27 Resources for Evaluating Blogging ROI

May 15, 2008: Why 27?

Because, after hours and hours of searching, and using Google Alerts for months, that is how many worthwhile articles I have found regarding Blogging ROI so far. I’m sure there are more out there, and I hope that if you know of an additional resource that you will provide that as a comment to this post.

Why have I looked so hard for resources about this topic? Because getting marketers and C-level executives to put corporate blogging on the front burner is so darn difficult.

I used to say that I believe that 95% of all companies can benefit from establishing and maintaining a corporate blog. I’ve toned that down a bit. Maybe it’s more like 85% to 90%.

The bottom line is that I know that blogging can have an incredible ROI (when done properly). Take your pick – more search engine traffic directly to the blog, more links to your overall Web presence, influencing customers and prospects by using a voice outside of the traditional marketing copy (i.e. connecting as humans), interacting with customers and handling negative feedback before it balloons, highlighting your expertise, etc.

I provided a few tangible examples of corporate blogging benefits in a previous post titled How to Convert a CEO Into a Blogging Evangelist.

A number of months ago I was involved in a project spearheaded by John Cass, where we set out to explore the calculation of blogging ROI. Unfortunately, the project lost some steam and I never published the data I had gathered comparing AdRants to AdFreak (and the data collection for that was mind-numbing!). It would be great to revisit that again someday, but the data I pulled together is already out of date, and the thought of re-researching the information pulls me to a complete halt.

So, as I scoured the Web for information, case studies, success stories, and data regarding blogging ROI, I began to catalog some of the resources I found most helpful or most thought-provoking.

Here they are:

1) Charlene LiThe ROI Of Blogging (Forrester), January 24, 2007 This is THE report that everyone references.

2) Debbie Weil – author of book titled ROI of Business Blogging (Debbie has published other blogging books as well); Debbie’s blog

3) Damian PetersonCalculate Your Blogging ROI, May 9, 2008

Selected Quote: Ever wanted to know what blog posts you write require the least effort and get the most comments? No? Well I did and I threw together a bit of SQL to help me identify the areas I can improve upon if I’m to become a serious challenger for the title of the Laziest Blogger Ever™ …

4) Derrick Sorles & Michael SnellWhat is the ROI of Blogging, Web 2.0 Strategies and Social Media Marketing?, May 1, 2008

Selected Quote: Good search performance is money in the bank. If you can “own” your keywords, that’s a huge ROI, that isn’t quickly translated to dollars, but will, eventually.

5) Chris GarrettThe ROI of Business Blogging, March 24, 2008

Selected Quote: Business blogs are amongst the toughest type of sites to do well. I can’t name a single blogger who does the whole thing perfectly, but that’s fine because you don’t need to be perfect to gain most of the benefits.

Before taking on a tactic, any business needs to know what the Return on Investment (ROI) will be. There are three areas where blogs provide a return. Attraction, Stickiness and Conversion.

6) Tadeusz SzewczykROI of Blogging and Social Media, March 11, 2008

Selected Quote: This is also one of the most important differences between a social media campaign and a social media strategy. In a campaign you measure $ while devising a strategy you set other, more important goals that are not measurable by such simple metrics like ROI but may pay out in manifold ways.

7) Sarah E. Goodwinsxsw: 3.11.08 Future of Corporate Blogs, March 11, 2008

Selected Quote: Synergize. By building a community of respect, problems can be solved in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The refining of an idea by many can lead to the “magic” of social communication where 1+1=3.

8 ) Jeremiah OwyangHow Do I Measure ROI?, February 26, 2008

Selected Quote: Measuring “new” media isn’t as different as measuring “old” media, the trick is to figure out what your goal is first.

9) Andrew ChenIs blogging worth it? What’s the ROI?, January 7, 2008

Selected Quote: These days, I mostly think of having a blog as the same as having a giant mailing list …

10) Marci Alboher Blogging’s a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing Tool , December 27, 2007

Selected Quote: Now, after about two years of blogging, Mr. Harlow said he was pleased with the results. He gets about 200 to 300 visits a day, he said. He has also become a source for publications looking for commentary on regulatory issues in the health care field and has even gained a few clients because of the blog. In addition, he has formed relationships with other legal bloggers (who call themselves blawgers) and consultants around the country.

(Marci’s article also provides a few nice, real-world examples of blogging success).

11) Danilo BogdanovicTo The Agents Who Still Think That Blogs Are “Mumbo Jumbo”, We Say Thank You!, December 20, 2007

Selected Quote: We also use our blogs as a value-add and to build credibility with buyers, sellers, investors, banks, asset managers, colleagues, the media and other industry professionals on a daily basis.

12) Avinash Kaushik Blog Metrics: Six Recommendations For Measuring Your Success , November 19, 2007

Selected Quote: Measure: 1) Raw Author Contribution 2) Holistic Audience Growth 3) Conversation Rate 4) “Citations”? / “Ripple Index”? 5) Cost 6) Benefit / ROI.

