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Ever wondered how popular bloggers make money? Or how influencers create YouTube videos, podcasts, and social media content and do nothing else?

If you’re wondering how content creators make money, then this post is for you.

There’s a lot that goes behind making money through content creation. If you want to make a consistent income from content creation, then you need to have marketing and negotiation skills. And you need to have a deep connection with your audience.

Let’s dive in and look at the main ways content creators earn a living from their efforts.

10 ways content creators make money

We’ll cover several aspects of how content creators make an income through their work. We’ll look at what they do, the platforms they use, and the opportunities out there in the market.

1. By running ads on blogs

If you have a blog that gets decent traffic then you can run ads on it and monetize your content.

Ads embedded in a blog page. Source: Gardenista

Every time a person visits your website they’ll see an ad. And if they click on it, it’ll take them to an ad page where they may buy something.

Google Ads is a major advertising platform that you should consider using. If you want to run ads on your site, you’ll need to either code it in or work with a monetization plugin.

And you have to have an account with Google Ads or some other advertising business. They often need you to meet certain standards – for example, having a content-filled blog for at least 6 months or getting 1000 visits a month.

2. By joining affiliate programs

Content creators also make money by earning a commission whenever people buy a product they recommend.

They do this by joining affiliate programs. When you join an affiliate program, you get a special link that you can share with your audience. It tracks user behavior – so that when someone clicks on your link and buys a product (even a few weeks later) you get a commission for it.

An example of how content creators make money - by inserting affiliate links in blog posts and social media. Example of Adam Enfroy
Many content creators join affiliate programs and use affiliate links. Source: Adam Enfroy

How much you earn depends on how many people click on your link and the product’s value.

You have to drive a good amount of traffic to your website and build trust to earn a livable income.

3. By selling products or services

Some content creators also sell their own products or services through their platforms.

Some examples of these products and services are:

  • Online courses
  • Gated blog posts
  • Audio and video content
  • Coaching sessions
  • eBooks
  • Checklists, brochures, and other materials
  • Templates for social media content, blog posts, and other material
  • Physical products including jewelry, 3D printed material, or reseller items

There are an unlimited number of things that you can sell. You’ll need a good eCommerce platform, a means to ship things and tools to manage marketing and finances.

4. Subscription platforms

Some content creators put their material behind a paywall and only allow people to see it if they’re subscribed. This might be a monthly or yearly subscription.

This method is common with online courses, gated posts, and other forms of valuable information. The key is to ensure that your content is high quality and worth paying for.

You’ll need a platform to host your content, like Thinkific or Kajabi, and a way to process payments i.e. using payment platforms like Stripe, PayPal, or Google Pay.

5. By creating and moderating communities

Did you know that an engaged and focused community also has value? And that people are willing to pay to join a social group to meet their goals?

Dr. Amy Johnson has a ‘Graduate’ Community for people who did her online course. It’s paid and provides support to members. Source.

This is because you reach your goals faster when you’re part of a community where people support you.

You can ask questions and get answers from experts and members too. You can also get accountability and moral support to stay on track.

It’s also a less expensive way to communicate with a course creator or expert.

So, content creators who manage communities and groups earn money by charging a one-time fee or by setting up a subscription model.

6. By speaking at events

Content creators can also make money by being a keynote speaker or panelist at an event. They use their platform and content to build up their personal brand and become an authority in their industry.

This, in turn, leads to more speaking engagements and opportunities to consult with companies.

7. By becoming a consultant or coach

Another way that content creators make money is by becoming a consultant or coach in their industry.

This is a great option if you’re an expert in your field and you want to share your knowledge with others. It’s also a great way to build up your personal brand and authority.

An example of selling coaching services. Source: content creator Colin Shipp

Consulting and coaching can be done in person or online. But you can scale up and earn more by offering online group coaching services.

8. By featuring products in social media posts

You’ve likely heard about how influencers make good money by featuring products on their channel – it’s a lucrative and creative way to make money. But it isn’t easy.

First, you must build a following, or a community of engaged fans who like your content.

Then, you need to find the right products to feature. The products should be relevant to your niche and audience. You’ll have to partner with brands willing to pay you for featuring their products on your content a few times. Or you get a commission every time someone uses your link to buy something.

You can look for affiliate marketing opportunities and brand partnerships to get money from talking about a product.

Then, link to these brands or products by tagging them on your social media. Pinterest lets you create shoppable pins, and Instagram also helps you tag products on images.

Platforms like Pinterest allow you to tag your brand partner to earn affiliate income. Source.

In this way, content creators make money by building content and then including products and brands in them.

9. By creating newsletters for paid subscribers

If you have information that is so niche and valuable that an audience is willing to pay to read it, then you have a great way to make money.

Some examples of newsletters where people pay to get content from them include:

  • Stratechery
  • Wall Street Journal
  • The Information by Jessica Lessin

And many more.

Subscribers to Stratechery get content that isn’t available to non-members. Source.

