7 Ways to Ensure You Maximize Your ROI From Content


I’m not going to lecture you.

You already know that content marketing can be a very successful form of marketing.

You also know that producing great content takes a lot of time or money, sometimes both.

But there’s something that you might not know, at least not for sure.

Just because a piece of content gets thousands of views or hundreds of social shares doesn’t mean that it produced a positive return on investment (ROI).

You could spend $100,000 on the most spectacular piece of content on how to pet a cat. It’s very unlikely that it would ever make you anywhere close to that amount back.

Content marketing is only effective if it’s profitable.

From what I see and hear, only a small fraction of marketers actually achieve a significantly positive ROI with their content.

That’s a HUGE problem.

While there’s a lot of factors that contribute to your ROI, I’m going to assume you have the basics of content marketing down.

That allows me to show you 7 different ways to maximize your content’s ROI.

If you apply even a few of these tactics, you can take your content from a break-even or slightly negative ROI to a healthy, positive ROI.

Achieving this will allow you to ramp up your content production in a sustainable way. 

1. Pick 1-2 channels and design around them

A common mistake I see is people creating a piece of content and then trying to promote it everywhere.

I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, forums, Reddit, and any number of other marketing channels.


The reason why this is a mistake is that audiences on different channels and platforms within those channels typically behave very differently from each other.

Content that may be very popular on one channel isn’t necessarily going to do well on another channel.

That makes a shotgun approach for promotion a waste of your time, and it’s going to kill your ROI.

The solution? Get specific: You need to find 1-3 channels where your content does best.

For Quick Sprout, I use mainly Facebook and Twitter, along with my email list.


Ideally, you want to identify these channels before you even create your content. Then, you can tailor everything, including the topic, angle, and title just for those specific audiences.

Here’s your practical takeaway: Stop promoting your content on every place you can think of—you’re wasting your time. Focus on the sites that send you the most visitors for your time, effort, and money.

How do you pick a channel to focus on? Analyze your past content, and determine the number of visitors or subscribers you got from each channel. Create a simple table, like this one, for each piece of content to measure your results:



  • Time spent – how much time you need to spend to promote content on this channel
  • Cost of time – your time has value, input a $/hour value here
  • Other costs – put in any money you spent (e.g., advertising)
  • Total cost – add your time and other costs together
  • Sales/subscribers/visitors – pick a metric, and record the results

Then, divide the sales (or subscribers, or metric of your choice) by the time it cost you to get a return per hour metric.


You will see that certain channels vastly outperform others.

2. Never stop updating

As you may know, there are 2 types of content…

Evergreen content, which stays relevant for years (possibly for the foreseeable future) and non-evergreen content, which will go out of date in the near future.

You’ll probably end up creating both types of content.

The main downside of non-evergreen content is that once you get the initial value out of it, it fades into irrelevance and won’t help your business much.

However, you can essentially erase this negative effect by continuously updating your content.

It’s something that Brian Dean does very well; you should follow his example.

For example, he created an incredibly thorough guide to SEO tools:


He updates this guide on a regular basis.

Why is updating so important? Updates are all about the reader. They make the content much more valuable.

SEO tools come and go all the time.

If you look at other lists of SEO tools that are a few years old, you’ll see that most of the tools listed there are either ineffective these days or no longer available. Plus, they are missing some great tools that were recently released.

While Brian isn’t ranking #1 for “SEO tools” in Google, he ranks very highly, and I expect his rankings will continue to rise (it’s a tough keyword):


Google is going to see that users find his guide the most useful, and it will be promoted.

Updating has a few other side benefits.

First, it allows you to keep promoting your content. Usually, you publish something and then you go all out on promoting it for a week or two.

After that, you probably have a bit of anxiety doing more promotion because you feel like your content already isn’t that “fresh.”

If you update your content, it allows you to send a quick Tweet or email to people who have enjoyed it before, letting them know you’ve added a few cool tidbits (like new tools for Brian). That’ll get you extra shares and links.

Finally, a lot of things influence what your readers will share with their friends and communities.

Mainly, they want to share things that make them look good. That’s why they rarely share old content, which is probably not applicable anymore. But if you keep updating your content on a regular basis, visitors will have no problem sharing it far past your first publish date.

