You Ask, I Answer: The ROI of Content Marketing?

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You Ask, I Answer: The ROI of Content Marketing?

Stephanie asks, “What would you say to a person who states that it’s impossible to measure the ROI of content marketing?”

That person is bad at analytics? It’s true that it’s unlikely you’ll measure the ROI of content marketing down to the precise penny – but you also can’t measure anything else in marketing down to the precise penny, either. You absolutely can measure content marketing and get a solid sense of the value of content marketing overall – and if you’re really good at analytics, you can measure the value of any given individual piece of content.

Want to chat about content-level ROI assessment? Say hi.

You Ask, I Answer: The ROI of Content Marketing?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s episode, Stephanie asks, What would you say to a person who states that it’s impossible to measure the ROI of content marketing? politely I would say that person is bad at analytics.

Look, it’s true that when it comes to measuring the precise down to the penny dollar amount of content marketing, it’s very difficult to do.

Because there are a lot of interfering variables, there’s a lot of noise, there’s a lot of different ways that content can be valued.

And frankly, it’s highly dependent on how good your analytics are.

If your analytics are terrible, then you’re not going to get a very good estimation of the ROI of content marketing.

But if your analytics are good, if you’ve set them up, well, if and if the majority of your business he is or passes through the digital realm, then you absolutely can get a sense of the ROI of content marketing.

And by the way, you’re not going to get the exact precise Penny measurement of anything in marketing there.

Again, there’s just too many unknowns and hidden things happening that to give you down to the penny amounts of anything that you do.

The reason why people have this belief that you can’t measure the ROI of content marketing is because you’re measuring things terribly.

Again, if there’s a, if you’re tracking it through good systems, and you’ve got a good attribution model, and you have built solid goals with real goal values, and that are estimated well, then you can absolutely no, this channel is worth this number of dollars, this piece of content is worth this number of dollars.

In fact, let’s do this.

I’m gonna bring up a chart here.

This is a attribution model.

Here four pieces of content on my website.

Now, this is not for channels, this is not for Facebook, or LinkedIn, whatever this is the actual blog posts, which piece of content drove conversions for my website.

These are the pieces that are flagship or Cornerstone or pillar or whatever you want to call them.

And some of them are not the ones that I expected them to be.


So when you come across a piece of content that’s behaving like pillar content, behaving as a major driver of conversion, that you didn’t expect, guess what, you’ve got a really solid piece of content that you then need to turn into pillar content to expand it to grow it to make a deeper, make it more expert in, in view.

And that’s something that you then start to AB test, right, that’s your priority for AV testing, you’ve got something’s converting great, start experimenting to make it see if it can make it convert even better.

All of these are tasks that you take based on understanding the value of your content, right? Can you understand the value of content marketing? Absolutely.

The problem that I think a lot of people run into is that the value is broken up over a variety of different areas.

So for example, some of your valuable come through social media, like substantial value, part of the value will come through organic search, marketing, SEO, some will come in through referrals and public relations, some of it will come in through direct, you know, people just typing your website URL.

Some of it will come from partially offline or broken click streams like podcasts.

And so if you’re trying to understand the value of the content itself, doing things from a channel focus, is probably going to confuse you, right? Because you’re going to say, Well, how much of the SEO credit should the content get versus the the technical SEO efforts? Well, you’re not gonna be able to break that apart from a channel map, you can see the value of the content itself, regardless of the channel that it came in on.

This is data that is stored in Google Analytics, or the web analytics system, your choice, but I know Google Analytics really has quite in depth.

And then, based on that information, you then have the ability to run analysis on it.

And there’s a few different ways you can do this.

One is using network graphing, and tracking the transitions of the maps, the you know, from page to page, the way people go through your website, which is can be a very, very interesting way to see the the hubs of the journey on your website.

And the more sophisticated way is to do it with machine learning, a type of machine learning called Markov chain modeling where you, in essence, separate out the visits that converted versus the visits that didn’t.

And you look to see what are the differences in the ways that people traverse your website.

From there, as long as your URL structure is intelligent, and understandable, and you didn’t just, you know, put everything at the root level of your website, you can make the determination about which pieces of content have driven the most value.

And if you want to get really clever, you can use the goal values that Google Analytics assigns into its conversions and impute the actual dollar value estimates of a piece of content based on how much that piece of content has helped nurture conversions.

Again, all this is data that is within a system that pretty much most websites have Google Analytics, you do have to extract it out of there, you do have to do the analysis separately, because it’s not something that Google does for you.

But if you do that, you understand the value of your content.

That’s that straightforward, is you understand the value of your content, and you know, which pieces are not working for you.

After that calculation, the next thing you have to do is figure out what are you gonna do with the underperforming pieces? What are you going to do with the overperform pieces, you have to do a lot of math on that.

So underperforming pieces are pages that get a lot of traffic to them, but don’t participate in conversions, right, they’re pages that don’t help people understand the value you provide, over performing pieces or pages that even though they may not receive a lot of traffic have a very high conversion rates, right, they have very high conversion value.

And so those are pages, you might say, you know what, this is a page we should put some ad spend behind or at the very least share more often on social media, this is a page we should include in our emails should be in our recommendation engine on our site.

And it says you may also like reading, and so on, so forth.

That’s how you would increase the ROI of your content marketing, once you’ve made the determination of what it is.

So I would say to that person, my first less charitable impulse was to say you’re an idiot.

But I would say to that person, they don’t have a good grasp on the analytics.

They don’t have a good grasp on the data.

And let’s help them understand the data.

Let’s help them understand the analysis.

Let’s help them understand the value of content so that they can understand the value of what it is they’re creating and how it works for any given company.

And that is knowable.

I think that’s the biggest takeaway from this.

It is a noble thing.

It can you do it with precision, not as much as any of us would like.

Can you know it enough to make decisions? Absolutely.


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