Do you wish you had an employee who worked 24/7, supported your sales team, audited your sales funnel in real-time, reduced your customer support burden, and worked with search engines to answer your potential customers’ questions? That employee doesn’t exist, but investing in a comprehensive content marketing strategy will strengthen each area over time.
What Is the ROI of Successful Content Marketing?
Measuring a content expenditure’s exact return on investment (ROI) is tricky. It’s sort of like measuring the dollar value of a brand.
Content is the fuel for a successful marketing or sales campaign. It’s the subtext for a brand’s growth on the internet.
Measuring the ROI of content is like measuring the ROI for a gas tank on a business trip. You can, but that wouldn’t be the point. You can only evaluate content within the context of the overall goal it’s striving for.
Content doesn’t sell, but it helps you sell in multiple ways. For example,
- Attracts search engine leads
- Sustains on-the-fence leads who would have otherwise left the funnel
- Supports sales teams
- Serves as an institutional knowledgebase
- Grows your brand’s legitimacy as an industry influencer
- Buoys each step in your sales funnel
A good content marketing strategy leads otherwise difficult-to-convert potentials into the sales funnel. So while you’ve moved on, your sticky content will continue to educate and sell to those potentials in the background.
To measure the value of a content marketing campaign, you need to define clear marketing goals. How do you plan to measure success?
Do you want more leads? What about an increase in traffic? Sales?
Content doesn’t steer. It supports. Content can be the fuel to help you achieve your business goals. And the right metrics allow you to correlate your content strategy to your larger business goals.
Content ROI Should Focus on these Goals
Since content doesn’t have a one-to-one impact on sales, you need to measure it based on the audience interaction your content receives.
Effective Content Metrics
- Views are how often a page is visited, no matter if a visitor has seen the page before.
- Sessions are triggered once someone visits your site and times out after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Increased Search Engine Ranking will not only bring in more traffic, the fact that your website shows up higher than other results organically creates positive brand impressions.
- Sales Feedback is much more qualitative than quantitative, but the sales team is often in direct contact with your audience. Understanding what messages work and what content gaps exist strengthens subsequent campaigns.
Why Engage in Content Marketing
Whether you have a content marketing strategy or not, you’re creating content for your brand—sales decks, emails, print materials, brand policies, and guidelines.
A good strategy ensures those pieces tell a consistent and compelling story and repurposes them for customer-facing social and SEO content. If you’re not sharing those pieces as a part of a larger content strategy, you’re throwing away money.
The great thing about a piece of content is that you create or purchase it once and can use it for as long as it’s relevant. So if you’re already creating offline content, it should also serve you online. Think about it like a high-yield savings account—slow but steady progress that compounds every time you add to it.
Content Is a Great Support Mechanism
Contents’ ability to support your sales team is one of its most valuable uses. Solidifying your product/services in branded language will equip your sales team with all the information they need and ensure everyone works from the same playbook.
A series of branded blog posts or print pieces gives you the tools to quickly onboard new sales team members, support your existing team with supplemental leave-behinds and resource pages and maintain a living brand guideline.
Imagine a brand drive filled with pre-approved sales email templates, leave-behind print pieces, sales one-sheets, and pre-loaded presentation slides. Or a knowledge base on your website that supports your sales and customer services teams while utilizing SEO to generate new leads.
All of those individual pieces come out of one larger content strategy.
Content Attracts an Audience
People type their questions into search bars every day. Answering those questions allows you to grow your audience exponentially. And a well-served internet following can translate to “always-on” lead generation.
Content marketing will also weed your garden since search engine users self-select their interests by typing into a search bar.
A coffee roaster consistently writing about coffee roasting will attract people searching for information about coffee roasting.
How to Set Goals So Your Content Works for You
Before launching a content campaign or effectively measuring one already in the works, you need to begin with an outline of your SMART goals.
Filling out a SMART goals worksheet can feel elementary and unnecessary, but it’s much better than spending money on a campaign with no way to measure success.
The SMART in SMART Goals stands for the following:
Have you ever had someone tell you to “Think outside the box” as if it’s a helpful goal? That’s a textbook example of a vague goal.
A specific goal is well-defined. It’s the difference between “create a campaign that’s outside the box” and “Analyze competitor content to develop a campaign that fills the SEO gaps left by our competition.”
You cannot wait until the end of a campaign to decide which metrics to track. And leaving your campaigns unevaluated is fiscally irresponsible.
How will you know if and when your campaign succeeds?
As an added benefit, you can use real-time metrics to adjust your strategy as needed.
We live in a society that expects aggressive growth, leading many companies to set intense goals that are not based on reality.
While your goals can push your team to innovate and increase performance, they must align with your team’s abilities and market realities. Look at past trends, evaluate current market conditions, and compare that with your current strategy. Don’t grab a giant number out of thin air or draw a line graph that goes up and to the right infinitely.
Sure, selling 1,000,000 cars in Q2 is an exciting goal to tell investors and reporters, but is it based on anything other than blind confidence?
Make sure your content goals align with your overall company goals. What specific company goal does the marketing goal help to accomplish?
You need a deadline for several reasons, the most important of which: It will never get done if there isn’t a deadline.
A deadline also sets a timeline to compare your metrics and keeps everyone on the same page.
What Challenges Do Brands Face When Trying to Meet Content Goals?
Most companies agree that a robust website and content strategy would be helpful. And many companies have a content strategy somewhere on their to-do list, but it doesn’t get done.
Here are the most common challenges we see companies facing:
Who is going to write all of this content? You? Your accountant’s niece? The intern?
The marketing team that is already at capacity and also serves as a full-time event planning staff?
Many marketing teams have tried creating content but don’t have access to the needed resources.
They need a camera, some software, and collaboration tools. They need IT to update the CMS and grant them access. They can’t execute without a budget and some support.
Within a business, the marketing team typically knows less than the R&D, sales, and service teams. However, the experts are rarely charged with executing the content strategy.
The content creators need experts within the organization to respond to their inquiries. They need updated data. They need to know what they’re writing about.
Inaccurate and Random Strategy
An inaccurate, incomplete, or random strategy will fall apart in the first phase of proofing if it ever even gets that far. On the rare occasion one of these random acts of marketing goes into the world, it’s usually tone-deaf and negatively impacts the brand.
How Do You Overcome Content Challenges?
Start with a written strategy. You can incur weeks of time lost in execution for every hour skipped in the strategy phase. However, a great content strategy with SMART goals can speed the creative production time and strengthen the overall message.
(Content) * x = $y
With these goals in place, you’ll no longer be trying to solve an impossible equation. Instead, you can focus on trackable, measurable questions.
- Did we achieve our content goal?
- Did that goal bolster our overall marketing goal?
- Are there sales trends that correspond to those marketing goals?
Answer these questions to make the next campaign more targeted and more effective.
Build a Content Marketing Strategy that Works for You
At Content Workshop, we help our partners hone their brand identity, develop a roadmap to scale their content and execute that strategy alongside them.
We thrive when our clients see us as a member of their team, not just another vendor. Your problems are our problems. Your goals are our goals. We’re agile and opinionated. We can bend with you but won’t be shy to tell you when we think there’s a better way.