The big question that any business owner or manager should always ask is, “What is the ROI?” and it’s a good question. An ROI is the return on investment, and it’s a valuable decision-making tool. Many suggestions or ideas sound great until someone runs the numbers and realizes that the investment will never really pay off.

Setting a budget and sticking to it

Just like any other department, marketing needs a budget. But, marketing can break down their budget into smaller pieces that make it easier to track and manage. To calculate the ROI, you’ll need to start with a budget for this content marketing campaign.

A content marketing campaign budget should include everything from copywriters to social media managers. You’ll need to monitor their pay and the work they produce closely. Copywriters or content writers typically charge “per word” which makes it easier to assess an ROI.

Develop the content marketing campaign first

Although many people prefer to dive right in, it’s better to start with a complete content calendar, goals, milestones, and a few trackers before hiring anyone for these positions. Content planning can fit into the daily duties of anyone in the marketing department or even a customer services manager.

New content marketing campaigns, however, do best in the hands of an SEO consultant. An SEO consultant can ensure that you stay within budget while vetting freelancers as well as internal employees to take on various aspects of the job. They should do everything from creating the content marketing campaign to overseeing publishing of the posts and social media updates.

Track these metrics

Like any other ROI, it needs metrics to tie together the aspects that make a difference. Unlike sales, it’s not as easy as saying one sale make a certain number of dollars returned. You need to track:

  • Leads generated (shares, likes, etc.)
  • Sales
  • Engagement
  • Social Media flux
  • SEO effects
  • Authority
  • Web traffic

These metrics will help you determine how effective your investment is and whether it’s generating any return at all. When you’re looking for a content marketing ROI, you’ll use these metrics to identify a percentage of revenue that you can contribute to content marketing and how it compares to the expense.

Figuring out your return and calculating the ROI

When you’re working out your return, you’ll be able to easily track which content led to a sale because of links. You’ll be able to tell when someone clicks on the call-to-action at the end of a piece of content. But, sometimes it’s not so obvious. You’ll want to track traffic flow from each step in your sales funnel to see how lead generation is producing more prospects and eventually leading to more transactions.

Assign traffic a dollar value based on the amount of traffic that results in sales. Then you can break down to the ROI calculation. To achieve a final number, you’ll need to take the total return and subtract the investment, then divide by the investment and you’ll have a percentage that represents the ROI.

For example, investing $500 in a content marketing campaign that generates $5000 in direct revenue and traffic increase will look like this:

  • $5,000 – $500 = $4,500
  • $4,500/$500 = 9
  • (Don’t forget to make it a percentage!) 9 x 100% = 900%