What’s the ROI of Content Marketing?

We’ll be upfront from the get-go: putting a specific dollar amount on your return on investment on content marketing is difficult.

Why is this? It’s because content marketing isn’t something you can implement and then expect results (in the form of increased sales) immediately. Content marketing takes time, at least several months or quarters.

Content marketing also is cumulative. Start blogging, posting to your social media sites, sending out e-mail newsletters, distribute news releases and white papers, etc., and over time all of this content snowballs into, as the ContentMarketingInstitute.com reported in June 2012, “ a slow, steady climb in the influence, visibility, credibility, and desirability of your business — benefits that content marketing is proven in its ability to establish and grow.”

This cumulative aspect can help you offset the amount of money you’ll spend in the beginning of your campaign when you’ll see little, if any results.

Still, unlike Pay-Per-Click, for example, it’s hard to put a dollar amount on your efforts. As in, “I placed the PPC ad on Tuesday, spent $150 and received $500 in orders on by noon on Wednesday.”

So how can you measure your content marketing ROI?

You could count the number of times your tweets are forwarded or retweeted. Or how many clickthroughs a news release received, or how many “likes” and followers you have on Facebook.

But most people (as in business owners and executives) want to know dollars spent vs. dollars made.

The best thing to do to measure your content marketing ROI possibly is the following:

  • Keep track of those retweets, likes, comments, clickthroughs, etc.
  • Track your costs for getting the blog posts written, the news releases posted, the videos created, the costs (salaries, outsourcer fees), to manage your social media presence, and so on.
  • Do so for at least two quarters, preferably three or four.
  • Compare your sales numbers from the same quarters the previous year. What’s changed? Up or down? (We’ll happily assume up.)
  • Subtract the amount of increased revenue from the amount you spent on content marketing, taking into account the many additional business elements that drive your products’/services’ sales numbers in any given quarter or year.

Remember, too, that traditional advertising (billboards, newspaper ads, television spots, etc.) also can be difficult to measure. You can’t expect a magic bullet from the “magic” of the Internet.

But if you must have a solid dollar amount regarding the ROI of content marketing, take note of the Content Marketeer (published by Kapost, a provider, it says “of the world’s leading content marketing software platform). The company published a study in June 2012 that said that every dollar spent on content marketing “produces 3 times more leads.”