How content marketing can return on your investment

As a senior marketer, you want to know that the time, spend and effort you put into your content marketing activity is going to have a return on your investment (ROI). At the end of the day, we’re all in business to make a profit and deliver tangible growth to our respective companies.

If you’re looking into your content marketing ROI, then you’re probably in one of three scenarios:

1. You’re doing a lot of content marketing but it’s having a marginal ROI.

2. You’re doing some content marketing but want to know that if you were to scale it up, you’d see similar ROI.

3. You haven’t begun your content marketing activity because your skeptical of the return on investment that it can bring to your business or you need to build a business case to present to a skeptical stakeholder.

So, let’s begin with the basics.

What is content marketing ROI?

The return on investment of your content marketing and its success are two different things, but they are interdependent. Return on investment focuses almost exclusively on money and time spent on your content marketing activity, whereas success is determined by the objectives and KPIs you have set for the same activity.

At this point, it’s important to note that return on investment for content marketing activity is a long-term game. You will need to invest at the beginning on tasks likes a content strategy and content production to gain financial rewards further down the line, but the good thing is you can benchmark what that activity will be worth in revenue, so you can appropriately scale your efforts.

The other thing to know is that content marketing activity is one of the easier digital disciplines to put quantifiable figures against – this includes revenue.

How to work out your ROI?

ROI = Revenue – Cost of content marketing activity

This is an oversimplified formula but it’s a good place to start. Going forward, you can also measure customer retention, future value and brand visibility – assigning value to your content marketing activity and contrasting it against your spend. Ultimately, you need to find a method that fits your business.

How can content marketing contribute to revenue?

It begins with your target audience. Take a look within your analytics platform (Google Analytics, Adobe Omniture) at the number of sales driven from on-site and off-site content. Identify which pieces of content are clearly resonating with your audience and as a result, are driving revenue.

Analyse why it is that those pieces of content performed so well by asking:

  • What was it in the content that drove your audience to want to make a purchase?
    • Are they inspired by one of your recent blog posts?
    • Seen a compelling offer you’d posted?
    • Read a testimonial on-site that convinced them you were the right business for them.

Once you know what content is driving sales for your business, then build this into a wider content strategy – informed by your data-led personas and brand proposition.

As part of this content strategy, you’ll need to look beyond content specialists to see the full picture.

You could collaborate with:

  • Data specialists to constantly monitor, report on and suggest recommendations for increasing revenue through your content marketing activity.
  • SEO specialists to capture audience intent by doing semantic research and identifying the revenue-driving keywords you want to rank for.
  • UX specialists to address simple conversion issues that could be hindering your users and map user journeys – unique to your personas.
  • Creative specialists to diversify the formats and presentation of your content to keep it engaging and on-brand.

From there on, it’s about constant measurement and reporting to ensure your content strategy and marketing activity is optimised, based on regularly updated audience and sales data.

Benefits of measuring your content marketing ROI

Measuring and reporting the return on investment of your content marketing activity isn’t the most exciting task (unless you’re into business or data analysis) but it is absolutely essential for showcasing the value of your time, spend and effort.

As a senior marketer, it can help you secure additional investment, get future marketing plans approved or simply generate internal and external enthusiasm for your work – all by proving value in revenue.

Get in touch to discuss how we can support with your content marketing to ensure that it drives revenue for your business. We have a friendly team of specialists that can assist with your data-led personas, content strategy, campaigns and measurement.