How People Make Money Online

Build an audience, then sell access to it

The skinny: Create valuable content. Build an audience. Sell access to your audience to companies that want it.

I had a conversation this morning that reminded me of an answer I once gave to a post on Quora. It was a good question and I think it’s the perfect topic for today’s discussion. I will pull a lot of this text from that answer.

This method doesn’t apply to everyone who is making money online. But it does apply to a large number of the bloggers, vloggers, writers, YouTubers, Instagramers, etc. who are creating value and thus, have a following. It also happens to be the direction I’m trying to go with Bootly.

The concept is quite simple, actually: build an audience and then monetize it. People will pay you for access to your audience. This becomes a delicate decision making process where you have to decide which advertising could be helpful to your “tribe” and which ones might annoy them, or be too much, and drive them away. We’ll talk more about this in a later post.

How do you build an audience? You create value. If I’m not writing about things that are helpful, or valuable, to you, then you won’t continue visiting this site. You won’t follow me on social media and I will never build a following and thus, I’ll never be able to make money from Bootly. Content creation is the same as making products – if you don’t make something that people want or need, it won’t sell and you will not make money.

Podcasters like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas (Smart Passive Income and Entrepreneur On Fire, respectively) are creating incredible content for their followers, giving it away, and are still making huge financial returns. How? Because when you have 800,000+ unique listeners, companies are willing to do things like sponsor podcast episodes to get their message to that large of a targeted audience.

When it comes to blogs and websites, Google provides an advertising service in which you give them certain locations on your site where they can place whatever ads they see fit. For every click, purchase, etc. you get a (small) percentage. To see any sizable income from this stream, you’ll need to have a lot of visitors. A lot.

Many would say the more lucrative way to make money on site advertising is to sell ad space directly to an end consumer. For example, if you’re running an informational site on sunglasses, you could call Oakley and offer them a sidebar ad at $100/month. Less or more depending on the site’s traffic.

If you’re interested in making money online in this way, let me know. I’d love to discuss it more. But before you start thinking about advertising and making money, build your audience. Get people coming to your site, your YouTube channel, your Instagram account, whatever. Focus on creating value.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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