Content creation isn’t cheap. You’re either spending time or money ( probably both). Wouldn’t it be great to get something back? Not just a nice comment, but something you can bank?
The creator economy is growing. It’s easy for those already making money to increase their income stream. But what about those not getting anything back yet?
The type of content you create has a big impact. Your goal may be to become a full-time creator or for passive income. Either way, here are nine ways to make money as a content creator that actually work.
- To earn money on TikTok Creator Marketplace, you need over 100k followers. Plus, have posted at least 3 videos in the last 28 days with over 100k likes.
- To be successful as an affiliate marketer, only promote products and services you use and trust that add value to your audience.
- Sponsorship rates for podcasts usually range from $18 to $50 CPM (cost per thousand listeners). Bigger podcasts can pull in a lot more.
- There are more than 8 million monthly active supporters (A.K.A patrons) on Patreon. And over 250,000 creators getting paid a chunk of $3.5 billion since 2013.
- If you’re thinking about creating a course, the demand is there. Online learning platform Coursera recorded 20 million new student registrations in 2021.
1. Sell physical copies of your work
“Do you sell copies?” If you’re sharing amazing visual content on Instagram, you may have been asked this already. So, why aren’t you?
Lots of photographers use social media as a host for their portfolios. Don’t think you can’t make money because it’s only a hobby.
You could create and sell:
- Photography prints
- Merch (like mugs or t-shirts)
- Stock photos
- Commissioned art
- Digital templates
If you’re interested, design a post that makes it clear your work is for sale. Use the caption to direct people to your DMs or site. Include the available sizes and prices.
This could be a one-time sale for exclusive content. Or you could make copies of your posts with the most comments. If demand is there, make the most of it.
One thing to be aware of when selling prints: check it’s high-quality content when scaled up. You can get away with blurry images on your Instagram feed. But a customer that’s paid for a sharp print won’t be as forgiving.
It’s good practice to print copies of each you’ll be selling for your eyes only. That way, you can check quality and save any potential issues.
2. Build a social media community to get influencer-access branded sponsorships
If social media posts are your specialty, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you get a good amount of engagement on your posts?
- Do you get new followers without actively trying?
- Do you post consistently?
If the answer is yes to each, you could benefit from building a community. You’ve got the high-quality content. Now, you just need to put some effort into engaging with your target audience to grow your presence.
An engaged audience = big opportunities. Because if you have sway over a certain demographic, you’re an influencer. And the perks of influencer marketing seem endless.
- Recognition within your niche
- Brand partnerships with potentially big names
- Platform with an engaged audience to sell your own products
- Regularly receive free products
- Invited to events and travel opportunities
- Able to be flexible with your working days
Brand partnerships will work differently between YouTube creators to Instagram influencers. But you’ll only get to find out how if you put time into building a social media presence.
It’s a lot more difficult to start from scratch nowadays. Each platform has different algorithms that are constantly changing, and these all impact your organic reach and views.
So, you have to work harder to be seen. But the payoff can be huge.
3. Sign up for sites like TikTok Creator Marketplace or Pearpop
Do you create content for visual social media platforms? If TikToks and Reels are your strengths, there are ways to make money while you build a following as a content creator.
Pearpop pairs influencers and brands together with a series of open challenges. Cole Mason and Guy Oseary founded the partner program to help content creators get compensated for using the latest trends.
So, how does it work?
- Select a challenge best suited to you and the platforms you’re on
- Submit your unique challenge bid
- Get paid as your new content generates views
- Track your earnings on each challenge until you hit maximum payout
Each challenge and brand has their own rules and guidelines for payment. So, read each carefully to make sure they’re worth the effort.
TikTok also has their own version called Creator Marketplace. You can be invited to join the platform or apply yourself.
To be considered, you must have a personal account and meet these criteria:
- Age 18+
- Over 100k followers
- Posted at least 3 videos in the last 28 days
- Have over 100k likes on those posts
- Located in one of 24 countries
Sites like Pearpop are definitely more accessible for smaller creators. But the bigger you grow your following, the more opportunities that’ll come along with bigger brands.
4. Get involved in affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a simple idea. You use your content to promote certain products or services. Then when someone makes a purchase using your unique link, you earn a commission.
Most bloggers sign up for affiliate programs for content monetization. Especially those writing about eCommerce products.
There are two main tips to be successful as an affiliate marketer:
- Only promote products and services you use and trust
- Each has to be relevant and add value to your audience
Wondering how you get started? Well, you have to have a way to track and receive payments.
Luckily, there are plenty of affiliate programs out there for content creators. Here are some of the most popular:
|One of the most used that pays a commission on everything in the consumer’s shopping cart (not just the referred product)
|Offers some of the highest commission rates alongside great promotion opportunities
|Ideal for beginner content creators with a niche site looking to build affiliate links
|Dated dashboard, but one of the oldest and widest selections of affiliate options
|Continually recommends brand partners based on your niche and current partnerships
You’ll need your own site to get up and running with affiliate marketing. Once you’re set up, it can be easy to make passive income from your content without any extra effort.
5. Consider hosting ads on your site
Another tactic to make money as a content creator with your own website is from ad revenue.
Google AdSense is one of the most popular and trusted. Clients pay the platform to promote their ads on different sites. This means you don’t need to pick them yourself or find interested brands.
You can get involved as long as your site has:
- Unique content
- Nothing illegal on it
- Nothing that infringes copyright
- No malware or adware
You can also choose the type of ads you want displayed. Such as:
- Display: An all-rounder that works well anywhere
- In-feed: Matches the look of your site and fits between posts and listings
- In-article: Matches the look of your site and fits between articles and content pages
- Multiplex: Multiple customizable ads within a grid
- Link: List of topics relevant to your page’s content
So, how much can you get paid? Well, it depends.
