You�ve probably been told that a blog is a valuable marketing tool, and you�ve hopefully already started one for your business. But do you actually know what your blog is doing for your company? Most business owners intuitively understand that producing unique, high-quality content on a regular basis will attract more organic viewers and boost their rankings in Google�s search engine results, but surprisingly few businesses have taken the time to measure their blog�s effect on their bottom line.
Just as you can measure the ROI for other marketing materials, such as the cost-per-click of your ad campaign or the cost-per-conversion for the print mailer, you can measure the value of your blog content. The factors you�ll need to consider are:
- The cost of content development
- The value of the traffic your blog brings to your site
- The value of repurposing your blog content (for example, in the form of an eBook or social media update)
In the first part of this series, I�m going to go over one of the most straightforward metrics to calculate: the cost of your content development.
Case Study: The Value of Content for OnEdge TV
I think the best way to understand the value of blog content is to look at a real-world example. Back in January, I launched a site called OnEdge TV, which focuses on providing original TV recaps and news for shows that fall into the supernatural, fantasy, or thriller genre. Since I was starting this site from the ground up, I was interested in looking at the cost of starting a blog from scratch and where that blog can take you in just 6 months. To do this, I catalogued all the writing expenses and site traffic for each month, from January through July 2014.
There were two dedicated writers developing content for OnEdge TV, and in the first six months they produced 250 pieces of unique written content for a combined total of $3,480. I wanted to figure out each author�s contribution to site traffic based on their writing alone, so I created a chart to look at Author 1 (A-1) Traffic and Author 2 (A-2) Traffic, which you can see below:
Month | A1-Traffic | A2-Traffic | Total | % Growth MOM |
Jan | 34 | 19 | 57 | – |
Feb | 101 | 22 | 202 | 354% |
Mar | 158 | 43 | 249 | 123% |
Apr | 319 | 94 | 585 | 235% |
May | 330 | 329 | 751 | 128% |
June | 333 | 476 | 953 | 127% |
July | 700 | 579 | 1498 | 157% |
Grand Total | 1975 | 1562 | 4295 | 188% |
It should be noted that I only counted entrances to the site based on each author�s specific content. As you can see, we averaged 188% growth in traffic due to their combined content over the course of six months. You can clearly see the growth trend based on each specific author below:
I also looked at the total number or articles each writer produced each month, the cost of those articles, and the traffic from those articles:
Collectively, we averaged somewhere between 25-45 articles per month:
Because I knew the total number of articles written in 6 months, the total cost of articles in that 6-month period, and the total traffic, I was easily able to figure out the average cost per article and the average cost per click. I�ll show you how to calculate these metrics below.
Calculating the Cost of Blog Content: Step-by-Step
- Track the total number of blog posts in a set time period. As mentioned above, we had a total of 250 blog posts in 6 months for OnEdge TV.
- Track the cost of each blog post. If you work with freelancers who charge a flat-rate per project, their fees are going to be the most obvious cost. However, if someone in-house is writing or editing the posts, you will also need to look at the time they spend writing each post and calculate the cost based on how much they are paid per hour. Let�s say your blog posts are written by an employee who is paid $12/hr, for example. If the average time it takes them to write a blog post is 90 minutes, then the average post cost is $18. For the OnEdge TV project, we determined that the average cost per post was $13.92.
- Calculate the total cost of the blog posts in the set time period. Add up the cost of the individual posts to get your total cost for the period. For OnEdge TV, that was $3,480.
- Track the organic traffic from blog posts each month. This should be traffic from the specific landing pages that each blog post is on so that you can see how much traffic is being driven to your site by the blog content, not for some other reason (such as a PPC ad).
- Calculate your total traffic for the set time period. Add up all the organic blog traffic for each month in the time period to get your total traffic. For OnEdge TV, we had 3,357 hits.
- Find the cost per click by dividing the total cost by the total traffic. So for OnEdge TV, we divided $3,480 by 3,357 to get an average cost per click of $0.98.
Determining the cost-per-click for each blog post is a great way to start quantifying your blog, but you should also determine the value of each click. Are the visitors who are coming to your site for your blog also taking some kind of action, like signing up for your email list or purchasing a product? In the next part of this series, I�ll talk more about how you can determine the value of your blog traffic.