Take a moment and make a mental list. Who makes money from content creation? The first names in your mind were probably Kylie Jenner, James Charles, or PewDiePie— personal brands with millions of followers. But what if we told you that your friend from college with a few thousand followers on Instagram, your co-worker who’s mentioned his YouTube, and your best friend’s TikTok-obsessed 18-year-old little sister are all monetising their content? You don’t need millions of followers or worldwide recognition to earn money online. You just need to know how to diversify your income streams and target your content for maximum effect.
Today, we’ll talk about the different ways to create content with the potential for monetisation, and the different avenues for monetising your content.
Who are content creators?
Content creator is a broad term that describes people who create content that is educational or entertaining in nature. A content creator can be a:
- Maker (artist, sculptor, artisan, knitter, etc.)
Content creators may choose one or a variety of platforms to monetise their content. These are a few of the most popular platforms used by content creators to make money:
11 ways content creators earn money
- Branded sonsorships
- Exclusive content
- Makers gonna make (£££)
- The tipping feature
- Affiliate marketing
- Social media ads
- Consultation services
- Teach a course
- CPM advertisements
- Are you ready?
11 ways content creators earn money
The opportunities to earn income through content creation are as varied as the content creators themselves.
If you’re a content creator, your DMs and email inbox are likely full of messages from brands, asking you to become an ambassador for their products. If your goal is to make an income from your platform, these generic messages aren’t going to get you there.
Content creation takes time and skill, and brands should pay you for the engaged audience you’ve created. Value yourself and brands will value you, too. The key to earning an income is to place value on yourself and your content from the very beginning by opening up sponsorship opportunity requests with an expectation of payment. Here’s an example: “Thank you for reaching out to me! Do you have a budget for this campaign?”
To build trust with your audience, be sure to vet partners and only say yes to opportunities that are a fit for your brand. If you’re a beauty blogger, a partnership with an outdoor brand probably won’t receive a lot of interactions— hurting both their brand and yours. Build a reputation as a trusted voice by recommending only products you use yourself, and go above and beyond with delivery.
The Color Queen herself, @colormecourtney, is getting married and she’s teamed up with Shutterfly for a branded sponsorship! She created a color-driven campaign to showcase Shutterfly’s invitations while involving her “Cuties” in her wedding planning process. This is a great example of a win-win partnership!
There’s something so enticing about exclusive content-- as humans, we always want to be the first to know, and part of the “in crowd.” If you’re a photographer, graphic designer, or know your way around Canva, you can create new phone backgrounds, story templates, or sell photography presets on a site like Etsy. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and an engaged social media audience will happily spend a few dollars to utilise and personalise the strategies you used to grow your audience.
Broadway star, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, is known for his roles as Crutchie in Newsies and Jesse in Tuck Everlasting and easily recognized by his teal aesthetic and punny captions on Instagram. He’s created Lightroom Presets that he sells, which are sometimes used to raise funds for worthy causes, like feeding NYC-based hospital workers during COVID-19.
Makers gonna make (£££)
While many content creators are focused on creating entertainment, some creators use social platforms to promote physical products. If you’re an artist, videographer, photographer, baker, or maker, create targeted content designed to drive sales.
Photographers and videographers can license images on sites like 500px and Shutterstock. Artists and makers can sell their products on Etsy or a personal website. And bakers can encourage users with a sweet tooth to slide into their DMs to place an order.
Once you hit 10,000 followers on Instagram, you’ll be eligible for the “swipe up” function. Until then, sign up for a service like linktr.ee to create a custom link list where followers can easily place orders for your products.
The tipping feature
We’re used to leaving a tip when we receive great service at a restaurant, bar, or hotel. But some content creators are utilising the tipping culture to earn income on free content. When you send out a newsletter, write a blog post, or create social media stories, you can point fans to buymeacoffee.com, where followers can choose to “buy you a cup of coffee” in thanks for creating free content. Prefer short-form content? Twitter recently released a Tip Jar feature, where users can support awesome content or great causes.
Did you know that word of mouth advertising is responsible for 13% of consumer sales, which equates to approximately $6 trillion in consumer spending each year? When you position yourself as a trusted voice, your audience listens to your recommendations. With branded sponsorships, you earn an income regardless of the number of sales. However, with affiliate marketing, there is no cap on your earning potential.
