When it comes to selling content online, which do you think is more important:

  • High quantity of content, churned out rapidly?
  • High-quality content, created with purpose?

Of course, the right volume of content is paramount when developing a Content Monetization Portal, but success doesn’t come from cranking out content for the purpose of having a lot of content. In order to gain – and keep – a paying, engaged audience, you must create effective content that provides real value. Of course, that’s easier said than done. But with this handy list of five must-dos to create effective, sellable content, you’ll have a solid start to the type of content everyone wants to buy.

    1. Map Your Knowledge and Plan a Curriculum

    Don’t just dive in and start creating content. Take the time to map your knowledge first. Your Knowledge Map is the storage center for the information that you have to share and want to sell to your audience. Use your Knowledge Map as the road map for content creation. The way the map is organized can help you determine your highest-priority content, and gives you a visualization of where each piece of content fits into the big picture; preventing overlaps, repetition and gaps.

    This is your foundation to plan a full curriculum that provides an end-to-end experience for users, which is first and foremost what potential users want to buy. Nobody wants to buy a book with the last two chapters missing. Likewise, nobody wants to sign up for a Content Monetization Portal that doesn’t have all the need-to-know info.

    2. Know Your Audience and Create Content For Them

    You wouldn’t buy clothes in the wrong size; likewise, your audience won’t buy content that wasn’t designed with them in mind. During the planning phase of your Content Monetization Portal, conduct thorough stakeholder research that includes interviews with actual stakeholders who work in and with your business. The resulting personas will guide and inform every piece of content you sell. Consider these your manual on how to communicate with your audience. As a piece is planned, the persona is used to determine the priorities of the target audience, where they are in their journey, and their current level of understanding — creating the perfect tailored service for them.

    3. Set Clear Goals and Create Content That Achieves Them

    Every piece of content in a Content Monetization Portal should be created with two purposes: the learning objective for the audience, and the overarching objective for your business. Even the smallest, most granular-level goals must align with the overarching goals of your content monetization program.

    If you don’t set clear goals for each piece of content you create, you fall into the trap of creating content just for the sake of having it there. Slapping together an article just to take up space does not create the value that paying audiences want. Every bit of information they consume from you should help them get one step closer to their own goals — it’s symbiotic; you help them achieve their goals and they help you achieve yours.

    4. Ensure You’re Creating Value

    You have your map. You know to whom you’re talking. You have clear goals in mind. So how do you create the value your audience is looking for – and paying for? The key is specificity and focus. Every piece must be specific. It should answer a single question, solve a single problem, convey a single concept. It should move the reader or viewer one step closer to better understanding or goal achievement.

    You must also take care not to tread into “salesy” territory. Your audience is paying you to learn new things, not get sold on other products — that would be like paying to go to the movies to watch the previews, not the film. The good news is that valuable content can grow service or product sales without ever having to forcefully ask for more from your customers. If you provide actual value in your paid content, you will grow other sales relationships organically over time.

    5. Deliver A Quality, Polished Product

    Imagine yourself at a five-star steakhouse. You’re dressed to the nines, you’ve ordered a bottle of wine, and you can’t wait to eat. But if your meal arrived slapped together on a plastic plate, you’d be upset. Presentation matters when you’re paying a premium.

    The same holds true for your content. You can have the most sought-after knowledge in your field, but none of that matters if you present an article that is riddled with typos or a shaky video with poor audio quality. No one will trust you if the web design is outdated, or if the site performs poorly. In order to really connect with your stakeholders, your content — and the entire Content Monetization Program — must reflect the quality and professionalism of your business. Simply put, great content comes in a great package.

As you think about the ways in which you can create effective content for your audience, remember that these five concepts all work in tandem. You must follow each of these five steps in order to end up with content that resonates with your audience and delivers on your promise to provide value. That’s what sells on a Content Monetization Portal.