Many webmasters are experimenting with crowd sourcing and citizen journalism as a way to generate quality web content. Sites like eHow, Youtube and WebAnswers are all using financial rewards to encourage user/member content.
So as a user interested in actually making money online, how do you figure out what to contribute to these revenue sharing sites? If you build your site, what do you base it on? The problem for the freelance web content provider is separating the profitable opportunities from the chances to create worthless noise.
Two main approaches to content creation for profit.
1. Create content for upfront payment as a freelancer. :
Often the title and substance are specified for you. The downside is that your content faces possible rejection for not meeting needs or standards of the site. (Of course you can always take your content elsewhere if it is rejected.)
Demand Studios and Textbroker are pushing this model. They have systems that generate suggested titles for writers to pick from. Many sites like oDesk and Elance match up content buyers and sellers on a smaller scale.
2. Create content to earn residual income. :
Usually, the residual income is in the form of direct or indirect advertising revenues or repeat sales of some digital product like a course, ebook or membership site.
There are lots of good resources for the micro level of learning to target keywords and pick niches. However, few talk about the macro level of what makes for a successful niche and what kind of content to focus on. Web content creators need a grand formula to guide their efforts.
I developed this simple framework for profitable web content creation after months of full-time research and a lot of trial and error. I applied my previous business and marketing education to the problem of what constitutes profitable content creation activities vs. wasted time.
Along the way, I had the good fortune to find a short clip of an interview with a Demand Media executive. Demand Media is a very profitable content creation business that includes eHow, LiveStrong and other sites. Also, Demand is the largest content supplier to YouTube. The Demand executive said that the basic concept I’m sharing here was THE basis for Demand Media’s very profitable and growing content based business. I’m building on the concept and putting it in a form that individual writers, video creators, and webmasters can use.
Think of successful, profitable content as forming the three legs of a tripod. I call this concept the Triple ‘A’ Solution because the three legs are Audience, Avenue, and Advertiser.
Without one of the three legs your content is going to fall flat financially, but with all three legs solid, your content will be solid and make lots of money.
My Formula for Content creator: Audience + Avenue + Advertiser = $$$
The audience or customer is where you need to start. Identify who cares about your idea? Who needs the product or information you offer? If no one cares, your creation is pretty worthless.
Now you do not necessarily need a huge audience. A small or niche audience with a very real need or desire is pretty useful.
If you define your audience as the whole world or everyone in China go reevaluate your audience. Everyone is no one because everyone is going to ignore you. Limit the audience to a group with a real felt need and common defining characteristics that separate them from the general population. Write these characteristics down and carefully target your work to meet the felt need within the defining characteristics of your audience.
An effective avenue or channel to reach the audience you are targeting is critical. Your web Avenue could be a website, blog or maybe an RSS feed or email newsletter. There might be a big audience for travel guides but if you place those travel guides on a celebrity gossip site, your target audience will never find what you offer. Ask yourself, where does my audience go for information or products to solve their problems? The answer is where you want your content. It might be on a crowdsourcing site, or it might be a site you create – it all depends on what the most logical avenue is.
By now you have an audience defined and discovered or are prepared to build a good avenue. To monetize your content requires an advertiser of some kind. If there are no advertisers interested in using the avenues you identified to reach the intended audience than it will be impossible to make any money. For example, if you can’t identify high-value keyword than Adsense will be useless. Just as no one buys billboards on a country road, if your audience is too small or hard to reach it will be hard to make money from your content.
The possible exception to identifying a good advertiser is when your content is focused on selling your product. In these cases, you take the place of the advertiser, with the payback for your content being in the form of product sales.
If you follow the Triple ‘A’ Solution, your earnings should increase, and your work should stop falling flat. It looks like a simple formula but far too many people chase around earning nothing because they are missing one of the three tripod legs. Good luck in your content creation quest.