Blogger Outreach: Measuring ROI
This is Part 4 of a series on blogger outreach, where will we be discussing best practices for brands and their agencies looking to target bloggers as part of an influence marketing strategy.
Today’s final stop in the series will focus on what is perhaps the most debated topic of the bunch:
Measuring the ROI of your blogger outreach.
Although there are no industry standards for metrics for measuring blogger outreach ROI, it’s not unachievable once you know which metrics are most applicable to meeting your goals for outreach.
Broader Outcomes vs. Defined Outcomes
It’s crucial to define clear objectives at the beginning of your efforts so you can anchor your outreach metrics. I can’t emphasize this part of the process enough.
I touched on this previously, but there are two sides to this coin that brands should consider measuring before launching their program:
Measuring the broader outcomes that imply that you’ve earned attention and awareness as a brand (social shares, blogger responses and follow-up posts, comments, etc.)
Measuring the more defined (quantifiable) outcomes that have a direct impact on your business (leads, sales, referrals, etc.)
Both should be measured in my opinion, as long as any metric you prioritize is aligned with a specific objective in your strategy so that you have a starting point to benchmark results.
Setting quantifiable metrics does require a bit more upfront work to properly segment and capture data that you can report on, but it’s worth it in the long run if you’re looking to measure outreach against specific sales and revenue goals.
Setting Up for Measurement Success
Here’s where the proverbial sleeves get rolled up. What you need to setup and be ready for when you go live to properly measure blogger outreach varies obviously depending on what you’ve prioritized in the step above, but there are some general best practices that you can focus energy on before launch to ensure you can properly track and measure ROI:
- Set up Google Analytics for tracking traffic sources, social media referrals and capturing advanced segments so that you can analyze visitors attributed to specific bloggers and the social channels where you engage with them (hint – there are great tutorials at Social Media Examiner and SEOmoz on this).
- Consider setting up social interaction analytics in Google Analytics (hint – nab a developer if you need help) to track activity from your social sharing buttons and get a more in-depth view on how specific content from your campaigns is being shared across social networks.
- Set up unique tracking codes or shortened URLs for promotions and/or coupons. Be sure to offer these out to individual bloggers on your outreach list so that you can track conversions separately.
- Consider setting up unique online affiliate or referral programs for top bloggers on your outreach list. This is also where the debate over treating bloggers as valued paid marketing partners vs. product reviewers earns its wage. For measurement purposes – setting up an affiliate program that rewards and incentivizes (and tracks sales) is a win-win for your brand and the blogger.
- Build a squeeze or landing page (with unique URL) specifically for your blogger outreach campaigns, which is a great way to funnel and track traffic and conversions from specific sources. This is also a great place to consider split-testing to measure how design and content changes to your landing page might change behaviors depending on the blogger/audience.
- Add depth to your content measurement by developing resources for download (white papers, e-books, reports, etc.) and tracking opt-ins using the advanced segments that you’ve set up in Google Analytics.
Obviously, we’re only scratching the surface on what is truly a very deep and varied step in the blogger outreach process. The key takeaway is to remember that measuring blogger outreach is a) plausible and b) entirely dependent on the goals you set in your intial planning process.
Oh, and next time a colleague asks whether ROI is measurable for blogger outreach – send them a smile and a nod for us?
What are your best practices or tips for measuring blogger outreach ROI? Please share in the comments below.
Image credit: KeithBurtis