We love blogging. It’s a great opportunity to share our thoughts about marketing, branding and design issues, and to hear your feedback and ideas. But does that mean there’s any business ROI (Return on Investment) in it? Could blogging instead just be something that keeps us busy and self-satisfied – a giant exercise in existential navel picking?
Fortunately, there IS a positive business return on the typical blogging investment, with plenty of evidence to back it up. Read on, and you’ll see how your blogging time, resources and effort can generate significant returns that matter to your business. (And your worries about existential navel picking can be tossed aside…)
The State of Blogging
More than 409 million people view more than 19.7 billion WordPress.com blog pages each month, according to Automattic. It’s estimated that there are approximately 250 million blogs online today, and this number doesn’t even include blogs on Google’s Blogger platform, which does not disclose usage statistics.
According to B2B Content Marketing – 2015 Benchmarks, Budget and Trends (and its B2C companion report), published by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 86% of B2B companies surveyed are currently blogging, along with 77% of B2C companies. Clearly, the investment in blogging is significant and the business value is worth investigating.
Based on HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2014 report, marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13X more likely to enjoy positive ROI. Overall, 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing (Source: HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2013). According to Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs, 79% of best-in-class marketers rank blogs as the most effective marketing tactic.
Blogging is obviously generating significant returns for many companies. Let’s dig a little deeper now and explore the specific ways that marketing teams are leveraging their blogs to maximize value for their companies.
Lead Generation Growth
The analytics software company KISSmetrics is a good example of the power of blogging. They re-thought how to grow a software company, essentially building the business on top of a meticulous blog-building methodology. Through publishing posts regularly and through the inclusion of unique guides and infographics in their blog, they increased monthly blog visitors from zero to more than 350,000 over the course of a few years. The blog now accounts for approximately 82% of the company’s site traffic and over 70% of leads!
According to InsideView, B2B businesses that blog achieve 67% more monthly leads than those that do not. With 83% of B2B marketers naming “lead generation” as one of their content marketing goals (Source: Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs), blogging is clearly a worthwhile tactic as part of the marketing mix.
Website Traffic Growth
Blogging builds website traffic. Whether through SEO, social sharing or email marketing, blogging is a surefire method for increasing your reach and traffic.
According to a survey by MarketingSherpa, content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique by respondents. To be truly successful, of course your content must thrill your audience with its level of usefulness or entertainment value. Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links than companies that do not, and as everyone knows, inbound links are absolutely critical to SEO success (Source: HubSpot).
In our own case here at Stratbeat, since the relaunch of our website in October of 2014, our blog has accounted for 67.5% of our overall site traffic. Twenty-two (22) of the top landing pages for our site (the first page a site visitor lands on) outside of the home page are from our blog, acting as a solid acquisition funnel. One of our blog posts has been shared more than 900 times prior to the site re-launch and shared another 700 times post-launch, bringing waves of new visitors to our website. Not too shabby for about two hours worth of work in putting just a single post together.
Influencing Decision Makers
Blogging is also a constructive way to reach decision makers. Eighty percent (80%) of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement (Source: Content Marketing Institute). Considering that 57% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors, your blog can act as an important part of your funnel before you even begin a conversation.
Measuring the ROI of Blogging
If you are looking for specific metrics to use in the ROI calculations for your own blog, consider the following:
- Lead Generation: As mentioned above, lead generation can be a strong metric against which to measure the success of your blog.
- Sales: In the case that your website is transactional in nature, sales can be a good success metric for your blog.
- Blog Subscription Registrations: A new blog subscription increases invaluable brand touchpoints during the sales process, and can be effective at building loyalty and repeat purchases among existing customers.
- “New” Unique Site Visitors: This metric is valuable in ensuring that your blog is introducing your brand to new prospective clients.
- Landing Page Views: As mentioned above, your blog can act as a robust acquisition platform for prospective customers through SEO and social media.
- Customer Engagement: For B2C companies, who may not be looking to generate “leads” as much as engage with customers and build loyalty, a blog is a fantastic opportunity to have a conversation. Lego does an exceptional job at this. For example, its Lego Ideas blog typically generates dozens of comments per post.
- Social Shares: Blog posts tend to be shared exponentially more than standard web pages, enabling you to expand your reach and visibility.
Whether you’re looking to generate leads, sales or simply first-time site visitors from your blog, the ROI is clear for your business. Focus on making your blog as valuable as possible for your target audience, and see your marketing results go skyward!