Content development has become one of the best ways of generating supplementary income online. You can get into it with little or no capital and reach your six-figure income goals.
While some people offer free content, gain more followers, and establish their careers online. Some have mastered the best ways of monetizing their skill and reaching their financial goals.
And so can you!
BUILD A PORTFOLIO
This is the most important step to building your reputation, getting noticed, and getting your first paycheck. Content buyers or consumers want tangible proof that you are as good as you say you are and will judge you based on your work, not words. So, start working on your online portfolio and make sure it stands out from the crowd.
5 steps to building a standout portfolio.
- Decide on your niche.
Find out what interests you and decide on your niche. Answer three questions; what problems do you like to solve? What information do you want to share with your audience? What type of research do you enjoy doing? Once you have come up with the perfect subject you want to focus on, start creating.
- Create samples.
If you are a writer, for instance, come up with a collection of all your writings. Write three 800-word articles, two 1500-word articles, and one 3000-4000-word article. This will be more than enough to prove to future clients that you are worth your salt. Produce well-written and well-researched writings. Find out the best industry practices and apply them to your work. Take your time when formatting and structuring your content and remember, you will be judged by how well you deliver.
If you specialize in video content, invest in a good camera, or polish your editing skills to produce high-quality videos. You can create 4 or so samples and add them to your portfolio to attract potential customers.
- Pick the right platform.
Select one that gives you the flexibility you desire and meets your goals. There are several portfolio websites dedicated to helping you showcase your work. For example, Contently. Sign up for free, upload your portfolio, follow the guidelines, and get hired. Using this platform helps you to market to big companies and increases your chances of getting hired.
You can also create a portfolio website for free using WordPress. Gain access to countless templates and plugins and launch your site fast and easy. Other platforms you can look into include Weebly, Squarespace, and Behance.
- Upload your work.
Upload samples of your work to your chosen builder or platform or add previous work from satisfied clients and ask them to leave testimonials on your site or blog. Remember to select your best work. The kind that proves your talent or expertise.
Decide whether or not you want to add images to your text or use plain text on your articles. Videos only or video plus text on your videos. Use whichever method you prefer. Present your work in an attractive, engaging, and easy to follow manner.
- Optimize for SEO.
Ensure your site ranks high on search engines by optimizing it for SEO. Learn, adapt, and apply the best practices. Take note of meta titles, meta descriptions, keywords, etc. When you increase traffic to your site, make sure users can easily navigate through it and have the best overall experience.
Some important tips to keep in mind when designing your site include, using a simple easy-to-follow structure, incorporating videos as well as images, including the ‘Sample work’ or ‘Portfolio’ menu item, and a call-to-action button on the homepage. This makes it easier for the user to simply navigate to what he or she is looking for.
Once you have everything set up, market yourself well. Having a portfolio site is just the beginning of the journey. If no one knows about you or your services, you won’t accomplish much. Use your existing social media accounts to advertise your work. Post to your existing followers, friends, or connections on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
Go the extra mile. Create a Facebook page that’s solely dedicated to getting the word out to the world. Pick the right name for your page. You can use your real name or something catchy that represents your work. For instance, ‘The Content Guru’ and add a good description. Link your Facebook page to your site and vice versa. Add your website URL on all social platforms to boost traffic and find more work.
Your marketing skills or efforts will determine how many people you attract, how much money you make, and how well you expand your business. Hence, put as much effort into it as you do into the development process.
Join freelancing sites.
Take it a step further and join freelancing sites. They are an excellent way of building your client base, promoting to the right people, and getting hired. Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, FlexJobs, and PeoplePerHour are some of the best platforms to advertise on.
Do extensive research on three or so sites. Run a comparison check. Find out the pros and cons of each site and keep an eye out for the most important details. Such as the payment method and exams. Most sites require that you take an exam but you can still open an account without doing so.
Depending on which platform you go with, you either take free tests or paid ones. Paid exams normally start from $10 and are worth it. They play a major role in helping you build your reputation and make it easier for clients to make informed decisions when going through your profile or deciding on the right freelancer to go with.
Upon selecting your preferred freelancing site, go ahead and open an account. It is quite easy and only takes a few minutes. If you are using Freelancer, go to ‘I want to work’ on your top right corner, fill in the required details, and join.
