Content marketing can be a game changer for most companies. Creating content (such as blogs, videos and infographics) for your business can be fun and interesting, but you don’t want to create content for the sake of it – you want cold, hard cash! In this article, we’ll discuss a number of ways that you can use or create content to give you the best chance of turning a profit; as well as a few advertising opportunities that pay you for your involvement.
1. Tweaking Your Existing Content
There are a number of ways you can tweak your existing content to increase your chances of making a profit. Content production is a form of marketing after all, and all good marketing should be profitable.
- This one should be paramount to every piece of content you produce. Remember to keep all content useful, relevant and engaging. Always deliver on any promises your headlines and taglines make. If you’re promising the Earth in your titles and meta descriptions only to leave people high and dry, it’ll probably reflect badly on you. People may think you’re the kind of company who’ll say anything to get their attention, so make sure every promise is answered sufficiently.
- Use tools like Google Analytics to identify your most popular posts. If you see a couple of particular pieces of content that generally receive more views than others, include a call to action at the end of those posts to remind people what exactly it is you do. QuickSprout have a great article about the analytical metrics you need to make content as profitable as possible – go and check it out!
- User testing and A/B testing your website is a great way to get meaningful feedback from real users. Sites like UserTesting offer feedback from real people – for a fee of course. There are a few usability tests that you can run yourself with an objective eye and attention to detail. Mashable have a great article about usability testing that’s well worth a look.
2. Creating New Content
There are of course a few ways that you can create new content with a transactional element. It’s probably not a good idea to put all of your future content behind a paywall, but content sometimes works best when it’s a two-way exchange of information.
- People don’t always have to part with money from the word “go” for you to make a profit. Persuade people to hand over their email addresses by using a lead magnet. Lead magnets are digital freebies that you offer in return for someone’s email address, such as e-courses or ebooks. Creating a longer piece of content like this galvanises you as an expert at what you do, whilst also collecting the email addresses of people who are specifically interested in what you offer. If they’re already interested, they’re ideal to market to by email for best chances of a sale.
- If you’re collecting email addresses, it’s essential that you use them! Use email marketing to remind people of your existence. Firstly, send out a few emails that offer free advice and nurture trust in you. Once you’ve got your subscribers’ interest, hit them with an offer. Then revert back to a few friendly, useful emails, then present another offer. Rinse and repeat. This way you draw them in and raise their awareness of your brand with the helpful content, which all puts them in a better frame of mind to spend money with you when the offer comes around.
- Similar in theory to a lead magnet, you could offer a paid subscription with premium content delivered to people’s email addresses every so often. For things like this it’s probably best that you create the content beforehand and use an automated system within your email marketing platform to send it out. You could also offer a little something extra to sweeten the deal, such as a free 20 minute consultation call.
- Here’s one that’s especially good for service-based industries – why not create a digital product to sell? Put together a paid-for ebook, video link or email course in your speciality, find a suitable way of publishing it online behind a payment method (PayPal is great for things like this), and promote your new product on social media and by email marketing.
- If you’re not afraid of getting up and speaking in front of a group of people, see if you can get some paid public speaking gigs based on your area of speciality. You could even base your talk on a previous piece of content to minimise any extra work!
- Content marketing isn’t just a “set it and forget it” kind of deal. You need to update your site with new content regularly to reap the benefits. Remember to promote all content through social media – old and new – for the length of its useful life.
3. Additional Pocket Money
There are also some ways to make a bit of extra cash from external sources. Some of you may shy away from these methods, but lots of people successfully use them to supplement their revenue.
- First up, we have sponsored content. For example, say a company wants exposure for their new product, so they pay people like you to give a shout out on your blog or video channel, provided your audience is big enough. You do need to mention if it’s a paid sponsorship, but my advice is to work with companies who you already like. You don’t want to agree to push a product only to find out it’s rubbish! Roberto Blake has an excellent video here about sponsorships on YouTube, it’s well worth checking out before you jump into any sponsorship deal.
- Similarly, you could join an affiliate scheme such as Amazon’s or eBay’s. It’s like a commission fee that gets paid to you for referring customers to that particular retailer. Here’s a very basic rundown of how it works: firstly, you sign up for an affiliate account with the retailer of your choice. Then you promote your affiliate links through your content; these are links that are specific to your account, and the retailer automatically gives you a small commission on any purchases the person makes as a result of clicking that link. The more you promote your affiliate links to the kinds of users who are more likely to buy, the more likely it is that you will start to make money. It’s not going to make you huge wads of cash, but I’ve heard good things about people making modest amounts. Always read the small print with an agreement like this and if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t sign on the dotted line. Affiliate schemes can seem daunting at first, so this is the most straightforward, plain English guide I could find; it uses Amazon’s affiliate scheme as an example.
- You can also make money from YouTube advertising. If you already have a significant YouTube presence, it’s well worth thinking about using it to make some money. We’ve already discussed a sponsorship where a company pays you to give you exposure within your video, but there are also money-making opportunities to be found in “pre-roll” adverts. These are the ads that show up before videos, and you can sign up to show these ads automatically before (or during) your own videos. You can usually choose what categories of advertisements show on your videos, and I’d suggest that you keep things relevant to your topic. The more views you get and the more content you have, the more ad views you are likely to get; which equates to higher ad revenue in your pocket. I will make one additional point about Youtube advertising – your content really has to be top notch for people to warrant sitting through ads, so make sure you are putting your all into each video! CTNTechnologyNews has a brief guide to YouTube advertising which is well worth checking out.
- If you don’t have a YouTube presence and you don’t mind showing ads on your website, Google AdSense is well worth checking out. Lisa Irby of 2createawebsite.com has a helpful explanation here.
None of the methods in this article should be considered a “get rich quick” scheme – far from it – but your average user may make a bit of extra cash A their main income. It’s important to not set your expectations too high, and remember that every little bit helps.Who said #contentmarketing can’t directly make you money? Check out this guide to making your content profitable. Click To Tweet
I hope this article has inspired you to try and make more money from your content. Which of these tips are you likely to use? Do you do any of these things already? Are there any other ways of increasing the profitability of your content that you think I’ve missed? Please share your thoughts down in the comments!