We hear success stories about people earning a living doing the things they love. Creating Epic Content! What we don't hear much about is how these creators can make a living through their content. As a creator, you are always wondering How To Charge For Content?
Good News! Your days of wondering are over! We have 5 ways you can charge people for your content as a content creator.
This guide has five tried and tested ways creators can use to earn an income from their content. These strategies will help you get a few steps closer to turning your passion into a full-time career (if you haven't done so already).
There's also no need to look any further. This guide is filled with real-world examples, tips, tricks, and ideas to help you get started. We have also included bonus strategies to earn an income from your content, as well as a Q&A section to clear up any confusion you may have.
Without prolonging this intro any further, let's jump right into the first way to charge people for your content.
- Memberships are for content creators that regularly produce content or have a vast library of content.
- Charging fans a monthly subscription fee will ensure that the content creator earns a recurring income for their content.
- No need to charge everyone a flat fee. Tiers make it possible to offer more benefits to higher-paying fans.
A Membership Pricing Model is when a creator offers particular benefits to their members in exchange for a recurring fee. This can be a monthly fee that people can pay to access your content.
The membership pricing model is perfect for creators that produce exceptional content regularly. Having an extensive catalog of exclusive content is a great bonus and can help encourage people to join your membership to access that content.
Memberships are also great for community-driven creators who love interacting with their fans. For example, creators like Jon Denton allow their fans to choose the type of content they want to watch next. Such privileges are reserved for paying members.
Source: Patreon @JonDenton
With membership tiers, you can create different pricing plans for members. People willing to pay more for your subscription can unlock additional privileges and content.
Jon Denton grants higher-tier fans early access to new content and exclusive podcast episodes. Fans willing to pay even more for membership get their names in the credits of every video and access to exclusive live streams where they can chat with Jon.
We spoke to Jon Denton who was more than pleased to show us how he grew his online community and membership platform.
2. Premium Content
- Premium content is digital content that people can access for a fee. This type of content is usually more desirable than free content.
- Content creators not ready for a membership platform can begin earning with premium content.
- Sell your premium content to fans for a limited time. Then release that content for free after a few months.
Regularly pushing out good content for free is essential if you want to be discovered by more people. This is how you organically grow your audience.
That being said, free content doesn't pay the bills! And producing exceptional content can get expensive. So, why not charge people to view your best work?
If you have a great idea for new content that may cost a lot to produce, charge fans to watch the content to make back money to cover production costs. Once you have made a considerable amount of income from your premium content, you can choose to release that content for free on your socials.
Source: NY Times
Premium content is an excellent way for new creators to begin earning money. Especially if these creators are not ready for memberships or sponsors. Creators with monetization options can also benefit from premium content if they require massive funding/income for a big project.
This is the route Andrew Schulz took with his latest comedy special, Infamous. Find out more below:
Sell Your Content Like Andrew Schulz
Comedian Andrew Schulz dishes out amazing content regularly on YouTube and his socials. He also has a popular podcast called Flagrant.
All of Andrew’s comedy content is free. However, Andrew recently recorded a 1hour comedy special that he independently sold to fans.
Andrew’s Infamous comedy special has a high-production value similar to a Netflix special. He had to hire a high-end movie production company to film his special.
Simply uploading the video to YouTube like the rest of his content will be great for fans but will come at a high financial cost to him. This is why Andrew sold digital copies of his special to fans for a limited time.
Fans eager to watch the special and support Andrew quickly bought up the show from his website. The show was only on sale for a few weeks. This encouraged fans to act quickly and make a purchase—great use of the FOMO Strategy (Fear Of Missing Out).
FOMO is implemented in the image above.
Andrew would later upload the special to his YouTube channel. So, to sum up, Andrew sold his premium content to fans over a limited time and then went on to upload the special to YouTube a few months later so fans can watch for free.
The "Pay-What-You-Want" pricing model is an excellent strategy for selling premium content (and digital content). Allowing your fans to pay the price they deem reasonable can lead to more sales, brand exposure, traffic, and income.
Click here for an in-depth guide on pay-what-you-want (PWYW).
3. Accept Donations
- Ideal for creators with a growing fan base and without many monetization options.
- Some creator platforms have donation features built into them.
- There are third-party services that allow you to accept donations from social networks.
Donations are massive among content creators. Regularly pushing out exceptional content while growing a loyal fan base online is hard work.
Content creators spend endless hours perfecting their craft and content with no pay. Especially at the beginning of their careers.
The thing about loyal fans is that they notice a creator's dedication and hard work. In addition, these fans appreciate the hours of entertainment you delivered to them for free. For these reasons, fans are more than willing to give something back to their favorite creator to show their appreciation.