After successfully opening your account, log in and customize your settings. Edit your profile, add your skills, decide on your rates, list some of the work you’ve done, add a link to your portfolio site, and start bidding for gigs.
Remember to be honest about your capabilities. Don’t oversell yourself or exaggerate your skills in the name of getting selected for a job. Honesty builds trust and is the key to building long-term relationships.
Don’t overcharge or undercharge when deciding on your hourly rates. As someone who is just starting, keep a few things in mind. For instance, you are still trying to beef up your portfolio and prove yourself. So, avoid overcharging.
Be careful not to undercharge as well as this can lead to too much work, too many frustrations, low-quality content, and an awful experience.
To get an idea of how other freelancers approach this area, search for ‘Content developers’ on your chosen platform and go through their profiles. You can do the same and increase your rates as you gain more experience, grow your profile, and attract more people.
If you follow community rules, respond to clients on-time, and offer exceptional services, you will be surprised how much money you can make.
Do it right and reach your financial goals.
OPEN A YOUTUBE CHANNEL
This is a great way to monetize your skill and interactively share your content. Create educational videos, DIY videos, funny videos, and so on. The list is endless. Just go with what interests you the most.
You can earn up to $50 000 or more per year if you follow the community guidelines, offer valuable content, and get enough subscribers.
The more subscribers you have the higher your chances of increasing your earnings. So, make it your top priority.
5 ways to get more YouTube subscribers.
Specializing or finding a niche and sticking to it is the most effective way of growing your audience. If reviewing products is your specialty make sure your choice of keywords or video title is centered on that. For instance, one video can be titled ‘8 things you didn’t know about Apple’s M1 MacBook Pro’ and the next one, ‘5 reasons why you need the Acer Predator Helios 300 for the ultimate gaming experience.’
Your subscribers know that your channel is dedicated to helping them quickly assess new products on the market without spending hours browsing the internet. You will also enable them to make smart decisions and convince them to recommend your channel to their associates.
- Cater to a specific audience.
Who is your audience? Is it college students, startups, freelancers, photographers, or bloggers? Know your audience and cater to their needs. Providing for a specific audience will allow you to quickly grow your channel because you know where and how to find them. You know the kind of information they want, figure out trending topics, and give them precisely what they want.
- Engage with your subscribers.
Uploading videos and offering quality content isn’t enough. You have to go the extra mile. Show your audience how much they are valued by interacting with them. Ask them to leave comments or questions after each video and make sure you respond. Hit ‘Like’ when you get a compliment.
Remember to thank your viewers for watching and ask them to subscribe at the end of your videos.
- Promote your channel on social media.
Use your existing accounts to promote your channel. Talk about your new venture, the purpose of your channel, what your followers will benefit from, and the information you are sharing. Don’t forget to ask for subscriptions.
- Mention your upcoming video.
Keep your audience engaged and grow your numbers by talking about a few key things that your next video will cover. For instance, ‘On my next video, I will share 4 important resources that will take your freelancing career to the next level. You don’t want to miss it.’
Remember to always deliver what you promise. That is how you build loyalty.
Monetize your content.
Grow your subscribers, increase your watch hours, join the YouTube Partner Program, and start earning. You need more than 1 000 subscribers and 4 000 valid watch hours in the last year.
You can also add affiliate links to your channel, advertise third-party software, use sponsorships, promote products, sell merchandise to your audience, or offer tutorials, and make money.
Become an influencer or grow your audience by developing your brand, offering quality content, posting regularly, delivering on your promises, interacting with your followers, using proper hashtags, and forming relationships with other content creators.
Once you build your following, you can start making money.
● Have an online store.
Sell your existing products on Instagram. You can build your own Shopify store or invest in an e-commerce website and market your product. If you already have a decent number of followers, you can increase your income. Post promotional photos and videos and keep your audience engaged.
You can also integrate your site or store with your current Instagram account. This will bring extra convenience to your followers and enable them to purchase your product with ease. Meaning they won’t have to follow an external link to make a purchase. They will instead, buy directly from your Instagram images and videos.
