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How to Compute the ROI of a Business Blog

Most modern marketers require every marketing activity to yield a certain level of return on investment (ROI), which is something especially close to direct marketers.

For instance, at Studio Moderna, every campaign and every single element within the campaign has to meet our strict ROI guidelines. We measure the effectiveness of each and every ad, without exception. You can probably imagine what that means for a company with over 80 hours of daily TV airtime, constant internet and print advertising and telemarketing activities.

As a direct marketing company the one thing we measure is sales and profits from sales. But Blogging is different, since it's usually difficult or not even appropriate to think in terms of direct sales, but rather in terms of the long-term impact generated by your blog.

Debbie Weil, in her highly recommended ROI of Business Blogging book, poses the business blogging ROI as one of the key questions for companies:

"This of course is a key question. If you go to all this trouble, even if it might be a little bit cool or if you really like to write or just feel you want to try this new technology, how are you going to quantify the return on your investment?"

Debbie developed three ways to compute ROI ...

1. Traffic to Your Site

According to Debbie, on way to determine the ROI of a business blog is to look at the traffic of your site. The key questions are:

a] How many visitors to your site actually visit your blog?

b] How many of these people are coming back on a regular basis, as a direct result of your blog?

c] What is your conversion to sales from links inside your blog posts or your blog "layout"?

2. Search Engine Results

a] Does your blog after a certain period of time show up in search engine results for your most important keywords?

b] Is it helping you generate more visitors from the search engines, especially paying customers?

3. Reader Interaction

a] How many trackbacks are you receiving? Can you identify what posts generate the most trackbacks and use that knowledge to improve your editorial/writing process?

b] How many comments are your posts generating? Use the same approach as above ...

And then finally, Debbie moves in to more strategic waters ...

"And finally I propose to you: does your blog make your online marketing and communications easier? I know that many of you say one of the reasons you're not publishing an e-newsletter regularly is that it really does take a lot of time to write and format properly in HTML. But it takes two minutes to publish a blog post. And so instead of sending one long e-newsletter once a month, imagine twice a week publishing a short paragraph - which is delivered to your subscribers via an RSS feed. It's much easier and quicker to write. It's easier for people to read. Because a blog is both an instant publishing tool and also a content management tool."

Of course, the question for you is, are your blogs generating a positive ROI for you?

Adapted from ROI of Business Blogging, which I highly recommend as a resource on business blogging. Check it out today.


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