How to monetize content that’s difficult to monetize?

beechemIf you own a typical website and check your statistics often enough you probably know that you have some pages that continuously get higher traffic compared to everything else. Unfortunately, these pages often fail to deliver in terms of monetization. The most likely cause for thisĀ  lies in the fact that you are offering good information for free. Visitors “consume” this information and return to their daily lives, hopefully experiencing some faint sense of gratitude. That’s it. On occasion, they will click some ads, but advertisers who bid to place ads on your page don’t have to compete very hard. So, you might just get a few cents. Is there any way to remedy this situation? Yes, and you are about to find out how.

Medium is key

You probably heard many times that content is key. If you have well-written relevant content you will enjoy steady traffic, decent income and eventually get your face on the cover of “Rolling Stone”. That’s only partially true. Up until the “Rolling Stone” part or, most likely, even up until the income part. Money does not simply follow content. Medium is where the content meets the money. You must always consider the channels through which your content is delivered. Just like some books make better movies and vice versa, website content can be more profitable when offered through different channels. The same exact piece of content that will be automatically seen as a freebie on a website can become marketable if you explore other ways to deliver it.

Medium adds value (case study)

I have an extensive list of quotations about a particular subject on one of my websites. It is not perfect, but objectively there is no better list out there (just trust me). The pages with those quotes get thousands of hits, but it is difficult to monetize this traffic, because by their very nature quotations are seen as something that is offered and consumed freely. Several weeks ago I put that exact list in a Word document and after some very minor formatting uploaded it to Lulu.com (it’s free). This website prints books on demand and also helps sell and distribute ebooks. Because of the agreements that Lulu.com has made in the past, in only took several days for my ebook to show up on iBooks and Nook. And it sells! It even began to sell before I placed the links on the actual pages.It means that people were searching for this content on channels where you generally have to pay for the information you consume. And they did not even need to get their credit cards out in order to make a purchase, because there are forms of payment already linked to iBooks and Nook accounts.

There is a simple explanation for all of this. People choose to consume information when it is convenient for them and through the most convenient channels. There is no doubt that anyone buying my ebook knows well that the same information exists on the Internet and can be accessed freely. However, a book purchased on an iPhone can be accessed off-line and instantly. Getting an ebook helps avoid sifting through search engine results. It is also searchable, printable and it shows up on every device you own. By making by content available as an ebook I added value to it!

Take-away

If this is not already obvious, you should take an inventory of your popular website assets. Can any of your pages be packaged as ebooks? Are there any other channels through which this content can be delivered at a premium: audio, video, mobile apps? Beat your competition by adding value to your content and cast a wider net to capture visitors and ensuring better streams of revenue for yourself.

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