3. Never stop promoting

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Most of your ROI is going to come from your content promotion.

While great content is a good start, it’s nothing without a substantial amount of promotion.

Some top marketers, like Derek Halpern, even spend up to 80% of their time promoting content (the other 20% on creating it).

But here’s the problem: Even if you do a great promotional push for a week or two, your traffic will spike but then quickly die down.


I guarantee that you haven’t reached even a fraction of the people that could benefit from your content during that time frame.

There’s no rule that says that you can promote only new content.

If you want to maximize your ROI, you likely need to spend more time promoting your old content as well.

For starters, you can simply repost your content on social media and forums every once in awhile.

Additionally, you can set up Google Alerts to let you know when anyone is talking about the topic you wrote about. You can then pop in and suggest they visit your guide.

On top of those, most promotional tactics are still viable. Very few don’t work simply because your content was published a month or two ago.

4. There are diminishing returns between quality and ROI

This is where creating great content gets really tricky.

Generally, I’m a supporter of creating truly “epic” content.

But it’s not always a good idea.

Sometimes, making your content better will leave you with a worse ROI.

The reason behind this is pretty simple. To design custom images and layouts, it takes a lot of time and/or money.

Even the table of contents for my advance guides (in the sidebar) cost a ton to make:


At some point, you may have a piece of content that’s really good. If you spend another $100 on a custom image, will that bring you more than $100 later on?

That’s the question, and it’s a tough one.

When do you stop improving content? It’s going to vary in every case, but I’ll get as specific as possible.

Let’s start with a fundamental principle: your content should be better than that of all your competitors.

If it isn’t, you’ll be lucky to achieve any positive ROI at all.

The better your content is, the more it stands out from the rest:


But you reach a limit.

Once your content is significantly better than all the other content on that subject, readers can’t tell when it gets even better.

Readers determine the quality of your content in large part by comparing it to others. So, even if you improve your already-better content, in the eyes of most readers, it’s still just “better” than the rest.

If there’s no significant difference in perception, there won’t be a significant difference in your return. And since you spent more to improve your content, that means your ROI declined.

Your practical takeaway: Make your content significantly better than your competition’s, and then stop. Any further improvements will be costly and your ROI will likely decrease.

Of course, you should test this yourself, but that’s a good rule of thumb to follow.

The one exception to the rule: I mentioned my ultimate guides before. These obviously broke the rule because I went way above and beyond what was already out there.

I did this for one main reason: So that no one could come in later and create something significantly better.

These guides have driven hundreds of thousands of visits to my site since being published. Even though they are years old, no one has comprehensively been able to create content that “beats” them.

They allow my site to retain its position as the leader in each of those areas and deliver constant traffic even now.

If you know that a piece of content has the potential to deliver a large volume of traffic (usually through SEO) for years, and that others will try to create better content than yours, you can take this route.

Alternatively, you could just upgrade your content as others catch up and hope that none of them create a guide like this that you can’t really beat.

5. Advertising is not the enemy of inbound marketing

I told you earlier that Facebook is an important channel for Quick Sprout.

But if you’ve used Facebook for your business, you know that the organic reach percentage—the number of your fans who see your posts—is dismal:


If you rely only on organic traffic on most social channels, you’re missing out on a lot of reach.

But a lot of marketers, especially newer ones, hate advertising. If you’re a strict inbound marketer, you might not want to tap into outbound marketing options.


But outbound (“interruption” in the picture) marketing and inbound marketing do not need to be exclusive.

You can use both of them at the same time to promote a piece of content. And when you find the right combination, you can see big gains to your ROI.

6. The biggest mistake you can make is not optimizing your funnel

It’s the first word in ROI: return.

If you have no way to make money, no content will have a positive ROI.

It’s absolutely essential that you have some sort of sales funnel in place, ending with some sort of product (or alternative monetization method) for visitors and subscribers to buy.


Most of what I’ve written in this post focuses on your content and promotion, but just as important is what happens after.

Have you optimized your email marketing? Do you have a clear path to generating revenue from visitors?

If you don’t, you need to.

Doubling the conversion rate at any point near the bottom of your sales funnel is an easy way to double the ROI of all your content.

