Creating great content for your website can produce more than high SEO rankings. Content monetization allows you to leverage your content so when the user consumes it, you get paid. There are several ways you can use to make your content produce revenue. You can be paid directly by the user or a third party.
In this article, we will cover these methods and break down how you can use them. We’ll also cover the examples of monetization platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
How does Content Monetization Works?
Surely you have heard of content marketing. Content monetization is the other side of content marketing. Content marketing focuses on creating valuable content to acquire more customers, while content monetization, on the other hand, has the goal of profiting from them. It gives publishers and content creators the possibility of earning money from the content they create. So, monetization can give you a way to profit even if you are not selling your content.
How does it work? It will depend on the method you choose. Still, the basic premise is that every time the user or website visitor consumes content, performing an activity, for example, subscribing, clicking on an ad or affiliate link, you get paid.
But before starting to look into monetization methods, you should ask if content monetization is right for you.
Is your content worth monetizing?
Before starting to monetize your content, you should ensure you’re producing the best content for your audience. After all, all monetization strategies require that you create high-quality content if you want it to work.
High-quality content can help to build the audience you require to generate a revenue stream with monetization. So what are the characteristics of fantastic content?
- Is unique: Your content should be original and different from other options available for your audience. The uniqueness will help you rank higher in search engines, give your audience more value and increase their engagement.
- Has high quality: The work should be impeccable, well researched, and without grammar or spelling mistakes.
- Is consistent: The best content in the world won’t help if it is not consistent. You should regularly engage with your audience. That way, they will know when to expect new content from you. And you’ll build a loyal audience of followers.
Besides, when you want to start monetizing through a platform or ad network, you will have to meet some requirements to benefit from it. You should consider monetizing your content if you:
- Are an expert in your niche.
- Already have a content platform, blog, YouTube channel with a steady flow of followers.
- Get a lot of engagement from your followers, and you see their numbers grow.
- Can spend time working on improving your content.
8 ways to Monetize your Content
Whether you have a blog, a podcast, or you publish YouTube videos, you can use most of the following strategies to make money:
1. Sell exclusive rights
In this agreement, you relinquish all rights to the work. That includes copyright and royalties exchanging your content for money.
There are many ways to approach selling your content rights. For instance, freelancers and ghostwriters do it when producing content exclusively for a brand. Another option is producing the content first and then selling it as is (in a marketplace or to a publisher).
Regardless of what option you choose, the core is the same, you exchange your piece of content for money and give away all rights to the buyer.
Selling content is becoming a popular strategy, according to this HubSpot Infographic:
2. Limited usage rights
This is also a broad category. Whether you produce the content for a buyer according to specifications or you sell a ready-made piece, you may choose to limit the usage rights to it.
You, as the content creator, may choose to allow the content to be used in print only, for example, or for non-commercial use. To put it simply, you offer a license for using your content. You can also allow your content to be redistributed.
Here you have an example of how an images company, VectorStock, manages the licensing for their illustrations.
This approach doesn’t work so well for written content because of the lack of originality. But, when you come to visual content, images, illustrations, or videos, there are many places that sell stock content with limited usage rights.
3. Affiliate sales
With this monetization method, you have an audience, a blog, or a website and are willing to promote other people’s products or services. Maybe monetizing your email newsletter by promoting a product via an affiliate link. You can also recommend items via product reviews to your blog readers.
In all cases, you include a trackable link. When a visitor clicks on the link or makes a purchase from it, you get paid.
How do you get into affiliate sales? There are marketplaces for affiliate marketing. You can also work directly with sellers.
There are many platforms and ways for affiliate marketing. If you want to know more about this monetization strategy, check our Monetization Guide for Beginners.
4. Premium content
When you sell premium content your audience can access exclusive content they are not getting elsewhere.
This model has become popular in the last few years. Main publications like the Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur give readers a limited number of free articles and then the paywall for premium content.
See, for instance, the HBR tiers:
|Registered user (registration is free-of-charge|
If you have unique knowledge or are an expert in a subject, your audience may pay you to get regular access to that.
This method allows you to get a steady stream of revenue by offering more in-depth content on a subscription basis. Examples may include in-depth or specialized content. You can also offer regular content via a newsletter like e-books or guides that are available only for subscribers.
If you’re going the subscription or membership route, be creative and mix the type of content you offer your subscribers. A premium video series, for instance, or a webinar can be a good idea.
Or you can give members access to a range of content with the subscription. Examples of this are sports program memberships. You might offer a course or a library of assets that people can refer to as long as they are subscribed.
An example of this type of monetization is Medium.com. For $5 a month, you get unlimited access to all the content published on the platform.
6. Monetize with ads
You can sell your audience to advertisers. That means you display advertisements on your blog or website, and every time a visitor clicks on the ad, you get paid.
There are different ways to monetize with ads:
- You can use a monetization platform like CodeFuel. The platform serves ads based on user intent, ensuring maximum engagement. This has the advantage of simplifying monetization with ads.
- You can deal with advertisers yourself by selling ad space. Here you have several options on how to charge. You may charge a fixed rate or a rate per a thousand impressions (CPM)
- You can also monetize with an ad network like AdSense. The downside of these large ad networks is that they tend to be very general and not very suitable for niche companies. In addition, the pay is usually low.
