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Creating Content that Monetizes

Last night we were lucky enough to host Affiliate Summit’s monthly San Francisco meetup at our SF headquarters.  Between breaks for wine and cupcakes (thanks to Lisa, the organizer behind the event), Murray Newlands gave a great presentation on content monetization.  While we could have spent an infinite amount of time holed up in our offices discussing the nuances of how to monetize content on your site, Murray did a great job boiling it down to the bare essentials.A few of the key takeaways…“Create content around topics you are interested in.”This should be a no brainer (why would you want to spend your days creating content around something you find dull?), but you’d be surprised at the outset how often people pick a topic to write about only to find that they are exhausted by it within a matter of weeks.  If the author is feeling content fatigue the reader will surely be able to pick up on the feeling.  And the result will most definitely not be an engaged audience and a revenue stream. Also, picking a topic you are interested in generally translates to you know more about it.  Readers want to hear from experts.“Think like a product person.”You need to be a bit of a salesperson when it comes to thinking about your content.  Envision a typical sales funnel (Awareness –> Education –> Engagement –> Action –> Repeat Engagement/Action) and create content that brings people down that funnel (and addresses visitors that may be at different stages in the funnel).An example Murray gave for pieces of content focused around the “awareness” stage in the funnel were how-to guides.  An example of a piece of content focused on the “action” stage in the sales funnel might be a buyers’ guide.“Make space for users to talk about buying and selling products.”Consumers trust product reviews by other consumers more than journalists.  Making space for your “consumers” to offer their own product reviews (in a comments section or forum section on your site) can create additional high quality on your site (at no additional cost to you).  Forums and comments can also enrich a visitor’s experience on your site — giving them access to more than just content, but a community that is focused on a topic of interest to them.Murray also gave a quick run through of the array of options available to monetize content: affiliate programs (manual and automated), Google AdSense, banner ads, paid posts, selling data, creating events, and consulting work — and how a publisher might be able to leverage each.  It was a great talk, and a great opportunity to spend some time thinking about tips we can offer customers thinking about optimizing content!Can’t wait for next time…Anna CunninghamSocial Media Manager / VigLink

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