on a page are actually helping drive conversions.
2. Measure incoming leads
Content can be a valuable way to drive leads, but to measure those leads, you need to put some capture mechanisms in place. For example, if you want to know whether your blog is actually pulling in leads, create content that you can use to actually capture lead data. Downloadable, gated content is one example – if your sales team can contact individuals who download an ebook or guide from you, then you know those are leads in the bank.
Tie those leads to potential income for the business using an estimate that compares average number of sales per lead, and average value per sale, and you have a metric you can put in front of your stakeholders.
3. Calculate the value of overall traffic
A web-oriented business won’t make money without organic traffic. And when it comes to pulling in organic traffic, content truly is king. You can correlate value of content by first determining how much additional traffic is worth to your business, and then by demonstrating how much additional traffic was brought in directly by your content.
First, take a look at how many leads you get per X number of organic sessions. You can do this by looking at leads over time and comparing that to the amount of traffic coming into the site. Next, use Google Analytics to assess how much organic traffic your content is pulling in. With these two figures, you should be able to determine exactly what the financial impact content is having for the business, and make an argument to keep doing what you’re doing.
It may not be an easy task, but who said content marketing was simple? With a bit of education and understanding, and some savvy use of Google Analytics (and a calculator), it won’t be hard to prove that content marketing is worth it. To find out more, contact us.