3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Working to Monetize Your Content

monetizing your contentFor some blogs and online publications, there comes a point where you transition from a hobby to a source of income. On the surface, monetization is easy. There are methods that are simple to implement and to maintain. However, making money from your content can also mean making pennies per day, or making hundreds of dollars per day. To do the latter, refraining from the most common mistakes in this process is key. Here are three pitfalls to avoid when thinking about monetizing your content and putting those ideas into motion:

Only Using One Method of Monetization

When blog owners and website owners make this transition, one of the biggest mistakes in monetization is only focusing on only one way to make money from your content. Most often, the focus ends up strictly on advertising or strictly on affiliate marketing. For example, an emphasis on affiliate marketing means a need to create content that reviews/features products that offer the commission, and not creating content doesn't review or feature products. The problem with this focus is that it can force blogs and online publications to make advertising or affiliate marketing work, sometimes to the detriment of the brand, the content, or even the owner. Having only one method of making money puts so much pressure on having that method succeed. Even though you want it to succeed, having a variety of monetization methods also ensures that you can pick and choose the ones that work best for your brand, and also ensures you're not out of sources in case on fails.

If you need ideas to vary your sources of revenue (and varying your sources of revenue is a good thing), then below are few monetization methods to consider:

  • Affiliate Links
  • Adsense Ads
  • Other Paid Advertisements, such as Display Advertising or Video Advertising
  • Paid Text Links
  • Direct Product Sales (whether your own or someone else’s)
  • Subscriptions

Going Overboard with Any One Method

Yes, banner ads can be a very lucrative way to monetize your blog, but you don't want to have too many banner ads on any one page. People are overloaded as it is on digital advertising, and you certainly don't want to look like this website, which has an average of 21 ad impressions on any one page, and this number doesn't include video ads and contextual text ads. Even if a website like that one has multiple methods of generating revenue, the inundation of banner ads is enough to scare readers away and to make it difficult for your other methods to make any money.

However, this holds true with any of the methods mentioned above. With affiliate links, you don't want to promote every single product in existence. Too many paid links make the text unreadable, while stressing product sales gives the impression that you care more about sales than about your readers. Without readers, your blog or online publication doesn't really exist, and going overboard with any one method will frighten the very thing that you need to have to make money in the first place.

Starting Too Early

If you love blogging, then it's tempting to start monetizing it right away so that it can be your blog can be your full time job, as working from home every day to write sounds fantastic. It is fantastic, but it's also hard work. Therefore, do the hard work first, and then think about monetizing. You need great content, lots of readers, and a community before you can even think about monetization. Without those three things, you don't have much to monetize and you don't have much to offer advertisers, affiliate marketers, or even the audience for direct product sales. A community and great content take time to develop, and when you put revenue into the mix, the blog is no longer fun and it becomes much more than you bargained for when you wanted to stay home and write everyday. Write first. Prove you have something worth selling and monetizing, and then monetize your content.

Monetizing your content can make or break your blog or online publication. Do it wrong, and you risk losing all the work you've done up to this point because priorities changed and maybe changed for the wrong reasons. Do it right, and the hard work can pay off, literally. Avoiding these three pitfalls will ensure that the decision to start making money is a calculated one and is a decision that isn't going to jeopardize the digital brand you've built.

How to Advertise in an Online Magazine

online magazine advertisingAdvertising with an online magazine is certainly different from advertising in a print magazine. You're reaching the audience in a slightly different way, and it's likely that the online magazine is geared toward a narrower audience than the print magazine. Online magazines may have different publishing schedules, or more advertising options if the magazine has both an online and a print presence. Even with these obvious differences, some may still perceive advertising in either form as the same thing. Advertising in an online magazine is not the same as advertising in a print magazine. This article in Industry Leaders gets a few things wrong or muddled and those things need to be set straight so other online magazines don't make these mistakes.

