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5 Tips for Calculating Content Marketing ROI

I was reading a article about this very topic where the crux of the article was a simple formula:

ROI = (Revenue Generated – Cost of Content Marketing) / Cost of Content Marketing

While a valid calculation, there are a few challenges to this. For example, to come up with the revenue Generated value, how do you attribute revenue to a specific piece of content? This is where the rubber meets the road; where marketing execution, technology, tracking mechanisms and analytics all need to come into play to ensure you have an ability to say beyond a shadow of doubt this revenue came from that content.

Even I'm making it sound easier than it is. So here are a few suggestions:

  1. Think about reporting first - when you are planning a social media campaign, or a bunch of new blog posts that point to downloading your product, think about what kind of reporting is needed to allow for proper attribution. For example, if you're doing a set of blog posts that will have a call-to-action to purchase, you'll need to think about how the online cart can report on sources of revenue so you can properly attribute revenue. Add this need into your planning.

  2. Use some form of tracking - When it's not as "easy" as sending someone to a cart to purchase, but instead involves creating leads to pass to sales, tracking leads into campaigns, etc. it's a lot more complex. In my previous lives, we used everything from a simple parameter in a destination URL that was passed to our lead generation platform to Google Ecommerce Tracking, and everything in between to attribute revenue or leads to a specific execution.

  3. Assign a Cost - this isn't as easy as it sounds. Sure you can use the cost of the outsourced content creation, but what about in-house staff, marketing automation platforms, etc.? Not everyone will calculate the same way, but you need to figure this out.

  4. Give the Content a Timeframe - Since content lives forever on the Internet, if nothing else choose a period of time in which to review the ROI so you can change directions as needed.

  5. Start Simple - if you're new to content marketing, don't start with a complex mix of social media, your blog, followup emails from your marketing automation platform and registration on your website. That's just too much. Try to build a simple execution that is measurable and trackable.

As you can see, there's a lot to think about when trying to calculate the ROI of your content marketing. With proper planning, a mix of technical and marketing execution and a measure of analytics, you should be able to calculate whether your content marketing is making you money.


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