Writing and making art has become one of the top side hustles in the digital age, as content creation and dissemination become increasingly decentralised. From advertising and affiliate marketing to selling products and services, there are numerous ways to make money online from your work.
Types of Content you can Create and Sell
There are many types of content that you can create and sell online. Some examples of written content include blog posts, articles, ebooks, and printables.
If you’re an artist, you can sell your art as is, or make merchandise from it. Video and photography are also popular types of content that you can create and sell, including stock footage, video courses, and photo prints.
Additionally, you can create and sell AI-generated content, such as images, videos, or audio, as long as you declare that the content was created by AI and have the appropriate commercial rights.
By offering a variety of content types, you can appeal to a wider audience and increase your chances of making a sale.
We’ll also touch on some of the most popular platforms available for those looking for ways to monetise your content. Here are the different ways you can profit from your online content:
You can place ads on your website and earn money through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising programs like Google AdSense. There are no requirements for using AdSense, and you can use their online calculator to estimate how much you can earn per year based on your region, category, and monthly page views.
For video content, there’s the YouTube Partners Program. You need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and a total of 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months. Your videos also must abide by YouTube’s monetisation policies. According to estimates, you can expect to earn US$3 to US$5 per 1,000 video views. Furthermore, you can offer memberships if you’re part of the Partners Program.
As for music creators on YouTube, there’s Adrev. How Adrev works is that you get a share of advertising money that is earned by showing ads before, or beside YouTube videos. If other channels use your copyrighted music or audio, you earn 55% of the revenue from the video that uses your music without permission or a licence. From that 55%, Adrev takes a further 20%.
Affiliate marketing and Sponsorships
You can earn a commission by promoting products or services from other companies on your website and linking to them. When a visitor clicks on one of your affiliate links and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission. For those new to affiliate marketing, Amazon Associates is a program that earns commission by promoting Amazon products on your website. There are millions of products you can pitch, with new ones being added every day. Another option is CJ Affiliate, which is an affiliate network that connects advertisers with publishers, so you aren’t limited to a company.
With sponsorships, you can work with brands and companies to create sponsored content for your website. This can be in the form of sponsored blog posts, reviews, or social media posts. You can reach out to a company in your field via email that might be interested in sponsorship.
Charging a subscription
This is one of the most popular methods of monetising visual media and writing. You can create premium content and offer it for a fee repeatedly, such as through a subscription service. There are many such platforms with differing methods.
These are a few platforms that allow content creators to receive ongoing financial support from their fans or patrons:
Patreon is a subscription-based service where fans can choose to pay a certain amount of money repeatedly (e.g. per month or per video) to support their favourite creators. Patreon charges a 5% – 12% transaction fee, plus a processing fee of 3.9% + S$0.40 for each pledge over S$4.
Substack and Medium operate on a similar model but are tailored towards newsletters. At Substack, they take 10% and there is an additional credit card fee. A writer on Medium will pay US$2.50 for as long as they remain a paying member, minus the standard 2.9% + US$0.30 in payment processing fees.
Ko-fi is a one-time payment platform where fans can send a small amount of money (e.g. US$3) to creators as a way of showing their appreciation and supporting their work. Ko-fi takes none of your donations and a 5% platform fee for subscription models, and payment processing fees still apply.
Gumroad provides an all-in-one platform where you can sell memberships to your exclusive content, online courses or even physical products. Transaction fees for selling products through Gumroad start at just US$0.30 per transaction, but they can reach up to 9% depending on the number of sales you’ve made.
Selling your content directly
You can create and sell digital products like ebooks, tutorials, courses, brush packs, or printables on your website or a third-party platform like RedBubble, which is an online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted artwork. You can do so with a finished product, or fundraise ahead of production using Kickstarter.
Offer custom services
If you have expertise in a particular area, on top of creating and selling content, you can offer services like consulting, coaching, freelance writing, and commissions to your customers.
Promote your content
You’ll then need to promote your page and encourage your fans to support you by becoming a patron or sending you a Ko-fi. There are a few days to do this:
Share your content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to reach a wider audience. Engagement with your fans regularly and candidly can improve your brand image!
Another way to reach and remind your customers is email marketing. If you have a list of email subscribers, you can send them updates when you publish new content. You may use paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads to promote your content to a targeted audience.
Collaborating with other creators, partnering with influencers, and guest posting is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website.
By using a combination of these tactics, you can effectively reach a wider audience.
Create high-quality content
To attract and retain readers or subscribers, you’ll need to create content that is informative, engaging, and valuable. This involves knowing your audience, be it categorised by age group or their preferred platform. Knowing who your audience is and what they are interested in will help you choose the right monetisation strategies and create content that resonates with them.
Furthermore, keeping up with the type of content that is most suitable and engaging. People no longer want lengthy blog posts but prefer short Tweets or Twitter threads that encapsulate an idea. With the success of TikTok and Instagram Reels, consider snipping up your videos into clips to draw more attention.
Finally, read influential writers and study popular creators in your field to analyse what they’re doing right.
Optimise your website
To maximise your earnings, you’ll need to optimise your website for monetisation. This can include placing ads in strategic locations, optimising your website for search engines, and making it easy for readers to take the desired action (such as clicking on an affiliate link or making a purchase).
For written content, search engine optimisation (SEO) guidelines include using keywords throughout the piece such that it ranks higher on web searches.
Use headings, write shorter paragraphs, use signposting and transitions, and don’t shy away from bolding words for emphasis.
Track your results
Use analytics tools to track your traffic, earnings, and other key metrics. Most tools such as subscription and advertising models will already have some form of built-in analytics tool. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not, and make adjustments as needed. You should also collect and listen to feedback from your current customers.
We hope you have a great idea going forth about what kind of content you can begin creating, and how you can diversify your monetisation streams.