Ep 203: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 1)

WritingEp 203: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 1)

Ep 203: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 1)

[Ep 203]

If you’re like me, you do a lot of writing and writing-related activities essentially for free. You craft social media content, articles for a blog, and guest posts as part of your plan.

We do these kinds of activities to educate, entertain, and inform. We hope to solve problems for readers, connect with them, share our ideas, and build bridges.

At the same time, we may be trying to gain visibility as a writer or increase reach into new audiences to help even more people. We might create a freebie to add subscribers to our email list or write articles on spec to beef up our author bio with stronger social proof.

We write books that may take years to complete before we even begin to search for an agent or publisher—again, we’re essentially writing for free long before the first reader plops down a credit card.

It’s a lot of work.

Is it worth it?

How do you determine if it’s worth it?
What’s the Return on Investment
As host Anne Watson interviewed Crystal Paine for The Declare Conference Podcast, they discussed whether it’s worth it to create “lead magnets” for every blog post.

Crystal advised listeners to look at the time involved in making them and the results you’re getting. “I’m always looking at what is the return on my investment of time.”1

Anne asked, “How are you filtering what you think is the best place for you to spend your time?”

Crystal responded:
The ROI. One hundred percent the ROI. That is what I focus on. So how much time is this going to take me and how much money is this going to make me or how many new people is this going to bring in. And that might sound super selfish or something but that’s what I have to do, because I have a very limited amount of time that I can focus on every day….2
She continued:
Mostly I focus on how do I serve my own audience well, and what are the few things that we’re going to change this year that I feel are going to serve my audience best. And that’s really my heart with everything that I do…I just really focus on providing content for my audience, serving my audience, building relationships with my audience, and trying to become better as a person by reading good books and sharpening my writing, critiquing myself on video and on podcasts and just constantly learning and growing as a person and I think that trickles down into everything you do.3 {beginning around the 24:00 mark}
Is it worth it to publish a blog post twice a week and post on Instagram daily? Is it worth it to work for a year on a book that doesn’t have a publisher? Is it worth it for you to submit an article to a magazine where you may not be paid?

Only you can answer those questions, based on how you measure your ROI.

What are you getting for the resources you’re investing?
Crystal Paine’s ROI
As you saw, Crystal Paine is running her ROI through her personal values and goals for her business. She asks:

How much time is this going to take me?

Then she revealed the returns that matter to her:

How much money is this going to make?
How many people is this going to bring in?
How is this content serving my audience?
How is this activity helping me build relationships with my audience?
How is this activity helping me become a better person?

Regarding that last point, you may recall Crystal listed activities like reading good books, sharpening her writing and speaking skills, and learning and growing as a person. She said, “I think that trickles down into everything you do.”4

So investing time in reading a book has a good ROI if it helps her grow as a person or writer.
ROI Is Personal
ROI in business relates more to investments bringing monetary results or company growth. But you may calculate the ROI in a more personal way, as Crystal does when considering books she might read next or the few podcasts that she listens to.

Listening, reading, creating—it all takes time, so she’s determined for herself what makes it worth her…

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