Episode 659: Monetizing Your Content, with Stephen Woessner
For today’s lesson…let’s go back to how business owners look at marketing, and how if we shift our mindset, we can proactively transform our marketing into a monetization strategy and not just a lead generating activity.
And I will share with you several powerful examples of business owners whose marketing efforts are not only opening up new opportunities with customers – but they are being paid to produce content…they have truly monetized their content.
Sound good? Okay…let’s dive in.
In my opinion, most business owners look at their own marketing through the wrong end of the lens. Meaning…they evaluate the success of their marketing efforts solely through vital metrics like website traffic, email opt-ins, click-through rates, conversion rates, customer acquisition cost, lifetime value of a customer, retention rates, and so forth.
All of these metrics are definitely important for evaluating the health of your sales pipeline and your business development strategy for converting leads into sales.
But there can be more – a lot more as it relates to your marketing’s ability to generate revenue through an effective monetization strategy.
Onward Nation, thanks to the democratization of media channel thanks to social media, email, podcasting, YouTube, and the myriad of other channels, today’s top business owners are now seeing themselves as media companies.
When I interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk back in September of 2013…he and I talked about how every company – every business owner needs to think of themselves as a “media company.”
So, Onward Nation…if you execute properly – and by that I mean create high-quality content, which I will define more clearly here in just a minute – and you share that content across multiple channels – and build an engaged audience across those channels…then you have successfully taken your first steps to become a media company where the content you produce can generate revenue with an effective monetization strategy.
How can the content by itself generate revenue within a monetization strategy?
Because there will be other brands who may also want to get in front of that audience…and are willing to pay for that access.
When that happens…you as the business owner now have the best of both worlds. You have an audience that loves you and what your company does…and you can generate leads and sales to support your core business from your audience. Awesome.
And, you have attracted an audience that other companies will pay you to access and get in front of…and now the content you are creating as part of your marketing monetization strategy also generates revenue.
But in order to be successful in creating a monetization strategy…you first need to produce content that is worthy of a monetization strategy.
Content Monetization Strategy Overview
So what makes content worthy of a monetization strategy? In my opinion, there are two main ingredients to the content monetization strategy:
- That the content you are producing is valuable and helpful to your current audience — and – it is valuable enough that it attracts to new people into your community so your audience grows
- And you are not a one-trick pony. That you are producing quality content, sharing it across multiple channels, and you have created “media properties” because having the properties is what makes your more “sponsorable.”
And becoming sponsorable is something I learned from our incredible guest, Linda Hollander in Episode 383 of Onward Nation. I encourage you to go back to Episode 383 to learn more about her recipe for helping business owners attract annual sponsorships of $10,000 to $100,000 – she shares the recipe in full transparency.
Okay…so let’s dive a bit deeper into each ingredient.
Content Monetization Strategy #1: Type of Content
Here’s ingredient #1…does your content provide helpful, practical, and tactical advice and recommendations that when someone finishes listening, reading, or watching that they can go implement something?
Are they smarter as a result of what you shared?
Can they provide more value to their customers because of the time they invested in your content?
Are they somehow able to move their business onward to that next level?
If yes…then awesome.
What this world doesn’t need is more yacking into a microphone or having a video camera follow you around an airport, drama, and drawing attention to yourself…none of that self-aggrandizing content adds value to your audience.
So…get your plan together.
Maybe it’s a top-rated podcast, a video series on YouTube, maybe you want to write a book, or write long-form articles for LinkedIn or in the media, maybe you have a passion to speak on stage, or host webinars, or a combination of these channels…whatever your passion is…create helpful, valuable content around that topic, and over time, you will build an audience.
And as Dorie Clark shared with me during our encore interview in Episode 628… at the end of the day creating content — whether it’s a book — a podcast — or even a blog — showcases what you know.
Dorie said to me, “Stephen, business owners need to focus on content creation. People always think, ‘Oh, there are so many blogs! There are so many podcasts!’ The truth is, too few people are leveraging the power of content creation because we think about content the wrong way. Content creation is not about how many people view your article. The goal of content creation is to create a piece that shows your credibility and makes it easier for a prospect to say ‘yes’ to working with you.”
When you create a piece of content, Onward Nation, the number of people who see it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether or not you make the next sale — and it’s much more likely that you are able to do that when you can point a prospect to a piece of content that shows off how knowledgeable and credible you are.
