Measuring your Content Strategy ROI

Content! Content? Content! You must write more content to be noticed!

Here’s why you should implement a content strategy as a core piece of your marketing strategy.

We know that content brings us soft benefits including public trust, engaged prospects, expert status and happier clients, but what about the ROI?

“How much is this content going to make?”
“How many leads will we get?”
“How much money will it make us over the next quarter?”

Do the above questions sound familiar?

Those are the tough questions that senior marketers are tasked to answer on a frequent basis as they continually work to explain the importance of content to those responsible for the bottom line. Content marketing is often not an easy sell to those focused more on immediate results and the hard benefits.

How do you prove that content marketing and strategy development is the way to go?

You have to know what to measure. Create trend lines and benchmarks and be able to track the value. It will take work, but if you can get them to understand that while content is not a quick fix or instant lead generator it will create a strong presence and by having a solid inbound marketing plan. Studies show you have the ability to increae your leads 4.2 times your current lead rate.

Learn how to measure your content efforts in a way that your CEO, COO and CFO can understand.

This week I was asked a question that is becoming more and more common when I explain the importance of content strategy.
“What ROI do you expect with that?”

Now, if I could say from implementing a successful content strategy you should see an increase of 35% in sales and 5 new leads per week it would be a pretty easy sell. Unfortunately content isn’t that cut and dry. That’s also the reason many companies get fired up when they start their blog and then the effort dwindles off and the company blog dies.

Of course content brings value – but how do you measure the value?

Content isn’t the easy fix, it’s not the quick lead generator. We know the soft benefits of a content strategy that is executed correctly includes public trust, engaged prospects, expert status and happier clients, but what about the hard benefits of content, like ROI? It takes time and sometimes that could mean up to six months or more. It’s an investment of time and one you have to be dedicated and consistent in order to see the results in the long run.

A study done by HubSpot in 2010 showed that even three years ago if you consistently created content and implemented a solid inbound marketing plan you could increase leads by 4.2 times your current lead flow within a matter of a few months. The problem with most content strategies is that they are not consistent and before you know it content dries up and along with that go the leads.

When it comes to content marketing there are a few things you must keep in mind when it comes to measuring your ROI.

Know What to Measure

What is a conversion to you? Is it a telephone call? Is it a lead generated via a form? Is it increasing your RSS subscribers? If your goal in content marketing is to increase eyeballs, create a baseline to show where you are starting from and measure the results on a consistent basis. Chart your progress, by doing so you’ll be encouraged and fueled to continue.

Don’t Discount the Obvious
As you continue to write content take note of the following:

  • Facebook likes increase.
  • Visitors are taking time to leave comments.
  • The time visitors spend on your website is increasing, visiting more pages and are engaged.
  • Retweets are happening on Twitter.
  • Professionals are sharing your information on LinkedIn.
  • More inbound links are being generated, people are sharing your information.
  • Your Twitter followers and mentions have increased.
  • Develop a trend line and measure the above successes in order to measure your impact and how you are resonating with others.

Measure Lead Value Indicators

All businesses want more leads, but quantity isn’t the only thing you should be looking at. You’ve identified what you want to measure, but what about the following value indicators:

  • Lead quality.
  • Lifetime value of a lead.
  • Customer and client retention of leads generated.
  • Timespan of sales cycle.
  • Lead referrals.
  • As you start to measure the above and identify the content that pulls in quality leads it’s easier to tailor your content strategy towards what your prospects are looking for.

Other areas to watch as key performance indicators that will show how well your content strategy is performing include:

Increase in brand awareness via search engines like Google / Bing and Yahoo! as well as online and offline public relations.

  • Search engine rank for keyword terms that are important to your business. Look at both long term and short tail terms.
  • Social media growth through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You are looking for more likes and followers as well as the sharability of the content you are pushing out.
  • Lead generation and how well they convert. Ideally these would come from new website visitors or those that are calling you from information they have read on your website.

By using the key performance indicators above and also monitoring the value of leads that are generated you will be well on your way to creating a starting point that you can use to monitor results. You can also use this information to guide you in where you will want to put your focus when it comes to new content. Be patient, be consistent and track the results over time you’ll be able to show the full benefit of content marketing.

Featured Article by Laura Lake,