Lead Generation

How to use BVA to calculate the value of your content marketing

Ben Goldstein
VP of Marketing, Nutshell
Ben Goldstein
VP of Marketing, Nutshell

Publishing blog content on a regular basis creates value for your company by attracting new visitors to your website and aligning your brand name with expertise.

But do you know how much each one of your blog posts is actually worth—in terms of actual revenue for your company?

Knowing the cash value of your content program helps you determine how much of your marketing budget to put towards blog publishing, and how much to pay freelance writers for individual blog articles. (And speaking as a content marketing leader, it also helps you justify your continued existence during annual performance reviews.)

BVA makes all of that possible.

What is BVA?

BVA is a content marketing metric that stands for blog visits per acquisition. In other words, it’s the number of visits your blog content needs to attract in order to generate a single new customer. The lower your BVA, the more effective your blog posts are at generating leads.

First coined by Nutshell Head of Content and Communications Ben Goldstein (hey, what’s up), BVA can be calculated for all of your blog content collectively, for individual posts, or for a cohort of related posts.

To calculate BVA, you’ll need to have two pieces of data on hand...

#1. The percentage of your blog visits that become sales leads (aka, your conversion rate). At Nutshell, we define a sales lead as a visitor who signs up for a free trial of our software, and we use goal URLs in Google Analytics to track how many of those trial signups were generated by visitors who entered our site through blog content.

#2. The percentage of your leads from non-paid sources that become customers (aka, your organic activation rate). If you can’t easily find this data in your CRM or sales tracking software, jump to the end of this post and I’ll walk you through it.

How do you calculate BVA?

(1 divided by your conversion rate)* x (1 divided by your activation rate)** = BVA

*This gives you the number of blog visits required to generate a lead
**This gives you the number of leads required to generate a customer.

Let’s say 0.35% of your blog visits convert to sales leads, and 12% of your organic sales leads become customers. The calculation would be…

(1 / .0035) x (1 / .12) = BVA

Hold on, let me get a calculator...

285.71 x 8.33 = 2,379.96

So, it takes about 2,380 blog visits to acquire a single new customer for your business. Good to know!

BVA can vary widely among individual blog posts. If you’re like us, you have a handful of blog posts that convert visitors to leads at a rate far above your average.

For example, over the last 90 days, our “Pipedrive Alternatives” blog post has had a conversion rate of 5.17%. Let’s figure out the BVA for that one, using Nutshell’s own organic lead activation rate of 14%...

(1 / .0517) x (1 / .14) = BVA

19.34 x 7.14 = 138.09

So, it only takes about 138 visits to our “Pipedrive Alternatives” post to acquire a new customer. That’s wonderful!

Now...what do you do with this new information?

How to use BVA to calculate the cash value of your content

Once you’ve calculated the BVA for your overall blog content or for individual posts, you can figure out exactly how much a blog visit is worth to your company, in actual dollars. As long as you know your company’s LTV (the average lifetime value of an acquired customer), it’s pretty simple:

LTV divided by BVA = the revenue value of each blog visit

So, let’s use the two examples from the previous section, and assume that our company’s LTV is $4,000.

1) For a content program with a BVA of 2,380 across all blog posts:

$4,000 / 2,380 = $1.68 — each visit to your blog content generates about $1.68 in revenue for your company, on average.

2) For a high-performing individual blog post with a BVA of 138:

$4,000 / 138 = $28.99 — each visit to that specific blog post generates about $28.99 in revenue for your company.

Knowing this information is important not just for estimating the revenue impact of your blog, but also for determining how much to pay freelance writers. Once you know the cash value of a typical blog post, you can establish payment rates that are fair for your writers while ensuring that your company makes a profit off of the investment.

We recommend being as transparent as possible with your writing staff when it comes to this stuff. If your freelancers know which blog posts on your website have the lowest BVA, they can pitch article ideas that are more likely to have a positive revenue impact.

Wrap-up

I know there have been a lot of numbers in this article, and us content marketers tend to be deathly allergic to numbers. But understanding the BVA content marketing metric will help you think like a revenue generator, which will set you apart from all the other writers and bloggers out there.

If you’re feeling brave, please shoot us a tweet @nutshell and tell us what the #BVA is for your best-performing blog article. Or just connect with me on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to discuss this with you further. Thanks for reading!

BONUS: How to determine your activation rate for blog leads

Any CRM that’s worth its salt has reporting features that tell you how many leads your company is bringing in and how many of those leads your team is closing. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of clicks in your new leads report to learn your company’s overall win rate.

But here’s the deal: Leads from paid sources like Google Ads tend to convert at a significantly higher rate than leads generated from blog entrances. Someone who googles your company name or product category and clicks an ad is likely to be a motivated buyer, whereas a lead coming from a blog entrance might just be someone poking around out of curiosity.

That’s why using your activation rate for non-paid lead sources makes the end result more accurate when calculating BVA.

If you’re already tracking organic website visits as an individual lead source in your CRM, then great, you’re already done: just filter those leads over the timeframe of your choice (say, the past 12 months) and your CRM will tell you what your close rate is for those leads.

If you’re not tracking your activation rate for organic leads, you can still back into that number by excluding your paid leads/wins from your overall lead mix. That calculation goes like this:

(Total wins minus Wins from paid leads) / (Total leads minus Total paid leads) = your activation rate for non-paid leads

So...let’s say you don’t know the activation rate of your non-paid leads, but you know that your company generated 1,200 total leads over the past year and closed 220 of them. You also know that 400 of your leads came from PPC, PPL, and affiliate sources, and you won 100 of those paid leads. So, plugging the numbers into the above formula...

(220 - 100) / (1,200 - 400) = your activation rate for non-paid leads

120 / 800 = 0.15, or 15%

Make sense?

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