13) Mack CollierMeasuring the Effectiveness of Social Media, November 13, 2007

Selected Quote: Regular readers and contributors to your blog are more likely to become evangelists for you. This of course lowers your marketing costs and makes your marketing more effective.

14) Geoff LivingstonThe Measurement Meme, November 7, 2007

Selected Quote: Consider Dell’s 27 point decrease in negative blog posts, from 49 percent at the peak of Dell Hell to the current 22 percent. How much would they have had to spend on an ad campaign to achieve that same result? if that same result is even possible through advertising. Hundreds of millions of dollars for a brand that large.

15) Nina Burokas What’s Your Blogging ROI?, August 29, 2007

Selected Quote: In The Corporate Blogging Book, [Debbie] Weil finesses the issue, arguing that although blogs exist in a digital realm often associated with metrics, the medium requires a different measure of value: ROB or return on blog. ROB is “all about connections, conversations, discovery, information, word-of-mouse, leverage, amplification and efficiencies.” Although she gives equal time to metrics, her point is simply that the true bottom line may not be search engine rankings, unique visitors and conversions but the fact that blogging solves a central problem: “the human desire – and business need – to connect.” Summary of blogging resources, and promo for upcoming article in Personal Branding.

16) Paul GillinBlogging’s ROI becoming clearer, March 7, 2007

Selected Quote: Businesses also use blogs to raise their visibility in specific markets. Simple traffic metrics are a good indication of success, but look also at what others are saying about your blog to get an indication of the “buzz” you’re generating. “Eyeballs are the wrong things to be counting,” Paine said. “Look at comments, trackbacks and links. If you’re getting a lot of those, then you’re making a difference.” It’s also a good idea to monitor chatter about your competitors for comparison.

17) Clive ThompsonThe See-Through CEO, March 1, 2007

Selected Quote: When I posted a long entry on my blog describing this story in detail – normally a huge no-no in the competitive magazine business – interesting ideas came pouring across the transom. One reader, a software designer in France, told me he’d recently published the source code of his proprietary programs – and that doing so had increased sales. Clients were more likely to trust his wares, he found, when they knew what was going on beneath the hood.

18) Jeremiah OwyangReviewing Forrester’s “Calculating The ROI Of Blogging”, January 31, 2007

Selected Quote: Even if you don’t need to bring to the table an ROI metric, you should still be measuring. Also, this way, if you have a change in management’s opinions, you can apply the measurement over the cost, and spend some time to obtain an ROI metric.

19) Mario SundarWhy is Corporate Blogging Important?, October 17, 2006

Selected Quote: From a business development perspective, I can tell you that blogging is one of the best sources to evangelize and thereby generate warm leads. Moreover, blogging will speak to your core target audience or prospective customer base more effectively since the readers of blogs are already actively researching for information (Pull vs. Push).

20) Rick WhittingtonCalculating business blog ROI, July 31, 2006

Selected Quote: When I’ve pitched business blogs in the past, the client nearly always asked what the benefits of a blog were. The reasons to maintain a business blog include creating a sense of community with your customers, getting feedback from your customers, generating fresh content for your web site, building company credibility and improving search engine visibility, just to name a few.

21) Zane Safrit Blogging’s ROI: 3 examples, June 19, 2006

Selected Quote: It’s always struck me as quirky that while the networking resources and opportunities at trade shows and conventions often justify the inordinate costs for these events…there still remains hand-wringing and worry and deep-deep-deep analysis of the ROI of blogging.

22) Stephen TurcotteBlogging ROI Proof is for Pansies, April 2006

Selected Quote: …if a company wants a simple answer for how and why they can institutionalize blogging, they’re not going to get it waiting around for proof about how other companies are doing it. Lazy marketing directors and their CEOs want to take their budget and spend it on a guaranteed return. I’m a lazy CEO too. I’d love to spend short money on big return. Show me something other than blogging that can help me get better search engine rankings and links, and boost sales, improve thought leadership, extend traditional PR and generate press coverage, strengthen relationship with my customers and help me build better products.

23) James Governor Rethinking ROI for the the blog generation: Return on “I”, Dennis, Hugh, Kathy and You, April 5, 2006

Selected Quote: Ask not what a blog can do for your corporate bottom line, but what it can do for you. If it scales you, and you’re already effective, then its also scaling business effectiveness.

24) Jason StamperThe ROI of blogging, and whether Jonathan Schwartz’s blog pays for itself, April 4, 2006

Selected Quote: …I came up with BVIa – for Blog Value Index a. It’s a simple equation to work out in quantitative terms whether the blog is paying for itself or costing the company money.

