The Real ROI of Content Marketing

Home office bloggingWhen it comes to seeing the impact of your marketing efforts, talk is cheap. We want results that can be equated to physical numbers, percentages and colorful line charts — preferably with a favorable outcome — to assure us of why we made these investments in the first place. And rightfully so. But for some aspects of digital marketing, a black-and-white link to revenue is easier said than done.

According to Your Marketing Co., 71 percent of marketers claimed the biggest challenge of proving ROI for marketing in April 2017 was attributing content to revenue. While there are a ton of analytics to help measure your content’s views and engagement, there’s no clear-cut way to determine your final ROI for content marketing because it is not always limited to a dollar value. Brand awareness, thought leader recognition, increased customer advocacy … you can’t put an exact price on these outcomes. But that doesn’t mean your content isn’t paying for itself. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

Many marketing campaigns are performed during a specific timeframe. Then, once they’re complete, you measure the results. Done. But content marketing does not necessarily have an end date.

Unlike other digital campaigns that only achieve results when you are actively investing in them, content marketing is unique in that it is a consistent investment over time. You will continue to see increasing rates of return in traffic, which can turn into leads and revenue for your brand.

Quality, evergreen content will stick around and continue to engage users long after you’ve pressed the publish button. While it may be tempting to invest in dozens of mediocre, recycled pieces versus a handful of original and informative ones, doing so will cause you to fall behind — and run the risk of having your hand slapped by Google. With so many blogs, ads and voices on the Internet today, the trick is not to keep up in numbers but to stand out in value.

Once your content has gone live, don’t think your job is done. Great content won’t be seen without great promotions, which is why it’s vital to scale content marketing through other digital channels like email, social and working with influencers.

It’s important to clarify what influencers we’re talking about. While it used to be a dream to get someone like Kim Kardashian to take a selfie with your product or tweet about your outstanding service, marketers are beginning to shift their focus from major celebrities to micro-influencers. According to Gil Eyal, Founder of HYPR, micro-influencers (such as those with 10,000 to 100,000 followers) carry an “interested, engaged and connected” audience when compared to broader and more expensive macro-influencers.

Unlike the mixed group that follows a popular reality star or athlete, micro-influencers are better at attracting and attaining a niche audience interested in a specific subject, making your product more likely to resonate with their specialized followers.

Not only is the price to play with these influencers far less substantial, but most importantly, it’s more effective. Micro-influencer campaigns have been found to be 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than influencer campaigns with larger followings.

As marketers, we’re — rightfully — obsessed with tracking and measuring the impact of our campaigns. But now it’s time to start thinking about a content marketing strategy that will bring returns today, tomorrow and well into the future.

Michael Mothner is the Founder and CEO of Wpromote, the largest independent marketing agency in the US. Along with founding Wpromote in 2001, he has also ventured into other enterprises such as ScanDigital and CouponPal, which was spun off of Wpromote’s performance marketing division into an independent company. A regular industry speaker and commentator, he has been featured by Inc. Magazine as one of '30 CEOs under 30 To Watch' and was the recipient of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.