The 5 "R's" of Monetizing Your Expertise
So, you have an area of expertise and content that supports it…something people would be interested in paying for? Somewhere along the line you may have thought about ways to turn this into a revenue model. With current pay-for-access platforms, doing so has never been easier. However, turning your expertise into revenue takes more than setting up a site on the right platform. It requires constant effort and cultivation on your part. Most of all, it takes the 5 “R’s”: Research, Relevancy, Relating, Reacting and Reaching out.
Do Your Research
Knowing your market is paramount in any business endeavor. You may have a “real life” business that could translate to success online or you may be starting from scratch. Whatever the case, it’s important to understand what your potential clients or followers are looking for. To start, find the right platform. Look for an option that provides easy publishing options, community sharing, personalized access and solid administrative tools. You want something simple yet effective. Currently, Social HubSite provides one of the most user-friendly tools available. Finding the right platform is a great step, but it doesn’t stop there. Understand the trends of your market, what they’re looking for and what’s missing from what’s currently available…find a way to fill that void. Doing the right research up front and your journey toward a successful pay-for-access site or pay-for-access blog will be smooth.
Research has shown that in every phase of a business, one of the keys to long-term success is staying relevant. This is just as important when it comes to online businesses. Online distractions not only exist, they work. Your customers are distracted with every click. What does that mean for you? It means that if you’re not creating content that relates to their life and provides information they cannot get anywhere else, they’ll leave. They’ll find it somewhere else, maybe even for free. This means you must stay current. Post content frequently; provide updates when content becomes dated. If customers are paying for content, they expect to receive it regularly. Utilize e-newsletter tools that send content from your site to your followers’ inboxes (this provides convenience that they might not receive elsewhere). Make your blog a daily information hub. Paying customers will not be put off by “too much information,” but they’ll surely be lost with a lack thereof. Relevant sites lead to content, regular clients.
Relate and React
Posting content is not enough. If you want to earn revenue from your site, you must create a sense of community. How does this happen? Through proper relating and reacting tactics. Find a way to not only relate to your customers, but to help them relate to each other. Ask questions, encourage online discussions and online community building (friend requesting, etc). Use each blog post as an opportunity to learn about your members and to find ways to relate to them. Host events (even if they’re webinars), switch up the posting medium (use video blogging and sharing tools instead of text, encourage your clients to do the same), host contests. Whatever you do, remember to shake things up from time to time. Solid relationships lead to solid communities. Reacting to your clients (professionally, of course) is just as important as relating to your clients. Clients are not only paying for access to your content, they’re paying for access to you! Don’t leave questions and comments hanging if a response is required. Make time to react to your paying followers and clients. This strengthens your site and gives a strong voice to the content you post.
To remain successful, growth is required. This means additional effort on your part, especially in the beginning. Reaching out can take a variety of forms.
Sometimes it takes a personal effort to be successful. Reach out to your contact list, use social media sites, especially if you already have a following. Spread the news about your site and encourage visitors to give it a try. Be your own evangelist and create a buzz. Whatever it takes.
As soon as you have a single paying contact, your clients can help you grow. If they’re happy customers, they’ll be happy to share. But, don’t be shy. Ask your clients to spread the word; they can open up a whole new realm of potential clients.
Create a strong sales page. Incorporate popular search terms (use Google’s keyword tool as a starting point) when writing your front page. Outline exactly what information your site provides so customers know what to expect. Eventually your growth model may become almost exclusively organic as your online community grows. From time to time, reevaluate your strategies, examine your community, look for strengths; avoid weaknesses. Most importantly, keep your information relevant and useful. But, remember: it is possible to monetize your expertise online. A successful online revenue model is never once and done.
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There is nothing in today’s world of modern technology that we can’t learn from over 10,000 years of civilization. History has taught us the power of uniting a purpose-drive community, small or large. Communities save lives, bring cures to diseases, help others in need and so much more. This is why I get out of bed everyday. My purpose in life is to help organizations create a culture of ...