You should know that these content creators don’t just work on a newsletter for a few hours and call it a day. They often put weeks of research and time into every email or article. And they provide detailed information on a topic that you can’t get anywhere else.

If people want to read what these content creators have to say, they pay a small subscription fee and get information-rich content in their inboxes.

10. By running a Patreon campaign

Have you ever heard of artists, writers, and other creatives seeking ‘patrons’ to support their work?

This is because art is something that requires hours of labor but without the guarantee of payment. For centuries, artists and ‘content creators’ have relied on wealthy patrons to fund their everyday needs so that they can focus on building works of art.

Even Shakespeare would write elaborate dedications in his plays to wealthy and influential people of his time to get their attention and financial support.

Today, Patreon works in a similar way. Content creators don’t need to rely only on wealthy people to support them. They get funds crowdsourced from anyone anywhere in the world.

Patreon is a membership platform that allows content creators to get paid by their fans for their work. Fans can subscribe to their favorite content creators and then pay them monthly. In return, they get access to exclusive content, early access to content, or even just a behind-the-scenes look at how the creator makes their content.

Artists, YouTubers, and other content creators rely on their supporters’ contribution. Patreon is a platform that enables such financial support.

Patreon is a great way for content creators to make money because it’s a stable form of income. And it allows you to build a closer relationship with your fans.

If you have a large enough following, you can make a full-time income from Patreon.

How much money can you make as a content creator?

The answer to this question depends on multiple factors:

  • The industry or niche you’re in
  • How much ‘influence’ you have i.e. how many followers and how many real people engage with your website
  • How well you market yourself and the tools you use

Most content creators struggle to earn a livable income even if they created helpful videos or blog posts. Going viral and getting a lot of views involves luck, best marketing practices, and tools for curating content, editing content, doing research, and advertising.

However, a small and lucky percentage of people earn in the six figures. And even make millions from ads, product placements, sponsored posts, and other means. They may have started early on a platform or worked extraordinary hours or even had money to help them invest in good tools to grow online.

If you want an in-depth analysis of how much money creators make, you have to read this post by Influencer Marketing Hub. The main points are:

  • There are 50 million online content creators
  • Only 2 million of them consider themselves professional
  • As many as 2 million creators in the ‘small business’ niche make six figures
  • 97.5% of YouTubers don’t make even $12,140 – that’s the poverty line in the US
  • There are new problems – ad revenue is down due to Covid and people use Ad Blockers

There are plenty of other details worth reading about, such as follower statistics, and income per platform. So, read up on the post to asses your competition and what you’re likely to earn.

How do content creators on Instagram make money?

There are a few ways that content creators on Instagram can make money:

  • Sponsored posts: Companies will contact you and ask you to post about their product or service on your account. They will usually give you a photo or video to post, and you will be given guidelines on how to style the post and caption it.
  • Affiliate marketing: You can promote products from other companies on your Instagram account and earn a commission on every sale you generate. To do this, you need to sign up for an affiliate program with a company, and they will give you a unique link to promote their products.
  • Selling products: If you have your products or merchandise, you can sell them on Instagram. This could be anything from a physical product like clothes or jewelry to a digital product like an e-book or course. To sell products on Instagram, you need to set up a shop on your website and link to it in your bio. When people click on the link in your bio, they will be taken to your shop, where they can purchase your products.
  • Paid partnerships: This is where a company pays you to promote their product or service on your account. This could be in the form of a post, story, or even just a mention in your bio. The amount you can charge for a paid partnership will depend on your number of followers.

How do I sell myself as a content creator?

The key is to be authentic and to generate content that provides value. And you need to build a personal brand. This means creating a consistent image and personality that people can associate with you.

Your personal brand should be reflected in everything you do online, from the way you write your bio to the style of your posts. And the color palette you use on your website and social media.

And you need to create content that provides value to your audience.

The best way to do this is to focus on a specific niche and become an expert in that area. This will make you more attractive to companies and brands looking for content creators.

It’s also important to use the right tools to help you market yourself and your content. And to grow your online following.

Some of the best tools for content creators include:

  • Hootsuite: This tool allows you to schedule and publish your content. It also has analytics so you can see how your content is performing.
  • Canva: This is a great tool for creating visuals for your website and social media.
  • Google Analytics: This tool by Google allows you to track your website traffic and see where your visitors are coming from.
  • MailChimp: This email marketing tool allows you to create email newsletters and marketing campaigns.

Focus on your content and building your audience first and this will help you build a strong personal brand that sells itself.

Find Your Best Way to Make Money as a Content Creator

There you have it – 10 ways to make money as a content creator.

Some of these methods will work better for you than others. It all depends on your niche, your audience, and the type of content you create.

The best way to find out is to try out a few of these methods and see which ones work best for you.

And if you want more information on creating a content writing portfolio, check out this helpful resource: How to Create a Content Writing Portfolio and Examples

If I have missed a good way to make money as a content creator? Share in the comments below!

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