How to Monetize Media? The Longest Set of Ideas

27 mins read
digital media monetization

One of the most difficult points for online publications is the question of monetization. After all, creating high-quality content is not cheap.

Successful media outlets must diversify their income to insure themselves against the market situation, which tends to change frequently. Maintaining an editorial staff always comes at a  price, so it is worth considering all available media and blog monetization methods. To rely only on native advertising, although it can generate really good income, may jeopardize your media to risk.

The Best Methods of Digital Media Monetization

*I know you’ve read this many times before, but I have to go over all the standard and common media monetization methods just in case you missed something.

#1 Paid subscription to your content

We used to subscribe to newspapers and wait every Sunday for a new copy. Today, this principle has spread to online media that sell access to part or all of their content. Have you often noticed websites where part of the content is available only to subscribers? This option will work only if you can provide the audience with fresh and interesting materials.

If you have gathered a large audience of readers who are actively interested in the topic of the blog, offer them a paid subscription. This will create a stable and long-term source of income.

For example, the American magazine The Atlantic created The Masthead, a program aimed at the most loyal readers, attracting “thousands” of members to the new club. The Masthead was first tested on 250 members, then opened to subscribers at a price of $120 a year.

People magazine has launched People Perks, a digital program that gives users discounts at 1,000 retailers. The program costs $6 a month or $60 a year.

Example: Smashing Magazine

Example: SitePoint

#2 Affiliate programs or CPA marketing

Today, there are many affiliate programs on various topics that you can join with your media. It all works quite simply. You add a referral link to the product, and the visitor goes to the website of the company with which you signed a partnership agreement and buys a product or service. After such a purchase, you receive a percentage of the sale.

You can sell everything – from hosting to tours of tour operators – depending on the direction of your media.

To maintain the trust of your audience, do not hide your partnerships. In many countries, this is a legal requirement. Consult a lawyer on this matter. Also, keep in mind that the quality of the products you advertise affects the reputation of your blog, so choose your partners carefully.

Read more:

#3 Contextual advertising

Install Google AdSense code on your site so that visitors can see ads that match their interests and earn money by displaying ad units. You can choose the advertising formats (banner, video advertisement, pop-up window) and decide where on the site to place the advertisement.

Your goal is to get as much revenue as possible from contextual advertising, but don’t forget that too many ads scare away visitors and worsen the site’s behavioral factors.

#4 Patreon or any other services for accepting donations and sponsorships

The existence on donations from readers is a very common practice. Especially if you have deployed your media on YouTube.

Patreon is a hub where fans (“patrons”) financially support authors. They also offer them various bonuses: to be the first to see the premiere of the video, to chat in a closed chat, and to influence the choice of topics for content. Cooperation without bonuses is also possible, in such a way patrons simply thank the authors for the content.

The main purpose of the service is to help musicians, video bloggers, writers, journalists, and others earn money from their creativity or find money for the development of projects.

In fact, there are many others fundraising platforms out there, such as Buy Me a Coffee.

You can also start crowdfunding as a temporary solution to the problem.

Сrowdfunding via something like Patreon, which provides a fairly consistent revenue stream to content creators when compared to something like ads. The downside, of course, is that you need to actively create incentives for Patrons to continue to sponsor you, whether that be through exclusive content or anything else your crowd finds interesting.

Dragos Badea, CEO at Yarooms

#5 Sponsored content

If you have a popular content site, then you can earn money by posting paid articles. You can work with advertisers directly or add your publication to the PRNEWS.IO list. Usually, such publications are placed with the mark “on the right of advertising”. But many places are advertising publications under the guise of ordinary content.

Content Marketing Platform

  • 100,000+ media publications;
  • get backlinks to your product;
  • scale work with content distribution.

Read more:

#6 Selling advertising

One of the first options that people turn to is advertising. It’s a simple strategy that offers returns proportional to your total audience, but be careful. Some of your fans won’t appreciate your ad, and there’s always the risk of advertising a poor-quality product that could compromise your reputation.

That’s how A List Apart does it.

#7 Selling your services

As a blogger, you can easily offer services to your audience. You can do content writing (after all, you are a blogger, right?), digital marketing, or other highly specialized services.

  • If you have travel media, sell your travel and itinerary planning advice.
  • If you blog about SEO, sell your SEO services, etc

#8 Create and sell your media

Believe it or not, a reputable website can be sold for around 35-40 times the monthly profit. If you decide to sell your blog, there are several places you can do it. In addition to the usual trading platforms, I suggest you first contact companies or competitors in your niche. These companies know the value of your blog and know how to monetize it to the fullest, so they usually pay more.

This can be done using Flippa or similar services.

#9 Native advertising

Native advertising is an unobtrusive recommendation of any product without direct calls to buy it. Given its specificity, it is positively perceived by users and does not cause rejection.

The easiest way to start earning from native advertising is to register your media on the PRNEWS.IO website as a publisher and start receiving your first orders.

