One of the most frequently asked of me at conferences and the like is "how do you measure the effectiveness of blogs. Charlene Li at Forrester weighs in on a methodology to quantify the return on investment in blogging starting with:
- return on impressions
- return on media impact
- return on target influence
- return on earned media.
This is an interesting view in that it looks at the ROI element of the equation. Some of the other areas we also see benefits in are:
- Reduced cost of customer acquisition: customers are looking at the blog for education and insight reducing the requirement for hard materials and ongoing dialogue with sales engineers. In short, blogs reduce the sales cycle. We can measure this in hours of people time taken back.
- Reduced SEO costs: By participating in other blogs (especially those of pundits and analysts) we see more inbound traffic against key topic areas reducing our dependency on paid search to drive traffic. We've seen this go as high as 25%.
- Participation reduces research costs: Closed blog communities are a great source of insight for polling and thought taking. They reduce the cost of insight.
Charlene points over to Fraser Likel's paper “Perspectives on the ROI of Media Relations Publicity Efforts” which also has some good thinking in this area.
I suggest to companies that they start by aligning the blog goals with business goals and let the metrics flow from there.