No matter if you are a beginner to B2B marketing, or a seasoned professional, you’ve heard of the term “Return on Investment”, which is also known as ROI. You may be familiar with the term, but do you know what it is and what to do with it? In this blog, we are going to help you better understand ROI and how to measure yours, as well as how to use content operations to achieve real ROI.
B2B content marketing ROI is a percentage that shows how much revenue you have gained from content marketing compared to what you have spent to produce the content. ROI is determined to be one of the most important aspects of successful content marketing since it is directly tied to revenue. However, money cannot be your only measure of success when it comes to content marketing. If the content isn’t generating page views, leads, shares, and your customers aren’t engaging with your content, it’s not likely that you will earn revenue from it. Let’s dive into how to measure content marketing ROI for your business.
How to Measure Your ROI for Content Marketing
It’s a simple, 4-step formula to compare the cost of creating and distributing your content to the revenue that you earn from it.
Step 1: Calculate how much you have spent to produce the content.
Take into account the salary of your content creator, any work done by other departments, external content assets (images, videos, and audio), as well as other outsourced work.
Step 2: Determine how much it costs you to distribute the content.
This includes any paid promotions (PPC, social, and other channels) and tools and software that were used to create and distribute the content.
Add steps 1 and 2 together to figure out your total cost for producing content.
Step 3: Determine the dollar amount returned.
Now, add up all of the sales that have directly resulted from a piece of content posted.
Step 4: Calculate your content marketing ROI.
There is a simple formula to calculate your content marketing ROI and express it as a percentage. It goes like this, “Return minus investment divided by investment, times 100”.
How do you know if your ROI is good? A good rule of thumb to follow is if you spent less on producing the content than you earned in sales, you have a good return on investment. In order to achieve real ROI, you must have your focus set on content operations rather than just content marketing. Content operations is the overall view of everything that is content-related within your company, including content strategy, content creation, and content management. Without content operations, you’ll suffer from huge opportunity costs as there will be no harmony within your content messaging. To achieve content operations maturity and in turn see ROI within your content, consider the following steps.
Step 1: Communicate the purpose of your content team.
Is your team’s purpose to deliver content internally to your sales, marketing, and communications departments? Or, to deliver content externally to potential and established customers? No matter the purpose, it must support your company objectives and goals. Prior to achieving this first step, your company should be aligned and your employees should share your business goals.
Step 2: Define what you aim to accomplish through your content.
Your content mission could be to attract new customers, build brand awareness, or deepen relationships with current customers. It’s important that you are able to talk about your content mission with confidence and clarity.
Step 3: Measure your effectiveness.
- Content assets possess real value and contribute to the profitability of your company. There are three levels of measurement used to measure content asset effectiveness.
- Goals: Quantifiable targets for content effort
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Inform you of progress towards your goals.
- Metrics: Numbers that help you to determine KPI trends.
Step 4: Choose your team approach.
How you organize your team and how it fits into the larger organization – this is your approach. There are three different approaches to content operations:
- Rebel Approach: This is for people with an entrepreneurial mentality and it typically found in organizations with individual divisions, products, and regions. Rebels are independent and work autonomously in smaller groups.
- Center of Excellence (COE): A centralized team that operates apart from the lines of business, but they still exercise control over all content across the business. The COE approach is highly focused on editorial messaging with a clear mission and consistency of voice.
- Hybrid: This is a combination of both the rebel approach and COE. Through the hybrid approach, you create an integrated network of content operations professionals across the organization. These people create and manage content specific to the organization’s specific needs, but utilize a centralized center of excellence for things such as common content needs, guidance on content messaging and standards, and collaboration on integrated content.
Step 5: Perform a skills audit.
Audit what resources, including people, are available to you. Analyze what skills they possess and determine if those skills match what you need for content operations. An audit allows you to ask people not what they do, but what they can do. During your audit, you may find people who have never used all of their skills before for the organization’s benefit. Make sure to take notes of the gaps in your organization’s skills and create a plan to find those with the skills needed.
Step 6: Organize your content operations team.
If you’ve identified your approach (Rebel, COE, or Hybrid) and the skills that you will need, now it is time to put your content operations team in order. During this step, you will decide things like what the structure of your content operations team will look like and who will report to whom.
Step 7: Take time to train your team.
Establishing a content operation team is a journey, and you must take your team along for the ride. Training your team should cover three areas: your content strategy, the impact that your strategy will have on the customer experience, and the data used for optimizing content effectiveness. The training process will be ongoing – you can’t expect it to be just a one-and-done thing.
Step 8: Establish governance.
Governance ensures that your content organization is following the agreed-upon goals, objectives, and standards set in place. The first step to establishing governance is to assign a senior-level manager over the role of setting up your governance structure. Next, you should create an editorial board that contains representation from all of the departments within your organization that utilizes content. Each department will be able to provide input, as well as oversight.
Companies that invest in governance structures before releasing content experience real impact, such as double-digit growth in content effectiveness. With governance, companies gain efficiency, they stop creating repetitive content, start creating quality work, and increase their budgets.
Step 9: Create efficient processes and workflows.
There should be a master line of sight for all content processes and workflows. Create a plan of how content is to be generated, from start to finish. Your goal is to have 70% or more of your content – no matter what form – created the same way. When reusing content, look at the bigger picture – not just what you need now, but what you’ll require later.
Step 10: Locate the right technology.
You do not need the latest and greatest technology – the goal of utilizing technology for content creation is to make your life easier and simpler. Many organizations grow as they acquire more customers, which leads them to inherit duplicate components within content stacks. They might use a few content management systems and marketing automation platforms. You should dictate the areas where you can streamline.
By thoroughly following these steps, your organization can accomplish content operations maturity and in turn, see ROI within your content. Having a focus set on content operations, instead of only on content marketing, you will be able to achieve real ROI. Whether you’re new to the B2B marketing scene, or if you are an expert, we hope that you better understand ROI, how to measure it, and how to use content operations effectively.