At this week’s SF Blog Club, affiliate marketing blogger Murray Newlands hosted an excellent panel on content monetization. Team members from from eBay, Shopping.com, FunCheapSF.com and VigLink joined as panelists:
- Julia Barrett, eBay Partner Network
- Yulia V. Smirnova, SEO Manager, Shopping.com
- Johnny, Funcheap SF
- Steve Arentzoff, VP Marketing, VigLink
I wanted to share just a few of the great ideas that were brought up: together, they provide a good comprehensive view of how to approach content monetization.
I’ve also included a resources section below, with links to some of the plugins and other tools panelists recommended.
Tip 1: Use Your Own Voice
Steve and Johnny both emphasized the importance of creating content that reflects your actual views, and is written in your own voice. Readers will see through content that is disingenuous.
Content that reflects your interests will resonate better with readers, and ultimately earn you more revenue.
Tip 2: Keep Tabs on Trends
While it’s important to create content in your own voice, and around topics that you are knowledgeable and interested in, don’t ignore trends and previous successes and failures.
Johnny provided a great example to illustrate this point. He closely monitors the performance of individual pieces of content and has found that when he creates content around airfare deals they always perform above average. So, he is now extra cognizant of great airfare deals. It’s a win-win: he is creating content around things he loves, but also around topics that monetize well.
Tip 3: Keep the Shopping Decision in Mind
Content that discusses products, services, brands and merchants monetizes better than content that doesn’t. Period.
However, no matter your topic, there is almost always a shopping decision closely tied to it. Julia with eBay brought up the great example of a photographer’s blog. Perhaps they just post photographers they’ve recently taken. No shopping decision there, right?
Not exactly. Even in this scenario the photographer can disclose the lens and camera he or she used for each photograph, and link to where a reader may be able to purchase the item.
This will not only help with monetization, but will ultimately create a richer experience for your readers.
To Julia’s point, there is nothing more bothersome than hitting a webpage where there is something you want to learn more about, but NO way to access that additional info from the page (que the page exit and the Google search).
Tip 4: Encourage User Participation
Encouraging readers to provide their two cents can enhance your monetization efforts. The benefit is two-fold:
- First and foremost, user participation creates a better overall experience on your site. Additional opinions, perspectives and experiences will enrich and augment the information you provide.
- Second, user participation creates additional content (commonly referred to as user-generated content). And, it’s both high quality and low cost.
What this means: if you run a blog, make sure comments are enabled. If you run a regular website, consider adding a forum component where users can interact directly with one another.
Tip 5: Build Relationships
Particularly when it comes to direct relationships with advertisers, it pays to build relationships. This can be in-person or online:
- Attend the industry events most relevant to your niche
- Follow advertisers, bloggers and colleagues you admire on Facebook and Twitter — and build relationships with each within that sphere
- Participate on other sites you like (comments, thread replies, etc.)
- Pay it forward: if you like a particular brand or online merchant write about them. It increases the odds they’ll know who you are when you approach them.
- Headspace (“Controls almost every aspect of your site’s meta-data, including advanced tagging, Analytics, and dozens of plugins.”)
- Yoast (“Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.”)
- InternetRetailer (Target top merchants using Internet Reatiler’s top 500 guide)
Looking forward to next time! It will be our final meetup of 2011 — be on the lookout for an announcement with all the details of this special year-end meetup very soon.
Anna Cunningham | Social Media Manager | VigLink