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Just how valuable is your blog in the array of marketing efforts you're investing money in? It's likely you're measuring ROI for other efforts, such as PPC ads, but figuring out the return of producing original content for your blog is not as straightforward—and, for that reason, it's often overlooked.

But translating the value of your blogging efforts into an actual dollar amount can be incredibly useful. After all, how can you determine whether it's money well spent or a waste of precious marketing dollars? How can you take steps to make it even more cost-effective?

Your blog should be producing results, else your strategy needs to be re-evaluated.

First and foremost, avoid so-called blog value tools. They are notoriously inaccurate, and they don't measure the factors that truly matter to your business. You're not looking to sell your blog; you want to understand its contribution—in hard monetary terms—to your organization's bottom line.

So how do you do that?

Step 1: Calculate the cost of content development

When you're evaluating PPC ad cost-effectiveness, the process is straightforward: You know the budget you set and you can see exactly how much you spend on each ad. But the process for developing blog content, and therefore evaluating its effectiveness, is somewhat more complex.

If you outsource content development to freelancers, then calculating their cost is the easiest part of the process. Add up the cost of their services for the period of time you want to measure, such as a particular month. But don't stop there. Is there someone in-house who finds blog topics, writes posts, reviews the content, or publishes the final posts? Each of those tasks takes time, so ask everyone involved in your content development process to track how much time they spend on blog-related tasks for a month. Then calculate those labor costs.

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image of Tom Fanelli

Tom Fanelli is the VP of product management, small business services, at Deluxe Corporation and an expert on website development, SEO, SEM, and social media marketing. He is the author of the e-book, Infographics in Action.

Twitter: @tfanelli

LinkedIn: Thomas Fanelli