How To Calculate The Value Of A Blog Post
Bloggers face this problem often. They have a client that wants to buy some sponsored posts, but first wants to know what the ROI (return on investment) will be. Figuring out the ROI of a blog post is difficult, though. It may even be impossible. What you can do, however, is estimate the market value of a sponsored post on your blog.
Here is a simple method that anyone — industry or blogger — can use to calculate the approximate market value of a sponsored post. This method compares the performance of an example post on the blog in question to the value of a magazine advertisement that the potential buyer of the sponsored post would feel comfortable paying for.
Step 1) Come Up With An Example Or Case Study Blog Post
First, find a blog post that is a reasonable example of what you can provide for them.
For example, let’s say that I’m speaking about a sponsored post for Sri Lanka’s tourism board.
I’d show them this post I did about Bhutan because I think that they’re similar destinations in some ways. They’re both perceived as exotic, somewhat mysterious, culturally rich, and extremely photogenic destinations that are often a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
My Bhutan post did very well on social media, and provided that I had the same time and help to do a proper photography tour Sri Lanka, sort and process the photos, and put together a good post, I’m confident I could repeat that success.
My Bhutan post has been read 4857 times and the average reader stayed on the page for 6 minutes and 10 seconds.
I should note here that any time I do a sponsored post, I make sure I set aside a budget for Facebook ads and other social promotion to give it a boost, which was the case with the Bhutan post. This is partly why I feel confident I can replicate its success.
Step 2) Calculate The Value Of Consumer Attention
I’d ask Sri Lanka Tourism for the name of a publication they’d recently advertised in, or one that they would be willing to pay to advertise in. In this case, let’s say Sri Lanka Tourism had recently advertised in AFAR Magazine.
I will use AFAR’s ad rates to determine the approximate price for which they are selling consumer attention.
First, I need to find out the cost of purchasing space in AFAR magazine that’s somewhat equivalent to the coverage I’m providing on my blog. My Bhutan article is so enormous, I don’t think you could buy that much space, so I’ll just look at the cost of a 1-page ad.
Today, a 1-page full-color advertisement in AFAR Magazine costs $42,012.
AFAR Magazine has a rate base of 275,000.
Magazines throw around a lot of big numbers in their press kits. It’s important that you identify their rate base, which is basically the number of readers they guarantee to an advertiser in the magazine. The reason for this is because you’re comparing the AFAR rate to the number of readers that you’re guaranteeing to the client.
Divide the ad cost by the rate base, and you have the price the advertiser pays per guaranteed reader in that publication.
$42,012 ÷ 275,000 = $0.153 per guaranteed reader in AFAR Magazine.
According to *this study I came across (it was not easy to find information about how long people look at advertisements in magazines), a reader will look at an ad for an average of 4 seconds.
By this logic, AFAR is selling one set of eyes on a full-page ad for 4 seconds for 15.3 cents. That breaks down to about 3.8 cents per second.
But, let’s say the magazine gets read more than once (i.e. that one set of eyes views the ad more than once). Let’s give AFAR the benefit of the doubt and say that each issue is read an average of 3 times.
If that’s the case, an AFAR advertiser is paying around 1.3 cents (3.8 ÷ 3) per guaranteed second of consumer attention.
Step 3) Apply The Price Per Second Of Guaranteed Consumer Attention To The Guaranteed Consumer Attention Offered By The Blogger
My blog post about Bhutan has been been read 4857 times and the average reader stayed on the page for 6 minutes and 10 seconds.
Based on that result, to be safe, I’ll tell Sri Lanka that I expect that I can create a similar post about them and guarantee 4000 views that average 4 minutes each.
4 minutes is 240 seconds.
Multiply the average 240 second viewing time by 4000 views, and my proposed post has a total viewing time of 960,000 seconds.
If we are basing value on the amount of time consumer eyes spend looking at the target content, at AFAR’s rate of of 1.3 cents per second, my proposed post should be estimated to be worth:
.013 X 960,000 = $12,221.673
Is that an accurate market price for the value of a blog post?
I wouldn’t say so.
And I’m not endorsing that anyone use this method for calculating the value of their work.
This method of calculation makes some assumptions at are not provable. But the truth is nobody has ever been able to prove the exact market value non-actionable advertising. You can’t prove that a Coca-Cola ad during the Super Bowl ever sold a can of Coke, either. That’s just the nature of the industry.
What we do have here, though, is a method for placing a value for on a blog post that more or less reflects the current market value of an advertisement in a magazine based on the amount of time consumer eyes spend looking at the target content.
Step 4) Find The Right Price For Both The Buyer And For The Blogger
Would I try to charge $12,000 for a blog post? Probably not.
Do I think a blog post is worth $12,000? It’s possible. Now that we’ve compared the blog post to a similar product in the marketplace it seems like it may be.
But $12,000 feels pretty steep to me. I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging that.
Personally, I would feel that charging anywhere from $2500 – 5000 depending on the budget of the client and the amount of work involved for the blogger would be a fair deal for a single post, like the example I provided, and if I guarantee that I will get 960,000 seconds of consumer attention.
The appropriate price depends on several things.
Is the client paying for travel expenses? If so, this must be considered.
How many posts is the client buying? If the client is buying more than one, I’ll probably charge less per post than if they’re just buying one.
How much time does the blogger need to spend working on this post? If I need to spend 10-12 days shooting and editing photos (which was true in the case of Bhutan) before I even sit down to write the post, that is very different than if I already have all the material sitting on my hard drive.
Is the blogger including budget for social promotion? If so, this must also be taken into account, partly because it will come out of the blogger’s total earnings, and because the blogger will spend extra time working on this social promotion to ensure the post gets the amount of consumer attention that was guaranteed to the client.
This method won’t give you the exact value that you should charge — or pay for — a blog post. That depends on the expenses and work involved in creating the post, as well as the client’s budget.
But it will give the client and the blogger a good starting point for negotiation by estimating the market value of the sponsored blog post.
Don’t Forget The Other Benefits
In addition to the fact that — dollar for dollar — a my blog is likely to give Sri Lanka Tourism much better value than AFAR Magazine, I would also mention the following points:
1) This content probably makes a much deeper impression on each individual consumer than an ad because they spend so much more time interacting with it.
2) A placement on my website with an unlimited shelf life that may accrue value through long-term SEO traffic has a long term value that a magazine ad, which is ostensibly around for one month, does not. (Though I have to admit, there are magazines that have been sitting in my doctor’s waiting room since the 70’s and have given advertisers great value.)
3) I can offer a precise measurement of consumer time spent engaged with the content, whereas a magazine ad can only offer an estimate.
4) My readers trust a post on my blog — even a sponsored one — more than they trust traditional advertising.
*I’m not totally comfortable with this study and number about average reader time spent looking at magazine ads, but it’s all I could find. If you have a better source, please let me know in the comments.