Yet many brands aren’t using their content well enough to see that high return on investment. Disappointing content ROI could be the product of a failure to effectively use content—or a failure to use it at all. According to PQ Media, $145 billion was spent on content marketing around the world in 2014.
Returns, however, lag well behind goals based on data from SiriusDecisions, which estimates that 60 to 70 percent of all created content goes unused.
If true, brands around the world are wasting more than $87 billion annually on content that never gets put to marketing use. That sunk cost delivers no ROI and weighs down the performance of content that actually does get deployed.
When content does get deployed, though, there is strong evidence that its returns far outweigh the campaign results of traditional, outbound strategies. An infographic from OpenView Labs states that a brand blog can increase leads by 67 percent per month compared to companies that don’t have one.
Meanwhile, organic search leads close at a much higher rate than outbound marketing and sales efforts, by a margin of 14.6 percent to 1.7 percent. That margin alone creates a huge advantage when measuring content ROI, even when wasted content is factored into the picture.
Website conversions are six times greater for content marketing brands than for non-adopters, and nearly three-fourths of marketers believe that branded content is more effective than traditional advertising.
Overall, brands that lean on inbound marketing can save an average of $14 per newly acquired lead. Regardless of your industry and the expenditures per-conversion, that’s a significant gain, particularly over time.
Even for brands seeing strong content marketing ROI, more efficient use of created content is important. Small amounts of wasted content can easily go unnoticed, but they drag down content performance and can skew management’s perception of how effective those strategies are proving.
Some simple steps can help improve content management and reduce wasted content, or even eliminate it entirely. The first step for new brands is to conduct a content audit to review how content has been managed and deployed. With the audit, brands should be able to see not only the content that was created and never used, but also content that was utilized poorly, or perhaps deployed in less-than-ideal ways.
From there, brands should dispense with siloed content and switch to a centralized content management system. Through a platform offering an all-in-one census of content, an appointed manager or management team can track unused content and make sure it gets published at the right time and promoted to the right audience. Over time, content waste should decline, and returns for that content will bolster the performance of overall content practices, thus providing a better product—and a better vision for the ROI inbound can provide.
Especially when creating content for numerous channels, content management and the risk of waste are pressing matters. For brands that aren’t seeing the desired results from content campaigns, it’s probably worth taking a look at how content management might be sabotaging that strategy.
To learn about building a content marketing team, check out Skyword’s free eBook: How to Structure and Manage a Content Marketing Team Built for Success.