Content is often your most prized creative masterpiece. It’s a collection of your ideas, experience, knowledge, and passion. But if you want to pay the bills, you’ll need to find some ways of monetizing this content.
How do you know if you’re ready to monetize your content? What kind of content is suited to monetization? And how do you keep your followers happy while earning revenue? All of these are valid questions that need answering before you implement some monetization strategies.
Today we’ll give you an overview of content monetization and a few ideas to get you started.
What is content monetization?
Content monetization is a way of using content so that when people consume or interact with it, you make money. You could be paid directly by the users themselves or by a third party that markets products through your content. It’s an essential component of the growing creator economy.
Paid membership-only access to content is a popular example of being paid by users. Sponsored content and PPC (pay-per-click) ads are popular ways of being paid by third parties.
Who should monetize their content?
Anyone creating and publishing content regularly can begin to monetize their content. If you’re already publishing content on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, some built-in tools enable you to benefit from PPC ads when your engagement reaches certain levels.
Content monetization could be a great way of increasing your income if you:
- Are passionate about a specific subject or niche
- Have a blog, social media channel, or YouTube channel that receives regular traffic
- Receive consistent engagement from your followers and can see growth in engagement and followers
- Want to spend more time working on your content platform in exchange for potential earnings
All kinds of content creators decide to monetize their content. Here are a few examples:
- Photographers selling photographs
- Investors selling online courses
- Freelancers selling project management templates
- Food bloggers making money through PPC ads
- Fitness influencers making money through product placement on their videos
The possibilities for monetizing content are endless. But it makes sense to consider your niche, which content receives the most engagement, and how you plan to grow your following.
5 effective content monetization ideas
Whether you’re looking to monetize directly through your followers or indirectly through third parties, consider these five creative content monetization ideas.
1. Joining affiliate programs
In affiliate marketing, you encourage users to buy products or services. Using URL tags, every product is tracked, and you receive a commission based on how many of your users purchase.
One way to do this is to use referral links. For example, throughout your recipe blog, you can include links to the ingredients and cooking equipment readers will need if they want to make the recipe at home. Every visitor who clicks that link and makes a purchase is tracked and you’ll get a set percentage of the sale’s earnings.
Recipe blog Mob Kitchen sometimes includes affiliate links throughout their recipes. In this post, they mention an affiliate brand, Ocado.
Source: The Mob Kitchen
Another method is to use a referral code. In your Instagram post , you tell viewers they can get 65% off if they mention your discount code at checkout. You’ll then get a commission from the sale.
The Body Coach, Joe Wicks, publishes discount codes in his Instagram posts to encourage users to purchase from partner brands:
To join affiliate programs, you can either work directly with brands of your choosing or sign up to an affiliate network. These networks first check that your content is up to a high standard before putting your name in front of multiple brands, with the chance to be affiliated with them and take a cut from your referrals.
Amazon Associates is a good starting place for creators looking to link to a wide range of products. There’s also CJ Affiliate for creators looking to link to SaaS brands or ShareASale for connecting to major brands like the NFL Store.
2. Monetizing premium content through subscriptions
Premium content is any content which followers need to pay to access. If you’ve already got a loyal base of followers and solid engagement levels, premium content can be a great way to increase your monthly earnings.
Followers already know what you have to offer, and may be willing to pay a little extra for more value or additional updates.
For example, paid subscribers might get one extra weekly newsletter about your best dog training tips. You could also create a whole new section of premium content for subscribers. For instance, any time you interview a subject matter expert or create new email templates, your premium subscribers get access.
Peak Freelance is a paid membership where subscribers get access to premium content and products:
Another idea is to give your subscribers access to a gated community or forum where they can interact with one another. Here you could personally interact with subscribers, answer questions, and hold live events.
3. Monetizing content with paid ads
Most creators monetizing content with paid ads use PPC to get paid every time someone clicks on the ad. The value attached to the click varies on the industry and the quality of leads you’re sending. Each click could bring you from between $0.001 to several hundred dollars—it all depends on what you’re selling and to whom.
Setting up PPC advertising is simple. You join an ad network and they choose what to display in your ad space, usually depending on the visitor’s browsing history.
4. Sell digital products
Digital products are downloadable pieces of premium content and customers usually retain lifetime access.
A few examples of digital products include ebooks, online project planners, image filters, email templates, and pre-built spreadsheets.
On Etsy you can purchase Lightroom presets to style your photos:
Image source: Etsy
Selling digital products is a great idea if you already have a loyal following of people engaging with your content. These followers likely read your newsletters, follow your blog, and interact with you on social media.
The best part is that digital products are often evergreen. Get it right and you’ll have created a product that has the potential to generate a steady year-round passive income.