Monetizing with ads is a good strategy for website owners, publishers, and bloggers. The catch? Your content needs to be popular and on target for your audience. If not, you may risk spending more in tactics to drive traffic than what you get in ad revenue.
7. Sponsored content
If you are a publisher, you may think that adding sponsored content may impact your own negatively. In fact, the opposite is true. By offering other brands the possibility of getting promoted through sponsored reviews or posts, you can generate revenue and elevate the quality of your own content.
You can also produce sponsored content and publish it in relevant publications. A very popular content monetization strategy is live streaming content. Getting sponsors for your live streaming can also increase your content revenue.
An example of this is sponsoring content on LinkedIn. For instance, investment company Acciona got more exposure after a sponsored campaign on LinkedIn.
Now, you may argue that donations are not a monetization strategy but hear me out. When you structure your monetization with donations, you give your followers the choice of supporting you but leaving the content open for everybody.
For example, you can use Patreon to ask for a monthly donation from your sponsors. You can also add a Paypal donation button. Bear in mind that when adding a Paypal “Donate” button, you accept Paypal displaying relevant ads on your site.
Content monetization models and strategies for digital publishers
While the above strategies may work for content creators and publishers alike. Still, publishers may benefit from the following strategies.
A difference from premium content, publishers can set a paywall, so content is available only to paying customers. Research or specific niche companies usually implement this strategy due to the high quality of the content. That doesn’t mean you cannot put out free content to attract your audience.
Tiered access offerings
As a publisher, you can offer a tiered access approach. Here you have many options, from giving a free trial period. You can also have different levels of access to the content according to the pay. This includes allowing users to pay for a single report or piece of content.
Add a paid tool or API
Adding an app or tool may increase your monetization fronts. A tool gives your users a way to enjoy your content on multiple devices. This gives you the opportunity to have a revenue stream while increasing your exposure and the user’s engagement.
Top content monetization platforms
If your Facebook page is popular and you have a good fanbase, you can earn money from it. To monetize your Facebook account, you first need to check if you meet the terms of eligibility. If you meet the criteria, then you can apply some of the following strategies:
- Ads: Facebook monetization lets you display ads that appear when the user is scrolling through your page. The algorithm inserts the ad at the natural breaks in the user activity. You get paid according to how many people view the ad.
- Subscriptions: Facebook also has a subscription model, where your followers can pay a monthly subscription fee to access exclusive content or other perks.
- Brand Collaboration: Eligible companies can connect with brands so online influencers can promote their products on your page.
- Stars: Your followers can buy a form of Facebook currency called “stars” to support your live streaming.
- Paid events: You can host webinars, events, and performances via Facebook live and charge for it.
Content creators use the YouTube monetization model to earn revenue from their content and traffic. The YouTube partner program, for instance, allows you to attach ads to your video content.
To monetize with ads, your YouTube account needs to meet certain requirements. For instance, you have to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours.
Other YouTube monetization options include product placement, affiliate marketing, and online courses.
Want to know more about YouTube monetization? Check out How to Make Money on YouTube in 2021.
What not to do when monetizing content
Monetizing content may seem easy, but there are rookie mistakes that you should avoid. Here is what not to do when you start monetizing:
Not caring about transparency
In the haste of starting monetizing, you can overlook the need to be transparent about your affiliate links or promotions. For instance, if you endorse a brand, you need to disclose any relationship you may have with the brand. When publishing a review, you are forbidden to review a product you haven’t tried. Learn more about the Federal Trade Commission guidelines here.
If you are monetizing through affiliate marketing, you must disclose that you are using affiliate links from company “x.” If you don’t do it, you may risk losing your followers. Audiences’ loyalty is volatile, and if you mislead your followers, you risk losing them. Contrarily of what it seems, disclosing that you have a promotional relationship with companies may increase your follower’s trust.
Not measuring enough
Measuring and tracking content metrics is essential to ensure your content monetization strategy. The number of followers, likes and shares don’t really tell you how the content is performing money-wise.
To track how your ads or links performance you should pay attention to click-through rate, conversion rates, and demographics. Especially on social media, content creators sometimes get distracted by the number of likes or followers and don’t pay attention to the demographics.
Related content: Social media demographics you can’t miss in 2021.
Myth or Fact: Is Monetized Content Authentic?
There is a myth about monetized content being untrue or unethical. In reality, when content creators and publishers follow regulations and disclose commercial relationships, monetized content is just like any other online content.
Actually, the best content creators are the ones that strive to give the users an authentic experience. The best content publishers focus on the audience. They deliver content that connects to the audience’s needs. Therefore, the best content creators only promote brands that can deliver value to their followers.
How CodeFuel helps companies monetize content the smart way
To summarize, monetizing your content starts with you producing great quality content. The strategy you choose for monetization will depend on the type of audience and your goals.
When it comes to monetization, you can do the work yourself or use a platform to simplify and optimize monetization.
CodeFuel helps companies monetize their content by working at the basis: giving the audience what they are looking for. The platform leverages the user intent to display search and shopping ads that enrich the user experience while earning revenue for the publisher.
Start optimizing your content monetization with CodeFuel today.