3 Tips to Prove the ROI of Your Content

One of the biggest challenges that marketers have is the question of how to connect efforts like blogging and eBook creation to ROI. The dilemma is never-ending in part because most executives don’t come from creative, psychology, or marketing backgrounds.

Individuals running companies often focus on bottom-line metrics—which is understandable because bottom-line metrics are what keep the lights on. But often, this focus creates a narrow picture of how team members on the ground build up to the cost and revenue perspectives that business leaders see.

By focusing too much on their own metrics, teams will often ignore the many different combinations of efforts that lead up to overall performance. Of course, that’s not going to drive revenue or the business forward.

The Tricks to Actually Connect Content to Revenue

Content is, of course, critical to a great customer experience—but that doesn’t mean businesses can get away with that sentiment and no data to back it. Here are three simple tips to ensure your organization is tracking the ROI of content.

1. Focus on a Single Metric

As a marketer, one of your jobs is to connect the dots between content and buying decisions and show those connections to your leadership team. When you can prove the relationship between content and profitability, you’ll receive more autonomy and resources to fully lead—to build the business storytelling program of your dreams.

But how?

Exploring the answer to this question can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re not well-versed in the fundamentals of research design, data science, and statistics. Attribution models and analytics software can only take you so far as these tools are often unable to track convoluted user journeys over multiple years.

For instance, your analytics software may be unable to build a user identity for someone who browses your content anonymously on multiple devices before transacting. Multi-year, long-term sales cycles are especially challenging to track.

One solution is to design your content program around a single metric.

If you’re part of a B2B sales organization, one impactful metric is the speed at which potential customers move between stages of your sales cycle. Content—in business—provides a pathway to scale one-on-one relationships, provide education, and answer questions. Each asset that you create has a functional role in orienting buyers into a first-time or repeat sale.

2. Create Versatile Content

From sending cold emails to running paid campaigns, companies need to keep fast-moving markets in tune with the products and services that they’re responsible for selling. Building awareness can be a scattered, teeth-grinding process. And if you’re reading this blog post, you’re already well-aware of the important role that content has in scaling up operations.

When you plan a content initiative, you’re likely looking at two sides: creation and distribution. Oftentimes, marketers will plan their operations in terms of single, one-hit campaigns. This approach is often limiting. For one, your campaign may not work. Another challenge is that you may have a limited content budget that you need to stretch as far as possible—to reach multiple audience segments, for instance.

A simple way to overcome this challenge is to create content that serves multiple marketing purposes. The key is to create a central pillar asset that can be broken down into multiple, bite-sized pieces of content. This maximizes the content impact while minimizing the effort to create it.

For instance, you could write a blog post that ultimately becomes a chapter in an eBook. This eBook chapter can then become the basis for a video script, infographic, or design concept. You can distribute these assets over a period of years as your company builds up its customer base and audience size. You can distribute this content through multiple channels, at different points in your sales process.

This approach will give you more control over your budget allocation process and increase your success rates over time. A blog post, for instance, will be a lower budget project because it’s ultimately part of creating a pillar asset.

3. Educate Other Teams

Company silos often stop marketers from doing their best work which limits the ROI potential of storytelling as a business function altogether.

One way to navigate this challenge is to use content as a tool for bridging internal silos. Ask sales and engineering teams to share insights into common challenges that the market is facing.

Talk to your product managers to learn about solutions that your team is building in response to challenges in your market. Their feedback will help you build stronger content and will also help you build pathways to distribute the assets that you create.

For instance, you could ask your sales and customer relationship managers to use your content as part of their lead response or customer upselling programs. Over time, marketing can build out a knowledge library.

A process of testing, iterating, and refining will help ensure that this library functions as a business tool—and as a result, you’ll be able to measure the role that this content has in helping close deals faster.

Final Thoughts

The intersection of education and storytelling are the heart of B2B content. That’s why sales acceleration is such an important metric to focus upon.

In today’s digital age, audiences are scatterbrained. The more that you can alleviate the pain point of thinly spread attention spans, the more you can focus on charting the path from reader to transactional outcome. Faster sales means higher ROI, eliminated waste, and more open doors for your business.

Focus upon this powerful metric to validate the success of your content program, obtain more resources, and help your business grow.

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