5. Create sponsored content
Similar to affiliate marketing, creating sponsored content means linking up with a brand or advertiser within your industry that aligns with your content and brand values. The advertiser or brand pays you to create content, whether that’s a video or blog post to promote their product.
The key component of creating engaging sponsored content is to ensure that it fits in with the rest of your content and doesn’t stand out as being spammy or fake. Ask yourself: If it wasn’t sponsored, would you still publish it?
If the answer is yes then you can be sure you’re publishing high-quality content that fits in with the rest of your content.
The best platforms to monetize content on
Choosing the right platforms for your content monetization goals will help you maximize your earning potential.
Patreon is an easy-to-use content monetization platform that enables you to create membership-only content for your subscribing followers.
Patreon collects 5-12% of your earnings depending on the subscription package you choose. When your followers sign up to be your patrons, they pay a set donation every month in exchange for receiving access to gated content. The content could be podcasts, videos, or downloadable ebooks.
You could also set up different membership tiers. That way different subscribers get different levels of access to your content depending on how much they’re paying you every month.
If you’re looking to create a steady flow of income each month instead of selling individual pieces of content, Patreon is a great option.
Marketer John Bonini has a successful Patreon with around 450 patrons supporting his content:
Image source: Patreon
The most popular and readily available PPC ad provider is Google Adsense. Adsense doesn’t ask you for a minimum amount of traffic before you sign up, making it suitable if you’re just starting out.
Image source: Google
Keep in mind you need to wait until you reach minimum earnings of $100 before Google deposits money in your account. Since per click yields are as low as $0.001 per click it could take a while to reach that limit if your ads receive few clicks.
Substack is a popular platform for monetizing email newsletters. If you enjoy writing and have a strong social media following or blog readership, creating a paid newsletter could be a logical next step in monetizing your content.
Whether you write about comics or food, building a strong readership and engagement levels has the potential to unlock a consistent monthly income. For example, if you can find 2,000 people to pay you $5/month, that’s $8,110—not a bad side hustle.
Substack is easy to set up and has an easy revenue model—writers keep 90% of the revenue, minus credit card fees.
Here’s an example of Bankless, a popular paid Substack newsletter on crypto:
Image source: Bankless
Podia enables content creators to build their own online courses from scratch. With 50,000+ creators using Podia as their online course platform, it’s a top choice for creating and selling courses.
Even for first-time users, Podia is easy to get started with. It supports all file types, hosts all of the course content, and doesn’t limit how much content you can create and sell.
To get started, creators can sign up at $39/month plan which allows unlimited courses and downloads.
Image source: Podia
Creators can use YouTube to monetize their content with ads, online courses, or product placement.
YouTube attaches ads to all videos so it makes sense to join their partner program and opt to include paying ads with your videos and start to earn an income.
Keep in mind though that your account needs to qualify for YouTube’s partner program. This means reaching at least 1000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours on your account within your first year.
You could also use your YouTube videos for product placement. Reach out to brands in your content niche and see if they’ll sponsor you to feature their products. Before brands are willing to pay you to show their products, you’ll need to prove that you have a growing subscriber base and receive consistent video views.
If you’re just starting out, instead of taking payment from brands you could opt for freebies instead.
Best practices for monetizing content
Monetizing content is a great way to generate additional revenue each month. But to get it right and continue to grow your engagement levels, it’s important to follow a few best practices.
1. Be authentic and stay confident in your offer
While earning revenue from your content is the goal, don’t sacrifice your values. It’s important to strike the balance between sharing content you’re passionate about and content that will resonate with your audience and generate some income.
Choose to feature products that you truly believe in and only say things you mean. That way you’ll maintain your content’s authenticity.
2. Don’t neglect the legal technicalities
If you’re sharing sponsored products, you’ll need to disclose any paid partnership. The FTC requires creators and influencers to acknowledge any relationships they have with brands whether financial or family, to ensure transparency.
If you give running shoes a 10/10 rating, but were paid to review them, your followers need to know.
3. Focus on the metrics that count
Staying on top of your content’s metrics is essential for measuring success and encouraging other brands to form partnerships with you.
Track your ads and affiliate links performance and watch how your audience interacts with your content. Prospective and current brands will also want to see metrics like average conversion rate, audience demographics, and average click-through rates.
While follower counts, likes, and shares can tell you which pieces of content perform best, they’re not the key metrics that earn you income.
Content monetization: How to make money from content in 2023
Creating content you’re passionate about that earns you money can seem like a pipe dream. But if you’re already creating content and are steadily building an audience, it’s simple to start monetizing your content.
The key is to start slowly and be authentic. Set realistic goals and always put your audience’s needs first. Ready to start monetizing content? First, check out the AppSumo Store, we have some of the best deals on software to help you monetize content.