25) Robert ScobleMuch ado about blogging (Scoble, you didn’t answer the question), March 31, 2006

Selected Quote: …I gave them stuff like “blogging doubled sales at Stormhoek winery, according to its CEO.” Or “Munjal Shah, CEO of Riya, says blogging is very important to his new company.” Or “Axosoft raised more than $14,000 in just a few days with nothing more than a few links on some blogs.” Or “Foldera got more than one million signups for its service in 17 days by doing nothing more than talking to six bloggers.” Or, a tailor in the UK saw his sales go up by 10x by doing a blog.

26) You may also be interested in seeing reviews (by marketing & PR professionals) of large-company corporate blogs – check out the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki – a list of Fortune 500 company blogs and links to reviews of many of the blogs, including reviews of:

27) For those of you interested in how individual bloggers are generating income, check out Paula’s New List of Blogger Salaries, by Paula Neal Mooney, June 1, 2007. Paula provides a list of (120 at the moment) bloggers and their estimated income.

I hope this list of resources was helpful. Hopefully we’ll all be able to see more suggested resources through comments to this post…

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  • http://pr.typepad.com John Cass

    Hi Andy, great post, and a useful list of links. Thanks for mentioning our collaboration. One day it will happen. I still encourage you to make the post despite the data being out of date.

  • http://www.adfreak.com DavidGriner

    I’d love to hear how we stacked up against AdRants. Was cleavage part of the data set? If so, we probably got blown out of the water. Cheers!
    David Griner
    Blogger, AdFreak.com

  • http://www.adrants.com Steve Hall

    Ditto what David said:-) Bring it on!

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @John, @David, and @Steve – OK, you’ve all convinced me that I should write a post about the AdRants vs. AdFreak analysis I did (probably with some fresh updating).

    At a high level I can tell you that AdRants had a distinct advantage in the majority of the metrics that I looked at.

    One excpetion was in the CPM ad rates that AdRants appeared to be able to get vs. AdFreak. But my assumption is that AdFreak benefits significantly from its position as part of AdWeek.com and fitting under the VNU/Nielson umbrella.

    In the overall analysis, I did factor in that AdRants had a two-year head start vs. AdFreak in terms of generating blog content, and took a look at post frequency as one of the points of analysis.

    Too much to write in this comment box!!!!

  • http://www.adfreak.com DavidGriner

    Yeah, quality-wise, I think you’re comparing apples to apples. But traffic, post frequency, etc. aren’t going to match up. The nature of the blogs is just different, and I think we complement each other well.

    But the real issue is that Steve simply has to post more stuff to subsidize his hipster eyeglasses habit.

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  • http://pr.typepad.com John Cass

    Andy, hope you don’t mind me bringing up the background to the idea to compare the two sites. In 2006 I interviewed Cathy Taylor at Adfreaks about her blog for a published study. And she mentioned that Adrants puts more effort into outreach. When Andy, myself and others were collaborating on a project to look at the time it takes to blog, and the ROI from putting more time. We also wanted to look at what bloggers do. That’s why I was so excited when you agreed to run the numbers for the two blogs. It backs up the initial discussion. It would be interesting to hear Steve’s thoughts on the role of blogger outreach in his blog’s success.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @John – thanks for adding this!

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  • http://www.businessbloggingconsultants.com Derrick Sorles – Web 2.0 strategist

    Awesome list of resources! Thanks for including me. I am going to post about your post!

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @Derrick I was happy to include your article in this post! You provided a great resource. I like your post from 5/4/08 as well, especially the graphic!

    http://businessbloggingconsultants.com/2008/05/04/what-is-social-media-and-do-i-need-to-use-it-for-my-business.aspx

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  • http://www.compendiumblogware.com Chris Baggott

    What a great list. It will probably take me all weekend to read through this, but the net net has got to be that your blogs (notice the plural) have got to carry the same load as any other page on your site….Conversion is the Goal. Use the blogs to drive to the next step in the relationship.

    Chris Baggott
    CEO
    Compendium Blogware
    http://www.compendiumblogware.com

  • http://teenternet.com/ Christian

    This is an incredible selection of ROI resources for blogging. Like some have said here – I too am definately going to have to spend a few days grazing over the information here. THANK YOU!

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  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    Here’s a bonus resource (#28). Through the Google Alert I have set up for “blogging ROI” I just found this post from Lewis Green of L&G Business Solutions, LLC – http://www.mpdailyfix.com/2008/06/the_real_roi_of_blogging.html.

    Lewis provides some real examples of how his company’s blog has provided returns.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    Here is an interesting conversation over at Marketing Pilgrim, where Janet Driscoll Miller authored an article titled “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: B2B Companies Struggle to Find Their Fit with Blogging”.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    Here’s another resource – Megan Glover at Compendium Blogware posted this Blogging Text Book Example, which has an anecdote about how a prospect found them via their blog.

    In addition, Megan asks her readers to share/submit blogging ROI success stories (which would be great – assuming that Compendium will then share them with the rest of us!)

  • http://www.compendiumblogware.com Megan Glover

    Of course, Andy! We’ll keep the ROI stories coming! Thanks for the mention.

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