Content Monetization For News Websites And Blogs


Content monetization stands for the process of making your content profitable. In other words, it is turning content into the tool for generating revenue.

There are many metrics that can be hit through content creation, but for the news websites and the majority of blogs the main purpose of content development is to support growth.

When you’re thinking up ways of creating a content flow that will eventually boost your traffic, increase engagement, and lift you to the top of Google Search, you’re probably ending up realizing that this process must require a certain framework. Yes, strategic approach matters greatly when it comes to figuring out ways to automate your content marketing and achieve revenue growth. 

Today, your success lies in the way you combine strategic approach with growth tactics. In the ways you choose to move from ad-based, scale-above publishing business to the growth-oriented one that experiment, iterate, and find new growth opportunities.

In this article we will focus on strategic approach and the most important metrics for digital publishers.

What kind of content can I monetize?

But lets come back to some basics first. Anyone can monetize any content: from news, blog posts, ebooks to audio & video content. Depending on type of your content, you can:

  • Publish traditional ad banners on your website
  • Add native advertisement to your materials
  • Insert sponsored links
  • Offer membership/subscription content
  • Sell your own products

Of course, there are many other specific ways of how you can monetize content, but these five are the basics for a get-go.

How can a news website earn more money?

Growing any digital business is all about strategic approach, correct metrics, consistency, and learning. 

Thinking about content monetization always makes sense in the context of strategic approach to your content development.

To better understand how strategic approach works, let’s visualize it in a small story.

Imagine that you’re a farmer who cultivate carrot plantations.

A hectare of land brings you $2k each midsummer ($1 per one plant). You like the fact that your revenue is consistent, but you won’t mind to earn more.

content-monetization-guide

Expanding your plantation with a thousand more vegetables is out of discussion: you don’t feel like transporting more seeds.

Now, imagine that someone tells you there is a way to earn more without the need to sow more. All you have to do is create better conditions for your current plants: spread a fertiliser, provide consistent moisture, etc.

As a result, your plant will develop stronger roots and become richer in flavour. Their market price will shoot up by at least 5%, while you won’t have to harvest more plants.

content-improvement

In the first case you choose to boost traffic to your website and attract more and more visitors that, in turn, will result in more revenue from advertisements (given you maintain the same level of traffic).

boosting traffic

The second option suggests you learn how to make visitor interaction with your site longer and deeper; thus, hit more metrics and increase your revenue in 2,3, and more times. You don’t increase your traffic, you generate streams of income out of what you already have by:

improving-engagement-rate

Now you get the picture of how strategic approach works.

But where to start your journey? It all boils down to:

  1. Self-education
  2. Correct metrics tracking
  3. Automatization of processes
  4. Consistency in your marketing efforts
content monetization tactics
Principles behind an effective content strategy

Now, let’s find out what you will need to start your content monetization process. 

Metrics that matter for news websites’ growth

If you’re planning on engaging more advertisers to your news website, and increase content monetization, you have to reach a certain website performance level. The top content metrics for you to track would be: 

  • Website Traffic
  • Visitor Engagement Rate
  • Average Time On Page 
  • Recirculation (how many visitors click on other articles) 
  • Bounce rate (visitors who left from the first page)
  • Exit rate (visitors who proceeded to the next pages but didn’t take any action).

These metrics allow to evaluate how effective your investments are, see what articles perform better, and the ones that don’t work.

We’ll brush up on every one of these metrics in our blog. This article focuses on the importance of visitor engagement rate — the one that takes its hall of fame for a reason. 

Spurring engagement rate refers to the growth tactics. It works for any website, from newsrooms to blogs of any size, if you’re up for content monetization. 

What is a visitor engagement rate, and why does it matter

Visitor engagement rate defines how well your content works against readers’ expectations. Engagement rate increases when your target audience realises value from your content.

How is the visitor engagement rate measured?

Visitor engagement rate is a general assessment that shows how users are engaged with your blog. It consists of three components:

  1. How many visitors have scrolled one page to the very down of it (Readability).
  2. How much time visitors spent on each article (Average Time on Page).
  3. How many visitors clicked on the link from the first page and moved on to the next pages (Recirculation).
Visitor Engagement Rate

After calculating these numbers, you get a picture of how satisfied your visitors are with the quality of your content. You’re able to compare the received numbers to the overall amount of visitors that land on your website (traffic) and get a visitor engagement ratio. 

First session is the cornerstone of your content strategy

After receiving the number, you might probably wonder what measures may help you increase your engagement rate and make the same visitors retain.

In these terms, it is essential to understand readers’ behavior from the very beginning. That’s where the first session experience comes to play.

Focus on first session experience

According to our recent study, it’s quite common for new audiences to read through no more than 1 article. This research also reveals that visitors who read seven articles during the first session, instead of one, come back after one week. 

It’s 193 individuals from 1k.

At the same time, those who read only one article and leave immediately after are less likely to return (only 67 persons out of 1k showed up back after the first session).

Here are some tactics to implement that affect positive first experience (briefly). 

