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SEO vs. Paid Media vs. Social

When you write content, you’ve got to know exactly what you’re writing it for and what it’s worth to you or you’ll miss the mark.

Here’s how we think about content costs and objectives.

Really good articles cost $50-100 for initial drafts before your editor gets to them. Half of the articles that are written even by your best writers will not be feature-worthy no matter how much editing you do. So that means your cost for an unedited feature-worthy article is really $100-200. Now your editor has to get on it and make it great. That’s easily another $100 of editor time when you factor in the ones that they try to salvage and give up on. Look at that as an average for a really good editor to do their job. So, the true cost for a feature-worthy article ready-to-publish is really in the $200-$300 range.

So, if you have $250 into feature-worthy articles on average, you need to make $251 to break-even.

Banner advertising can generate around $50 eCPM/RPM for popular topics, which would take 5,000+ reads to make $250 (break even).

How big of a list does it take to get 5,000 reads?

Well, 100,000 active subscribers mailed at 2% CTR would generate 2,000 reads. So, you’d need roughly 250,000 subscribers at 2% CTR to break-even or, over the course of a year, you could come up with ways to get new subscribers to read that same piece of evergreen content to get closer to break-even.

The cool thing about evergreen content is that it can be used and reused at least 2 times per year with existing subscribers and re-used over and over on new subscribers.

SEO Article Content
Long term investment. Extremely clear, keyword rich titles needed. Highly informative, thoroughly researched and authoritative is a must. As good or better than the best article out there with the top search position you want to win. 900-1200 words.

Popular Social Post Content
Short term investment. Break-even is improbable even after one year on social. Better to look at social posts as incremental traffic/revenue for share-worthy content than looking to social for break-even alone. It takes thousands of organic shares (improbable) to break even on social source traffic. Another problem with relying on social shares alone is advertisers pay only about 1/3 for traffic that comes from social media sources as compared to SEO and email source traffic.

Evergreen Feature-Worthy Newsletter Content
Short term investment. Target ROI is 1-3 months. It takes 250K newsletter subscribers at a 2% CTR to generate roughly $250 in Google Adsense alone. The reason to create great evergreen content isn’t to merely break-even. The whole point is that after you’ve built up a base of content for approximately 6 months, you can start recycling it, getting more reads and creating less work for yourself. After you’ve got 1 year into content development, the publishing challenge becomes more optimizing than creating.

It’s an awesome accomplishment to own a deep well of proven content that you can pull from at any time to mix in re-runs with your new stuff.

As always, if you’d like to discuss this topic further, feel free to connect.

Thanks for reading…

John Valenty

Skype: john.valenty