You’re pumping out new content like crazy. Whether it’s written content, podcasts, or video – you’re creating great content and the world needs to see it. But how do you get paid for the content you create?
In this post, you will learn six ways you can get paid for the content you create. Some are obvious and others aren’t. I’m counting down from the most obvious to the least obvious so I highly recommend reading this post all the way to the end.
Freelance writing is one of the most common ways to get paid for the content you create. In fact, there are more than 57 million freelancers in the US alone.
Here’s how it works:
You agree on terms with your client. A client gives you a brief. You create the content. Then you get paid.
That’s an oversimplification and there’s a bit more to it – but not as much as you might think.
While other revenue generation strategies may be more profitable in the long run, freelancing is a good option because you get paid pretty quick. Especially if you bill clients upfront.
And you don’t necessarily need an audience to get started – although it will help. You can start applying for freelancing gigs on sites like Problogger Jobs or one of the many other freelance job websites.
It can be difficult to stand out on job sites but there are other options:
For example, you can make a list of all the websites in your niche and start cold pitching them. One freelancer I know did this and was booked solid within a month.
This approach allows you to immediately sidestep the large amount of freelancers applying via job websites. Also, I highly recommend creating a blog based around the topic you want to write about.
People are more likely to hire you when they can see you creating the same sort of content they need for their site. This is exactly how I get enquiries from potential clients despite the fact I do not offer freelancing services. However, what I wouldn’t recommend is starting a blog about freelancing – you’ll end up attracting other freelancers rather than potential clients.
Don’t forget: your choice of niche is critical here. There needs to be plenty of profitable blogs & startups in your niche.
Affiliate marketing is another common way to get paid for the content you create. You promote a product/service within your content and drive traffic to a landing page. Then, you get paid based on a CPA (cost-per-action basis).
Sometimes you can get paid for leads you send. Most of the time you will get paid based on purchases. What I love about affiliate marketing is that it negates the need to deal with clients so you can create the content that you want. And, it scales as your traffic/audience increases.
However, it takes a lot longer to get paid and you may find yourself putting in a lot of work and not getting much money in return. That’s if you are just getting started and don’t have an audience.
With a lot of affiliate programs, you may need to wait upwards of 45-60 days after a sale before you can get paid. And most programs have a minimum payout.
There are typically two approaches that are most common:
- Influencer product & service recommendations – Influence, authority and audience growth are top priority. You then recommend products to your audience that are a good fit for them via blog posts, emails, videos, etc. Typically you would support one product/service of each type. Example: Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.
- Scaled product & service comparisons – Rather than promoting a small selection of products, you would focus on writing about products within your niche at scale. Things like list posts, comparisons, reviews, etc. And SEO would be a strong focus. Example: USwitch, Money Supermarket, Money Saving Expert.
But how do you find affiliate programs to promote? Some brands have direct affiliate programs so you’d need to search Google for [brand] + affiliate program or something similar.
The amount you get paid per sale (your commissions) will vary depending on the niche and type of product. For example, digital products such as courses will offer higher commissions than physical products that operate at lower margins.
Advertising is one of the most overhyped revenue generation strategies bloggers can use. It’s a viable option for monetizing your content or increasing your income but only in certain circumstances.
But most bloggers I see using advertising get it completely wrong. Here’s why:
A lot of new bloggers hear they can get paid to blog by slapping some Google Ads on their site. Then they start publishing review style content – the kind of content that works best for affiliate marketing but not advertising. It’s REALLY hard to drive traffic to reviews.
If you want to make money from ads on your blog, you’re going to need a content strategy that is capable of driving large amounts of traffic. That type of content strategy is not easy to build out for beginners. Viral style content similar to what BuzzFeed publishes is the kind of thing you need to make this work.
So, if you’re just getting started as a blogger – I highly recommend ignoring advertising, at least until your blog is getting a good amount of traffic. Once your blog is starting to receive a good amount of traffic, you can skip low paying ad networks like Google AdSense and go for a higher paying alternative.
Ad networks like Monumetric, Mediavine and AdThrive have minimum traffic requirements that you need to hit, but they provide an easy way to add an additional revenue stream. Alternatively you can go for a platform like BuySellAds. Instead of getting paid on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis, you will be able to sell ad space for a certain amount of $ per 30 days.
Sponsored content sits halfway between affiliate marketing and freelance writing. You get the benefit of being paid quicker for your work than affiliate marketing and you get more creative freedom than freelance writing.
Sounds good right? There are a few challenges though. Firstly, the amount you can charge will depend upon the size of your audience. It’s not easy to attract brands when your blog is new.
Once your blog is better established, there are a few things you can do to get opportunities:
A) Create an advertising page
A good approach is to create a dedicated ‘Advertising’ page where you list all of the advertising opportunities you offer. You could offer several different packages & upsell options such as email, social shares, etc.
If your blog is established, you’ll likely get enquiries every so often. And you could reply to general outreach you receive with a link to your advertising page – that might lead to some extra opportunities.
B) Join a sponsored content marketplace
Similar to the challenge you may face trying to find brands interested in sponsored content, brands find it challenging to find blogs willing to offer it.
This is where sponsored content marketplaces come in. Here are two you can check out:
A word about disclosures…
Similar to how you should disclose posts with affiliate links, you should disclose sponsored links as well.
It’s also good practice to add a sponsored tag for Google’s benefit. If you use WordPress and a popular SEO plugin like All In One SEO Pack, you should see the option to select the sponsored tag whenever you click on a link:
Continuity programs and donations
Continuity programs have evolved somewhat over recent years but the basic idea remains the same. Your audience pays a regular fee to receive new content from you on a regular basis.
You can either go down the route of selling based on exclusivity, as with a membership website. For example, you could offer new courses and/or resources each month for a set fee. All of these resources would only be available for members.
The other option is to make most of your content freely available for everyone and offer perks to those who donate through a platform such as Patreon.
While donations are typically lower, you’ll be able to grow your audience faster since most of your content will be freely available. This is extremely common amongst YouTubers – especially in the music industry. Rob Scallon is a great example:
If you create your own membership site, you get all of the control and all of the revenue. You also get to set the terms. For example, instead of charging for new content, you could simply charge for continued access to your library of content.
However, with a platform such as Patreon, they’ll take a cut of revenue and you only get paid when you deliver what you said you would. That said, the tech side of things is taken care of for you.
Build a sales funnel around your products/services
Products & services are the bread and butter of most businesses, but more often than not, they are relegated to a brief mention in a navigation bar. And they’re supported by a content strategy that actually does nothing to support them.
But what if everything was connected? What if your entire offering was designed to connect together in harmony? One logical step leading visitors to the next logical step.
You will have content that attracts potential customers. They go through your funnel and make their first purchase, then you sell additional products/services on the back end.
Wrapping it up
Making your blog profitable isn’t easy but there are plenty of ways to make it happen.
But you’ve got to consider which tactic aligns best with your current growth stage.
For example, product creation and the offering of services can be done regardless. The important part is that both your product creation and service offering is part of a cohesive sales funnel.
Services such as freelance writing can be easier initially because you don’t need an audience to get started.
Affiliate marketing can be started right away too but it likely won’t pay off until you have an audience.
As your blog becomes more established, other revenue strategies such as advertising, sponsored content and continuity programs become more of a viable option.
But above all else, remember that you need to combine multiple income streams. Relying on a single revenue stream is a risk. When you have several, they will feed each other and help you scale profit faster.