Content monetization tactic #1: strive for a better readability 

Different topics, article writing styles, and sizes result in different engagement metrics. 

Short, well-structured stories accompanied by appropriate visuals will definitely increase the average readability. However, because they’re short, they’ll also decrease the average time spent on page. 

Longreads, on the other hand, will lessen your overall readability but shoot up total engagement time. 

No matter what article length you opt for, aim to strike better readability rate. 

If you track your visitor behavior consistently, you can eventually understand your audience better. This will give you ideas on how to fine-tune your content strategy. In other words, you’ll know what to write about and how to structure content more effectively.

Content monetization tactic #2: analyze user behaviour regularly  

Track at least the metrics that we’ve mentioned here to maintain a deeper understanding of your customers and their interests. 

Here are some points to keep in mind.

  • Low readability and adequate average time indicate sticking at the beginning of the article

Low readability rate indicates that readers don’t make it to the end of the article. If they spend some time on it, nevertheless, it means they’re stuck at the beginning, find it doesn’t give any value, and leave. If you see this picture for a long time, it’s time to do something about the intro-part. 

  • High readability and low average time points on low-attention reads

This can happen due to the absence of interactive content or its abundance. People skip through articles if they see there’s too much text or if it’s poorly structured. Sometimes visuals are much more interesting, so they get engaged with pictures but don’t read. Low readability and low engagement time are often indicative of clickbait or sensational content, which should be avoided at all costs.

Content monetization tactic #3: Inspect the anatomy of a perfect blog/news post

No matter what type of articles you’re working at, keeping track of all the right blog components is a great investment since it lets you structure your articles in a smart way and automate processes.

Educating yourself on how to write a perfect blog post lets you make sure nothing slips through the cracks, and your materials will be comprehensive and engaging to readers. 

There are plenty of materials that may help you develop content flow. It is beneficial for any content creator, news website, blogger, and any marketing team.

How to measure content performance

Here comes the nitty-gritty.

No matter how hard you try, your efforts may go in vain if you don’t measure your progress. 

To understand how effective your content marketing is, you have to analyze reader behaviour on a regular basis. 

The easiest way to do this is to add content analytics tracking to your news website or blog. After successful integration, you will be able to ultimately understand the value your articles provide and adjust your content strategy for better results. 

We’ve put together a list of the best content analytics tools for any website. They come in handy for teams in content marketing, digital publishing, newsrooms.

Often, such software allows you to monitor visitor behavior in detail, including time they spend on each page, engagement fluctuations, exit rate, etc. 

content-analytics-tools
Content Analytics Tools For Publishers — The Dashboard

A typical tool for analytics consists of dashboards that let you track events and receive reports in a certain time interval. Most advanced analytics allows you to monitor data in real-time.

Content monetization comes with its hurdles. But now you know how to approach this process wizely. 

FAQ

Here are some of the frequently asked question along with answers.

– How to make money with a news website?

Successful content monetization for news websites boils down to possessing an easy-to-navigate website, quality content, sustainable traffic and high visitor engagement rate. If you’ve managed to reach optimal numbers in metrics that matter you can proceed to monetize your content. There are several ways to do this:

  1. Display banner ads
  2. Engage in PPC networks
  3. Add sponsor links to your materials
  4. Integrate native ad
  5. Use “Paywall” or subscription business model

– What is content monetization?

Content monetization is the ability of your content to generate income. We’ve mentioned a few ways to do it above. 

In general, partnerships with trustworthy advertisement companies are the main source of income for news websites. The better your website metrics and rankings are, the more streams of revenue you can generate. 

– What is the best way to monetize a news website?

Among all the mentioned monetization methods, picking the one that will work best for your website is your number one priority. It totally depends on your business goals and the type of your website. Just keep in mind that the more your website or blog evolves and keeps up with the latest trends, technologies, nailing more metrics — the more attractive it will be in the eyes of potential partners. Besides, the most versatile solution would be the mix of discussed ways, as it gives you much more flexibility. So, be open to different offerings, but don’t forget to check with your website’s main parameters. Also, remember that putting people off by placing enormous amounts of ads on your pages is not the nicest strategy.

– What are the kpis for content marketing?

Most common kpis for measuring your efforts in content marketing are:

  1. Unique page visits (traffic)
  2. Time on page (average time spent on page)
  3. Inbound links (how intensively people linking your pages)
  4. Followers/Subscribers (how quick your audience grow)
  5. Growth rate (how your content affects your business growth)
  6. Conversions (does content produce sales in the end)
  7. Engagement rate (how valuable content is)
  8. Retention rate (how well your retention strategy works)
  9. Cost per click (how is your ROI (return on investment) doing)
  10. Comments/Interactions (how many people take actions on your pages)

– What is a web session?

A web session is a set of interactions that takes place on your website within a certain time frame. It may include page views, actions, ecommerce transactions, etc. The unofficial industry standard for one web session is 2-3 pages. The idea is to keep readers engaged from the very beginning: the more pages are viewed during the first session, the greater chances are that visitors will retain.