I watched an excellent webinar last week - all about proving ROI of your content strategy - there were stats, equations, financial calculations and more stats. In the end it showed that you could successfully prove the ROI of your content, providing you had content that you had already invested in, built a strategy around and had the time to perform all the calculations.

Sadly, it wasn't very helpful for someone that was considering a new content strategy and trying to build a business case persuasive enough for the boss to sign a cheque.

Consequences

In my opinion, when you are considering a new content strategy, the key is not ROI, instead you should be looking at the COI or "Cost of Inaction". The cost of inaction is, in a nutshell, the ramifications of sticking with the status quo. The question to ask is "what are the consequences of not having interesting and relevant content on our website?"

Some Maths

Take a simple and often quoted stat about blogging and content: "Companies that blog 15+ times a month get 5 times more site visits" and put it through a simple calculation...

  • How many visits does your site currently get in a month? - let’s say 10,000
  • What percentage convert to leads? - the average is around 3% - 300 leads
  • What percentage converts to business? let’s say 10% - 30 sales
  • What would happen if you got 5 times more site visits - 150 sales!

In this case the Cost of Inaction (not blogging 15 times per month) could be up to 120 less sales per month! Admittedly it's a very simplistic calculation and there are other factors at play, but even if your conversion rate drops or your traffic only increases by 50%, you are still looking at a significant uplift in the amount of potential business and a significant cost if you do nothing.

Keeping up

The previous question could be extended to "what are the consequences of not having interesting and relevant content on our website when our closest competitor does?"

If your competitor has a website full of interesting and relevant content about the niche you both work in, it's very likely that they rank higher than you on natural search. If you look at the average stats on which natural search result people click on:

  • Rank 1 - 32.5% of clicks
  • Rank 2 - 17.6% of clicks
  • Rank 3 - 11.4% of clicks
  • Rank 4 - 8.1% of clicks
  • Rank 5 - 6.1% of clicks

This shows that if your competitor is ranking at 1 and you are at 5, it's likely that they are getting 5 times more visits to their website, and (on the basis that you have similar conversion rates) doing 5 times more business than you are - a fairly large Cost of Inaction!

What if

There are a whole load of other questions you could ask "what if the new CEO at our best client searches for us based on what we do and ends up on our competitors website?" followed by "What if he sees something he likes and feels it's worth talking to them?" - potentially a very high Cost of Inaction!

Conclusion

The examples above are simplistic and there are other factors at play. You need to get your strategy right, get your people to create the content for you, keep them doing it and use that content to drive the right traffic to your website. But if others in your industry are doing it, what are the potential consequences to your business of doing nothing?