Working with a lot of online marketers and influencers, there's a one common theme that I continue to notice: many marketers divulge in publishing content in a variety of ways, from blog posts to free reports to even using private label rights content, but they don’t actually ‘sell’ anything.
By selling, I mean charging users to access/purchase certain portions of content they have published.
Now you could say that they're are benefiting from other avenues like ad revenue and affiliating, so there’s no need to really move into other markets.
And they may also be apprehensive to start selling similar content to what they are already producing, for free, for their audience.
Yet methods like ads and affiliating, whilst proven to be reliable money makers, are not fully maximizing the turnover potential of a business. These days, people are focussed on “monetizing” but not actually “selling”.
And in most cases, selling access to products and services is where the real money is.
So if you haven’t changed your way of thinking already, let the remainder of this article convince you as to why it is important to move into a selling mindset, and what steps you need to take to become a success in this area.
Overcome the fear of selling
Fortune favors the brave, a saying that typically rings true when it comes to those who venture into selling content.
However, if you are currently residing in a comfy position financially, where your business is producing a steady profit from tried and tested systems, the trepidation behind moving into a new area is understandable.
- Perhaps you don’t have confidence in your content, at least not to the extent of charging for it.
- Or maybe you don’t believe you have anything to provide that is worth selling.
- Or perhaps you feel guilty for charging what you know you're worth.
These are common blocks.
But they are all blocks that can be worked around.
Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.
It's no wonder we're afraid to ship.
– Seth Godin
If your business is bringing in a steady flow of readers, it means your published work already has an audience. So at this stage, you have the content that is deemed good enough to consume for free.
Then it is a simple case of taking it to the next level, adding that extra dollop of value that customers would be willing to pay for. And if you are not all that confident about structuring something that is intricate like an eBook or a step-by-step course, you can always draft in a specialist writer to get the framework done for you. Or, you could even sell 30-minute slots of your time for consulting.
The fear of selling might have even been compounded by hiding behind promoting affiliate programs as part of your content strategy. Yet rather than just taking a portion of the profits from endorsing an affiliate product, wouldn’t you rather feast on the full pie?
Because by selling your own content, you’re receiving a 100% return for every direct transaction. Oh, and in a full circle kind of way, don’t forget about the rewards of actually affiliating your content!
Check out this video from Seth Godin on the fear of selling (shipping) and overcoming it:
Testing the waters
After you have decided to move into the realm of selling content, it is all about getting stuck in and building up experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, so it is all about testing the waters at first and not overcomplicating things.
One example could be to start with a simple eBook. Get it written, get it ready for sale, stick an inviting price on it, market it, and move from there.
In the end, it is all about getting into the habit of selling. Once you start and stay dedicated to the cause, your portfolio of work should snowball to the point where you can pick what is working and what isn’t. Then it is a case of dedicating your time and resources to the content that is selling and building from there.
But the most important thing, even during the slow developmental stages, is to stay dedicated. Without commitment, this type of endeavor will collapse before it begins.
Making a sellable product
It might not seem all that obvious initially, but there are a number of product ideas that can be utilised from content you create. From all-encompassing written courses to in-depth video series’, here’s just a sampling of ideas you can take inspiration from:
eBooks – Books such as these should be full of depth, offering clear guidance to a solution that users are searching for.
Coaching – Building on from eBooks, training courses are also a valuable commodity. These step-by-step and/or tailored lessons offer flexibility to how you produce the content.
Video series – For an audience that prefers to consume information in video form, a video series might be the best option. The logistics for this form of content has to be considered, however, such as the filming of the videos and the editing process.
Paid newsletter – Content that is sent ‘new’ such as newsletters has the advantage of containing current data, which is advantageous in fast-moving fields. As these are often sent for free, the paid variety must be full of useful information.
Insider Exclusivity – If you have some ‘insider’ secrets, people will be willing to pay for these if it gives them an advantage over the competition.
Whichever option you go with, and there are plenty of others beside those mentioned above, one thing is for sure: selling your published work can help to exponentially improve your profit margins.
Just get into the habit of selling. Your business won't last if you're not putting out products.