The global revenue from Digital Media (a.k.a audiovisual media content and applications distributed online) was $117 billion in 2019 and is on trend to more than double to $255 billion by 2025.
On the one hand, we have this exponential growth in digital media, and on the other hand, major TV networks are reporting a 90% decrease in profits due to reduced advertising for the first half of 2020. What this tells us is that now, digital content creators have a greater chance of taking a slice from that multi-billion dollar pie with their content than ever before.
In 2020, advertisements and brand deals are still the main way content creators make money. However, it can be hard to figure out how best to monetise your content, through which channels and what streams work best for your content.
In this post, we break down the most common options for content creators to monetise their content and generate new revenue streams.
Monetise your content with AdSense for YouTube videos
I don’t need to tell you about the importance of sharing content on YouTube - Youtube is the second most popular platform for watching video on TV screens amongst 18 to 34-year-olds, according to research by Hootsuite, the social management and monitoring tool. The first is Netflix but unless your last name is Kardashian you’re probably not at the stage to get a deal with them yet!
The way to monetise your content on YouTube is through the YouTube Partner Program or YPP for short. Through an easy integration with Google’s AdSense tool, you’ll be able to automatically have ads served over your content which can start to generate you revenue.
There are two main criteria to hit before you can do that. First, you need to gain 1,000 subscribers. It doesn’t really matter how long it takes you to get to this number, once you hit that milestone, you’ve reached that requirement to monetise your channel. As well as the 1,000 subs, you also need a combined 4,000 hours of ‘Watch Time’ on your videos over the last 12 months. That’s it. Hit these two milestones and you’ll be on your way to serve ads on your videos.
Earn money using Facebook in-stream ads
Posting your videos to a business page on Facebook works similar to YouTube, and you can start to have ads shown on your videos to generate money. Creators get a share of the revenue from the video ads shown to their viewers.
Viewers must view the entire ad to continue watching a video. Facebook then tries to match the ad being shown to a similar topic as the video or an ad which the viewer would find relevant. Facebook doesn’t have as strict policies as YouTube does regarding monetising your content but do familiarise yourself with their rules for posting content.
Facebook does have eligibility criteria of 10,000 followers and 30,000 1 minute views on videos longer than 3 minutes in the last 60 days, so technically it’s even more restrictive than YouTube, but the revenue tends to be higher because Facebook calculates generated income differently.
Create Facebook and YouTube channels in other languages
Creating new channels and maintaining them to a high standard is difficult and time-consuming; especially if you don’t have a team around you. More so, If you’re producing content in English and posting it all in one channel, then that’s putting all your eggs in one basket.
Traditionally you could reach a new country audience with subtitles, but with a subtitle, a lot of the essence of what you’re saying is lost. Translating your existing content means that you get a quality sounding voice while using your existing content and reaching new audiences.
Traditional methods of translating and dubbing can be quite costly. With improvements in Ai technology now there are services like Papercup that automate this whole process at a fraction of a cost.
Working With Companies as an Influencer & Brand sponsorships
Brands and companies of all sort are investing more and more in influencer marketing. This is replacing spend from their advertising budgets on influencers who’ve already won the loyalty of their audiences and have created a community around that affinity or niche.
Take Gymshark, the now billion-dollar athleisure wear company for example. “What started as sending a number of fitness influencers free Gymshark sportswear to wear and promote the brand in a bid to attract consumers and reach a larger audience across social media, proved to be a highly effective strategy as many of these influencers are now highly recognised ‘Gymshark Ambassadors’. Now, those influencers such as Nikki Blackketter and David Laid, are well-known representatives of the brand.” Amelia Neate reports on a recent blog post published on influencermatchmaker.co.uk.
You can start by establishing your baseline fee by looking at your reach ad the number of views your videos typically get. Then multiplying it by five to fifteen cents (USD) per view, which is around what many brands would pay for views through YouTube ads.
Your type of content, your audience and the level of engagement from your audience are big factors here too.
Use Affiliate links as a steady revenue stream
With affiliate links, you get a share of the sales that you help drive to online businesses.
The most common affiliate programme that you’ll see creators use is the Amazon Affiliates Program. Choosing a trustworthy affiliate partner is very important to make sure you don’t damage your brand if your viewers have a bad experience with the advertiser.
The way you monetise your content here is that you would get a cut from every sale that goes through the affiliate link.
In this video, Cathrin Manning explains the pros and cons of adding affiliate links, how to do it and which affiliates are suited to you to start partnering with.
License your content
If one of your videos happens to go viral that has a large appeal - imagine Grumpy Cat (RIP) - then you can license that video to other networks for a fee.
TV news outlets, online news sites and publications, as well as tabloids and other creators could reach out regarding rights to use your videos if they happen to go viral. You can give your videos an extra push by listing them on a marketplace like Juken Media, where your content will be easier to reach for the right people.
This method of monetisation is quite hard to plan for, so it’s best to continue creating the best content you can and make yourself accessible if someone wants to license your content. Make sure you’re easy enough to reach, either through your YouTube channel, a shared email address you use, your website or a Twitter account.
Creating Premium Content for Subscribers
Premium subscription platforms are becoming more and more popular. For instance, Patreon lets you to create a membership programme for your fans and the wider community. Patrons as they’re called, pay anything from $1 per month and get access to exclusive content and potential perks. You can have multiple levels of membership to allow for different levels of patronage, each having their unique benefits.
Depending on your type of content, there are other marketplaces out there, such as Teachable for educational content and GumRoad for everything else.
Educational Content & Services
Selling your digital content as a course or a teachable content is another excellent way to generate income from your expertise. This could be ‘how to play the guitar’ to ‘how to create viral content on Instagram’.
- E-Books, Apps and Courses — Podia or Gumroad are two great ways to sell digital goods
- Courses — Teachable or Udemy
- Newsletters — Substack is an easy to use tool to create a paid newsletter subscription
Also worth noting a class of content creators that we call online educators. To become an online educator, you must have domain expertise in whatever it is you make content about.
In short, if you’re creating engaging content and are on the road to building a substantial audience and fanbase, then it’s a matter of getting to know that audience and finding the best combination of monetising tactics. For example, if you’re content is highly educational, then you might turn off your audience by having too many sponsored posts. But you might find affiliate links covering the range of equipment you use is a great tool.
Stay true to your craft, get to know your audience and then experiment with the right channels that work for you.