Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s hard to escape the popular mantra ‘content is king’ - and yes, we’ve touted it a few times ourselves.
But knowing content is important isn’t enough. For many businesses looking to grow their brand, they also need clear visibility of the all-important return on investment that comes with content.
This is where it can get tricky, as quantifying the financial value that content and broader content marketing strategies can bring isn’t as simple as this piece of content is worth X and will generate Y amount of revenue.
Not being able to objectively define ROI in content is one of the leading causes of pushback from business owners. So, instead of plucking figures out of the air or giving up on content altogether, we’re here to help you understand and effectively communicate content’s ROI.
Alter your mindset
Before you can even begin to formulate a content marketing strategy and forecast the value it will bring to a business, you need to alter your mindset.
Unlike other areas of marketing, where there’s typically a definitive outline of input vs output, content marketing can be a little more complex. And in truth, it can take time to reap the financial rewards.
Why? Well, content marketing is designed to build an engaged audience over time. The primary goals typically centre around improving user engagement, increasing brand awareness and building trust and authority.
In isolation, these objectives don’t appear to correlate with revenue-centric business goals - but long-term, they’ll drive traffic to a site, gain customer buy-in and, ultimately, contribute to boosting sales.
This end goal comes via a cohesive content approach rather than individual pieces of activity. So, shift your mindset away from traditional input vs output and view content as a business asset or expense that will deliver cumulative benefits over a period of time.
By eschewing the need for hard ROI data, it becomes easier to understand the holistic benefits that a strong content marketing strategy can deliver and how they can align with overarching commercial goals.
Getting content buy-in
Understanding the nuances of content ROI is phase 1. Phase 2 is figuring out how to communicate this often vague notion to business stakeholders who have a particular focus on revenue-driving activity.
The first step to gaining buy-in for content marketing activity is to open the lines of communication with decision makers, so as to explain the benefits of a strategic approach to content marketing.
Sounds simple, right? Well, not exactly.
For the content sceptics or those who demand hard ROI data, it can be challenging to convey. But we have a few tips to help you get your point across:
Differentiate between marketing content and content marketing
Start by outlining the distinction between using content for marketing and content marketing (yes, there’s a difference).
Marketing content is usually sales copy, designed to drive customers to make a transaction. Think product pages, adverts, promotional offers and any content that instructs users to take a specific action.
Content marketing is about providing relevant, engaging content that adds value and educates users - establishing long-term trust and authority with a targeted audience. This could be blogs, newsletters, how-to guides, videos or any other content that informs and entertains.
Align content marketing with business goals
The primary goal for content marketing is typically a brand building exercise designed to nurture and add value to audiences through high-quality, engaging content.
As sales generation isn’t the main goal, this is often where business owners struggle to justify the outlay of time and resources. However, the big-picture view is that these engaged, relevant users are far more likely to become profitable customers over time.
This means the long-term impact of any content marketing activity can still be aligned with overall business goals - even as far as revenue growth goes.
When looking to get business owners and decision makers on side, be sure to demonstrate how your content marketing efforts will indirectly benefit the business.
For example, establishing the brand as an industry authority through high-quality content can help to increase brand visibility in search. This could result in more traffic and increased potential for conversions.
Outline your content marketing KPIs
Strategy lies at the heart of any good content marketing campaign, but you also need the right structure in place to measure it. This means outlining clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor content marketing performance.
While your content marketing strategy’s goals may not translate into fiscal ROIs, they can provide essential data and targets to help you better communicate the value of content to business owners and executives.
The key here is to be specific about your goals and how you’re going to measure them, avoiding vague statements like ‘we’re going to increase user engagement’.
Drill down into the detail of how you’re going to achieve this, which should include a timeline. Focus on specific target demographics, content types and hard data including metrics such as unique pageviews, bounce rate and average time on page to push forward the value of content and overcome objections.
Mastering online content marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool to have in your arsenal for increasing brand awareness, improving user engagement and establishing trust. And with the tips above, you should have everything you need to convey its value to the decision makers who matter.
Of course, if you need a little extra help honing your content marketing strategy or executing content creation, why not enlist the help of some expert content writers? Get in touch with Paragraft today to find out more about what we do.