Consider All Potential Sources of Revenue for your Content Website….
Failing to consider all potential sources of revenue for your content website is where I messed up with The Engineering Career Coach brand and website, and I will explain how you can avoid making the same mistake.
Most content marketers start a website out of passion for a specific topic. These websites are often referred to as passion projects. They write amazing articles that start to get a ton of traffic. Then they realize their followers want more content. Unfortunately, the time it takes to prepare more quality content really adds up, and — all of a sudden — they are creating content on a crazy schedule, but earning absolutely no money for it. This is what is commonly referred to as a hamster wheel.
In this content hamster wheel, if you stop creating content, your traffic will slow down, and your site will start to die off. Yet if you continue, you will be stuck working like crazy, essentially on a treadmill to nowhere. Unless, of course, you have some plans for monetizing the site. We will cover monetization in more detail towards the end of The Content Marketing Equation book; however, at this point, I do want to discuss it from a big picture perspective.
I don’t expect you to have all of your revenue sources planned out from day one. In fact, in most cases, you can’t. As a content brand grows, different opportunities arise, and you can consider these as they come. Still, from day one, you should brainstorm and come up with at least five potential sources of revenue.
Here is a list of some basic potential revenue sources (note that the list may change based on your niche):
- Google AdSense (Google will insert niche-specific ads onto your site, in locations you specify, and they will pay you every time someone clicks on them),
- Private Banner Ads that you can sell directly to companies targeting your niche,
- Podcast sponsorships that you (or a third party that you retain, like Midroll.com) can sell to companies targeting your niche,
- YouTube Ads on your videos,
- Your own products and services, which may include books, coaching, speaking, events, and more,
- Donations from your followers using PayPal or websites like Patreon, which allows your audience to make donations for the free content you are creating.
When I started The Engineering Career Coach content website, I never gave much thought to the revenue side of things. I basically thought I would build up a lot of great content for younger, developing engineers, and they would pay me for career coaching. That was my plan. My plan didn’t work.
What I failed to consider were two key points:
1) Younger engineers don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on career and personal development.
2) Most engineers don’t know what career coaching is, and how it can help them.
Based on these points, The Engineering Career Coach website earned very little money for a very long time. I was on the hamster wheel for a while.
At this point, the site does okay with revenue, generating just over six figures, but our profit margin is still fairly low, which is something we are working on improving to this day. To get our revenue up, we started an online coaching community for engineers at a low price point, we have added some sizeable podcast sponsors, and have looked for potential affiliates that can sell our community. We are, however, considering selling the site to a company that has more products and services to sell directly to engineers.
If I started over and thought out more revenue sources, I might have found my way to podcasting a few years earlier, or started doing content development for associations earlier on.
Bottomline: Create a revenue plan before you start developing your content website, even if it changes along the way.
Start creating your revenue plan today!
Author of The Content Marketing Equation