So, you’ve made the decision… You’re going to take your content creation efforts from a hobby to a business.
- This is exciting – I’m happy for you.
- Brace yourself, making that decision was the easy part… Now comes the strategy.
Monetizing content is not new but it is demanding and requires strategic decisions and foresight. Let’s walk through a very high level overview of the steps you need to take and things I’d really suggest keeping in mind while you’re gearing up to take this endeavour on full time.
Step 1 – Do not quit your day job
You need 1000 followers and 4000 hours of watch time on YouTube before you can even get monetized on the platform… And spoiler alert, getting monetized can be pennies initially.
While this shouldn’t scare you, it should ground you. This game is a long game filled with strategy and learning curves. For most established creators it took time and dedication to their craft to reach a place where leaving their steady 9-5 was possible.
It’s also important to remember this gig comes with costs. Depending on what kind of content you’re looking to create, you may need anything from a new laptop to a ring light, tripod or drone. Having your 9-5 will provide financial security in your initial stages, provide for these needs as well as keep your mental health in check. This means you have more brains space to create, not stress.
Step 2 – Find your Why (or if you already have, niche down hard)
Okay so now that we’ve established that you shouldn’t quit your job let’s look at what you should do… Which is establish your content strategy. How? Read on.
What’s your thing? Think the topic you could talk about all day long or the hobby that gets you out of bed in the morning. This is something you are likely already an “expert” in and have a passion for. Let’s leverage that.
Understanding and playing to your existing strengths is one of the best ways possible to make this dream a reality. This topic will be what you develop your content pillars from and it will guide that content nearly 90% of the time.
When looking to develop monetization strategies and paths, niching down is critical as you will likely be developing very specific product or service offerings to answer very specific concerns your niche has. This is especially true if you have a smaller audience as you can quickly stand out as the source of truth on your specific topic. If you already do create content that’s a bit willy nilly, let’s get more specific.
Step 3 – Make a name for yourself, literally
Now that we’ve determine what topic you’ll be speaking to, we can start to build out things like your company or blog name. I like to do this after the content topic is decided so we can choose a blog or business name that is aligned with the topic. If you’re going to create content on dog training for example, we don’t want your “name” to be @vanessathevegan.
Hot tip: before getting too far down the naming process make sure you can obtain matching social handles and domain name across the board.
If your existing account isn’t optimized this way, consider doing so in an effort to present a more cohesive brand and presence.
Step 4 – Content Types + Distribution Platforms
So far we know what you’ll speak to and who we’d like to be known as. Now we need to determine what kind of content you want to make and where your ideal demographic resides. If you’ve already been making content without considering these next few points, re-examine your go forward strategy once you’ve had a read.
Understanding all the different kinds of content you can make is important, as is the difference between long form and short form content (think YouTube videos or blogs vs reels and grid posts).
Here’s a few examples of different types of long form content you could create:
- Blog posts
- White papers and guides
- Research studies
- Pillar pages, research, and other long-reads (e.g., how-to guides)
- Case studies and success stories
- Ebooks and templates
- Articles (non-blog post)
- Product landing pages
- Podcast episodes
These are great when looking to get ranked on google however, to do so you’ll need to be mindful of SEO optimization. Here’s a quick video on that. It’s critical to keep in mind if you go the long form content route BEFORE you start creating.
If you’re going the short form route (like Instagram or tiktok) you can actually generate significant revenue with very few followers. In fact, micro influencers (people with less than 10K followers) and nano influencers (<1000) can easily secure brand deals if their content provides value and in turn generates high engagement and increased trust from their following. The paths to monetization from these platforms is similar, your delivery method is just slightly different. Read all about monetizing a platform like Instagram. This is where a tool like Creator.co can help you stream line your monetization journey by bringing all the brand Collab opportunities available to you into one dashboard.
So! Once you determine what kind of content you can create with ease (burnout is not it, sustainability is), you need to determine where it is best shared and if your target market resides there. The below graph will help you determine where to locate your target demographic. Once you’ve found them, go forth and master that platform.
Step 4 – Showing up and building rapport with Confidence
So now we know what we’re talking about, under what “alias, to whom, in what form and where… You’re off to the races!
Now… the hard part, showing up strategically and with confidence. Consistency breeds success. It’s literally science. So now you need to set aside your limiting beliefs and trust that what you have to offer IS valuable and that your time is worth compensation. Once you’ve established yourself (doesn’t need to be with a big audience) you can really start down the path of strategic monetization. Think consulting services, online courses (hello passive income) or coaching but we’ll cover that in another post soon as it’s such a crucial step to getting paid to be a content creator.
I could write about this topic all day long but I can assure you that if you start with these few steps and read a few of the these books you’ll be ahead of the game and well on your way to carving out your niche in the creator economy (which is set to hit 100 Billion btw…yeah… like I said I’m excited for you).
We at Creator.co hope that this was helpful advice!