Google analyzes your quality score based on your keyword click-through rate. The amount you’re paid also depends on the bid type of ads displayed. This can be:
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
- Active view CPM (bid on 1,000 viewable impressions and only pay when at least 50% of the ad is displayed for at least one second)
- Cost per engagement (CPE)
To make money with Google AdSense, you need to consistently post new content and market your site. Payments happen monthly, but you need to work on increasing traffic levels to see real profit.
6. Allow ads within your content (e.g. podcasts and videos)
So, you don’t have your own site but still want to make use of ads. In-content advertising or sponsorships could be for you.
These are especially good for podcasts. And big names like Spotify and Apple offer packages to help monetize yours.
Fans build connections with their favorite podcast hosts. They trust their judgment and recommendations. They’re also usually fully engaged with the episode when an ad appears. This means it’s far more likely they’ll really listen to them.
- Host-read ads are written and recorded by the show’s host in the style of the podcast
- Voice talent ads are pre-recorded by others and created just for the podcast environment
How much you earn depends on the number of episode listens or downloads you get. Rates usually range from $18 to $50 CPM (cost per thousand listeners). But big series can earn a lot more.
It’s a great tactic for video content too. If you have a YouTube channel, consider signing up for the YouTube Partner Programme (YPP). That way, you can earn money through:
- Ads: If your content meets the advertiser-friendly content guidelines, you can turn on ads.
- Channel memberships: Fans pay for different levels of monthly perks and benefits.
- Shopping: Eligible creators can connect their store to feature and make money from their own products.
- Super Chat and Super Stickers: Fans can connect during live streams with highlighted messages or animated images.
- Super Thanks: Fans can buy one-time animations as colorful, customizable YouTube video comments.
- YouTube Premium: If a YouTube Premium viewer watches your content, you’ll get part of the fee they pay.
Just like affiliate marketing, keep any ads within your content relevant and trustworthy. Otherwise, you risk losing credibility with your audience.
7. Sign up for Patreon (or other ways to accept donations)
Are you already making podcasts? Songs? Videos? If so, you’re probably doing it for the enjoyment. But Patreon can help you get paid too.
There are more than 8 million monthly active supporters (A.K.A patrons) on the platform. And over 250,000 creators getting paid a chunk of $3.5 billion since 2013.
It’s a way for communities to pay creators for content they love. Either per month or per post.
You take charge of a monthly membership and give donors benefits like:
- Access to exclusive content
- A gated community
- Behind the scenes of your creative process
Nearly half of all creators on the platform create content in one of four categories:
Videos and podcasts are the most popular content types on Patreon. But you can make money with writing, cosplay, and adult content too.
8. Create an online course or tutorial
Do you have skills or expertise in a specific area? Do you excel at building a content strategy? Why not put those skills to good use?
One of the most effective ways these types of content creators make money is creating online courses or offering tutorials.
Online learning is a huge market—especially since the pandemic. Online learning platform Coursera recorded 20 million new student registrations in 2021.
You need to be highly organized to create a high-quality course. But the format you choose is up to you. You may offer a series of webinars or live streams. Or it could be purely written with some pre-recorded videos or illustrations.
Either way, ask yourself these questions when building yours:
- What do you want students to remember once they finish?
- What should students be able to do with the knowledge or skills they acquire?
- What processes will students go through to achieve the objectives?
- What resources and materials will students need?
Once you create one you’re happy with, pick a distribution channel.
You may choose to:
- Sign up to be an instructor on sites like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy
- Create your own template and host it on your site
- Share on social media
It’s good practice to use all of the above tactics. So, create a masterpiece, pick a justifiable price, and get your course out there.
9. Write a book
Have you ever thought of upgrading your content marketing to something more physical? If you’ve already created a course, you may not realize you’ve also got an outline for a book.
You may be a topic expert. A small business owner. Or a talented fiction writer. Either way, writing a book doesn’t have to cost anything. You just need an idea you’re passionate about and the commitment to spend a lot of time making it a reality.
Getting a book published may feel like a pipe dream to make money as a content creator. But big-name publishers aren’t the only route you can go down.
- Large publishers: Work with literary agents, pay royalties, and offer advance payments.
- Mid-sized: Pay royalties and may accept author submissions.
- Small: Accept author submissions, limited marketing, and pay royalties.
- Hybrid: Author and publishers share costs, higher royalties, and potential distribution.
- Self-publishing: All tasks done by authors (potentially outsourcing some).
- Vanity presses: Provide publishing services entirely funded by authors.
Whichever route you choose, here are some tips on how to get yours published:
1. Choose a publishing method (traditional or self-published)
2. Edit the draft
3. Get feedback from editors and critique circles
4. Title your manuscript
5. Format your book for publication
6. Design a book cover that converts readers
7. Write a ‘publisher-ready’ book description
8. Create a book launch plan
9. Publish your book on online retailers
10. Market the book to increase sales
If a book deal doesn’t work out, lots of people self-publish on sites like Amazon. So don’t be disheartened.
While writing a book may not make you rich, it’ll still be an excellent addition to your content creation portfolio.
How to make money as a content creator is straightforward. But it isn’t always easy. If possible, you want a few of these revenue streams running at once.
Yes, you can earn money when you’re just starting out. But the more time you put into building a dedicated, engaged audience—the bigger the payoff.
Successful content marketing is about knowing your niche and having a unique outlook. Nail these and you’ll be unstoppable.
Have you found success making money as a content creator? Are there any streams you’d recommend avoiding? Make sure to share your thoughts on your social media platforms to spread the knowledge.