Most people can write. Those that do often blog on the web. But how many make money from content they produce? Not many.
Why not? Because they produce content that is plain or ordinary and can be found in a thousand other places on the web.
So how do you create a content strategy that is profitable? Drive thousands of people to it and wrap ads around it – either your own or someone else’s.
First though you’ll need to produce the content. Follow these 10 rules and you’ll be well in your way.
1) Find your expertise. Everyone is an expert in something. Whether it is raising kids, growing a vegetable garden, fixing things or running a small business. Or maybe you love dogs and are great at raising them. The first secret of good content is identifying your niche and defining it.
2) Find a Profitable Content Niche. Once you know your niche do some research and find out two things a) Is anyone else writing about it b) Are those that read that content buying things. AKA is there a market to sell to for an audience that consumes the content niche. How do you do that? Find three to five web sites that cover what your niche is and look them up on Alexa.com to see how their traffic ranks. A little competition will validate the opportunity. A lot of competition means there’s money to be made but it will be harder to get on top. So now what? Look at #3.
3) Choose a content sub-specialty. If you niche is saturated with content on the web, choose a sub-specialty. There are thousands of travel web sites on the web including whale watching long beach. But how many deal with luxury resorts for couples in the Caribbean? Or bed and breakfasts in Arizona? Become a specialist. People are look for specific content not general content. Give it to them and it will pay off.
4) Your opinion is not worth much. You will never make (much) money with your opinion. Opinions are a dime a dozen and unless you are a nationally recognized editorial writer or columnist, peddling your opinions will not make you much money. Opinions content is great as a value add in a post, but chose to educate and invite th ereader to make up their own mind and then offer your opinion as a primer.
5) Be fresh and original. Write great content that maybe deals with a topic others do but do it in a way no one else has. Writing a blog on accounting may be a hit if you help solve peoples accounting problems with your articles. But being a funny accountant and teaching what might otherwise be dry in an entertaining way will have you stand out. If you are not funny, then write from personal experience. Bear your soul. Few people are vulnerable when they write. if you can’t make them laugh given them an emotional experience that can take away and use for themselves. Don’t like any of that? Write great step by step how to content. How to content does EXTREMELY well on the web. If you teach with your content you’ll always make money.
6) Your headlines stink. It’s probably true. Learn to write great headlines to draw people in. Check out Huffington Post to see how headlines can pull a reader into an an otherwise workaday post. If you wrote a post on how to train your dog. The headline should not be: “How to train your dog” instead write “How to keep your dog out of the garbage” Or “How to train your dog to protect your kids (and scare their bullies)”. Help the reader visualize what they are about to learn by creating a vivid image or result with your headline. A headline is a promise of what’s to come in the article. Would you rather read an article that has the headline that says “How I taught my child to be polite” or “How I taught my son to stop picking his nose in public”?
7) Educate with your content. It takes the average person 2-4 minutes to read a blog post. Ask yourself what they are going to take away from the post that we will find valuable and that is worth their time. If you can’t answer that easily, rethink your topic, angle or approach.
8) Be a resource. If your content don’t produce a definitive answer to what the reader is seeking then provide an overview of the topic and then link to specific resources that you can send them to via links. If they always find what they are looking for in your content then they will come back.
9) Explore and innovate. Write content that takes chances. Write out of the box. Write against popular opinion. Be controversial. Do things no one else is doing. If you are going to stand out with your content you’ll have to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Commit and produce lots of content then see #10.
10) Measure and amplify. Once you have engaged an audience with something you have written look for opportunities to write spin offs. In 2001 I wrote a column called “How to reformat your hard drive and reinstall Windows”. It did 10 times the traffic that my other work produced. So I wrote a series of content on how to wipe your hard drive clean and reinstall Windows XP, Windows Me Windows Vista and so on. Eventually the collection of articles number in the dozens. The content earned me $7,000 in its first year. And eventually the site did $70,000 per year. How did I know that the first post did well? I was watching the stats on my website – every day! Today I do this using Google Analytics. be sure to install it on your web site or blog.