Here’s a good starting point to optimizing your sales funnel.

7. Simple, but crucial: measure your ROI

Your ROI for a piece of content is determined based on a variety of factors.


You need to understand how to calculate your ROI and then measure it for every piece of content you produce.

If you don’t measure it, there’s no way to try different content creation and promotion techniques and see which ones actually improve your ROI.

Good marketers continually refine their content marketing strategies and find incremental improvement.


Content marketing can be a great tool in your marketing arsenal.

But only if it actually makes your business more than you spend on creating it (aka a positive ROI).

I encourage you to test the ways to maximize your ROI I just showed you. In most cases, you’ll see a significant bump in your ROI.


  1. Bill Portnova :

    Great content Neil. do you think press releases work well? What do you think is the best bang for your buck?

    • Not really… you’re better off investing your energy into guest posting and such

      • Bill Portnova :

        Thx, would you allow me to do a guest post on your site that talks about the power of my free WordPress plugin called WP Content Discovery?

    • Leonardo LaVito @ LargerList.com :

      As Neil mentioned, I have also found that press releases don’t work very well… most of the time at least.

      However, there are some instances where I have had great success with them. I can share with you a few of them:

      – When you are doing “trend hopping”, where you try to quickly jump onto a very popular trend that has appeared, and that is (1) related to your product offering (2) people on the trend have their wallets out and ready.
      – When you already have content that is doing well, and giving you a clearly high ROI, using press releases to supplement that content has resulted in big gain for me.
      – A lot of the time, press releases can be rather expensive. So I have found that it’s better to test first with normal content, to ensure a high ROI. If the ROI is good, only then would I use a press release to supplement that.

  2. Adeel Akhter :

    Great article. Simply Great.

    Just want to discuss few points. As you gave example of Brian updating his content regularly, it means if we have a blog post publish earlier. We can keep adding more relevant content to it without changing hyper linked keywords.

    Am I right?

    Your idea of promoting the content is something I recently experienced. Unfortunately I cannot disclose the company name but I can share my experience.

    I took an interview of a popular Australian blogger in my niche. Got it published on my blog And I saw 290% plus page view sessions. The content was shared by that Australian blogger too. In addition I got 108 genuine likes on the article.

    I believe promotion by an influencer was a key to it. I plan to re-post that post on social media platforms after 2 weeks.

    The funnel part has always remained little tricky for me. I don’t know why? May be I need to explore more on creating content according to funnel. What you say?
    I guess I also need to learn how to measure ROI for content.

    • Yes, you can update the content to make it more relevant.

      Wow that’s awesome! Benefits of working with an influencer 😉

      It sounds like that strategy works well, now how do you scale it? How can you get more influencers to help you grow that quickly?

      • Adeel Akhter :

        Hi Neil,

        As you have asked me “It sounds like that strategy works well, now how do you scale it? How can you get more influencers to help you grow that quickly?”

        I am in touch with 3 additional bloggers in that particular niche who are influencers and will be getting 3 more interviews.

        One of them has 82K+ twitter followers and 5000+ FB fans. If I get there interview published and shared on his network, we both can imagine how beneficial that will be :D.

        By the way can you guide me what metrics to check out on Google after such blog post is published? Fore example “Page Views VS Bounce rate” etc?

        I know I can dig and come up with references from your previous content but I am too excited to focus. After all Google Analytics show the sharpest and highest spike in last 1 year for that post 😀

  3. Hi Neil, Great post as always. The problem with marketer is they don’t promote their content.

  4. Tiffany Simpson :

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for posting this article. I am in the process of rolling out a marketing giveaway for my website, and this helps. Thanks!

  5. uthman saheed :

    This is getting more interested and tough day by day. Return on investment is actually a difficult thing to measure when it comes to blogging and content marketting.

    Apart from the money spent to put content in place, to promote content that are measurable in value for cash, what about the time spent?

    I like this post…and I also believe in creating epic evergreen content, dont know it is important to combine it with others.

    • You’re right, it is difficult knowing the return on investment. One of my buddies taught me about ROTI, return on time invested. It’s a different way to look at what you’re doing to see if it’s worth it.

