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How To Calculate Blogging ROI

blogging-roi

Is Blogging Essential in 2014?

One of the top questions marketing agencies are asked these days is whether or not having a blog is essential. While business blogs were still just entering into the commonplace arsenal of marketing tools five years ago, more than 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now blogging. This is up from 23 percent in 2010. These percentages are considered to be even higher for smaller-sized companies.

Still, many businesses are reluctant to launch into creating a blog strategy and committing to posting content on a regular basis. In most of these cases, leadership is still not convinced that there is a calculable ROI for blogging.

This year, the upward trend in blogging certainly will continue. This is because more and more businesses are seeing calculable benefits to it. Still not sure if it’s right for your business? Here are some of the valuable reasons why you may want to jump on board the blogging bandwagon in 2014.

More Customers

According to a study from HubSpot entitled “The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing,” 56 percent of businesses that blogged at least once a month acquired customers through their blogs. Those that ramped up their efforts to three times a week saw this percentage jump to 70 percent. Daily blogging produced new customers for 78 percent of businesses.

More Credibility

Obviously the more valuable content you publish on your business blog, the more credibility you gain with customers and prospects. By positioning yourself as a thought leader, you’ll gain valuable trust that helps to build a brand and generate referrals.

More Traffic

Search engines reward websites that add fresh content. And, this is exactly what a blog enables you to do. By regularly blogging, you’re giving search engines what it is specifically looking for to enable you to rank higher in results. Higher rankings directly translate into more website traffic which ultimately means more sales.

Search engines crawl and index sites with regularly published content far more often than those that are stagnant. By peppering content with relevant keywords and linking between your blog and your website pages, you can improve your rankings even more. Get others to repost your content, and you’ll see an even bigger boost.

How to Calculate Your Return on Investment

While there are some marketing experts that claim that every business should be blogging because it’s free, this is utterly inaccurate. There is a definite cost to blogging. It requires a substantial amount of labor to be successful. While it can be costly, it can deliver a big opportunity. Thus, it’s important to calculate how blogging will affect your bottom line. Here’s how you can do this:

The Investment
  1. Determine how many hours will it take to write, edit, track, and manage the blog.
  2. Calculate the cost to your company in salary or contractor time for these hours.
  3. Add the cost for the design and technology fees for the blog (divide by 12 if this is an annual amount).
  4. Add the cost in hosting, maintenance, and additional app fees (divide by 12 if this is an annual amount).
  5. This total amount is what your blog costs per month.

The Revenue
  1. Evaluate how many revenue-oriented actions are created per month. This should include calls, clicks on your subscription sign up button, or who contacted you through your “contact us” page. For calls, you will need to verbally inquire about the blog’s role unless you utilize a special tracking phone number for the purpose of tracking customers from the blog.
  2. Determine a value for each revenue-oriented action.
  3. Multiply the number of each action by its associated value to calculate the revenue created from the blog.


Your return on investment is your revenue divided by the investment. This will give you a monthly ROI for your blogging efforts.

Hopefully, this has provided you with both some concrete proof that blogging works and how to determine what you can gain from adding it to your existing marketing mix.

Question:

What have you learned after calculating your blogging ROI?

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3 More Things To Use Your Blog For Besides Blogging

BloggingIn our last post, we talked about other ways to use your blog for your marketing besides just blogging. In this post, we’ll take things a step further and go over additional roles your blog can play that can contribute to the overall success of your marketing.

A Testing Laboratory

Be careful not to bombard your blog subscribers (and readers) with too many posts that are too varied. Throwing tons of content at your audience to see what sticks isn’t the best option, however, you can use your blog to selectively test messaging and gain valuable data. Using analytics (and engagement), you can start to measure what topics your audience is most passionate about or interested in and use that information to craft smarter campaigns. You can even try A/B testing with certain types of content to serve up the same information in the same form while seeing which format works better. Test offers now and then (selectively, of course) to gauge how that offer might perform when promoted through multiple channels.