Read more:

#10 Coaching: Make money by teaching people

You can conduct training in real-time, getting paid for the time spent. As you build your authority and share knowledge with your readers, supplement your content with one-on-one coaching sessions.

A prime example of this approach is the Digital Copywriter service from Copyblogger

#11 Create your course

The easiest way to create a course is to write it as a series of PDF documents that your reader buys and studies on their own – much like an e-book, but with exercises and additional resources specifically designed to help the reader learn.

But, of course, there are many other methods and ways to create and sell a course. And that is a topic for a separate article.

Example: the SPI (smart passive income) resource teaches how to earn and sells its courses

Make an online course and sell it. If you’ve put in the time and effort to build your blog into an authority in your field, you can use that credibility to sell out a related webinar, workshop, or online course (promoted via your social media channels, of course) and make some money off of it.. If you’re a well-known financial advisor or own a financial firm, you might, for instance, offer seminars on tax planning and retirement savings.. Or you could be a digital marketer or advertising firm that provides SEO 101 courses (SEO). Although developing a valuable course requires significant effort, it may be repeated with minor modifications, allowing you to maximize your return on investment.

Rene Delgado, Founder & CEO at Shop Indoor Golf

#12 Selling an e-book

The most successful e-books are published by bloggers whose brand is based on experience. You can either release a PDF ebook directly from your site or through a retailer like Amazon with little to no financial investment.

Here’s how we did it at PRNEWS.IO – How to Self-Publish a Free Kindle eBook on Amazon

Sell ebooks to your target audience. Selling ebooks is one of the simplest methods to monetize a blog. If your visitors are already interested in your content, they may be prepared to pay a little fee for a comprehensive how-to guide. This may be a tutorial on how to develop a successful dropshipping business, an original work of fan fiction, or your unique dog training tactics, depending on your specialization.

Consider transforming your best-performing blog entries into a comprehensive and actionable ebook or bundling your most successful emails into a downloadable guide, for instance. Sell your books on Amazon, Podia, and Gumroad in addition to your blog.

MikeHinckley, founderof Growth Equity Interview Guide

#13 Selling a physical book

Writing a physical book is one of the most traditional methods of passive income.

Self-publishing doesn’t require you to create and print books yourself, which is an expensive and risky endeavor. No, there are now print services like KDP or Blurb to sell paperbacks.

But if you want to go the traditional route (and bypass having to market the book yourself), you’ll need to find someone willing to publish your book for you.

If you go this route, it’s definitely one of the more difficult options; it’s not easy to find a literary agent or publisher, let alone create a bestseller that will bring you royalties for years to come.

As with an e-book, writing a physical book is a great way to build credibility with your audience, provide a tangible source of value, and take your brand and media to new heights.

#14 Selling an audiobook

If you have a great idea or knowledge that you want to share but feel that writing is not the best way, then consider recording an audiobook.

There are several different ways to earn passive income with this:

You can self-publish your audiobook and link to it on your own media.

Or you can publish your audiobook through programs like ACX or Findaway Voices and receive royalties.

It will take a lot of time – and possibly money for equipment, marketing, or hiring freelancers – but once your audiobook is created, it will require almost no support.

Just like with books, having an audiobook on your behalf can help you become a thought leader in your field.

#15 Advertising in email newsletters

An obvious, but clearly underused method. With the help of ready-made widgets, you can collect emails from users and send newsletters. Advertisements can be inserted both in specially created newsletters and in any other letters, even in system messages.

Important: Before taking money for your content, show potential readers a few examples of your emails, like The Skimm or SitePoint do:

Email marketing is an essential monetization strategy for your blog because, unlike social media content, you “own” your email list. You can use email marketing to promote affiliate products and sell your own products through CTA buttons and links sprinkled throughout the email. Always be sure to provide value in each email, otherwise, you’ll look like you’re just trying to make a sale without caring about your audience.

Chelsea Clarke, entrepreneur and founder of HerPaperRoute Inc.

#16 Souvenir products

With a large enough fan base, you can make money from souvenir products. Selling interesting products such as t-shirts, hats, or mugs with your branding, can both generate income and provide you with a platform for free advertising in the future.

#17 Printed materials

Printed materials are another digital product that is very easy to start and scale your income.

A printable document is a digital file that people can download and print themselves after purchase.

You can collect checklists, lists, invitations, planners, etc. But before you choose an idea for printing, you should define a need or a trend.

#18 Relationships with brands

In 2023, blog monetization will involve a combination of developing relationships with brands, leveraging affiliate marketing opportunities, and creating unique content that stands out from the competition.

Brands are always looking for interesting content to share with their audience, so collaborating with them can be a great way to monetize your blog. You can work directly with brands relevant to your niche by offering sponsored posts or other services such as product reviews. Alternatively, you can partner with an influencer marketing platform to give your blog more exposure.

#19 Selling physical products

You can sell not only digital but also physical products. To do this, you should expand the store pages on your website.

For example, Toronto-based photographer and YouTuber Peter McKinnon monetize his media through the sale of physical products in the store.