  6. Hi neil thanks for your posts, i am on your email list so get regular updates about your posts. Although i had unsubscribed from you website still i get emails from you. Doesn’t matters becauase i enjoyee your posts. You are gr8 marketter. I want to share some comments would you please allow that?

    • Glad to have you on board Sajjan. If you have any questions or topics you need help with, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  7. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for posting this article. I am in the process of Email marketing , How important is Email Marketing in On-line Marketing Channel?

  8. Hamza Sheikh :


    I am personally confused about all this, but one thing I have implemented in the past from you. And, it was focusing on specific channels and producing specific content for specific channel. It had worked out very well for me, and keep working awesome.

    Rest of the ROI stuff is very tough for me, as I work on news centered websites. Our aim is to capture as much as traffic we can. I am pretty confused on how to make these strategies work out for me.

  9. Is it true that you delete comments if they aren’t the typical “thank you, this content was amazing” type of posts? I always see a lot of comments on your posts but never anything negative which seems odd for what I see compared to other sites.

    I ask because I saw a lot of stuff going on Twitter with people talking about how you censor comments and I couldn’t find a reply from you on Twitter about it.

    • No comments don’t get deleted unless they are spam

      • What about this one that I saw floating around twitter? https://twitter.com/ty_downs/status/732127370291748865

        It doesn’t seem to be on that post anymore, it isn’t spam, yet was deleted from that blog post.

        • I really don’t delete comments. When someone posts them, they see it. If WordPress marks it as spam, then when they hit refresh on the page it doesn’t show anymore. If I delete all comments I would delete this one.

          It’s just hard to go through all spam comments when you get over 10k spam comments a day.

          As for the goal, I hit it. I have a lot of people who aren’t the biggest fans of me, and I am ok with that. As long as some people are learning, I am happy with it. 🙂

          • I guess I’m just curious too why you wouldn’t reply to the tweets? Seem’s kinda counterintuitive and against what you preach….

            • I should… but when you combine all of the LinkedIn messages, FB messages and Twitter messages I get on a daily basis, I have to pick on choose.

              Twitter tends to be the last on my list as it doesn’t drive as much traffic as Facebook.

  10. Hi Neil,

    Awesome post, thanks dor the info.

    I’ve recently published an ultimate guide type blog post in the UK insurance niche.

    I saw your definitive guides and I LOVE the designs you have. I wanted to do something similar because my site is brand new and I really want it to be link worthy.

    Where do you go to have something like this designed a put together?

    Thanks for your content!


  11. Leonardo LaVito @ LargerList.com :

    Thanks Neil, for these tips for maximizing content ROI! 🙂

    The perspective on both ROMS (Return On Money Spent) and ROTS (Return On Time Spent) is especially insightful.

    “what kind of ROI have you achieved with your content in the past?”

    Well, it basically depends on the type of content being created, and how the content is being used. Often, I specifically create content that can be used multiple times to max ROI.

    However, I spend a lot of time developing and creating software, tools, systems and shortcuts for reducing the time spent on content creation, so ROI is pretty high as it results in compounding gains.

    • That’s great Leo, it sounds like you have a really solid system in place!

      Maybe you can the apps you’ve developed into some kind of content productivity suite.

  12. Grazina A. Szewczyk :

    Awesome post, Neil. I’ve learned a lot from it. I not a beginner but I never thought much about the difference between the Interruption Marketing and the Inbound Marketing, and it’s so important.

    Thank you for the link to Brian Dean’s SEO Tools, the site is awesome. I’ve seen a couple of pages created in a similar way, where you see notes at the top: “for our 2016 update click here” or Updated 6 of May 2016″ – I always bookmark them.

    Nothing annoys me more than spending time reading an article just to realise that it’s out-of-date. And imagine what can happen if you WON’T realise that it’s out of date! If you won’t follow current Facebook page guidelines you can get you into trouble.

    • You’re welcome! I agree, Brian’s tools are great!

      I know what you mean, the last thing you want to do is waste your time on something like that. Time is money!

  13. Niko Jeppesen :

    Hi Neil, really opened up my eyes about the sales funnel. Really going to look at what we can do to optimize it right now!


  14. Hi Neil,

    Nice article as always! Do you think affiliate marketing is helpful/effective or is overrated.


