Content Monetization and What it Means for Writers

Every so often, new words creep into the list that writers have to know. Over the past two years or so, ‘content marketing’ has been one of those terms — the act of using well-written online content, such as blogs, to interest potential customers and keep ’em coming back. ‘Content monetization’ hasn’t developed the traction that ‘content marketing’ has, but it’s likely to be even more important to writers. While writers offering content marketing have picked up huge numbers of clients, content monetization — the process of making money directly off of content you’ve written — lets you sell a product, rather than a service, removing the limits on just how much you can make in a given day.

This little vocabulary lesson may not be telling you anything new. Many freelancers, as well as authors and other types of writers, have been exploring opportunities to put your work up online and start selling it as an ebook or another type of informational product. But the fact that we’re putting a name on it means something important: you can see the trend edging upwards.

Riding the Wave

The content monetization field is just barely visible; I see it only because most of my projects involve creating online content. I’ve gotten clients coming to me with requests to create ebooks and other materials that they can turn around and sell — and the numbers are going up. More importantly, I’m getting a few of those requests from clients that are already selling physical products. Information is a commodity — something to make money from.

This isn’t to say that there won’t always be ways to get information for free. Personally, I love my local library. But the trend is that more businesses and individuals will be selling content in some format.

A Matched Set

Content marketing and content monetization go hand in hand. The easiest way to market premium content (the kind you charge for) is with more, free content. That is, of course, good news for writers. Not only do we have an easy entry point if we want to practice a little content monetization on our own work, but there are that many more clients out there for us to make money off of.

This is the intersection that I’m focusing myself and my business on in the months to come. This is where I firmly believe the money is coming from — and how I’m going to make gigantic piles of cash for myself. But I think that we’re going to need a few new tools to make it work. We’re headed in the right direction with easy-to-use content management systems and the ability to create PDFs easily, but there are some gaps.

Have you seen the same trends? Do you think content monetization offers you any good opportunities?

See-ming Lee

4 Comments

  1. Chris   •  

    Great post. I haven’t thought of separating the marketing side of thing and the monetizing side of writing. I’ve finally begun to write small articles over the last month. I agree that the initial momentum and return for content is low. Do think the two areas are connected by the end result? I’m currently writing an ebook that I’ve had in my head for a while, and I have the intent to distribute it online. I’ve also been exploring affiliate marketing and if there any gaps its here. I want to write for myself and I had to get away from the ego and focus on writing for my niche and readers.

    I think one great opportunity for writers is that your content is needed by those who need more content to help build authority within their projects.

    What do you think?

    Which do you think is better? The product approach or service approach?

    • thursday   •     Author

      I think that the product approach, despite the slow start, offers a better long-term strategy for writers. If you’re serious about working for yourself in the long-term, services simply don’t scale as well (although there are plenty of writers who prefer the service model, and that’s just fine).

      I don’t have a problem with helping others build authority by providing them with content, especially as a service. But I do want to make sure that I’m making a good income no matter what. I don’t have a problem with becoming generally well off, either — and I don’t want to depend on providing a service that I keep working at to do so. I hope that explains my point of view and why I think that content monetization is such an important consideration for writers.

      • Chris   •  

        After a short stint trying to generate content, I agree with you completely that you should look for was to multiple the value of your content. It’s a big pond to swim in. I don’t even believe that’s I’ve scratched the surface. You are probably going to see my name in you inbox in a “purchased” email.

        Your content is very helpful.

        Thank you!

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