First, the article says that what advertisers need to do is "place your advertisement on articles that either mention your brand or at least relate to the industry and category your product/service falls into." There are two things wrong with this advice. First, the way this advice is phrased makes it seem like the advertise has 100% control of where the ad goes in the magazine. This is not necessarily the case, unless you specifically purchase a spot in the magazine, such as the inside covers. Otherwise, you ad will be placed where it fits. This may not be an article that mentions your brand or your industry. And besides, if you only focused on placing your ad next to industry mentions or company mentions, you wouldn't have a whole lot of places to advertise. Second, with more online magazines focusing on niche topics or niche communities, advertisers ought to be targeting magazines that match the industry or service, instead of just the target market or demographic. SolarPro is a solar industry magazine that does a good job of showcasing industry-relevant advertising. This type of online magazine ensure that those who see the ads are the very people that buy the product.

Second, this article say that the effectiveness of an ad in an online magazine is difficult to measure. If the ad is done right, this is simply not true. An ad in an online magazine ought to include a clickable link to a website or landing page, or a QR code, or both, which are easily measurable in clicks, visits, downloads etc. This is one of the unique advantages to an online magazine advertisement. Since it's being accessed online, it can include these additional ways to engage potential customers. That way, an advertiser isn't just relying on brand awareness or page views as a way to measure ad effectiveness, but actually has hard numbers to determine if the ad was a worthwhile investment, and what could be done to make the ad more effective.

Third, the author says that "online business magazines are not like print magazines where the reader flicks through pages leisurely, looking at content, photos and ads." Umm, that's exactly what readers are doing with online business magazines, or online magazines in general. Just because there aren't necessarily pages to flick doesn't mean that they are not browsing leisurely, or only looking at content that interests them or is what they are looking for at that particular time. There's still a minimum amount of time to get the readers attention, while there is much more to compete with when advertising in an online magazine (not just the other articles and ads, but things like email and social media can easily distract a reader from the magazine all together). Don't be fooled that just because the magazine is online, that it's a lot easier to advertise. On the contrary, as an online magazine has much more competition than a print one.

Overall, there is nothing wrong with advertising in an online magazine, but getting it right is much more than placing the ad in the right spot and crossing your fingers potential customers see it and engage with it. You have to makes sure the ad gives them a reason to engage, and pushes through everything else that is clamoring for the readers attention.

How to Advertise Effectively with an Online Magazine

online advertising Dwhani Shah with Industry Leaders magazine had the right idea when it comes to advertising effectively with an online magazine. However, Shah needed to take things one step further with her suggestions. Her suggestions in building a website for ads to link to is a good one (as should be the case when it comes to any a banner ad or such online), although these ads shouldn't link to brochureware or a plain home page.

That point isn't clarified, but it's what that ad links to that will mean the difference between your ad generating tons of hits or generating tons of leads (which is what you really want, right?). To get the leads, you ads simply shouldn't be taking visitors to a home page, a product page, or something that resembles an annoying pop up. These ads need to be going to landing pages, where visitors are offered something free for their visit, and in return they will provide their information.

By "offering something free for their visit", I mean an offer such as an ebook, a whitepaper, a demo, or an invitation to a webinar. By providing the free offer, you give the visitor a clear cut action of what to do after clicking on your ad. This is much better than taking them to a home or product page, where there isn't a clear cut action and a visitor can too easily click away from the site, or spend all their time browsing without you getting info on who they are, and what they could need from you.

When going with the landing page option, make sure that the ad reflects the offer, or the problem the offer helps solve. If you're having an upcoming webinar on social media marketing, for example, your ad should say something about social media marketing and probably the upcoming webinar. That way, anyone who clicks on your ad might need help with social media marketing, and is probably interested in the webinar. it's much more targeted than an ad for your company or product.

Shah was right on in pointing out that online ads, whether banner ads or in a magazine, ought to be clickable and engaging. It's just that landing pages and free offers are much more clickable and engaging than a home page or a product page. Plus, landing pages and free offers driving leads and give you information on your web visitors and potential customers. Home pages and product pages don't do that. Advertising effectively with an online magazine ought to be measured by the leads you generate, not just the clicks or impressions.