  15. Another very good article, Neil!

  16. Vatsala Shukla :

    Hi Neil

    A timely post considering that I am working out the sales funnel part of my website. I discovered to my surprise that the majority of my visitors come for certain very old posts and I’m now trying to work out how to maximize my ROI – whether to get them to subscribe to my list or invite them to try a low hanging fruit offer and build a relationship. What confounds me is how a blog post on a Smiley Ball (which had more to do with stress management and has my dog and her soft toy as one of the images) still attracts visitors!

    We never really know what appeals to visitors and what Google thinks, do we? LOL

    • Haha, we can ONLY try and try until eyes blow up from exhaustion of looking at the monitor

  17. Hi Neil,

    Awesome Post !!! And I totally agree with you About the promotion Campaign, yes almost the time when we publish our content as a blog post or share content through the other medium like guest posting we prefer to promote it on all possible sites but truly it bad impact on our ROI. it is better to choose some sites for promotion on the behalf of last Get ROI report.
    Literally Content is a King… Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

    • That’s what everything comes down to. Your efforts, whether it be SEO or social media, becomes much more effective when you’re producing more content.

  18. Tauseef Alam :

    Hi Neil,

    Awesome post as always.

    I think I am doing the same mistake which you’ve highlighted above. I am promoting my content everywhere. Now I have realized it and will work to change my focus in the right direction.

    I am planning to start facebook campaign. Any good guide for it?

    Tauseef Alam

    • Yes, focus your efforts and you’ll notice a much bigger effect. From there you can continue to optimize and refine.

  19. Aleksandra a Arsik :

    Very useful. Do you mind explaining the number of visitors you have used to calculate the table under : 1. Pick 1-2 channels and design around them?

    • I am getting it from Google Analytics. I am looking at what each traffic source has driven in the past.

  20. Ritika Shukla :

    Hi Neil, I have a question here, since I am into coupon business. So in this industry the content is almost the same across websites and more over can’t elaborate more abut the content. In this scenario how can we do differently to market the website.

    PS: my website is www.couponshree.com

  21. Nathan Gomez :

    Hi Neil,

    A very comprehensive coverage on the topic. I like the point 6 specially and your reference to the article @crazyegg.

    A great value and thanks for writing this.


  22. hi,Neil
    great post,really i enjoy to learn you helpful tips and analyse.
    i m always confused about ROI,and the marketers can optimize her content to drive more prospect,along her sales funnel processus.
    great thanks for this awsome coverage.


    great post,really i enjoy to learn you helpful tips and analyse.

  24. Tauqir Hussain :

    Hey Neil,

    A good article by you on Return on Investment. Thanks for sharing a detailed table analysis. I was doing the same but was not counting work hours.

    After taking all the factors in the account, the ROI factor can be calculated more accurately. Thanks!

    • Glad this was helpful Tauqir 🙂

      Let me know if you have any other questions I can help you wiht.

  25. Hanuman Chalisa :

    Great article! How can I sell through my newsletter, when we can’t make discount on our products?

    • Storytelling. You need intertwine logic and emotion and turn that into an experience some can have when they read your content

  26. Shankar Mahadevan :

    Thanks to share this article with us

  27. Yes Neil, maximizing ROI is vital to maintaining your margins, as your time will eat at it non-stop!

    Time savers and success makers:
    – plan your content (what’s the theme of your next 10 pce?)
    – create a giveaway (or multiple) for the theme, and exchange this for an email address
    – batch your content creation
    – schedule your content release
    – let it roll out, and use your now ‘free’ energy promoting it through social, paid, and in general conversations online.
    – if your content is good, people will also share it
    – measure your results, adjust accordingly for your next ‘theme’
    – rinse, repeat.

    All the best everyone – Pat

    PS: here is my latest knowledge for business owners who use Instagram: http://www.yourminiempire.com/8-instagram-mistakes-business-owners-make/

  28. Some people give up because they are looking for an instant solution like Google AdWords. but content marketing is long term strategy.

    • You can get lucky here and there with posts that go viral, but for the most part it’s about consitency

  29. It was scary reading this when Trusting the KeywordPlanner is not healthy, but love the informaiotn.

  30. Content marketing required great patience.

  31. Thank you Neil, Another Great Post by you. I am following your since few months, and I have found that your Website is very informative, and Content is great. Keep posting good articles like this.