A Networking Powerhouse

Believe it or not, your blog is an extension of your overall networking ability. Use your blog to attract reputable people in the field and encourage them to contribute by writing guest posts or doing collaborative projects. Make a strong impression by offering content that has value and encourage discussion to up your engagement levels. The goal is to attract and to build a solid relationship, so try to connect with potential experts in your industry if you can to add to your blog’s overall credibility. Having a professional write on your blog can help add authority to it, plus it may also translate in more page views in the future.

Speaking of networking, your blog can also be a hub for you to connect your social media channels so that content can be cross promoted and traffic can be driven to those areas for additional engagement. Don’t be afraid to play with embeddable posts, social proof, and other tactics that harness the power of social media in the framework of your blog.

A Customer Service Channel

Create content that shows customers or clients how to use your product or service and you may be helping out your customer service teams. How-tos, demonstrations, reviews, and other important information about what you do and what you offer can mean reduced customer complaints (e.g. “I can’t figure out how to use this!” or “Why doesn’t this ever work?”)  or questions, plus, it gives you a chance to showcase your expertise and add value to your overall brand. You’re showing you care by showing your cards. Be open, be responsive, and create content that helps answer your customer’s needs and questions.

Question: Can you think of other roles your blog can play?

 

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5 Things To Use Your Blog For Besides Blogging

Blogging Best Practices

Your blog is one of your most powerful marketing assets- but are you using it effectively? While your blog may be your organization’s voice, it serves a purpose much larger than just another content marketing channel. In fact, your blog could be used for so much more than blogging, becoming things like:

A News Portal

Make yourself become a voice of authority by having a news feed based on subjects relevant to your industry on the blog. Potential customers may come to your site instead of news outlets if they trust that you have the scoop on what’s happening. You can choose to feed in relevant content or related articles through various reading features, or you can choose to report on industry topics on your own – either way, your brand becomes seen as a thought leader.

An Effective Sales Tool

Use the content to show potential customers how to use the service or product to solve a problem – this area for content distribution is completely unique and if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out. Post videos that show how something can be used, or give data in the form of case studies or infographics – the possibilities really are

endless. In addition to demonstrating your value, you can use your posts as a sales tool. On the training side, your blog can also be used in this way to teach your sales team how to develop or communicate solutions to customers’ problems.

A Hub for Feedback

Your blog gives you access to important information that you can use to your benefit through marketing and sales. You can use the blog to determine which topics are more popular among your audience, not to mention, your audience demographics and engagement levels in relation to certain subjects, products, or services. Look at your blog analytics. Add key stats to a spreadsheet and sort them by topic, engagement level, etc. and determine what trends

exist – the messaging that performs well in this channel may also apply to others. Analyze the post views and comments to determine which topics resonated the most with the audience. Consider this information going forward so that your future content reflects the interests of your audience.

Tip: Want additional insight that can help your SEM efforts? Pay attention to the language used in comments by customers when talking about a particular topic. Use this feedback to explore different keyword variations.

An Email Subscriber Recruiter

Growing your email list can be key to ongoing success. You want to be in your customer’s minds – and inboxes – with content that engages and produces ROI. Growing your list through having a newsletter signup and call to action on the blog can be another way to grow your audience. Plus, you can also drive traffic back to the blog by including excerpts in your email newsletter. Sweeten the deal by giving value adds, like exclusive blog posts (only viewable by email subscribers) or other incentives. Once you’ve built up that list, you can continue to market to that base.

A Thought Leadership Platform

Your content matters, so invest in its creation so that you’re seen as a leader in your industry – i.e. make sure people know that you know what you’re talking about.

Go for quality and consistency with your blog by creating posts that use multimedia or other elements that set them apart from other posts from your competitors. Try to position your content uniquely and cover topics no one else covers – or topics every does cover, but in a completely different way.

Here’s a quick tip: use analytics to determine what posts can drive you to that image of authority. Look for posts that


Question:
What roles does your blog play now? What ones do you want to see it play? Once you have determined the popular posts that have drawn viewers in the past, you can add to these posts to continue to increase traffic. You can accomplish this goal by publishing a new post and also redirecting the previous link with the new content. Update on a past topic. Expand with new information. Revamp and revisit if something has completely changed. Then, once it’s done, share again through social media and other marketing channels. This shows that you value your content and want to offer value to your readers.

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