Any content you produce can and should be monetized.
Of course, you may aim to reach various goals by investing in content creation. For example, increasing your web presence, acquiring new audiences or educating existing customers.
But eventually you may end up figuring that your content can generate real money along with any other outcome. Especially when it is doing well in terms of traffic.
So, how can your content be monetized?
Content monetization – definition
Content monetization stands for turning your content into a tool for revenue generation. It can be achieved in various ways. Your content can contribute to your earnings indirectly – for example, by acquiring leads, or it can generate direct revenue streams – for example, by involving advertising in it or by requiring payment for premium access.
We will describe how direct revenue streams can be generated using the power of your content.
Ways to monetize content
All content monetization opportunities break down into the three main groups. Here they are.
- Displaying ads – placement or native ad
- Paid content – paywalls
- Selling own products and services
Let’s talk about each one of the group.
Ways to monetize content: displaying ads
- Placing ad banners on your website is the most obvious content monetization method. You get paid when users click on an ad banner or each time it is shown to them. Sometimes you get paid if a user converted after clicking on the ad. It depends on what pricing option an advertiser chooses.
Digital publishers who earn on placing ads use Google Adsense. It’s a program created by Google that lets you automatically display ads on your website and get payments for users’ interactions with them. It’s an effortless and free way to earn money using your blog or website.
How does Google AdSense work?
Google AdSense is a real-time ad auction where advertisers bid to show in your ad spaces. Your part is to set up your account, insert a small amount of code into your pages and choose the places where you won’t mind ads to appear. The rest is done by Google: it will choose which ad to display based on the topic of your content or users’ previous searches. Nothing is required from you: just collect your money.
Google AdSense takes commission that depends on the competition and CPC (cost-per-click) in the niche.
2. Native advertising is a second popular way to monetize content with advertising.
Native advertising is an ad that blends into your content naturally. Users don’t understand that they’re consuming paid ads. If you remove a brand’s name from it, it won’t affect the style and value of the content.
Types of native advertising
The typical example of native advertising is advertorial – an ad created in the form of editorial content. An advertorial provides valuable, high-quality content with just a spotlight into a product.
Advertorials are sometimes read like a publisher introducing an audience to a helpful product to enhance their work or everyday lives.
The bottom line: native advertising doesn’t read as advertising.
Another form of a native ad is product placement that usually appears in images or videos.
Product placement is deliberate incorporation of brands or products into the content in exchange for compensation.
3. Inserting affiliate links can be considered as another form of native advertising. You weave external links into your content so it feels like you give a piece of advice by suggesting some product. However, sometimes publishers directly warn readers about affiliate links in their content.
The essence of affiliate marketing is in getting commission from affiliate partners by sending a lead to their websites that later converts into a customer. If it happens, you receive your share.
Sometimes an affiliate marketer creates the whole piece of content around affiliate products, like listicles of reviews. Even simple linking out to relevant products can already be considered an affiliate marketing practice.
Here is a full beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing, if you’re interested.
Ways to monetize content: paywalls
A paywall is a method of content monetization that comes down to offering your readers access to premium content in exchange for a paid subscription.
The percentage of people paying for online content is increasing. The statistics shows that people are now more willing to pay for online news.
The paywall concept is not new. In the pre-Internet era, you had to buy a newspaper at the news stand to get fresh printed news. If you wanted to get regular access to favourite articles, you had to become a subscriber of a magazine. The practice of selling content had been in place long before the Internet era arrived. The approach now is a bit modified, but still, it is the same at its core.
Publishers use different paywall models to pack their subscription offers. There are a freemium, metered, and other types of paywalls, each with its own friction level.
To build a paywall, use WordPress plugins or subscription management software.
Publishers can also offer readers ad-free access to their content via the subscription or one-time payment. It works similar to premium content access: after the payment, a user can enjoy your content without being interrupted by ads. They can choose to continue reading the same content but with ads included.
Ways to monetize content: selling products or services
When your content becomes extremely successful, an entire product or service line can grow out of it.
Books, white papers, consulting services, merchandise – there is a world of possibility to monetize on a popular blog.
Content monetization: conclusion
We’ve put together the main methods of content monetization. It’s up to you to choose which one has a greater capacity to bring you revenue. To justify a paywall, you have to produce truly exceptional, unique content. Quality journalism is worth paying for.
If you think your content doesn’t stand out in quality yet, ease into a 40/60 ad/content model. It doesn’t have to be either this or that. You make a choice every day: decide what’s more beneficial for you right now. Focusing on quality journalism will bring you closer to gating your content anyway.