    • Glad to have you on board Karan. if you get stuck with anything, please don’t hesitate to ask

  32. Hi Neil,

    Once again a great article from the expert. We are spending too much on content but never check the ROI or if we check then we are not having the full investment done in it. After reading this post, I have come to know how to ensure the ROI. Enjoyed reading the post. Thanks for sharing this valuable post with us.

    • It can be trick at first because if you’re not producing content people want, it’s almost like sending money into a blackhole

  33. Jessica Scott :

    Quite useful and innovative ideas and tips for maximizing ROI from content marketing. Content marketing is today, one of the most effective ways to get traffic, customers and boost ROI. However, it is very cost-effective and reliable method of marketing that can be a very effective way to boost business when utilized in a correct way.

    • We are in a fast changing time with new ways of education, entertainment and more

  34. Mamata Awarade :

    Thank you for this great post Neil! I have been following your posts and implementing a lot of the tips you provide. It has definitely helped me have more new and return visitors as well as I now have started getting more and more genuine leads through my website www.varchasvacorp.com. You mention that every content can be edited with latest content to get further visits. I have a few articles that have been having more views each month without even changing any part of its content. I however do not understand how the same content can be edited to gain more popularity? Can you explain further on that part from this blog?

    Best Regards,


    • You can optimize things like the posts title, that can make a big difference

  35. Hi Neil,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful article. Your articles have always motivated me to do better. I’ll always be in debt of you. I just wanted to know is there any strong recommended method for backlinking? As my website http://www.kitchensetsarena.com/ is really low in backlinks.

    Kindly suggest some methods to improve.

    Best regards,

    • The number 1 thing you can do to make link building easy is produce really good high quality content

  36. Nilantha Jayawardhana :

    Hi Neil,

    I’m a huge fan of Quicksprout blog.

    After reading few posts on Quicksprout blog, I saw online advertising is an one of the best ways to generate more sales.

    I would like to promote this post on my blog to make sales.

    What is the best place to start? Facebook ads or Youtube?
    How much should I spend daily to make at least one sale?

    I’m looking for your reply. Thanks.

    • Facebook ads is probably the best place to start. $50-100 can take you a long way

  37. hello i own a blog www.trickplus.com & i update my blog daily but still the referral to organic traffic ratio is 3 : 7. I have done many changes to site and theme, also bought premium tools for the same but nothing worked. please have a look and tell whether i am making any mistake.

  38. Hi Neil,

    It’s been blessed reading this post. There’s something that caught my attention – You talked about spending 80% promoting and 20% creating content. That’s the 80/20 rule men. 🙂

    From this point onward, I’ll promote my content 80% of the time and create new contents 20% of the time so as to have a greater ROI. I know that will create a positive shift in my business.

    Thumbs up Neil. God bless.

    • Promotion is key and what most people don’t do. Without promotion, no one will know about what you post

  39. Hi Neil, I am content writer and I have experienced people with diversified approach. Sometimes it’s annoying to really change the way you write every time. Client’s tell me to write as per their marketing strategy but I don’t really understand why the strategy keeps changing from one to another. But writing is my job so I try to write as per the requirement. But this is a great post. I will share with few my clients. Sometimes they tell me that the content given by me is not triggering the traffic. I should really have this link below my signature in every email. Thanks again.

    • Adaptability is going to be an important trait for you to learn. This is how you can bend and be flexible in various environments

  40. priya@mobile repairing course :

    Great post,Your articles have always motivated me to do better. have been following your posts and implementing a lot of the tips you provide. It has definitely helped me have more new and return visitors as well as I now have started getting more and more genuine leads through my website.

  41. canopus web :

    Awesome post, Neil. I’ve learned a lot from it. I not a beginner but I never thought much about the difference between the Interruption Marketing and the Inbound Marketing, and it’s so important.

    • You can also look at it as push and pull. Pushing your content at them and pulling people towards you

  42. Nice article as always! Do you think affiliate marketing is helpful/effective or is overrated.

  43. adobe flash player :

    I am content writer and I have experienced people with diversified approach. Sometimes it’s annoying to really change the way you write every time