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August 5, 2019

ROI for content strategy: getting around roadblocks

When you want to put new content development processes in place, proving the return on investment (ROI) of your strategy is one of the most effective ways to get buy-in from managers or executives. 

You can calculate ROI by showing how much money you’re currently spending creating content, and comparing it to how much money you will save over time with a more efficient workflow. But what if there are roadblocks preventing you from gathering the metrics you need to get those numbers?

Here are some challenges your company might face when gathering the information you need to calculate ROI, and solutions that may help.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

Lack of metrics

There are many factors that go into determining the value of your content, such as:

  • hours spent on writing vs. formatting
  • volume of support calls and time spent on each call
  • search terms used by customers to find content

If you haven’t been tracking these metrics, you don’t have a baseline for the cost of content development. 

The solution: Research industry averages. Even if you haven’t gathered any metrics, you can still estimate the cost of content development based on industry averages, which can help you show ROI. When using industry averages, you should calculate your ROI with the most conservative estimates possible, and specify that the cost savings may be greater depending on the actual numbers. Your content strategy should also include a plan for collecting the metrics you need going forward.


If your company has gone through major organizational changes, it might be difficult to know where to start collecting metrics. A recent merger or acquisition means that your metrics will be coming from different sources and may not be well-organized or complete. Metrics may also be displaced or lost in the shuffle of departmental restructuring.

The solution: Start with the metrics you have. You may not have all the metrics you need in the wake of organizational changes, but incomplete metrics are better than no metrics at all. As you build your content strategy, dedicate some time and resources to gathering what metrics you can find, and use those as a starting point. If you need to, you can use industry averages to help fill in the blanks.

Company politics

It’s common for departments within a company to have conflicting interests, which may affect the metrics you gather as you’re putting your strategy together. Different departments may have wildly varying metrics for similar tasks, which can make it tricky to figure out your ROI. If a department is resistant to change, that group may be reluctant to provide metrics helpful to your case. 

The solution: Prioritize. If you’re getting conflicting or varying numbers from different departments, calculate your ROI based on the numbers that will help you build the strongest business case. And if change resistance makes it difficult to get metrics from one department, use the metrics you get from other departments to work around the gap.

What roadblocks have you faced when trying to calculate ROI, and how have you gotten past them? Let us know in the comments. If you need help developing a content strategy, contact us.