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Photo By: Domenico Loia
Now that we’ve covered many of the more traditional categories of income production, I will dive into the third category that has gained a great deal of attention in today’s online information age.
Category #3 - Brand-Dependent Informational Content Generation
This is essentially the idea of building a brand from providing informational content and monetizing the traffic that is drawn to this content (e.g., a blog, a YouTube channel, Podcast). This is the first category where the hours worked-income earned ratio can swing wildly in either direction.
What do I mean?
For example, as most successful bloggers and YouTube content producers would tell you, there is simply a great deal of time spent developing your brand and producing content before your platform gains enough traction to provide opportunities to monetize (if it ever does). As I pointed out in a previous post, What It Takes To Have A Successful Website?, my sample size (albeit very small) illustrates that each successful blog website has a tenure of at least seven years though I could not find the statistical information describing when their website really began to “take off” in traffic.
Even in the case of most popular YouTubers, it may take a few years before your channel draws enough views to actually earn a significant income. In the case of Graham Stephan, who claims to earn around ~$100k/month from YouTube, he created his channel almost three years ago and now (2019) has almost 1 million subscribers.
But is success simply a product of time and consistent production? Of course not.
Your content must first be valuable to a size-able demographic. And even then, most of these content producers network in similar circles, allowing each other to guest star/blog in some capacity on their respective platforms to draw additional attention and share a common audience. They must be able to market their platforms on social media and within communities relevant to their platforms while maintaining a sense of integrity within those communities (i.e., “don’t be a spammy ‘look at my blog’ guy”).
I would also argue that many of these successful cases had what I would call a “watershed moment”, some piece of content (a post, video, or podcast interview) that drew an overwhelming amount of attention and thus really kickstarted their popularity and differentiated them from the multitude of other content providers out there (e.g., ‘How I became a millionaire before 30 with real estate.’, ‘How I created a passive income of $200k/year.“)
This is where I revisit what I mentioned earlier about the hours worked-income earned ratio swinging wildly in either direction. Starting out, unless you have some pre-existing brand or reputation that naturally draws traffic, you may work many, many, MANY hours without seeing any sort of financial compensation and it may stay that way indefinitely. However, if you do see similar success to the cases I have mentioned, this ratio will gradually tilt much more in your favor (i.e., $100k/month for simply 3 videos a week?).
And exactly how do you monetize your traffic? Mostly advertisements, affiliate products, merchandise, and placing some of your higher quality information products behind a paywall (online courses, eBooks), also consultation services and speaking engagements are sometimes included. The barrier to entry to this strategy is incredibly low and as a result it has gotten more and more difficult to differentiate yourself from the multitude on other content producers unless you manage to corner a viable niche that is just starting to draw considerable attention. Good luck.
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