Nowadays, creating digital content does not have to be just a hobby. There are many platforms and avenues that content creators can use to turn it into a money-making side hustle or even a full-time job. As a matter of fact, according to SignalFire, there are more than 2 million professional creators.
Moreover, the demand for online content has grown rapidly. In 2019, the number of YouTube channels that boasted over 1 million subscribers had increased by 65%. What’s more, according to the platform, over 1 billion hours of YouTube content are watched every day.
That’s just video content on YouTube. There are also many other specialist content sites that are equally popular such as Spotify, iTunes and Medium to mention only a few. Whether you are a blogger or vlogger, a podcaster or YouTuber, in this article we explore 14 ways that you can generate money.
14 Ways for Content Creators to Make (More) Money in 2021:
What Are Content Creators?
Content creators create educational and/or entertaining content that addresses the challenges or needs of a specific target audience. From blogs and articles to audio and podcasts, there are many forms that the content can take. There are also many different types of content creators and a wide selection of channels, specialist content sites, and platforms that they can use.
14 Ways Content Creators Can Earn Money
1. Online Teaching
According to Skillshare, their highest paid teachers can generate as much as $100K annually. Not only can you make a pretty penny, but by teaching online via online learning platforms like Udemy, Teachable or Skillshare, you can also create a name as one of the authoritative and influential creators in your field. Moreover, it is a great way to attract more engaged followers. Generally, it is best to stick to a topic that you are skilled at and to keep these online classes short so that the lesson is simple to follow and understand.
If you like the idea of sharing your skills but do not necessarily want to use an online learning platform, you can also provide one-on-one consulting services. While it might take some extra work, it can be very lucrative as you will be paid per hour (and you get to decide what your hourly fee is). You can, for instance, help aspiring content creators to create their own strategies or simply review their portfolio. Whatever the scope of your consulting services, it can offer a needed break from creating content, especially when you are experiencing writer’s block.
3. Selling Exclusive Content
Creating a sense of exclusivity can be a great marketing tactic up your sleeve. One way to do this to offer your followers the chance to sign up for paid memberships. In return for a set monthly subscription, subscribers who signed up for this tier will get access to exclusive content that you have created just for them. From classes to bonus behind-the-scenes content, there are many types of exclusive content that you can offer.
You can, for example, check out a platform like Patreon that allows you to offer exclusive subscriptions for a couple of dollars. One of the perks of going this route is that you do not have to sell-out to popular taste as you get to create content that your target audience loves. Plus, it can also offer you some much-needed stability to help you grow your career as an independent content creator.
Some types of content can also be sold as a subscription. For example, if you are a podcaster, you might want to offer your listeners an ad-free listening experience in exchange for a paid subscription. As mentioned earlier, the benefit of this approach is that you can offer different tiers with the more expensive tiers offering premium content.
5. Selling Art
Do not underestimate your followers’ needs to support your artwork. By creating an online store, you give your followers the chance to show their appreciation for your creations. After all, if your followers did not like your creations, they would not have followed you in the first place.
You can, for example, use Etsy to create a store with your art. Then, to ensure that your followers can easily find your Etsy store, share the link to your store in the profile of your different social media accounts.
6. Selling Merch
Once you have established a substantial number of fans, it can make sense for you to start selling merch. You can, for instance, sell T-shirts, mugs, totes, hoodies, hats and socks with your branding. All these are popular types of merchandise that you can sell via platforms like Bonfire, Printify, or Redbubble.
To help you make money by selling merch, you can, for example, use your merch in your videos. Simply by wearing your branded T-shirt, you can create a buzz around your new merchandise range.
If your biggest following is on Instagram, you can, for example, use Instagram Shopping. These posts look just like your standard posts. The difference is that your followers can tap to view your merch and the prices. Then, when they tap on one of the tags, they will be able to see a product page where they can find out more about the specific item and go to the landing page to make a purchase.
7. Selling Stock Photos
If you do not view yourself as an artist or do not like the idea of your face on a mug, you can always simply stick to selling stock photos. Alternatively, you can also create stock video or even audio content that you can sell.
You can, for instance, become a contributor on a site like Storyblocks that have more than 180,000 active members. One of the perks of using Storyblocks is that the video that you upload remains nonexclusive. This means that you can continue to distribute your videos everywhere you can make money which, ultimately, leaves you in control of your content.
8. Branded Sponsorships
In short, a branded sponsorship is when a business pays you a fixed fee in return for marketing their brand. Not only is it a way to make money, but you can also score some free products.
Though, in order to use branded sponsorships as an avenue to make money, you need to have a substantial following. Also, it might be that you have to promote products that you do not particularly like.
