Nov 21 · 6 min read
The final step of the B2B content marketing framework: Monetization
We’ve talked about a type of marketing with the purpose to stimulate interest in its products or services, without explicitly promoting a brand. Content marketing. In The content marketing framework we use as a digital tech agency, we’ve covered five of six steps that make up the framework we use to build our online presence, increase brand awareness by establishing ourselves as thought leaders, and ultimately drive sales.
- Find your intersection
- Build the foundation
- Harvesting audience
In this article, the sixth step is added.
Generating revenue through the subscriber base you have built, and applying what you have learned about your target market throughout the process. Simply by providing something they need and are willing to pay for.
A great example is that of Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz. In 2004, he started generating written content about search engine optimization. It took him no more than 5 years to build a following of + 100,000 email subscribers.
That’s when he started to monetize his audience through consulting services. In 2007 Moz launched a service that offered relevant software tools and reports for a subscription fee. By 2009 they went full focus on selling software.
And there are numerous other successful businesses that started with delivering valuable content for free. Then why do a lot of business owners shy away from it?
Many businesses are in the service industry and their product often is basically selling information, and helping customers transform that information into action. Consultancy firms, agencies, courses and training providers. So giving away information for free feels like giving their product away for free. They are afraid that the following scenario might happen:
- We create valuable content that exactly tells a potential customer how to do X.
Then we distribute that content in a way that it’s very easy for the customer to find it and consume it.
- Then the potential customer is going to take all the information and put in into action themselves.
- Our service then becomes obsolete since we’ve given them all the tools and tactics how to do it.
Sounds very logical right? It’s not. Humans don’t work that way. We like to consume information. But using it and taking action is another story. There are many many reasons why someone still wants you to transform all that knowledge into action. They want someone with experience to do it for them, they don’t have time, they think it is to much trouble, they want to have it done ‘right’, or they are simply too lazy.
But after days, weeks, months or years of seeing the content you produce, who do you think they turn to when they need a product or service that is linked to all what you’ve been sharing? That’s right, they will probably knock on YOUR door. You’ve been providing them with free, valuable content. It is the reciprocation rule in action, one of the 6 principles of influence.
But how do you get them from reading the welcome mat to ringing the doorbell?
That’s called monetization.
You’ve come a long way. The content machine is working and has generated an engaged audience. Once people start showing up every day, it’s time to turn them into customers.
The question often arises about when you should start monetizing your products or services. The answer is simple: today.
You have to follow the previous 5 steps to build a long-term content strategy. But you don’t have to go through each of the five steps before you start thinking about revenue. It will take time to find the right monetization model for your business. In the meantime, begin to experiment with different ways to make money from your content asset. You don’t need a million readers of your blog before you can start generating revenue. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in a startup environment or building a content strategy in a large organization, always think about several ways to monetize the asset of content you are consistently creating.
Rob Scallon, a music artist whose core channel is Youtube with 1.4 million subscribers at the moment of writing puts it like this:
I’m always trying to think up new ways to diversify and have more streams of revenue. My band recently had a song licensed for a national TV ad, which was really exciting. I would love to do more licensing. I would love to do merchandise too… there are a whole lot of different revenue streams around my Youtube channel that I do take advantage of and I do get excitement out of.
Obviously, marketers measure the impact of the content strategy by sales, cost (savings), leads, subscribers, customer loyalty, customer lifetime value etc. But there may be another important metric often overlooked. One that we as an agency find very important. It is the unexpected benefit that comes from a content marketing strategy. An invitation to speak at an event, someone sharing your content and in doing so spreading the word about your expertise, or other unanticipated benefits of becoming thought leader in your field. Of course, when you start building your content the main purpose is to drive more sales in the core business. But this strategy will enable other revenue possibilities that you maybe have not thought of. This week we will post a list of ways a content marketing strategy can be leveraged into revenue streams.
We need to go through the process to get there… but when we do, the benefits are powerful.
How we monetize our audience, is by helping people who engage with our content to find out how we can make them successful. In doing so, driving potential clients to our core business which is custom web and app development.
We deploy content for a number of reasons:
- Provide value to our audience through entertaining and informative content
- Become thought leader in our industry
- Because no one else is doing it (thus it is an amazing opportunity)
Then we monetize people who engage with our content by providing relevant information at the right moment so they can make an informed decision whether Story of AMS can help them become successful. This can be done through retargeting ads, landing pages, personal message on Linkedin, Email, provide the possibility to schedule a call or another way to help them become a client. It is a well thought out content marketing strategy in one sentence: give, give, give and then ask in the most gracious way possible.
A content marketing strategy is when executed well, one of the strongest assets you can build. It does not matter if you already sell something or not. In our case, more than 90% of new clients, worth of mouth referrals aside, have interacted in some way with one of our content formats before either approaching us directly or interacting/responding with a sales offer.
We wanted to give you a framework to build a content strategy that will deliver long-term results. Now you have it. It’s time to execute.