Content, a Tree, and Making Money.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound?

Please don’t “A falling tree through the air creates airwaves that…” me. I’m being metaphorical here. So, if you create a great piece of content, but no one is around to consume it, is it any good? Creating good content does not end when your masterpiece is finished. That’s only the beginning. These four elements are the basic pillars of making money from content. To some of you, this may come as a surprise, but you will need to make money from content, otherwise, there won‘t be anyone around to hear the tree fall.

Content Having said that, you first need to determine what type of content creator you need. There are basically two types; the writer and the content person. The writer usually writes about his own life, experience, love, and so on. Many write beautifully and captivatingly, but “to the drawer” never to be seen again. Some go on to be painters, singers or songwriters, authors, and other artists. These persons create for themselves and also enjoy the feeling of how their creation affects others, but it’s not a must. They can also be hated for their work, and it will still be ok for them. The second type is content persons. They usually create for others and need the feedback. They create something that makes others feel, as opposed to writers who create for themselves, usually regardless of how others feel. So, if your best friend tells you about his little brother that writes great stories, and even you enjoy reading them, it does not mean he can create content that sells. To make money from content, you need content persons. To make money from selling books, artwork, etc., you need writers. A person who has been working as a clown for many years, for example, could be a great content person for children audiences.

Audience A true content person creates for others, so they MUST know their audience. How to tell them a story that will end in an action made by them. The content created does not need to be a long-form type of content. A social media post or an image in the right place is sufficient. So, audience research is a must. Research by checking out the competition, joining in on Facebook groups, digital channels, blogs, etc. Getting the audience right is a lot of the work done right there. If you work hard on your tree but bring a busload of deaf people to the forest, they won’t hear your tree fall. Back to square one.

Distribution Marketing (which is almost a synonym for content professionals), is responsible for getting the right people, you found in your audience research, to the forest so they could listen to the tree falling. “Be where your audience is.” That’s marketing basics 101. You can do it inbound or outbound, that’s using different marketing tactics, but it’s something you must do - How to get the message out there. This “how” is unusual as it includes many other questions. The “how” to reach my audience question, also includes what to use to get my message across? Should I use text? Video? And more questions that fall under the category of the technical side of content. Meaning that in time you should have a system of what works best – or you may have already been handed your company’s holy book of “what works and what doesn’t”. Use it, but never be afraid of trying out new stuff, old stuff, things that never worked before, and weird stuff. People change and so do how they consume content.

Monetization Now that you have your correct audience in the forest and around your tree, you need to stop there and think to yourself ‘if I do this for free, I might feel good about myself now, but I won’t have any money to do it again’. So now it’s time to figure out how to make money out of this audience. If it’s ticket sales or using ads to pay for the audience experience is your decision, but monetization is also a giant world of millions of service providers, ad exchanges, CPM, RPM, CPC’s, and many other abbreviations. Usually, there is someone in the company who is good at that (I come from content, so monetization is not my forte. That’s why I try to team up with someone that monetization IS his forte.

These are the four pillars of making money from content. Use them well and take time to research them all with the same effort. Do not neglect any of these pillars, to make it work they all need to be at the same height. 

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