4 Creative Ways to Instantly Boost the ROI of Your Content Marketing Efforts

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4 Creative Ways to Your Content Marketing ROI | SEJ

Everybody is raving about content marketing but research, released annually, by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs is showing a consistent drop in the effectiveness of content marketing for B2B companies every year.

Content marketing is no doubt effective, but some companies just can’t seem to make it work for them.

Here are four ways to instantly boost the ROI of your content efforts:

Create a Documented Strategy

The CMI and MarketingProfs study referenced earlier reveals the lack of a documented strategy to be the prime culprit responsible for the ineffectiveness of content marketing; 60% of companies that have a documented content marketing strategy reported success with their content marketing efforts, while only 32% of companies that have a verbal strategy, and 7% of companies without a strategy reported success. That’s such a wide margin!

If you’re struggling to get results from content marketing, perhaps it’s time to revise your approach and come up with a solid, well-documented strategy.

If you’re not sure what to include in your strategy, then the next three suggestions are a good place to start!

Create Resource Articles

There are undoubtedly hundreds of article types you can write, but I can assure you from personal experience that the resource article is king.

Here are a few personal case studies to this effect:

Case Study #1: EffectiveBusinessIdeas.com (formerly GuestBloggingTactics.com)

I started effectivebusinessideas.com a few years ago and the blog struggled with traffic for the first few months; it was doing an average of 500 visits monthly until I published a resource article featuring a list of blogs that accept guest posts on it.

The published resource article featured 500 blogs that accept guest posts, and it was published in a series of posts over 30 days. The result has been nothing short of amazing; traffic went from 600 visitors the previous month, to 1,000+ visitors the month the resource was published, to 2,200+ visitors the following month. Traffic has only increased ever since.

The following screenshot shows traffic growth since publishing the resource article:

SEJ Screenshot 1

The following screenshot shows traffic to the main page of the resource article, containing a summary of all the articles in the resource article series. It’s the top page for the year, even surpassing the blog’s homepage, and traffic was further distributed across other pages of the resource.

SEJ Screenshot 2

What makes the above result very interesting is that it isn’t isolated; in fact, I borrowed the idea from a prior implementation that was already successful on my main blog.

Case Study #2: WritersinCharge.com

In what happens to be my first accidental discovery of the power of resource articles, I published an article featuring a list of 30 resources that pay writers. The results surprised me, as the list quickly exploded.

The resource article went on to generate 25,420 views in its first year (screenshot below); this is on a blog where 5,000 views for the most popular post at the end of the year will be impressive.

SEJ Screenshot 3

This particular article has now been read over 200,000 times, and I replicated the resource article formula again and again with massive success.

I haven’t had a single instance of well-executed resource content fail; every single instance has resulted in tens of thousands of views!

At the end of the day, your content needs to generate traffic before you can see positive ROI; every resource article I’ve created pulls in thousands, some pull tens of thousands, of views monthly on a consistent basis from search engines and other sources.

If you’re struggling with making your content move, it might be a better idea to start creating resource content; better yet, include it as a part of a well-documented content strategy!

Leverage ‘Content Upgrades’ in Your Articles

If you’ve been in the content business for more than a few days, you know that traffic doesn’t pay the bills; it’s conversions, often in the form of sales, that pay the bills.

A 2013 research published in Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly report revealed that email beats search and social combined as the largest driver of conversions.

If you’re looking to increase revenue from your business, especially from your content efforts, you absolutely must give email a try. This is especially important considering that an estimated 98% of people who land on your sales/offer page won’t transact with you immediately.

While there are several ways to get subscribers from your content, an underused and highly effective technique is to use “content upgrades.”

Content upgrades are relevant incentives that you offer to your readers immediately after reading your content in other to get them to sign up. Content upgrades convert massively because they are relevant to the article your reader is reading, and because they are offered right after your reader read relevant content on your website.

I’ve had massive success with content upgrades, and it’s been responsible for extra thousands of subscribers from my blog this year. Brian Dean of Backlinko reports a 785% increase in subscriptions from content upgrades. Bryan Harris of VideoFruit says that content upgrades were responsible for gaining 68% of his subscribers at a point.

The subject of content upgrades is a massive topic on its own, and the two above-linked articles written by Brian Dean and Bryan Harris are one of the best guides on the subject. This article on Digital Current also organizes some case studies about effective use of content upgrades.