9. Public Appearances
While in-person gatherings might feel like a foreign concept at the moment, do not forget about the value of shows or other types of engagements. In today’s day and age, the most well-known content creators enjoy a celebrity status. By leveraging this status, they can generate money by ticket sales and even selling merch at these events. Even if you do not have a huge following yet, you can still consider speaking as an expert alongside other industry experts or perhaps as a keynote speaker at a function.
10. Content Syndication
In short, content syndication is when you give bigger third-party sites the right to publish your content in exchange for a fee or a byline. Even if you receive only recognition and no financial compensation, it can still end up being indirectly profitable as the third-party site will more often than not include a link to your website which helps to generate traffic.
11. Affiliate Marketing
Content creators with a decent following on TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms can also take advantage of affiliate marketing. This way, you will be able to earn a commission in exchange for recommending products.
If you decide to use affiliate marketing, you will first need to review the affiliate products in your niche (in other words, products that your existing followers will find interesting). Many of the top content creators limit themselves to recommending only the products that they actually use themselves.
If you want to expand the number of products, another approach is to make sure that the products that you will be recommending are at least up to par. While you want to earn money, you do not want to damage your reputation by being associated with low-quality products. Once you have decided on which products you will be fine to recommend, you can either contact the merchant directly or apply to become an affiliate marketer via the appropriate affiliate network.
Unlike when you are selling exclusive content or art, followers who choose to make a donation do not expect a form of return in exchange for their support. That being said, relying on donations can’t be your sole long-term plan. In order to be sustainable, you will need to find a way to generate a recurring stream of income.
13. Direct Advertising
Direct advertising is in many instances content creators’ first port of call. You can, for instance, host clickable ads on your own website. The brand behind the adverts will then pay you for money that they made via click-throughs.
Depending on the type of content that you create, you can also insert advertisements into your YouTube videos. You will then get a payment every time a user views the advertisements in your videos.
While it is relatively straightforward, just be careful of the types of adverts that you run. At the end of the day, you do not want to advertise a product that will harm your rep.
14. Social Media Advertising
While selling exclusive content is a good way to make money, you still need to make sure that people know about your content. This is where social media ads can be useful. While it means that you will have to spend some money, it will help you to attract people who are still unfamiliar with your work and brand.
Wrapping Things Up
While there are actually several ways that content creators can make money, it will all be in vain if the content that they create is not up to par. The team of data nerds at SignalFire believe that 50 million people will join the creator economy soon. So, if you want to stand any chance of turning it into a full-time career, you need to create high-quality, unique content that will stand out. Can you offer a new perspective? Perhaps there is a topic that is not covered in as much detail yet? Whatever the case might be, always do proper research to ensure that what you create is high-quality and that your brand comes across as professional.
Also, it is best to create content for and build a presence on various social media platforms. By exploring multiple channels, you can grow your number of followers which can help you to sell more content and attract sponsorships. Just remember to customize your content so that it is better suited for the specific social media platform and you are all set to build your brand even further.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do content creators do?
Content creators produce educational and/or entertaining content that meets the interests and addresses the pain points of a specific target audience. The content that they create can be used online or offline. They can also work on a number of channels and platforms such as social media, podcasts, YouTube or websites. Some of the most popular types of content that are blog posts, eBooks, YouTube videos, podcasts, how-to guides and infographics.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is a platform that allows you to offer exclusive subscriptions for a couple of dollars. It is a first-class service that can help content creators to grow their brands and earn a predictable revenue stream by monetizing their content. You can opt for levels of membership, each with its own benefits, or you can just keep it simple by offering a custom pledge option. With the latter option, patrons can give what they want without expecting anything in return.
Where can I sell stock video?
You can check out a site like Storyblocks. As it has more than 180,000 active members, you will be able to sell your stock videos to a big audience. One of the big advantages of using Storyblocks to sell your stock video is that the video that you upload will stay nonexclusive. In other words, you can continue to distribute your videos everywhere you can make money. This, ultimately, leaves you in control of your video content.
How can content creators sell merch?
Content creators can sell merch via platforms like Bonfire, Printify, or Redbubble. If your biggest following is on Instagram, you can also, for example, use Instagram Shopping. These posts look just like the standard Instagram posts. The difference is that your followers can tap to view your merch and the prices. Then, when they tap on one of the tags, they will be able to find out more about the specific item and go to the landing page to make a purchase.
Can content creators make money by offering subscriptions?
Yes, offering subscriptions is one of the ways that content creators can make money. You can, for example, offer access to ad-free podcast episodes as a subscription. You can also make money by offering different tiers with the more expensive tiers offering exclusive content like classes and bonus behind-the-scenes content. To do this, you can use a platform like Patreon that allows you to offer exclusive subscriptions for a couple of dollars.
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