Get approved for Instagram shopping by opening a business account or converting your existing one into a business account. Connect your Facebook business page or Shopify store, submit your account for verification and wait to be approved.
After successfully signing up, enable the Instagram shopping feature. Go to ‘Settings’ on your profile, then ‘Business’, then ‘Shopping.’ Click on ‘Continue’, follow the prompts, and click on ‘Done.’ That’s it! Your followers can start buying your products directly from your account.
● Use sponsored posts.
After establishing your reputation online and gaining lots of followers, you can use sponsored posts to grow your earnings. Partner up with companies or brands and advertise their products to your audience. Advertise through images or videos, add a link, and promote. You can review the product or mention the key things that your audience will benefit from it. You get paid for every purchase made.
The most important thing to remember when partnering up with brands is to choose a product that is in line with your niche. Don’t go off-topic and be honest. Mention the pros and cons where necessary. Don’t be biased. Talk about the best features as well as one or two drawbacks where applicable and only promote products that you have experience with or ones you like.
● Become an affiliate.
You can also add affiliate links or promo codes to your posts. The best part is that you don’t need to have 4 000+ followers to make some cash. You can start advertising to 1 000 followers and get a commission for every completed purchase.
Many brands have affiliate programs you can join. For example, Amazon Associates and ClickBank. Work with ones that best suit your needs and meet your expectations.
● Sell your images.
You can take, edit, upload, and sell high-quality images to your audience. Make sure it’s something that will interest your followers. The most effective way of doing this is by grouping your photos into two categories. Free and Premium. Free images can be accessed, downloaded, and re-used by anyone. Premium ones can only be used by paying clients. They must stand out and be worth the money.
Watermark them to ensure no one downloads or uses them as they please. Add prices to sample pictures and only make the original or final image available to the buyer after receiving payment.
CREATE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
A content marketing strategy ensures you continue to expand your audience and grow your sales. It guarantees consistency when it comes to delivering relevant and quality content to your subscribers or followers. So, come up with one, stick with it, and make necessary adjustments where needed.
5 steps to an effective content marketing strategy.
- Have a goal.
Have short-term goals and long-term ones. Know what you are aiming for at the early stages as well as what you intend to achieve in the long run. For example, your main goal is to turn your content into cash but your short-term goal is to get more subscribers if you just started a YouTube channel. If you recently built an online store, your short-term goal is to raise brand awareness and increase traffic to your site, and so on.
So, define your goal and move on to the next step.
- Offer unique value.
What sort of value are you offering your audience? What sets you apart from the competition? Addressing both questions will help you with your marketing plan.
Understand your audience, know your competitors, and offer unique value. Figure out your followers’ pressing needs or priorities and provide what they are looking for. Offer them something that the competition isn’t or a massive discount on premium products that your competitor isn’t willing to give away.
- Be consistent.
Be consistent and relevant. Avoid covering two or more completely different topics on your YouTube channel or across your social media as well as business accounts. Consistency helps you to retain your audience and expand your influence.
Create interesting, valuable, wide-ranging but relevant content, if you want to diversify.
- Ask for feedback.
Find out how useful or helpful your content is from consumers. They are your best critics. Ask them to leave comments and highlight areas that need improvement. Consider every response and be willing to make necessary changes where needed.
If half your subscribers aren’t pleased with the inconsistency of your uploads, for example, address the issue. Work out how often you are going to create and share your content and be true to your schedule. If you are failing to stick to your schedule, consider outsourcing your work. You can delegate some of your work to certain individuals. Build a team of content creators, train them, and deliver as expected.
- Use the right tools.
Use top content marketing tools such as SEMRush, Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator, Canva, Trello, Mailchimp, HootSuite, and BuzzSumo.
Generate blog post ideas with Hubspot’s blog ideas generator for the entire year if you are a blogger.
Save time and manage your content efficiently across all social media platforms with HootSuite.
Improve your search rankings, research your competition, discover new ways of monetizing your site, and succeed with your marketing strategy with SERMRush. You can either create a free account or a premium one. A free plan includes some of the important tools to help you meet your goals. However, upgrading to a paid plan will give you full access to all its powerful features. You will also meet your goals faster and start monetizing in no time.