Cashing In On Content Creation

the bookish brand with rachel werner

The resurgence of two questions, “What exactly do you do?” and “You make money from that?” has been happening in my life A LOT lately. This is because the term ‘influencer’ does not sufficiently encapsulate all the unseen labor behind my carefully curated presence on social media. 

However, the moniker ‘content creator’ does accurately describe the majority of my professional journey for the past decade. On any given day, no matter the topic or format, I am creating: articles, books, ‘zines, or photography. What makes it content and not just art? Because it’s monetized in some capacity—with that being a part of the intent of my creative process from the outset.

Of course, this statement is quite subjective since it is rooted in my opinion. I am hyper-aware of the business side of being an artist. Overall, this awareness has fueled my ability to pivot and continues to ensure that I am earning a profit from my professional endeavors, rather than just scraping by. The amount of money a writer makes should never be the sole metric of success. However, once income becomes a consistent determining factor of how—and into what—creative energy is channeled, your writing will frequently have a ‘dollar amount’ associated with it.

It is advantageous to be aware that any content you consume or produce might have a price tag. A cost that if you do not determine, someone else will. This is why, for many writers today, the most challenging part of building a lucrative freelance career is narrowing their scope of practice. Ultimately, it's about deciding whether your skills are better suited for selling attention or products. Many creators do both, although most tend to earn the bulk of their revenue primarily through one or the other. 

For example, aside from my book deals, my writing generates a steady income via the content I create for other entities to utilize on their digital platforms and/or in print publications. For one client, this means monthly recipe development and short video demos; for another, it is wellness-related articles; and for a third, I do sporadic book reviews throughout the year. 

If you’re struggling to figure out how to pursue paid content creation opportunities, keep in mind:

  • Social media content is almost always transient. The amount of time you have to make a single post profitable is fleeting and finite. Whereas by comparison, content like blogs, ‘how-to’ clips and podcasts have the capacity to be evergreen. This means that as long as the hosting websites remain active, this content can continue attracting new customers, clients, or readers for years, or even decades—especially if you cultivate a dedicated audience on a platform or become known as an expert on specific topics.
  • Some writers have transitioned their blogs and/or e-newsletters to subscription-based access. Substack and ConvertKit are two host sites that offer this feature, along with free resources on expanding online revenue potential.
  • Digital promotion may include tutorials, reviews, profiles, interviews, e-newsletters, native social media posts, and collabs—the current catchall term for sponsored or paid partnerships between an influencer and a brand involving payment in cash, products, or services. If you're aiming for more collaborations, curate your personal platforms with content that meshes well with the vibe, purpose and customer base of the businesses you would like to work with. Pitching yourself, say, as a travel content creator would be difficult without any previously published pieces or social media posts related to tourism, hotels or destination getaways currently searchable online.
  • If you’re serious about trying to monetize your own digital platforms or helping clients do so with theirs, make sure you have a solid understanding of digital marketing priorities and trends. Affiliate marketing, conversion rate, user-generated content are examples of basic concepts it is essential to be familiar with. Same goes for B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business).
  • Courses and podcasts are two kinds of content that can involve a substantial amount of time and cash investment upfront. However, the long-term returns can be substantial with a sizable audience and regular advertisers.
  • Video, alt text and infographics increase accessibility. One of the most effective ways to raise the value of the content you create is to ensure it is usable and informative to people of all abilities. 

Want more ways to leverage your artsy talents to rake in more coin? Revisit these The Bookish Brand blogs for a few extra tips:

  1. “4 Ways to Diversify Your Income as a Writer”
  2. “Boost Your Writerly Biz in 2023”
  3. “Blogging Your Way to More Bucks”