Blogging ROI: what’s easy; what’s not?

Starting with the following caveat,

As you can see, this process and framework is not cut and dry, black and white. Rather, it’s highly subjective, requires tremendous judgment, and is open to interpretation. But it is a starting point for an otherwise nebulous activity.

… Charlene Li, from Forrester Research, takes a stab at defining what’s hitherto been an intangible pain-in-the-neck for all corporate blog evangelists (such as myself) for so long. Here’s the oft-quoted Figure 2, that outlines the measurement best:

(Source: New ROI of blogging report from Forrester)

What’s easy to measure:

(a) Press Mentions – this is the greatest indicator of current value and is also the easiest to measure
(b) Search engine placement
(c) Word of mouth

What’s not easy to measure: (due to amorphous value considerations)

(a) Savings on customer insight – this is not exactly impossible but may prove to be more time-consuming & nebulous than imagined; measuring the no. of times blog comments provide useful business insight.
(b) Blog traffic – what are similar content channels to blogging? is it advertising through RSS feeds?
(c) Increased sales efficiency – I believe an increased number of clients and prospects reading your blog will inevitably lead to increased sales but I’d love to read the Forrester Report to figure out how they measure that. Do you have a better idea of how it’s done?

It’s ironic how new media’s true worth is calculated on the basis of the old media it finds placement within!

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  1. Top 10 posts on Corporate Blogging « Marketing Nirvana

    […] Charlene) that helps calculate the ROI of Corporate Blogging with the data at hand (go here and here). Since this is a much blogged about topic in the past, let me leave you with my Top 10 thoughts on […]

  2. Mario Sundar

    I’d agree — Charlene’s paper is the necessary step in the evolution of corporate blogging.

    I’m sure corporate blog evangelists have more ammo to help them convince their teams of the necessity of corporate blogging.

    I also enjoyed your trialogue w/ J and Charlene on engagement. Nice stuff, Damon!

  3. damon billian

    Hi Mario,

    I agree with ya there. At the same time, a CEO is always going to look for the “real number”.

    I think Charlene actually put together a nice list of the tangibles from community interaction….

  4. Mario Sundar

    Hey buddy, a.k.a. Mr. D,

    I think numbers are important to prove the value to business but the greater benefit in tools such as blogs is the ability to truly “communicate” with a community of users…

    …and that can be measured only in the smile of a satisfied user 🙂

    How cliched yet true!

  5. Mario Sundar


    I always thought our blogs are going to make a difference by themselves 🙂

    And, I’d still like to think so. It looks like the blogging format is being adopted by traditional media en masse (just see TIME’s new format) and is seeing the greatest viewership within these versions of traditional media.

    And, THAT is because of the positive impression our blogs have had in the minds of readers.

  6. Damon Billian

    ““It’s ironic how new media’s true worth is calculated on the basis of the old media it finds placement within!””

    Some things never change. It always boils down to numbers, numbers, numbers. The sad thing is that many of the newer formats, such as blogs or forums, always have to fight the battle internally to get them on.

  7. Ann Handley

    “It’s ironic how new media’s true worth is calculated on the basis of the old media it finds placement within!”

    Very sweet irony, indeed. But that’s nonetheless the way the world is still ordered.

    Anyway, that’s what Time Magazine said.

    : )

  8. Mario Sundar

    Thanks, Michael, for your observation.

    Media is still evolving and I’m glad we get a chance to influence thought.

  9. Michael Wagner

    It is good to read how you have been wrestling with this question.

    I especially like your “gem” of an observation at the end of this post:

    “It’s ironic how new media’s true worth is calculated on the basis of the old media it finds placement within!”

    Sweet irony indeed.

    We are still caught between two worlds; the old world of broadcast and monologues, and the new world of narrowcast and dialogues.

    Thanks for stirring my thoughts on a cold Iowa day.

    Keep creating,

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