And all of that credibility and expertise helps you build an audience, which leads up into the second ingredient in the recipe of creating content that is worthy of monetization.
Here’s Content Monetization Strategy ingredient #2: Multiple channels and properties to become more sponsorable
Okay, Onward Nation – it isn’t enough to have great content. And it isn’t enough to consistently produce great content. Today’s top business owners are consistently creating great content…sharing it across multiple platforms…and then slicing and dicing the content into multiple media properties to increase their “sponsorability.”
Sponsor Asset Example: eBook
For example…let’s say you host your podcast. Awesome. Some additional opportunities to consider would be to take the transcripts from three of your very best interviews with influential thought leaders and use the content to create an eBook with an introductory letter from you on the inside cover.
Now you have an additional asset that your audience will find helpful – and – you have an additional asset a sponsor may want to be part of for a fee. One of our Predictive ROI clients just sold a $12,000 sponsorship of his podcast to one of his vendors who also wanted to get in front of his audience – and – our client sold a $10,400 sponsorship to two other vendors for an eBook.
Our team took 10 of his interviews…created an eBook that distilled the 10 best lessons from the interviews into an actionable plan…and our client sold the sponsorship of the eBook to the two vendors for $5,200 each.
Sponsor Asset Example: Youtube Series
Or, say you teach workshops and you attract attendees from around the country. At your next workshop…record the entire event on video…the actual teaching sessions…the behind the scenes side conversations…the Q&A…the social functions if there is a dinner or reception.
Record all of it.
You then cut up the video and it becomes what you need to launch a video series on YouTube – and then you sell sponsorship of your YouTube channel to one of your vendors.
Sponsor Asset Example: Webinar Series
And you transcribe the audio files from the entire workshop and the content can be transformed into webinar series that is sponsorable…or a book that is sponsorable…or podcast that is sponsorable.
Sponsor Asset Example: Podcast Episode
Or, say you are a software consultant and represent a number of different software vendors. What if you were to host your own podcast and your guest list was comprised of the top prospects for the software companies you represent? You then use your podcast as what I like to call, The Trojan Horse of Sales…because your podcast becomes your “All Access Pass” to your top prospects.
They want to be a guest on your show…and you go to one of your vendors…and sell them the opportunity to underwrite or fund the entire program.
They get the leads…you get the opportunity to create great content and build your audience…and your guests get exposure and the ability to share their thought leadership.
A very solid win-win-win.
Sponsor Asset Example: Convince and Convert
The final example I would like for you to take some time to consider is what Jay Baer, our outstanding guest for Episode 305, has done with his company, Convince and Convert.
Jay is New York Times best selling author, has built a thriving consultancy in Convince and Convert, but they have also created a division of the company entitled Convince and Convert Media.
Because Jay and his team have been able to build a large audience of business owners and marketers, brands who also want to sell to the same audience, now reach out to Jay’s media company to pay for access.
It is an innovative approach. And here is a link to Jay’s media guide as well as the pricing his team charges for the various placements they offer brands.
Monetization Strategy: The Key to Success
The key to success here is to not fall into the trap of thinking that you need to have a large audience to be successful in monetizing your content.
You don’t need a million listeners.
You don’t need 500,000 YouTube subscribers.
What you need is high quality content…shared on a consistent basis…with a growing audience who loves you…across multiple channels. In fact…the more narrow, or the more niche, you go with your audience – the better.
Onward Nation, sometimes going narrow is what gives us the ability to create a nation of true fans faster and with less expense.
Yes, it may take you months to make this transition from marketing as lead gen and a cost center to marketing as both…generating new customers and producing content that is “monetizable” – or it may take several years for you to reach this level of traction.
But they key to remember is that it is possible – that you can begin looking at marketing through the correct end of the lens. So set the fear, the apprehension, the concerns aside.
Yes it’s scary – I get that. But when you start, and when you make mistakes, and when you make adjustments, you will also create momentum.
This is a long-term play – but it can’t be – if you don’t ever start.
So with that said…I want to say thank you. Thank you for being here…thank you taking some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have today and sharing them with me.
Your time and attention are precious to me and I wish you the best of success in 2018.
Please drop me a line at Stephen@predictiveroi.com and let me know what you thought of today’s solocast – thumbs up or thumbs down.