Helene Sula of Helene in Between does an incredible job of affiliate marketing. She uses Instagram posts, stories, and giveaways to boost engagement and sales. All of this works in tandem with the brand she’s created-- always telling the truth, and sharing travel, fashion, and beauty tips like your Insta-BFF.
With RevGlue, it’s easy to convert existing links into paid links with the highest commission, embed coupons, create ads, and convert regular images to e-commerce images. The best news? This service is free for content creators and you’ll earn 80% commission on every item sold.
Social media ads
You may be thinking, “wait a second! You told me this was an article on how to MAKE money as a content creator. Paying for social media ads is SPENDING money as a content creator.” And you’re exactly right. But sometimes spending money is a great investment in the future of your brand.
When you target an audience that’s similar to your current audience, you can grow your list of engaged followers, thereby enhancing your potential to make money in the future. Build a strong foundation, create engaging content, and enjoy the monetary benefits.
If you’re an expert in your field, you’ve probably familiar with the question, “Can I buy you a coffee and pick your brain?” And while you’re happy to help a close friend or family member out, your time and expertise is valuable. Don’t give away your secrets for free. They’re worth so much more than a mocha Frappuccino.
The next time you’re asked for a “brain-picking” session, consider responding like this, “While I love catching up with friends over coffee for social visits, I charge an hourly rate for consultation services. I’d love to help you build your business, and a consultation fee gives me the freedom to block my schedule to focus on you and your business. I can send you a link to my calendar with rates if you’d like to set something up.” This script helps educate friends (and strangers) that your time is valuable, affirms your expertise, and weeds out people who were just looking for free advice.
A Lady in London is one of the UK’s top travel blogs, and she offers blog coaching services to help bloggers take their sites to the next level. With over 19 years of experience, she has a lot of insight to offer new bloggers!
If you receive the same five or ten questions on a regular basis, consider selling a skill share class. Invite your fanbase for an exclusive Zoom call with you to ask their questions on your process, learn about how you got started, and maybe even share some sneak peeks into what’s coming up for your business. Sell tickets on a platform like Eventbrite or Facebook to track attendees and minimise your handling of sensitive data.
You’ve worked hard for your expertise. You deserve to benefit from the years spent getting where you are today.
If you’ve ever listened to a podcast or watched a YouTube video, you’re likely familiar with the Patreon platform. Patreon offers content creators the ability to share exclusive content, communication, and products with paid members of their fan club. Offer multiple tiers with perks that escalate based on the money invested.
For just $5, $10, or $20 per month, fans of the Crime Junkie podcast can join their Patreon for early-release, ad-free weekly shows, exclusive episodes, first dibs at merchandise, and are even asked to help pick the topic of the show.
Your community follows you because you share similar interests. Capitalise on those shared interests by selling merchandise created with your niche in mind. MrBeast has an online store where fans and followers can purchase branded gear to support the famous YouTuber in his crazy stunts and philanthropic antics.
Teach a course
Many successful content creators will tell you that their path to success was paved with trial and error and good advice from those who have gone before them. If you’re an expert in your field, you can minimise the painful process for your fanbase as they work on their own brand.
Before launching a course, there are a few things you need to consider:
- What is a fair price-point? Consider your expertise, time spent creating the course, and potential ROI for those who complete it.
- If the course isn’t 100% complete when you begin selling, are you sure you have the time and internet connectivity to complete it?
- What can you share that isn’t already on the internet?
There are so many courses out there right now, but if you can offer a unique perspective, there’s a huge potential for earnings.
In 2018, Google Developer Expert & Data Analytics Instructor Ben Collins made more than $80,000 selling his paid courses on Google Sheets and Google Apps. He is proof that when you’re an expert on a topic, people will pay you to do the trial and error on their behalf.
If you’ve ever been annoyed by a pop-up ad on a website, we get it. But we also bet you’re grateful for free content, aren’t you? Bloggers join ad networks to earn a small amount of income for each view of an advertisement. Even if your traffic is low, consider joining an ad network to start monetising your content right away. As you climb the ranks of the Google SERPs and website traffic increases, you can switch networks to increase your RPM (rate per 1,000 views).
Are you ready?
Are you ready to start earning an income as a content creator? Affiliate marketing is an easy, low-risk way to start. Let RevGlue help you manage your affiliate partnerships, so you can spend time focusing on creating the unique content your followers love!