So your boss has told you that you need to start doing some content marketing, but he also wants to see regular reports and a clear ROI from your marketing spend.
What are you going to do?
Surely, as everyone knows, content marketing has a low ROI; it’s never going to get you the big bang for your buck that you need to demonstrate in a short space of time?!?
Well, that might just be where you’re wrong.
For one thing, it’s not necessarily true that content marketing has a low ROI. For another, there are ways of showing a correlation between the content you’ve been publishing on your website and the increase in traffic to your website.
Let’s take these two issues one at a time.
Does Content Marketing Have A Low ROI?
It’s true that, for many years, the myth has been spread around that content marketing has a low return on investment. You have to employ marketeers to come up with a winning strategy, copywriters to write the content, web techs to upload the content and maintain the website, SEO folk to optimise it, social media marketers to share it all over the internet…the list goes on and the costs mount up.
Plus content marketing is a long-term game. You might have to employ content marketing techniques for years before your plan comes together and your company is suddenly deluged with good quality leads.
And then what do you really get from all that in return? A few more folk on your website?
Well…to that I say PAH!
Here at GrowTraffic, we’ve been doing content marketing both for ourselves and our clients for almost 10 years now, so we know that it works. But we also know that, in relative terms, the ROI is actually not bad.
For example, the Harvard Business Review published this article entitled Comparing the ROI of Content Marketing and Native Advertising, which clearly shows that content marketing comes out on top in terms of the cost incurred and what you get for it. And it’s actually a good amalgamation of several similar articles published by others, so the data seems to be reliable.
Having said that, there was an article published more recently on Responsive Inbound Marketing, entitled Comparing The ROI Of Content Marketing And Paid Advertising, which seems to come down ever-so-slightly on the side of paid advertising as giving you more bang for your buck. But the difference is marginal and, as the writer herself points out, there is one massive drawback to paid advertising; once you stop paying for it, you have gained nothing. With a content marketing approach, even if you stop it for a while, all that lovely content you’ve created goes nowhere and even continues to benefit your website for a long time to come.
Hence, all-in-all, when you compare the ROI of content marketing to other forms of digital marketing, I’d argue that, if it’s not on a par, then it’s certainly not far behind.
So that’s that myth busted; now on to my second point.
How Do I Measure The ROI Of Content Marketing?
If you’re going to be able to justify doing content marketing in the first place, then the next thing you need to be able to do is measure the ROI accurately.
There’s actually a fairly simple formula to working out the ROI of your content marketing and it is explained brilliantly in this article by Databox, entitled A Simple Way to Measure Content Marketing ROI.
OK, I say simple…it involves maths. Quite a lot of maths actually. And numbers. As a ‘words’ person, I don’t do maths or numbers, so working out the ROI for me would simply be a job I delegated to someone else.
However, there is a way of doing it and, if you know how much money you have spent on content marketing and then how much profit you have made, you can work out, in a reliable way, how cost effective content marketing is.
And then you will be able to see that my point number 1, above, is completely correct.
Of course, if you wanted to go for a less maths-orientated approach, then you could simply use Google Analytics to demonstrate how much more traffic the content you have published on your website has brought in.
For example, if you annotate in Google Analytics when blog posts are published, you should then be able to see whether or not there is any corresponding spike in traffic following them.
This is one of our clients; they only have a blog once per fortnight – so they’re hardly the last of the big spenders – but even then, you can begin to see a correlation between when a blog post is published and when the traffic to the website increases;
This is the kind of thing that makes me happy.
And besides the traffic, there are other metrics too that can demonstrate nicely how effective your content marketing strategy is being, such as a decreasing bounce rate or an increasing average session duration. It really depends on your priorities and pre-determined goals.
How Do I Justify Content Marketing To My Boss?
So, that brings us neatly round to the entire point of the blog post. How do you justify content marketing when everyone believes that it has a really low ROI?
Well, first of all, you point out that it’s actually likely to get you a decent ROI. In fact, in the long run, it’ll serve you a damn site better than many other methods of digital marketing you could try.
Secondly, you sing the praises of content marketing and explain how much it will benefit the business. This article by Content Marketing Institute, entitled How to Explain Content Marketing ROI to Win (or Keep) Buy-In, will help.
Thirdly, you tell them that, essentially, if they don’t do it now, then they’re going to miss out on a big trick. Because you can guarantee that at least one of your main competitors is doing it and, if you don’t want to get left behind, you’d better jump on the bandwagon too.
And after all that, you come and have a chat with GrowTraffic and we’ll get you started on the right path!
As I’ve already mentioned, we’ve been doing content marketing now for almost a decade, so we know what’s required, what will work and what will get you a decent ROI on your investment.