How does content monetization work and what mistakes should you avoid? - Times of India

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All the world’s screens and online content have never been more powerful. The global pandemic pushed people inside their homes and towards their digital screens. Currently, 58.4% of the worldwide population consumes content over social media. Furthermore, 424 million new users have come online in the last 12 months. At the peak of the mortal pandemic, content consumption skyrocketed and a new breed of content creators was born. By harnessing the power of their content, millions of content creators are earning money each time users consume their content. Whether earning directly through their audience, joining hands with marketers and advertisers or becoming the voice of brands, content monetization comes in many shapes and forms. 
Content monetization models
Third-party Ads
One of the first content monetizing strategies most creators turn to is an advertisement. By including a product/service in your content (product placement), linking it in the content or directing the audience to a custom landing page (affiliate marketing) or including ads with the content (PPC advertising), creators direct their audience to the advertised product. For instance, influencers or celebrities get paid by Nike or Puma just by wearing their merchandise in a video, song or post. 
Premium content
Creators can also monetize their content by selling premium content that is more exclusive or in-depth than their usual content to their audience. Audience members already enjoy the free content but they are willing to pay to gain access to exclusive content, which they wouldn’t get otherwise. Take for example, when creators and celebrities create their courses and sell them on platforms; they are monetizing this premium content. 
Content monetization platforms
Several content monetization platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram act as a third party between the creator and advertisers. By publishing content on such platforms, the platform pays creators to run ads and the platform, in turn, is paid by advertisers. This is the easiest and most direct way for creators who publish most of their content on social media platforms to start monetizing their content. 
Intellectual property monetization
Content creators can also generate revenue through intellectual property rights. The most common types of IP are copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs and trade secrets. For example, music royalty payments derive their value from the underlying IP rights of the songs. Music, including lyrics, composition and sound recording, is protected under copyright law. A song can contain two copyrights, sound recording copyright, which is owned by the artist and musical composition copyright, owned by the songwriter. 
Top 3 mistakes to avoid
Relying on media kits and vanity metrics
Most creators, especially influencers, depend upon media kits that present a snapshot of what the creator can offer the brand. A typical media kit contains vanity metrics like average likes, engagement levels, number of followers, etc. Instead of helping the advertiser understand the potential benefits of partnering, these media kits fail to include qualitative and quantitative data that help an advertiser estimate the measures of their investment. Advertisers are interested in data like average click-through rate, average conversion rate, audience demographics and behavioural data. 
Putting oneself in a box
The second costly mistake creators often make is labeling themselves as an influencer, brand ambassador or affiliate marketer. All these terms undermine the broader purpose of content creation and imply that the creator is limited to only a particular monetization model, which deters brands from partnering with them. Brands care less about title and more about a creator’s ability to generate value. Armed with the right data and power to educate, inform, empower and inspire the audience, content creators can show how valuable they can be to the brand. 
Limiting to a single monetization model
No matter how a creator defines themself, there are numerous monetization models through which brand partnerships can thrive. All advertisers are focused on is whether by investing in a content creator, they will achieve their goals or not. Creators should never limit themselves to one model; instead, they should be open to more than a single option or consider the benefits of a hybrid model. By identifying what works best for you and the brand, creators can devise a model that yields the highest outcomes for both themselves and the brand.  
 Key takeaways
As a content creator, monetizing opportunities are plenty but finding the best model for you and the brand can be tricky. Instead of fixating on follower count, likes and other vanity metrics, content creators should zero in on their value-generating power. Whether you define yourself as an influencer or a brand ambassador, as long as you are publishing content, revenue generation is possible. By striking meaningful partnerships built on delivering an enriching experience, creators can engage with their audience, provide value to the brand and monetize their passion. 
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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