10 Ways to Make Money Online as a Content Creator
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One popular way to make money online is through content creation. People who write blogs, post to Instagram, create YouTube videos, or live stream on Twitch are all creating content.
When it comes to monetizing that content, people automatically jump to ads or sponsorship, but if you’re willing to create a product, you can push your earning potential far beyond what you can earn from ads or what companies will pay you to feature their products.
Keep reading for even more ideas that you can use to make money online beyond ads and sponsorship.
What is a content creator?
A content creator is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s someone who creates content, usually in digital media, for people to consume.
Content could be anything from a 10 page in-depth guide to a random meme. If you can market your content and get people to interact with it in some way, congratulations, you’re a content creator!
The awesome part about being a content creator is that you can make money right from your own home while wearing your favorites PJs. Or #nopants. Whatever works for you.
Popular content media
Typically, your content will be presented in one of these forms:
- Live streams
If you want to make it as a content creator, you’ll need to know how to create at least one of these. You don’t have to focus on one, and in fact it’s better if you can take advantage of multiple. Then you’ll be able to cross promote your personal brand on many different platforms.
Finding what content people actually want
The most marketable types of content are either entertaining, informative, or educational. Bonus points if you can present information in an entertaining way, but really all you need is to provide a solution for a problem.
Yes, “I’m having a bad day and I need to look at puppies” totally counts as a “problem” to be solved on the Internet.
“Internet problems” include anything people search for with search engines like Google, YouTube, and Pinterest. You can explore what people are searching by using keyword research tools like Ubersuggest. (Hint: using these keywords in your content is the first step to using SEO to get more views.)
Keywords with a high search volume will be difficult to rank for, but you can use them to see what kind of topics are being highly searched. Once you’ve picked a main topic, you can search for related subtopics to find ones that are less difficult to rank for.
Try to think of a unique way to present a solution based around keywords and the audience you want to attract.
10 ways to make money online as a content creator
Once you have a problem to solve, you can focus on how you’re going to monetize the content you’re going to create around that problem. You probably already know about using ads or getting sponsors, but there are many other ways to make your ocntent work for you.
Don’t pick just one, mix and match several!
Using ads is probably the most popular and recognized ways to make money from content creation. In some ways they’re not as lucrative as they used to be, but with the right ad networks and opportunities, you can make a pretty good amount through ad revenue.
To make the most with ads, you have to focus on building up thousands of traffic per month. Focusing on a popular topic and using SEO and Pinterest can help you achieve these numbers, but it will take some time to build up the kind of traffic that makes good money from ads.
For new bloggers, I suggest starting out with Fomo and Media.net. Sign up for Media.net after you’re actively posting and have a little bit of traffic coming in. Fomo has no minimum requirements, so you can sign up at any time after you’ve launched your website.
Whenever people provide you with money or a product service in exchange for you reviewing or promoting their product, it’s considered a sponsorship. What brands usually want is for you to get the word out about their product, so what you’re sell here is really access to your audience.
This audience already knows you, they like you, and they trust you. Brands are counting on that KLT (know-like-trust) factor to be extended to their product through you. If you support it, it must be great, right?
Sponsorship is usually the thing people aim for when they decide to become an influencer, but it should only be part of your strategy. Since it depends on what brands want (usually some form of engagement or view count), it can take awhile before you can start getting sponsorships, unlike other monetization methods that you can set up on day one.
Affiliate marketing is is one of the easiest ways to make money with your content. All you have to do is sell a product. You don’t have to deal with product creation or support.
It’s also really easy to do affiliate marketing the wrong way, too. A lot of people start out by signing up for a program and then just posting their affiliate link every where, thinking people will click and buy.
It’s much easier to sell affiliate products without asking people to buy at all. Instead, create tutorials or show the product being used in a real application and the product will pretty much sell itself.
Focus on solving some problem (a problem that people are actively searching for a solution to) rather than focusing on pushing the sale.
Educate Your Audience
Show your audience how to do what you do best by creating an online course or workshop. There will definitely be people in your audience who want to learn more about what you do and as a person they already see as in a successful position, they’ll want to learn from you.
You could sell 1:1 tutoring style services or create products that teach people what you know. This could be through video or email courses, live webinars and workshops, or it could be as simple as writing a book or ebook.
There are tons and tons of ways to set this up, so many that I decided to give them their own post.
Sell Your Expertise
If teaching isn’t your thing you can still monetize your expertise by offering it up as a premium service. Some of the most popular ways to use your expertise to make money online include freelancing, virtual assisting, and coaching or consulting.
You can offer services on your website or through freelancing platforms like UpWork or Fiverr. You’ll be able to charge better by marketing your services through your own site, though. Freelancing platforms can sometimes be a “race to the bottom” when it comes to pricing.
Open an Online Store
Kind of an obvious one, but opening an online store has just gotten easier and easier as time goes on with options like designable Print-on-Demand products, dropshipping, and Amazon FBA.
With all those options, you don’t have to worry about storing inventory and shipping and returns can are handled by a third party. You’ll still need to deal with customer service and marketing, but it makes it a lot easier to run a store online.
Give your fans a way to show their support to the world. Merchanising works really well once you’ve built up a personal brand (as in you yourself are the brand) or you own a brand that people love and support.
Things like t-shirts, cups, mugs, etc. are all novelty items that give people a chance to support you and get some physical value out of it as well.
I think Twitch streamers have perfected the art of collecting tips and donations from their content. Sites like Streamlabs give live streaming creators tools to collect and manage their tips without needing to use the native monetization options on their preferred platform, which usually require some amount of followers or engagement to sign up for.
Live streaming isn’t the only tipable style of content, though. Tipeee and Ko-hi are solutions for people who want to collect one-time tips from supporters. You can use these for any type of content, not just while live on stream.
There are also several options available for those who want their content to remain free but provide some extra bonuses for supporters. Artists and other content creators use sites like Patreon to collect support through a subscription based membership.
Write on Medium
Medium is great platform for people who love writing. With the Medium Partner Program, you can write about pretty much anything and earn from members who applaud your posts. The more claps you get, the higher your earnings.
Medium is also good for syndicating content from your main blog, so as long as your posts meet the requirements, you can enable monetization on Medium for content you’ve already written up anyway.
Use the Steem Blockchain
Steemit is a social platform built on the Steem blockchain, which a type of cryptocurrency for social actions. You can sort of think of as earning Bitcoin for using the platform, but what you’re really earning is STEEM.
Earning with Steemit is a little bit complicated, but it is a good way to syndicate and monetize content you’ve already created, just like Medium, as long as you’re comfortable with using a cryptocurrency. People vote on posts and you earn STEEM Backed Dollars (SBD) which you can exchange for actual money or invest back into the Steemit platform to increase the value of your vote.
I’m probably totally butchering that explanation. I told you it’s a little bit confusing.
The Steem blockchain has many apps (or dApps since it’s dencentralized) that work like Instagram (Steepshot), Twitter, or create a more friendly blogging experience (busy.org). IF you can increase your popularity in the community, you can make a good chunk of change for your content.
Posts involving cyptocurrency news and tutorials do really well there, but there’s also plenty of room for art and lifestyle topics.
Remember to Diversify
Never depend on ONE single source of income. Always be prepared incase you lose access to one of your income sources.
While it might not happen often, it DOES happen. You don’t want to be put in a bad situation by a service shuting down or a company closing their affiliate program.
Setting up multiple income sources should be fun anyway because you can think about how much its going to benefit you once your start earning with it. It’s definitely worth the effort of putting these systems in place.