Leverage Content Upgrades in Your Guest Posts

While the concept of using content upgrades in articles has caught on, very few people are aware of the potency of using content upgrades in guest posts. This is a technique I learned from Bryan Harris of Video Fruit, and something he calls “expanded guest posts.”

The idea behind expanded guest posts is simple; offer immense value in your guest post on another blog, and accompany the guest post with a bonus incentive that readers of your guest posts have to sign up to receive.

Bryan Harris reports getting more than 500 subscribers every time he offers a content upgrade in his guest posts, and I can report similar results too; a recent guest post I did on JeffBullas.com resulted in 300 subscribers within a week of going live, and over 500 subscribers since it’s been published.

To further supercharge your results from content upgrades in guest posts, you can take things to the next level by doing a combo of a resource article + content upgrade on a top blog; in other words, your resource article is guaranteed to be a big hit, especially on a top blog, and you reap the rewards in form of a content upgrade that sends lots of subscribers your way.


Content marketing is only ineffective if you don’t have a documented strategy and the right tactics. Make effective use of the above suggestions, and you’ll be amazed at the results you can get!


Image Credits

Featured Image: Stokkete/Shutterstock.com
All screenshots by Bamidele Onibalusi. Taken August 2015.

Bamidele Onibalusi
Bamidele Onibalusi is a world-renowned blogger and entrepreneur who has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Digital Journal and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @youngprepro
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  • R.Rogerson

    Statistics : The problem there is that we don’t know how many are saying they do CM, when they don’t really.

    Rather than a Document Strategy, it’s more likely to be a case of being truly organised – including knowing your audiences and creating the right content for them.

    The other consideration is that there are big differences between Service and Product based industries. Content generally comes far more easily to Service industries than Product ones.

    Between those three general points, I’d be a little iffy about the statistics.

    That aside – yes, resources are a well established method of generating interest (traffic/links/conversions).
    Same goes for Email – it’s been the lead-gen and conversion leader for over a decade.

    The shocking truth is – most people simply don’t do things.
    They’ll create content – but they won’t include a conversion point.
    Or they’ll include a lame CTA without prefacing it with a VP.
    Or they’ll use a generic Offer/CTA, rather than one tightly targeted to the content (buy a horse from a page about running, where as selling shoes would make more sense).

    Then there is the Goals and Channels issue.
    Most people don’t define their goals or channels properly. The general process is ;
    1) We need rankings
    2) We need traffic
    3) We need links
    4) Lets create content
    5) Create content
    6) Blast social platform X
    7) Engage a little (sometimes)
    8) Wait for traffic/links/conversions
    9) Be disappointed

    They don’t take time to consider the audience, what the audience is after, what will serve the audience well, what content would lead the audience to take further action (such as email sign up), what enticements can be matched with the content to achieve a goal (such as additional resources for an email address), follow-up emails (for the initially converted) etc. etc. etc.
    None of it’s rocket science – but most get it wrong, usually by missing huge steps.

    And for those reading … in the main, the “content upgrade” type of approach is generally targeted at Service Industries, and usually at Industry based Audiences.
    (Which if you think about it, is logical – and a way to generate links etc. too! (people that buy cat food don’t generally link – people that run sites/blogs about cats might!).

  • http://36creative.com Maciej Fita

    Agreed with all your points! It’s all about having a resourceful post/content that is rich in nature and provides some substance for readers.

  • http://shirsendu.com/ Sanjib Biswas

    Couldent agree with you more that content marketing needs proven documents be effective. So my question is that what can we do if we are at beginning stage of our website I mean to say when we are at starting point we dont have enough proven data that we can show to our visitors.

  • http://www.newsline360.com Michael


    A most excellent read that everyone that is writing content should be aware of, we will be sharing this on our Facebook Page.

    You are talking about ‘real value content’ that people can actually ‘use’. Something that is extremely valuable. In this day and age, resources really are the gold nugget as it is something people can relate to, it isn’t just ‘another read’.

    Amazing that your traffic was able to jump from 600 to 1,000 to 2,200 visitors! Such a great success! Just goes to prove the value.

    Thank you!


  • http://topweblists.com/ Drew

    useful tips, Thanks for sharing!!

  • http://midesignz.us Stacey

    Resource articles have always been the key to enhancing the traffic and targeting visitors. You can’t wow them with fluff or empty posts and expect your visitors to keep coming back month after month. Give them something worth reading ūüôā

  • viratsingh

    Compleately Agreed with you thank you for sharing.