If you run a website as part of your business, figuring out a revenue model for the content you publish is probably a big priority.
Content marketing is certainly a powerful way to promote. But creating a business model to sell that content as a product or service can be a bit trickier.
The recent failure of Internet behemoth AOL to make Patch, a network of hyperlocal news sites, profitable after years of investment only underscores that challenge.
Hyperlocal Should be Hyper Small
One of the major stumbling blocks AOL faced while trying to make Patch a success was its overhead.
Denise Civiletti, editor and publisher of RiverheadLOCAL.com, covering local news in Long Island, NY, told Ad Age recently hyperlocal sites can be hyper profitable. But they must stay small and keep their costs low.
It’s hard to say how profitable an individual Patch site needs to be. But Civiletti insists her site’s six figure sales revenue is plenty to support herself and the only other employee, her sales rep husband.
Premium Content is Another Option
Another possibility is to charge visitors directly for some or all of the content published on your site.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone proposed recently that larger sites like Facebook begin offering premium services. Those services could offer an alternative to advertising for people who wish to share and consume content on a site’s pages. Not everybody thinks that’s a great idea.
But Scott Fox, who launched his first ClickMillionaires forum in 2009 publishing content for lifestyle entrepreneurs, says he has run a successful subscription service for years.
Fox says the key is to regularly publish content users feel is worth the money. It’s also important to have a compelling difference between paid and any free content you offer, he says.
“Just look at your cell phone or cable bill to imagine how nice that recurring income is for those companies,” Fox explains. “I recommend that entrepreneurs try to build recurring revenues into their new online businesses, too.”
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