Sweden’s Nyheter24-Gruppen has launched its Urban Gloss line of beauty products, including a night cream and a facial serum. E-commerce has become an evident business for the media holding company, which includes two beauty, fashion, and lifestyle websites. It’s also a high-margin business, according to the CEO.

NPR launched an online store in 2000. In 2002, it launched the Nina Totin-bag. The new hit for NPR is socks.

We joined the sock revolution last year, and our custom socks are quickly gaining momentum

Sopato says

#20 Content factory

Any media has a staff of copywriters. If you manage to set up work and generate content not only for your media but also to order – you will receive additional income.

Here’s how CopyBlogger does it.

#21 Earn from events

If you already have a powerful media resource, then based on it you can easily launch and curate various events, as Smashing Magazine or The New York Times does.

#22 Open your own coffee shop

Yes, this method of monetization is not the most obvious, but it exists. For example, Monocle is writing about everything in the world for those who are interested in culture and international relations beyond national borders. In addition to the online publication, they also have print media, a publishing house, and even their own coffee shop.

#23 Own application

The Skimm is a newsletter started by two journalists from The Washington Post. Their friends didn’t understand the news at all, so the girls started sending them daily e-mails explaining everything that was happening in the world. It turned out so cool that it grew into an app with 4 million followers.

#24 Job Board

The most vivid example of such monetization can be the DOU site, which is both a media for IT people and an excellent place to find a job.

If you write for a narrow target audience, for example, artists, then it is obviously a good idea to post job vacancies for artists on your sites.

#25 Open a museum

The principle is approximately the same as with your own coffee shop.

#26 Excursions

If the topic of your media is history, architecture, or urbanism, then you can confidently open a tour guide agency and monetize your audience and knowledge in this way

#27 Sell solutions

LookAtMedia released two tools on the market that they used in their newsrooms themselves: the Setka Editor product for layout and Setka Workflow for planning the work of the edition.

Hubspot sells CRM and marketer Neil Patel sells Ubersuggest

#28 Sell Spreadsheets

If you’re good at Excel or Google Sheets, you can create and sell various spreadsheets for those who don’t want or can’t make them themselves.

For example, you can create spreadsheets about media budgeting, copywriter time tracking, content distribution, etc., and sell them on sites like Etsy or Sellfy.

If you can put together and sell a spreadsheet that meets people’s needs, it’s an incredibly quick, easy, and risk-free way to start making passive income.

#29 NFT

You’ve probably heard the acronym “NFT,” which is on everyone’s lips lately. But what are NFTs?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens and are unique digital assets backed by smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.

Basically, this is a way to represent ownership of a unique digital object. It’s similar to collecting digital art – but you can also tokenize other things like tweets or video game collectibles.

But let’s talk about how to earn passive income with NFT.

You can earn passive income from NFTs through methods such as royalties, staking, rentals, and more. There are a lot of opportunities here.

Currently, the most popular platform for creating and selling NFTs is called OpenSea. The site does a good job of guiding you through the process, but we’d like to warn you that you have to pay for it.

Although the process of research and preparation for this will take some time, it can be a good option for additional media monetization.

#30 Sell your photos

If you have a photographer on staff who manages photo content for media, selling photos online can be a great source of additional income for you.

Etsy, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images, Alamy, and many other photo banks. With them, you can easily post your photos and passively earn money through royalties.

Risk: You can add hundreds of photos to a platform like Getty Images and none of them will generate significant sales. Just a few photos can generate all your income, so you have to keep adding photos, looking for that needle in the haystack.

#31 YouTube channel

It’s not too late to start a YouTube channel. 74% of US adults use YouTube.

The potential for passive income from a successful YouTube channel is high. Affiliate sales, sponsorships, brand integrations, and advertising revenue can add up to nice sums.

The story of Ali Abdaal is an example of what is possible. Within four years, he earned more from his YouTube channel than he did working as a doctor in the UK.

#32 Sell Notion templates

Notion is a note-taking software platform designed to help members of companies or organizations manage their knowledge for greater efficiency and productivity.

There are already a bunch of templates for Notion, if you add a few of your own for work with editors, copywriters, and proofreaders, you can get additional income.

#33 Journalist tours

An example of monetization of your media can be journalistic tours, where you can go together with experienced colleagues from the media and gain additional experience in reportage.

A striking example of such monetization is the L.A. Times Expeditions program

#34 Journalism assistance and support funds

Quality independent journalism is important. Journalism is a kind of lifestyle. Being a journalist is an extremely responsible job that requires some clear thinking as well as sacrifice for the community. Being a journalist is also a big risk for your own life and the well-being of your family and friends.
Therefore, some media holdings launch funds to support journalists: The Guardian launches a nonprofit to fund its journalism

To Sum Up

Content is a powerful tool. And, if used right, it can help you greatly boost your revenue, even without selling it directly. The key is understanding who your audience is, so you can serve them appropriately. Ensure that you are using content in every way possible to vary your revenue streams and improve your media business overall.

Nastya Zelenovskaya

Content marketing manager at PRNEWS.IO.

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