Case Study: The Value of a Blog Post
Sometimes when I tell business owners how much I charge for blog posts they tell me that it’s expensive. Of course it’s not. Why?
Creating content vs link building
At the same time they would gladly throw that same amount and much more money at “drive by” traffic from Google Adwords or some half-hearted attempt at manual link building (e.g. outreach).
Even when it comes to services that are far less scalable I can in many cases charge more than for content creation that inherently earns shares and links.
Other clients pay me without flinching but some of them after a while tell me that they expected more of an outcome without explaining what exactly they mean.
I guess they mean traffic numbers and social media shares as these are the only obvious metrics most people use when it comes to business blogging.
Clients rarely take a close look at how many people trust them because of the blog, how many useful relationships it engendered or even how many links it earned.
Thus today I want to show you a very simple case study dealing with the direct value of a blog post you can grasp without digging deep.
You don’t need conversion attribution and user surveys that would show you the bigger picture. Today I’d really like to focus on the small success an average post can be.
I have selected a post that didn’t take a whole lot of work but worked well because it was a good idea and relied on my years of experience to be written.
It was a moderate success but nothing special. Neither traffic-wise nor measured by the shares and links.
Still, at the end of this post you will see that it earned four times the money spent in monetary value after only a week.
I will use Google Adwords and link building numbers to make the value feasible.
The post I want to take as a blog post value example is “How I Got Authority Links from the Most Trustworthy Search & SEO Publications”.
I have written it for the Mass Media Design agency from the UK. I will use three metrics:
- number of votes/shares as visible on the post buttons
- number of visitors based on Google Analytics reports
- authority of editorial links according to the free tools by Ahrefs and and Open Site Explorer.
My post got 52 votes/shares from the major social sites relevant to our industry: Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn (I shared it personally on Twitter and Google+).
While it’s difficult to determine the “price” of a social media vote or share, a tweet can be worth almost 20 Euros for example.
I will use Euros for the sake of simplicity because that’s how I count internally. The client is from the UK so they do in Pounds while half of my audience probably prefers Dollars.
Let’s assume you are not using social media very successfully so a share or vote is only worth 4 Euros each or roughly one tenth of that.
Consider the fact that the people who follow me shared the post by ans large, most of them pretty Web-savvy connectors and influencers. So I guess it’s more than 4 Euros.
52 votes/shares * 4 Euro = 208 Euro
So the shares by itself have already paid for the post. Yeah, I got paid less than 208 Euro to write and share it to my audience of 5k on Twitter and 8k on Google+.
The post had 225 unique page views during the first week after publication: June 28th to July 4th. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Well, in the small B2B niche I am operating in it’s not bad. Also
paying for that same amount of traffic on Google would cost on average 7+ Euros per click
in the UK according to Google Keyword Planner. I checked with the three most relevant keyphrases for this post, link building, building links and authority links.
Assuming that the traffic wasn’t just as valuable as the more willing to buy Adwords visitors we could again divide by 5. Than one visitor would be worth 1,40 Euro.
225 visitors * 1,40 Euro = 315 Euro
So traffic itself was also worth much more than I got paid for the post. Let’s consider another metric, the number of real editorial links.
I don’t mean automated links. I mean links from real people aka editors from within articles, thus editorial links. According to Ahrefs this post got three editorial links within a week.
1. “Tad Chef posts ‘How I Got Authority Links from the Most Trustworthy Search & SEO Publications’ at [link]Mass Media Design Blog[/link].”
http://www.seocopywriting.com has a Moz domain authority of 51 (59 for the homepage)
2. [link]”How I Got Authority Links from the Most Trustworthy Blogs”[/link]
http://www.inbound.org/ has a Moz domain authority of 55 (51 for the homepage)
3. [link]”A Case Study in Authority Links”[/link]
http://www.louisvillewebgroup.com/ has a Moz domain authority of 38 (48 for the homepage)
Imagine you had to pay for these links above. Of course they wouldn’t sell them but in case they did what would have been the value? Paid links are usually rented.
A monthly payment is due in advance. The price is determined by the authority of the site. To make it short you can take the the domain authority as measured by Moz and then add an Euro sign behind it.
That’s 51 + 55 + 38 = 144 Euro
The Value after a Week
208 + 315 + 144 = 667 Euro
Within a week the monetary value of this particular blog post was more four times than the cost of it.
Of course such a post can work in Google as well and garner additional shares and links over time. I even link to my posts myself as I do refer to what I have written on a topic earlier.
Thus over time the value of the post is growing usually. Also a link has a monthly value so after a year it would be more like 1500 Euro of sheer link value.
Then again, not all the value of a blog post can be measured that way.
- How much does trust cost?
- How much authority cost?
- How much does the audience cost?
I bring my own audience to a publication and that stays with it to some extent. These people consider me an authority and trust me. This way trust is transferred to the blog I write for.
In my opinion, we can use both methods (Adwords and blog posts) to get more traffic and valuable links.
Cost is one way of looking at a blog post, but it doesn’t really speak to value (and this is something that applies to the way that people talk about links, as well). It might be true that to develop those shares, traffic, links, would have cost nearly 700 euro. But unless it develops that much in terms of revenue, then you’re not really saying, well, I charge <200 euro, but look at the value you are getting!
It will differ from industry to industry but I think it's super important to have an idea of the *value* of a site visit, a lead, a qualified lead, and so on. It's not an easy thing to get to, and will, of course, vary by site area and by visit type, and so forth. But revenue has to be realised in the end, right?
I know it sounds cheesy but this is why content is king, you could not buy those high DA editorial links any other way. “Imagine you had to pay for these links above. Of course they wouldn’t sell them but in case they did what would have been the value? “