Currently, online ads are seeing a headwind from ad blocking tools. Some predictions say that 30% of internet users will start using some kind of ad blocking tool by the end of 2018.

As ad blockers gain in popularity, content marketing becomes even more attractive. But how effective is content marketing at achieving your organization’s goals? How do you know you are getting good results for your investment in content?

Measure your content’s ROI

On average, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. And it can generate up to 3 times more leads. Yet the biggest challenge for 39% of marketers is to prove their content marketing delivers a meaningful return on investment.

Great content is about making readers happy and helping them solve their problems. But content isn’t free and executives want to see real numbers before deciding to invest. You need to demonstrate this is a good way to get a sales lead. One of the best ways to get executive buy-in is to produce hard numbers. Prove you can deliver a meaningful ROI with engaging content and you’ll get their support.

Start with cost

Begin by determining how much your content costs. It’s a myth that great content costs little to nothing. Content is written by human beings, and they need to eat. Calculate how much time is spent creating content and divide that by a monthly salary. Imagine a writer gets paid $4,000 per month. If an article took a week to be created, then the cost of the content is $1000.

If you work with freelancers or content creation agencies, include the fees for all their services. These services should include the cost of video, audio, visuals, and any written materials created.

Keep in mind that several people are involved in the content creation process. For example, a typical article might feature text, images, and website formatting. If you do some of these yourself then be sure to add in the cost of your own time.

Track consumption

Audit all channels where your content is being distributed, and check key metrics such as content reach, website visits, social media conversations, and backlinks. Google Analytics is amazing for figuring out where visitors originated, and what actions they took on your site. Ahrefs can help you see where you acquired backlinks.

Evaluate Action Taken

Visitors are a vanity metric! At the end of the day, it’s sales that pay the bills. To get sales, you need lots of sales leads. Using Google Analytics figures out how many leads, downloads, subscriptions, and more kinds of content is received. If you aren’t already using Analytics to track conversions, then set up a “Goal” and it will tell you how many conversions you received, and which pages are generating results.

Show me the money

Once your content starts generating sales leads, jump into your CRM (sales tracking software) and look at your sales. What’s the average value of a new client? Don’t forget to consider the long term value of a new client. If they pay $2000 per year and the average client duration is 3 years then the lifetime sale value is $6000.

Put it together

When you can answer the 3 questions above then you can easily demonstrate the value of your content. Here is an example:

Content Cost: $600
Avg Visitors per Month: 100
Avg Leads per Month: 3 (content conversion at 3%)
Sale Conversions: 1 in 10 leads becomes a client
Sale Value: $4000

Using the table above we can see that over 24 months a single piece of content can generate revenue of $28,800. Here’s how that looks:

24 months x 3 leads / month x 10% sales conversion x $4000 sale value = $28,800

Clearly, content that performs well and attracts relevant visitors is worth investment. But take the time to input your own numbers to see if content will generate a great ROI for you.

Conclusion

Tracking and measuring your content efforts is not only for calculating ROI. You can use it to see which content performs well. Proper tracking will give you insight into what your audience really wants. This way, you can adapt the content strategy to match your audience’s needs. The more insights you have, the more you will be able to create content that resonates with your prospects. Which, in the end, leads to more sales and better ROI.

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