As the name implies, content marketing accomplishes marketing goals such as attract new customers or engage existing customers to win more business from them and solidify their loyalty. But is that all content marketing can do? What if your organization could monetize your content marketing

Well, you don’t have to wonder. Lego, Red Bull, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and many other companies have matured their content marketing programs to the point they earn revenue on their own. After a lot of hard work, they earned the opportunity to monetize. Let’s walk through a few examples so if you earn a similar opportunity, you can take advantage.

Maximizing ROI from your advertising

The first way to monetize your content is through advertising. A common way to do that is to collect data when customers interact with your content and then use that data to drive your advertising.

As an example, Kraft Foods credits content marketing with delivering four times the return on their investment in advertising compared to advertising alone. According to Kraft’s Julie Fleischer, one key to their success has been approaching content the same way they approach paid advertising. “Relevant content programmed strategically with your advertising makes your advertising work harder for you.”

kraft recipes site

Outside advertising or sponsorship

This means you attract such a large and distinct audience that other companies will pay you for the chance to advertise in your content or sponsor content. The rise of native ads has proven to be quite lucrative for many publishers and advertisers.

If you have ever started to feel sick and Googled your symptoms, chances are you have come across content from Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic. Both of these respected health institutions started offering content to connect with and educate their potential patients. And both clinics have grown large health audiences—Cleveland Clinic alone gets more than six million views each month. This enables them to run advertising on their websites that pays them revenue.

mayo clinic website

E-commerce affiliate programs offer another monetization avenue. Sites with large audiences like The Wirecutter drive traffic to third-party products via Amazon or other retailers, and receive a percentage of the revenue from sales they refer.

Licensing your content

When you license your content, you let other companies use it in exchange for payment. This approach also is known as “syndicated” content.

The energy drink brand Red Bull, for instance, frequently licenses its content about sporting events to other companies. Licensing not only earns you revenue but also often gets your content into new platforms or channels to reach more people. Being credited by other authoritative sources can expose you to audiences who may have never otherwise come across your brand organically.

 

Productizing your content

Typically, you offer premium content for your customers in exchange for a fee. They may buy a book, or pay for a subscription, in order to access this additional content. Here at Content Science Review, our subscribers enjoy access to premium reports, toolkits, case studies, videos, Content Science Academy, and much more.

A simple example is to repackage your content marketing into a book. Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute, for example, assembled and polished their blog posts to form the top-selling book Killing Marketing. I took a similar approach to The Content Advantage. And BuzzFeed’s food brand, Tasty, has branched out into recipe books, calendars, and much more merchandise. 

Books - Killing Marketing and The Content Advantage

A more sophisticated example is all those sassy LEGO movies. The movies earn revenue while also boosting sales of LEGO products. Genius!

Monetization Is Earned, Not Given

Now that you see the exciting possibilities for monetizing your content marketing, let’s turn back to a key point. Making your content marketing program scale to the point you can succeed at monetizing is not easy. For one thing, growing the right audience for your content takes time, with consistent creation, promotion, and delivery of content they value in delightful experiences. That introduces all kinds of operational complexities such as figuring out the right process and investing in the right technology and people. And I’m just scratching the surface.

That’s why our content operations maturity model  identifies innovating and monetizing as reserved for the most mature programs. To gain some quick insight into your organization’s content operations maturity, take this free short assessment. You’ll get a sense of where your organization stands and opportunities to become more mature.

The Author

Colleen Jones is the author of The Content Advantage and founder of Content Science, a content intelligence and strategy firm that has advised or trained hundreds of the world’s leading organizations since 2010. She also is the former head of content at MailChimp, the marketing platform recognized by Inc. as 2017 Company of the Year. A passionate entrepreneur, Colleen has led Content Science to develop the  content intelligence software ContentWRX, publish the online magazine Content Science Review, and offer online certifications through Content Science Academy.

Colleen has earned recognition as an instructor on LinkedIn Learning, one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Content Marketing by a TopRank study, a Content Change Agent by Society of Technical Communication’s Intercom Magazine, and one of the Top 50 Most Influential Content Strategists by multiple organizations.

Follow Colleen on Twitter at @leenjones or on LinkedIn.

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