One of the advantages of being a thought leader or subject matter expert is being able to charge handsomely for your time. Consultants, speakers, experts, authors, and business leaders (among others) are able to charge hundreds or thousands of dollars per hour. Unfortunately, there are a finite number of these individuals in any organization and a finite number of hours in any given day. When an organization’s or an individual’s earnings are tied directly to their time, eventually their earning potential “maxes out.”

Enter, Content Monetization Portals – an opportunity to package up, make available, and sell one’s specialized knowledge online. Selling your thought leadership through a Knowledge as a Service (KaaS) platform is an easy, effective, and sustainable way to, literally, make money while you sleep. Online courses, paid subscription services, and certification programs are all proven methods to break through the ceiling of your earning potential.

So how do you know if Content Monetization is right for you? Try asking yourself these five questions:

1. Is My Knowledge Really That Special?

If you’ve built a name and a career learning a skill, honing a craft, or developing expertise then the answer is likely yes. If people are paying you for your knowledge offline, they will likely be willing to do so online as well.

2. Is There Space In The Market?

There are very, very few subject matters that have not made it onto the internet. However, there is space in most markets for truly authoritative content. The next question then, is: Is the knowledge you have to share valuable, relevant, and all together better than what people can find online already, be it paid or available for free.

Take a look (or hire someone to look) and see who is already operating in the space, what knowledge they are selling, and what they are giving away.

Remember, just because someone has a slick, beautiful website or says they are an expert doesn’t necessarily make them one. Cyberspace is filled with snake oil salesmen peddling worthless information. After some research, you may find that your market really is in dire need for a true expert providing a bona fide resource.

3. Who Cares?

Before you can sell anything, you’ve got to know who you are selling to. Is your potential audience interested enough to buy your thought leadership, and if so, is the market big enough to make the effort worthwhile?

To caveat that last point, don’t fret if you have a small Markets. Limited audiences can still be profitable. If your information is truly valuable and your audience is truly hungry for it, you can charge big for this knowledge. If the market is a bit more crowded, you will likely need to price your content more competitively in order to build a customer base.

4. Does The Medium Match The Message?

By now you may be asking yourself if your knowledge is even something that can be taught online. Perhaps it’s very technical, very visual, very specialized, or typically provided in a hands-on way. The answer is almost always unequivocally yes. Regardless of your area of expertise, the internet is likely a perfect place to teach and share that knowledge. So the real question then, is what online mediums are the best ways to teach or share your knowledge?

For example, a masseuse can teach self-massage techniques online, but a series of text-heavy articles would likely be ineffective. A much more impactful, useful approach would be a video series supported by downloadable charts and diagrams. Leadership techniques can also be taught online, but talking-head style videos could tread into boring territory very quickly. Instead, mediums like articles and infographics might be more effective and engaging. It all comes back to understanding your audience and how they prefer to learn.

5. Can You Afford To Build The Platform & Content?

Great question. You do need to find the right platform tool and content generation system to ensure your Content Monetization project delivers on the opportunity. If you have to put up tens of thousands of dollars to create a lengthy video series, or give away 60%, 70% or more of every sale to content providers, it could take years to break even or turn a profit. If generating the teaching content distracts you from your core business or “day job,” you could be putting your entire organization at risk. Do your research. Find a partner you trust, and find a way to outsource the content generation.

The internet has opened the floodgates to a multi billion dollar online learning industry. Selling your knowledge online through a Content Monetization platform is one of the best things you can do to effectively and sustainably grow, scale, and connect with new customers.