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?