SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

In This Issue: Joe shares two ideas to pay the bills. A blogger, who started with Google ads, just published her first book. Instagram still sucks for creators (its CEO says as much) and more things to know.

full tilt

2 (Rarely Used) Revenue Ideas for Desperate Content Creators

I received an email the other day from a member of The Tilt community. Six months into their content creator journey, they were, frankly, struggling.

They thought by now, they would be earning more revenue from the content business. So, to pay the bills, they had to go out and do some non-content creator odd jobs.

It’s tough, right? And I’ve been there. I remember the days when I was maxing out the credit cards and depleting the savings – just holding on to grow an audience and drive some kind of revenue.

What can you do to buy more time? These two rarely seen revenue ideas for desperate content creators can help keep the lights on.

Pitch creator-related work to prospects: After leaving my publishing job to become a content creator, I was desperate for revenue at about the 12-month mark.

Luckily during this time, I created some relationships with larger companies. One day, I listed these companies and asked, “What is their biggest marketing problem?” I wrote an answer next to each.

One company had a content champion but not a cohesive content marketing strategy. One organization had a solid plan but really needed a subscriber generator or lead magnet to make it work.

Here’s what happened.

With the one that needed a plan, I reached out and said I’d help them create a strategic framework. I told them how I’d do it and what I would charge. After a little back and forth, they agreed. Job No. 1.

With the second that needed a lead magnet, I reached out with a couple of ideas around original research and how a research project would serve them well as a subscriber generator. I told them I could help them execute it, partner with a few friends, and get it done quickly for them. Job No. 2.

Those projects kept us going long enough until a crazy idea called Content Marketing Institute started to work.

What to do: List the companies you have relationships with, then list their pain points. Brainstorm what might help them. Then reach out.

Adopt a limited-inventory model: Selling ad after ad or sponsorship after sponsorship sounds like a great thing. But that unlimited model means you can never charge a premium. I cry every time I see an amazing content creator selling advertising space for $50 or $100. What a waste!

Enter limited inventory.

When we built the Content Marketing Institute revenue model, we developed a limited-inventory model. We priced six year-long sponsorship at $10K. Within a few weeks, we sold out. This strategy enabled us to fund our business model and keep going.

What to do: Even if you don’t have the type of audience or traffic yet needed to sustain the business, limiting inventory can at least get you to sponsorship rates that keep the lights on.

I get it. You might have an idea of how you should make money, and it probably doesn’t include these two ideas. But you have to push those feelings aside and realize that you need to drive revenue no matter what it takes. If you really want to become a successful content creator – a content entrepreneur – getting revenue creative is a must. And to be honest, there’s nothing like a little desperation to get you there.

– Joe Pulizzi

To get the specifics of Joe’s limited content inventory model and one more prospect job he got, read the full article.

Looking for more ways to increase revenue, grow audience, and build your content business without relying on social platforms? Be sure to join us at Creator Economy Expo 2023. Register now before prices go up next month.

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content entrepreneur spotlight

Blogger Says Achieving Content Business Success Today Differs From 10 Years Ago

Entrepreneur: Alyssa Brantley

Biz: Everyday Maven

Tilt: Whole food recipes in half the time

Primary Channel: Website

Other Channels: Instagram (28.9K), Facebook (35K), Pinterest (47.3K)

Time to First Dollar: 18 months

Rev Streams: Ad revenue, sponsorships, cookbook, freelance food photo and styling, freelance content creation for brands

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Add a potential revenue stream as you build: Alyssa didn’t think enough people would read her blog to make the addition of Google ads valuable. But she slowly grew an audience and got her first check 18 months later.
  • Collaborate: Alyssa connected with creators locally and in her industry. They helped her improve her photography skills, earn guest blogging links on top sites, and more.
  • Make time to promote: Ten years ago, Alyssa spent 90% of her time on creation and 10% on promotion/SEO. Today, she spends 90% on SEO/promotion and 10% on creation.

– Sarah Lindenfeld-Hall

To learn more about her, check out the longer story.

things to know

  • Partner up: YouTube says Shorts creators can join its ad-revenue-sharing partner program early next year. It also plans to make tips, subscriptions, and merch sales easier, too. (The Verge)
    Tilt Take: Competing with TikTok means YouTube has to step up its respect and rewards for creators of Shorts, similar to the way it does standard video creators.
  • Score it: Marketers who want to work with creators should have a scoring system representing reach and engagement across relevant platforms. Adam Barker has an idea of how to do that. (Adam Barker)
    Tilt Take: It’s interesting that social platforms are the only distribution channels mentioned. It’s the creator’s owned channels that should be most intriguing to marketers.
  • New displays: YouTube will customize content displays based on the user’s preferences. It’s developing tabs – Videos, Shorts, and Live – to allow viewers to tap and see the relevant options. (Social Media Today)
    Tilt Take: Monitoring how your audience can view your content is important so you can adjust your uploaded content accordingly.
  • Identify: More people identified as multiracial in recent U.S. Census data – from 3.4% in 2019 to 12.6% last year. The increase comes as the Census expanded its coding race and Hispanic origin responses. (Time)
    Tilt Take: Creators have a responsibility to see and understand their audience and how they identify.
Tech and Tools
  • Google with Twitter: In some cases, searchers may find a carousel of your Twitter feed on their Google search ranking pages. To entice the coverage, talk about relevant trending topics, use relevant popular hashtags, and talk about what your audience cares about. (Search Engine Journal)
    Tilt Take: Don’t assume your content on one platform will stay on that platform. Think about how to expand your work beyond a single channel.
  • Aggregate it: A growing market exists for the professional curation of content and community platforms by professional creators. (Axios)
    Tilt Take: Media companies see the aggregation value. What could you do for your audience?
And Finally
  • Crater or expansion: Adam Ryan concludes in his essay the creator economy isn’t cratering; it’s expanding. The problem, he says, is companies created to support the creator economy growth chose the wrong problem to solve – focusing on the masses (attention economy), not the true fans (intention economy). (Workweek)
    Tilt Take: Content entrepreneurs must grow an audience, but they won’t buy if they’re treated like a number.
  • Instagram sucks: Instagram’s CEO tells the staff it still badly trails TikTok and YouTube in satisfying creators about money, fun, reach, fair algorithm, and care. (The Information)
    Tilt Take: It’s nice to know they should care more, but until then, it’s not a great platform for monetization.

the business of content

*Sponsored Content

the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Pam Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Sarah Lindenfeld-Hall.