content marketing

The elephant-friendly guide to addressing the elephant in the room of content ROI

Many times we spend a lot of time creating content, with no guarantee of being able to attribute it to ROI. Find out 5 ways to ensure you're never in that position again.

Your time is valuable. Your skills are valuable. So are you getting the credit you deserve where you work?

As we know, tech companies especially live and die by their targets. Everyone has a number. But is everything really explainable only in numbers? There are some things that you just know need to be done to build the company's content or brand, which will pay dividends later. But how do you quantify it?

Did you ever go with your gut feeling with creating a content piece, and knew that people were seeing it and that it may have even led to sales enquiries or other KPIs that you are monitoring but could not quite point at how it directly affected conversion?

It can be frustrating, especially when looking to build closer knit collaboration with Sales and to demonstrate contribution to revenue the company generated in a given quarter. This leads to increased budgets, faster promotions, and overall a great personal brand within the company.

In this article we'll discuss 3 ways you can attribute the ROI of your social media content marketing efforts, so you can share it with your team.

Here's the deal. As a marketer, you know that there are content pieces that need to be created in order to grow your brand.

You understand that people need to see content before they can give attention, like, and trust a brand. Sometimes a piece of content your team created that someone consumed month ago influences their decision making in your favour. According to entrepreneur and best selling author Daniel Priestley, the 7/11/4 rule is one marketers should live by, to recognize that it takes 7 hours, 11 touch points, across 4 different channels for someone to begin liking and trusting a brand in the direction of potentially doing business with them.

Do this enough times, and you would have achieved brand preference - that is - people will actively type your website URL in the address bar or search for you by name on Google when they next have a question about a certain topic, because in their minds, heuristically, they know that you are a thought leader on this topic.

As marketers, we understand how this works pretty well. But at the end of the day we all have targets to hit, and we need to always justify our time investment in certain content pieces (or directions of thinking) over others.

This is where attribution comes in.

Attribution helps you understand what content is driving what results, so that you can use this insight to calculate content ROI and also plan the next period of content.

1. Create the pillar piece of content

Always think in terms of pillar content, that is - one piece of content that is full of good value to be repurposed to other content. The most effective way to do this is to start with episodic content, and create your own original series. This way, you guarantee quality video content, along with audio, image, and written content formats out of it as well. But you also package your content in a way that is sequential and exciting to consume. If you're looking for content show ideas, check out this essential guide.

2. Identify all the microcontent pieces you will create

Think in terms of pillar content, such as video episodes. The idea is to be able to create one piece of content which can then manifest itself in multiple forms and functions across video, audio, image and written. The more formats you can hit, the better!

3. Identify all the social channels that the microcontent can be repurposed for

Someone suggested to me the other day that Instagram is only for B2C. If your buyers are humans, they have lives outside of work as well - and you'd be clever to meet them where their attention is spent, by virtue of posting your content there as well. The key thing, as Gary Vee wrote in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook - is to pay attention to the culture of different social media channels, and not spray and pray the same content across the board UNLESS it makes sense to do so.

4. Create tracking links for each social channel

After you've created your pillar piece of content, identified what social media channels you want to repurpose for, and also created the damn microcontent pieces (it's a lot of work when done manually!) there's only one final piece to the puzzle remaining. It's to attach a fishing rod to each microcontent piece, in other words - tracking links.

You can use the likes of, Google UTM Builder, or if you have Hubspot, you can use their cool tracking link builder as well. The goal here is to pick what the target URL that you wish to send them to. If not your homepage, it could be a page with a chatbot or form where they are encouraged to join as a lead, or book a meeting. 

The key piece is to create tracking links for every microcontent piece, and once more for every channel that the microcontent piece will go on. For example if you created an image poster quote from a video episode which is perfect for both LinkedIn and Instagram, you would create 2 tracking links for the one content piece.

The more granular you can get, the easier it will be to track the attribution of any video episode campaign that you are working on.

5. Actually use them, and report.

It takes time to choose the right link when posting on the right social channel. But the insights you get from it are definitely worth it. It gives you solid answers for what content pieces are sending traffic back to a target URL that you've set.

Advanced Chops: If you place an MRR or fixed value on new account activations (or leads), you would be able to factor that in to further quantify your content marketing results.

Advanced Chops II: If you use Hubspot or other marketing automation tools, you would be able to create smart lists of leads and customers that have previously visited one of the tracking links in your campaign to create a first-touch attribution report to demonstrate the significance of your content (right down to the format, topic, and medium used) in those conversions.


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