Whether you are looking to create an additional revenue stream or you are looking to go into business on your own full-time, it is possible to make money from content marketing. There are literally hundreds of thousands of success stories that confirm this.
There is no reason why you can’t be one of these success stories. We’ll give you some tips and helpful advice so that you’ll have the best chance of creating a revenue-generating marketing strategy.
From the outset, it is important to note that content marketing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. Generating revenue from content marketing takes work, skill, and dedication. It is possible (even likely), but it almost never happens overnight.
Regardless of what kind of content you are producing and what kind of audience you are targeting, there are a few “golden rules” you should adhere to.
a. Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
When it comes to generating revenue from content marketing, there isn’t a singular approach that will work for everyone. Instead of trying to find that one “magic formula,” you should explore a variety of revenue-generating options. Ads, subscription services, premium content, donations, and merchandising are the more common approaches, and they are all valid.
Each of these approaches is not exclusive. Therefore, you should try out all of them. But remember to bear in mind the impact these methods have on your audience and favor one method over the other accordingly.
b. Quantity, Quality, and Frequency
Generating revenue from content marketing is not a question of creating a video, article, or blog post and crossing your fingers hoping it goes viral. You will need to build an audience, gain their trust and respect, and fine-tune your method for generating revenue. This can only be accomplished by producing content—and producing a lot of it.
A good way to establish trust with your target audience is by producing content at a regular pace. You want to establish yourself as a reliable creator, one who can be depended on for regular, timely content. This can only happen by producing content at a regular pace.
To a certain extent, generating revenue from content marketing is a numbers game. Naturally, you want high numbers. The larger your audience (the more viewers, readers, or listeners you have), the greater your earning potential. And a greater audience comes from producing a greater volume of content. The adage “less is more” does NOT apply to content marketing.
c. Imitation Is a Good Jumping-Off Point
There are hundreds of thousands of people making money from content marketing. There are also hundreds of thousands of people who have tried and failed. (Though, they most likely failed because they didn’t stick with it long enough).
When you are starting out, you can learn a lot about what kind of content marketing strategies work best from those who have had real-life experience and success in content marketing. When you consume content from successful creators, you will gain a great understanding of why they are successful. This should serve as your model when you are starting out.
Success in content marketing is not a fluke. There are specific reasons why some creators are successful, and others are not. Be careful not to steal ideas or copy them. (This is a surefire way to lose the respect and trust of your audience.
(If you steal or copy, you will likely be shamed and discredited before you’re even up and running.) It is perfectly normal to be heavily influenced by other creators, especially when you are starting out.
Learning from the success of other content creators is not reserved exclusively for beginners. The market changes. The expectations of the audience change. And you need to keep up with these changes or become irrelevant. It is virtually impossible to maintain success without keeping an eye on what other content creators are doing and learning from their successes and misfires.
d. Get paid to learn
Content marketing comes with quite a steep learning curve. If you have limited experience with content marketing, you can take online courses or learn through trial and error. However, you could also get paid to learn by landing one of the many available entry level marketing positions on Lensa.
his will allow you to gain experience and know-how while earning a decent salary. Additionally, this experience will help you decide if you want to continue working for a company or if you’d rather go off on your own. At least when you make that decision, you will have more experience and have refined your marketing skills through practical application.
The Various Revenue Streams: Pros and Cons
Remember, these revenue streams are not mutually exclusive. There is no reason why you can’t incorporate several of them (or all of them) into your content marketing revenue-generating strategy. However, each comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Bear in mind the effect they have on your audience’s user experience as well as the effort-reward ratio they represent to you, the creator.
To a large extent, your content marketing is centered around your voice. Your voice is your brand. Most successful creators build their brand, build their audience, and satisfy their audience with a continuous stream of free content. In return, a large segment of their audience will want to support the brand and demonstrate their appreciation. This appreciation is expressed in a number of ways that have financial implications.
