Building revenue using content requires a fair amount of planning to ensure success. A website is always a work in progress, and while maintaining one isn’t necessarily a step-by-step process, being mindful of the steps detailed below will increase the chances of a website eventually earning money based on its content.
Step 1: Develop a content marketing strategy
Resist the temptation to dive right into developing a website. If you don’t have a cohesive plan for marketing the content you want to produce, the content produced may end up not being relevant to the target audience. Worse yet, hastily produced content can come across as boring, and content that focuses too much on a product will do little to gain the trust and loyalty of readers.
An effective content marketing strategy will be measurable and each area best likened to being an essential piece of building a puzzle. Each step inevitably depends on the completion of another. Readers view content as having value, but products and services as being commodities. Promoting content is the better way to grow sales.
Step 2: Create a niche content website
The next step in building revenue using content is to decide on an appropriate niche that will help focus the content produced. A topic that has enough demand in terms of search volume, yet also has relatively less competitors or search results is a good starting point. The Google Adword Keyword Tool is a great starting point, not only for website creation but for each blog post that will eventually populate the site.
Acquiring a custom domain name functions to uphold brand credibility, attain better rank in searches, and increase the likelihood of memorability. While it’s great to have the time and resources to work with a professional web designer, chances are you might end up building your website yourself by using a theme template. Put careful consideration into the user experience of your website and know that even templates take considerable time to effectively customize. Don’t hesitate to get beta feedback before officially launching the site.
The content created for a website is akin to window-dressing, and it needs a strong structure to truly shine. Tend to structure by visualizing the site a pyramid, with the main page being the top. Keep keywords in mind while planning the categories and topic tags for the site, as well as applying search engine optimization tactics (SEO) to each page and post. Link-building strategies, both internally and externally, will also go a long way in assisting in content discoverability.
Step 3: Publish and update content consistently
An integral part of building revenue using content is the blog portion of the website where new content will be published on a regular basis. Done well, this aspect of content marketing will help you gain visibility and establish authority. While publishing posts often will raise search rankings faster, quantity should never come at the sake of quality. Decide on a schedule and stick with it, but make sure to leave room for quick posts on fresh, newsworthy topics. Also, try to engage readers with an informative but conversational writing style and end each post by inviting them to join the discussion by leaving a comment.
Make sure to update pages and posts on a regular basis to tweak SEO or add in more relevant content to outdated topics. Also, check for broken links on a regular basis.
Step 4: Distribute content to drive discoverability and shareability
While blogging will be your primary content channel, don’t forget numerous content format and channels exist to enable those posts to be pushed out into the world. Never underestimate the power of delivering blog posts and newsletters to your e-mail list. These are readers who have signed up for your content, and you can further entice sign-ups by offering a download incentive to new subscribers.
When it comes to which social media content channel to spend the most time promoting content on, the solution is to not try them all if time or staff is limited. Ask what platform your readership is most likely to spend their time on. Take the time to learn about placing ads and sponsoring posts on such sites, as organic post reach on sites like Facebook continues to shrink with each new algorithm tweak.
Step 5: Monetize as the final step in building revenue using content
Only after all the hard work above is put into place will it be time to put more effort into monetization. Not all types of monetizing work well for every website. It’s important to ask the right questions to help decide which form is best.
For sites focusing on selling or reviewing products, affiliate marketing is worth considering. Amazon’s affiliate program is perhaps the most well-known, but countless other programs exist. Keep in mind you will need to sell more low-priced products to earn a decent commission as opposed to being able to sale fewer high-priced items. Other monetization options include banner ads and pay-per-click ads, though they should never be to prevalent or you run the risk of a less satisfying user experience.
With a strong and engaged readership, asking for donations is a possibility. This can be done via sites like Patreon or PayPal’s donate button. It’s also possible to engage in site flipping, which is selling a website to turn a profit. Furthermore, your mailing list can be rented to third parties (but this is generally frowned upon). For the most successful sites, a VIP paid-membership option for aces to exclusive content is also another possibility.
Once so much content is amassed, consider bundling and revising posts into an e-book. When it comes to building revenue using content, the process of finding and keeping new readers never ends and the possibilities are endless.
What struggle or success have you had with various steps in building revenue using content?
About the author:
Sarah Saker is a business coach and freelance writer that specializes in helping SMBs setup processes for customer support and predictable growth. When not writing or coaching, Sarah can be found on her (small but growing!) family farm. Connect with Sarah on about.me/ssaker for coaching or writing help.