Content has long been hailed the king. With blogs being the first home to content, they are the vehicles that drive online marketing.
The overall impact of a blog, in terms of the social value it generates, is long-standing. Blogs continue to live on and serve their readers for years to come. How often have you come across videos and posts dating back to three or four years and binge watched/read them because they were so helpful and relevant?
Carefully created blogs have an incremental value and continue to pay off until long after those who created the content have moved on. (Social media updates will not achieve that for you. Nor would paid promotions.) By continuing to show up in organic search, old posts continue to bring in new subscribers and grow your email marketing list.
All that aside, a small business owner wants to know when their blog will start paying off. They also want to find out if they are making enough through their blog in order to justify the cost of maintaining it. Is it having a positive impact on company sales? Because, after all, that is the goal of a blog, isn’t it?
Here is a rough framework to guide you towards finding the answer to this question. I’m not presenting a formula simply because every business will have different needs and expectations from their blog. Some industries are also harder to make an impact in than others, but the following should guide you in the right direction.
Determine The Cost Of Maintaining The Blog
How many hours does updating the blog consume per week/month?
This should include:
- The number of hours spent brainstorming for ideas.
- The number of hours spent conducting research.
- The number of hours spent creating/curating the content.
- The number of hours spent editing the content.
- The number of hours spent taking care of the technical aspects of the blog.
Calculate the cost in the following manner:
How much are you paying the people for all of the above per week/month?
Divide that amount by the number of hours spent on the work. You could carry out this calculation as a collective number or find the cost for each task separately.
Assess The Blog’s Performance On Social
What have your content promotion efforts achieved thus far in relation to the number of hours spent on them? Have they achieved any of the following?
- An increased and engaged social following.
- An increased number of likes and favorites. (Likes are important. People are more likely to check out a post that has received a certain number of likes than those that haven’t received any or have received very few. It might not be advisable to dismiss the number of likes as a vanity metric altogether.)
- An increased number of shares, retweets, and pins. (The greater the number of shares, the greater the reach of your content.)
- The conversation surrounding the content, on social as well as your blog.
- Greater brand awareness.
- Increased overall customer engagement (comments, email subscribers, etc.)
Determine The Cost-value Ratio Of Paid Promotion
Along with the blog’s impact on social, assess if this amount being spent is leading to any of the following:
- An increased number of leads.
- A greater amount of traffic to the website.
- An increased number of unique visits.
- Enhanced brand awareness.
- A greater number of subscribers to the blog.
- A greater number of potential customer queries.
- An improved conversion rate.
If the amount of traffic to the website hasn’t risen by much, or in case you are promoting an app where the number of downloads/installs isn’t moving as per expectations, you might want to reassess your efforts.
Finally, the ROI of a blog is determined simply by: (Gain from investment – Cost of investment)/Cost of investment
Do not have unrealistic expectations from a blog/promotional campaigns too early on.
When it comes to blogging, start small with a goal of 1-2 blog posts per month. Along the way you want to acquire and grow a community that is inspired by your content. Ultimately, it is this community that will spread brand awareness and fuel your growth. Any successful blog you can think of has a large and loyal membership.
Also, there could be a number of reasons your blog isn’t leading to the kind of sales figures you had in mind.
To give you an example, with social it is possible that you are spending time and money promoting the content on the wrong platform, which could lead to substandard results that have little to do with the quality of the blog. A case in point, for B2B businesses, FB PPC campaigns often do not lead to as good results as they do for B2C businesses, and that LinkedIn is way more effective for B2B lead generation efforts.
It is also possible you are not reaching your target audience or the keyword research you are basing your content creation on is outdated.
The point is, there are a number of aspects that affect the performance of a blog and these will have to be individually perfected in order for your larger efforts to bear fruit. You will only be able to measure the real impact of your blog when you know you are headed in the right direction regarding each and every aspect of this long-drawn process – from market research to understanding the quirks of the social platform best suited to you.
Not all of this can be reduced to a number though. So each time you feel your blog is coming short of expectations or is not leading to a spike in sales, look into the various factors that go into the making of a quality blog and determine if you are handling them effectively.
When you take care of these factors, your blog should (ideally) click and eventually bring you the desired revenue.
How do you assess the impact of your blog? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.