Are you measuring your content marketing ROI (return on investment)?
Content marketing has many benefits, including:
- Providing information your audience can’t find anywhere else
- Helping your prospects solve problems
- Building authority and trust in your brand
But without smart use of data tying these efforts directly to sales – throughout the entire customer journey – marketing departments are spending big on content that doesn’t generate revenue.
According to research by Forrester, nearly 90% of B2B decision-makers say vendors must provide relevant content at every stage of the buying process. Although sales teams spend a lot of time creating, finding, and personalizing content throughout the purchasing journey, many marketing departments aren’t closing the loop with sales to measure content profitability.
A Content Marketing Institute survey showed that only 43% of B2B marketers measure ROI.
In this post, you’ll learn what content marketing ROI is, discover the most important metrics you should be tracking, and get tips on improving your content marketing ROI.
What is content marketing ROI?
Content marketing ROI is a metric that indicates the revenue your company earned, compared to what you spend on content marketing activities. Although it can be difficult to measure, because all marketing is a long game, content marketing ROI is one of the most critical metrics for any company to track, because it’s tied directly to the bottom line.
If you have a positive content marketing ROI, you’ll make money back on the dollars you spend creating, distributing, managing, and tracking content. The definition of a “good ROI” can vary based on your industry, marketing strategy, and distribution channels.
How to measure content marketing ROI
Determining a single overall content marketing ROI measurement is difficult because all marketing strategies are different. If there’s no direct connection between a piece of content bringing in a lead or closing a sale, there’s no simple calculation to assess its revenue impact.
Content plays a larger role than ever before in today’s complex B2B buying landscape – both new and existing customers rely on content from sellers to advance purchase decisions. To truly understand and improve your content marketing ROI, you need to look deeper than lead generation.
Gathering sales data is an essential first step to answering these questions:
- Is marketing content being used effectively by sales teams?
- How much untracked time are sales reps wasting recreating existing content?
- Are buyers getting the right content at the right time?
Find out more about how to accurately assess your content costs – and the opportunities you’re leaving on the table – with an effective sales enablement strategy in our ebook: Business Impact of Sales Enablement.
5 tips to improve your content marketing ROI
You can improve your content marketing ROI by getting more out of the assets you’re already producing.
Here are the top five ways to increase ROI by improving engagement and increasing the conversion rate for your content.
1. Track content effectiveness
According to SEMrush’s State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, 97% of companies said content was an essential part of their 2021 marketing strategy, but only believed their content marketing efforts were “very successful” in the same period.
Do you know how effective your content is? Are you tracking content utilization to determine which assets are the most valuable for your sales team and their prospects?
Pitcher’s sales enablement platform helps you track the marketing and sales content that’s being viewed and engaged with most often, providing powerful analytics that will help you shape your editorial calendar.
By measuring content utilization, you’ll be able to see how your sales tools are impacting the opportunity pipeline across the entire seller-to-customer journey.
2. Manage the lifecycle of your content
All of your sales content — including presentations, lead magnets, blog posts, white papers, and social updates — has its own lifecycle with a beginning, middle, and an end.
To ensure success and improve your content marketing ROI, managing your assets' entire lifecycles is critical. Content lifecycle management enables you to:
- Create useful, valuable content that provides a great experience for prospects and customers
- Phase out obsolete content that clogs up your marketing repository and makes assets harder to find
- Track the performance of every piece of content so that you can customize your content calendar
- Meet overall organizational goals and complete critical business initiatives
The content cycle covers seven stages – plan, produce, approve, organize, distribute, measure, and retire. This boosts efficiency for both marketing and sales. It cuts down on wasted time searching for content and recreating content that already exists, ensuring sales reps can easily find the most up-to-date, compliant content.
Pitcher integrates with your content lifecycle management system, allowing you to streamline content production, customer segmentation, and content recommendations for your sales team. You’ll also gain visibility into key performance metrics that will help you get better results from your content creation and distribution efforts.
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3. Automate your content
Content automation puts the most up-to-date, highest-performing pieces of content at your sales reps’ fingertips, and even delivers the right content automatically at the perfect time.
Sales enablement apps like Pitcher improve your marketing by integrating intelligence and automation with the most common digital asset management systems and content lifecycle management platforms, so you can:
- Manage all file types and formats, including text, audio, images, and video
- Import files and transfer large file sizes
- Easily store and organize all your assets by metadata, label, or collection
- Use image recognition and AI to auto-tag assets with relevant keywords
- Establish access control, set up digital rights management, and send automated expiration date notifications
- Track performance metrics for every asset, so you can spot and analyze the pieces that get the most customer engagement
- Give sales reps recommendations for the best content to send prospects based on actual, real-time data.
4. Optimize your content
Optimize your content to give it the best possible chance of achieving its intended goal — whether you’re trying to rank in the search engines, gather leads, or convert prospects into customers.
Monitor your content after publication and distribution and use analytics software to measure its success over time. Identify potential improvements for that piece of content and future assets as you track.
To optimize content, consider experimenting with the following:
- Placement and type of images
- Headlines and subheads
- Type of content (e.g., long- vs. short-form)
- Formatting and user experience of content
- Calls to action
Always make sure you’re focusing on your customers’ needs — not yours. Yes, your product and your company are amazing, but the only thing your customers care about is whether you can help them solve their problems. Keep a laser focus on the issues your clients are struggling with, and make sure your content addresses those problems in a real, tangible way.
Go beyond what your competitors are doing with their content, and avoid repeating the same points others are making online. Act as a thought leader in your industry and ensure every piece of content answers potential questions related to your customers’ biggest problems.
5. Reduce wasted content
Right now, you’re spending valuable time and energy trying to create the best possible content for your sales and marketing teams — but unfortunately, a lot of that content is going to waste.
According to Forrester and Sirius Decisions, 70% of content and selling tools go unused by sales.
The solution to this problem isn’t creating more content. It’s making sure the content you’ve already created is accessible to your salespeople and easy for them to use.
Sales enablement solutions like Pitcher give your sales reps the information and content they need to sell effectively at every step of the buyer’s journey. Whether they’re in face-to-face or remote selling situations, your team will have all of their most important sales assets at their fingertips, so they can consistently deliver a highly personalized experience to your buyers.
Taking steps to improve your content marketing ROI
Measuring content marketing metrics can be tricky, but it’s absolutely worth the time so you can figure out if the energy you’re expending on creating and distributing content is leading to higher profits.
After all, understanding the effectiveness of your current content marketing efforts is the only way you’ll be able to make adjustments that will improve your content and close the loop between marketing and sales.
When people start recognizing the benefits of your brand and viewing your salespeople as trusted advisors, you’ll hopefully see an improvement in your content marketing ROI (as well as your overall bottom line).
To learn more about how you can measure your company’s content marketing ROI, download our free ebook, Business Impact of Sales Enablement.