- Tolerating ads in the free content
- Purchasing content either in the form of a subscription or premium membership
- Purchasing branded merchandise or affiliate marketing products
- Making a donation
a. Ad Revenue
By far the most common form of generating revenue from content marketing is through advertising. There are two ways in which this is done. Selling ad space (whether as a percentage of a webpage or interrupting a video or podcast) or by taking on a sponsor. When you take on a sponsor, you are still interrupting your content with ads, but this time you are presenting the ads yourself.
The advantage of a sponsorship is that you are able to maintain your voice throughout the content, be it a podcast, video, or article. Additionally, sponsorships are done openly, with your audience fully aware that you are being paid to promote a certain company or product.
b. Premium Content and Subscriptions
This model consists of providing the majority of your content for free but also making content that is exclusively for paying members. Often, offering premium content is similar to asking for donations, but you are producing additional products in exchange for the “donations.”
This is the more common form of generating revenue from premium content. However, some creators, especially those in the financial advice niche, use their free content as a marketing tool to attract consumers to their premium content.
It might be worth experimenting with both approaches, but it’s worth mentioning that using premium content as a “donation incentive” is by far the more common approach.
c. Merchandising and Auxiliary Products
From branded sweatshirts and jewelry to coffee mugs and e-books, there are a number of small casual purchases that content creators brand and offer to their audience. They represent a good way to solicit a contribution from their audience (who are getting a steady output of free, quality content) while still offering a tangible product.
Often, the types of products sold by content marketers fall under the category of white-label products. These are products manufactured by a third party that are then labeled with the seller’s brand. Since content marketers often treat merchandising as a way to solicit regular support for providing otherwise free content.
They often choose white-label products that are bought by a large segment of the population on a semi-regular basis, such as consumables like coffee, phone accessories, and home decor.
d. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when a creator talks or writes about a certain product and then provides a link to where the audience can buy it. The marketer then receives a small “finder’s fee” for bringing the company a bit of business. Affiliate marketing saw a boom in the late 2000s and has since waned in popularity significantly.
Because of the small percentage marketers receive for directing traffic to a product, affiliate marketing is really only profitable for high-value products such as top-of-the-line electronics.
To a large extent, the above-mentioned revenue streams (with the exception of ads) are often used as an enhancement of donations. But you can also ask outright for donations.
The 3 Easy Steps
Generating revenue from content marketing, regardless of what type of content you are creating or whom you are targeting, comes down to three simple steps.
- Know Your Audience
You should create content that caters to a specific type of person—people with clearly defined areas of interest, ambitions, and/or concerns. Knowing your target audience will inform what kind of content you create and which platforms to concentrate on.
Here are a few ways to gain a better understanding of your audience.
- Explore group chats, and social media groups centered around your area of interest
- Ask your audience direct questions (polls, surveys, and comment sections)
- Explore product suggestions on Amazon
- Check out the content from your competitors
- Explore a Variety of Platforms
Successful content creators are rarely (if ever) platform specific. You should build a presence on a variety of platforms. Even if you are producing content for your own website, you need to have a presence on other platforms to attract more viewers, readers, or listeners. And cross-promote. Invite your audience to find you on other platforms.
Social media is must. This includes TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. On YouTube and TikTok, you should take advantage of the trend toward short-form videos. Additionally, check out these 15 powerful YouTube tools you need to grow your YouTube audience.
- Create, Create, Create
There is no shortcut when it comes to generating revenue from content marketing. You need to create content, and you need to create a lot of it. While it’s true that you need both quality and quantity, experts disagree on which of the two is more important. I’ll throw my hat into the debate with an emphatic response: quantity is more important (assuming you have reached a minimum level of quality).
The quality of your content will improve the more you produce, which is another reason why I encourage content creators to focus their efforts (especially initially) on the quantity of what they produce.
Additionally, it is only by producing a lot of content that you will be able to gain a clear understanding of what your audience wants, what kind of content works, and what kind of content isn’t worth your trouble.
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer who helps online businesses grow with smart marketing tactics to improve sales and leads. He is passionate and driven to grow businesses online and is responsible for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and managing promotional and media channels.