While more companies are joining the content marketing boom (86 percent, to be exact), only 21 percent say they’re successful at measuring content ROI.
This could leave your C-suite thinking, “Is there actually ROI in content marketing?” It’s a question our sales team hears all the time, and it’s something we struggle with. But rest assured — we have an answer. By diving into our team’s campaign results for quarter one this year, we’ll show you just how valuable a well-developed content strategy can be for your bottom line.
How We Boosted Referral Traffic Conversions by 151% in 3 Months
When working with clients, our mission is to showcase their expertise as thought leaders by publishing high-quality content that fuels their content marketing and executive branding efforts. And we follow this practice ourselves.
So how do our efforts stack up?
Our marketing team planned and executed our first formalized Q1 content campaign, which consisted of guest-contributed content, blog posts, and gated posts around two core themes: content marketing strategy and knowledge extraction. The content we created performed exceptionally well. We then analyzed those results and discovered that, of all the traffic the campaign generated, referral traffic converted the highest.
What does this mean for us? A planned approach to our content strategy paid off, and contributing content in niche publications yielded the biggest ROI compared to other marketing efforts in Q1.
Our Q1 Numbers
- 33 articles published on our blog, The Knowledge Bank
- 50 guest-contributed articles
- 3 gated pieces launched
- The cost of creating content over three months: $50,000
- 151 percent increase in referral traffic compared to Q4 in 2014
- 72 percent increase in conversion rate compared to Q4 in 2014
After plugging in the revenue contracted from inbound sales ($287,000), we calculated an ROI of 474 percent.
However, these metrics don’t consider the impact content had on nurturing leads and arming our sales team with collateral for reaching out to them. So this 474 percent probably looks more like 1,000 percent when you account for the ripple effect it made on sales.
These two screenshots compare our Q1 2015 conversion rate with our Q4 2014 conversion rate:
Our Q1 campaign boosted our referral traffic conversion rate by 72 percent and doubled the number of visits and contacts. We would have completely missed out on these visitors and leads had we not taken a strategic approach to creating guest-contributed content.
Creating a Campaign That Drives Results
While it took some time to develop ideas and lay everything out, the numbers speak for themselves.
Here are four factors that made this campaign a success that you can imitate:
1. Create mini campaigns.
We packaged this campaign in mini strategies. For each, we determined which internal expert would author the article, then brainstormed a guest article, a blog post, and a gated piece that all tied together. We researched and chose publications that reached the right audience, which positioned each article for success. This process ensured that our content communicated a cohesive message and naturally led interested readers to more content — with the end goal of having them download the offer we provided in the call to action.
Below is a sample content map that we used to create our mini campaigns:
Download a free template to create your own content map here.
2. Use expert knowledge banks.
Our knowledge management system has revolutionized the way we create content internally and was actually the inspiration for our knowledge management template, which we offered in Q1. As Influence & Co.’s content strategist, I rely on our experts’ knowledge banks to help supplement answers in our Q&A process when developing each article. This minimizes the time our experts spend on content creation while allowing us to push out fresh, authentic content our audience wants to read.
3. Get creative with distribution.
To achieve our Q1 goals, we not only had to constantly publish articles, but also promote and distribute them. As a result of our efforts, we generated a grand total of 26,859 social shares for our Q1 content.
Here are a few tactics we used to ramp up social shares and engage our audience:
- LinkedIn Groups: Our team is active in various LinkedIn Groups related to our industry and target audience, which we heavily utilized during this campaign. By consistently commenting and sparking conversations in relevant groups, we generated engagement and exposure for the awesome content we’d worked so hard to create.
- Twitter hashtags: Along with posting about our content, I also set up columns in my TweetDeck with the keywords we used in our Q1 articles to monitor conversations. That way, I could naturally insert myself in conversations and offer tips or resources via Twitter. One tip I’d recommend: Mix up tweeting from your company and personal accounts if you have a social media manager on staff. You’ll come across as more authentic when communicating as a person rather than an organization.
- Influencer mentions: We included quotes from industry experts and mentioned many great brands in a few of our Q1 articles. We also reached out via email and Twitter to let these influencers know we’d referenced them, which has strengthened these relationships. Overall, it’s a win-win for everyone: We get to illustrate our claims with powerful examples while boosting brand awareness for companies and people we’re huge fans of.
4. Measure and interpret your results with a weekly analysis.
Every week, our marketing team came together and discussed our published content’s success. Using an analytics template, our team’s growth-hacking extraordinaire collected the previous week’s data and compiled a report of all the numbers. This enabled us to see which content resonated with which publications and audiences.
Taking the time to develop content campaigns that align with your business goals can translate into huge profits. If your company leaders aren’t contributing content, show how it can overhaul your conversion rates — as our team saw in our Q1 campaign. Content is the missing piece your marketing team has been waiting for. Now, unlock your team’s knowledge to start connecting with your future customers.