Source: YouTube @Timeworks
Creator donations are common and very streamlined on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. It's not so simple on other platforms.
If you are a content creator on a platform with a complicated donation system (or with no option for one), then you will need to use a service like Hypage to accept donations from fans.
Hypage allows you to build link landing pages. These pages are home to your crucial website, product, social media, and other links (like a link to your donation page).
You can even place media like YouTube videos and Soundcloud audio on your link page. Once your link page is ready, you can then place the link for that page in your Instagram bio.
Now, Instagram users can click on the link in your bio to access all of your crucial links. You can request that users click on the link in your bio to access your Donation Page.
Hypage can accept payments for you. So, there isn't a need to link out to a payment portal. Hypage will collect the cash for you directly on the link page you create.
4. Online Store/Merch
- Selling merch is ideal for creators that already have a substantial audience.
- Merch can be anything from clothing to coffee cups.
- Creators are turning their content into tangible products that fans can enjoy.
Merch is a big deal among creators. Everybody is doing it. Why? Here are a few possible reasons:
- Brand growth and recognition.
- Merch allows fans to show that they are a part of your community. It creates a sense of community.
- Additional income stream.
- Many creators have found success in selling merch.
Selling merch or building an online store is an excellent way for creators to diversify their income while also building their brand beyond the internet.
Fans love you for your content online. Merch allows fans to experience your brand in person with tangible products like T-shirts, caps, hoodies, and more. There are more products you can develop for your brand (more on that later).
Another impressive aspect of merch is its sustainability. Creators in the past have had issues like being banned on a platform, de-monetizing content, or backing out sponsors. Building a merch empire gives you a sustainable income to fall back on when other income streams fail.
Merch Examples and Ideas
We looked closely at how top content creators develop and sell their merch. These influencers have refreshing product ideas developed by themselves or through brand collaborations.
Hopefully, some of these examples and ideas can help inspire your next big product!
Pewdiepie: Collabs and Luxury Store
Felix Kjellberg, known as Pewdiepie, is the biggest YouTuber on the planet. However, he is no stranger to brand deals and personalized merch. Felix has pioneered various means of developing and selling merch.
His brand collab with Rhinoshield to produce and sell custom Pewdiepie phone cases is a unique and excellent idea.
The cases feature designs that represent the Pewdiepie brand. Just imagine your fans rocking a phone case that has your branding on it. How epic will that be?!
Other Pewdiepie products include:
- Razer headset
- G-Fuel energy drink flavor
- Mobile games
- Branded clothing
- High-end clothing brand Tsuki
Jacksepticeye: Top of the Mornin
Another massive YouTuber with an impressive line of merch is Jacksepticeye, Seán McLoughlin. He has everything in his merch store. Products like:
- Plush toys
One of his most notable items is his own blend of coffee. “Top of the Mornin” is a phrase that Sean yells out at the start of his videos. He turned that phrase into a coffee brand that has its own store.
It's actually an impressive idea - to take a catchphrase and develop it into a product that can appeal to the general public.
This is an excellent example of how you can get creative with your merch.
Steve-O: Hot Sauce and Everything Else
Steve-O is a comedian best known for his role in the Jackass series of movies and TV shows. If there is an influential person that seriously knows how to earn money from their content, that person is Steve-O.
Steve-O’s thriving merch store has everything from pins to mugs and his memoir. An intriguing item in his long list of merch is his hot sauce.
Steve-O has performed some questionable stunts with hot sauce time and time again. So, as a self-proclaimed hot sauce expert, he released his own branded recipe of hot sauce.
A somewhat risky move that only he could pull off. And pull off he did! Amazon reviews show that people like his hot sauce. Mike P from The Hot Sauce Guy gave the sauce a favorable review.
So, from the look of things, content creators with an audience can deliver unique merch tailored to their fans. If you have already developed a good community around your brand, then perhaps you can develop your own unique product for your fans.
The one thing that YouTubers have in common is their communities. Micro-communities allow creators to get valuable feedback from their audience, like new content ideas and content that does not work.
Click here to learn more about micro-communities.
5. Online Courses
- Ideal for experts (in their field) or people with a deep level of knowledge on a particular subject.
- Opens up the door to passive income. Develop once, then earn continuously.
- An online course can help establish yourself as an authority in your field.
People love seeking knowledge. Informative videos on social media and YouTube are extremely popular because of the value they provide to the viewer.
As a content creator that takes the time to provide this value to their audience, it makes sense that you should charge people for your expertise.
You can do so with an online course.
An online course allows you to perfectly curate and deliver your knowledge on a particular subject. This allows the viewer to also learn in a more structured manner. As opposed to seeing information in bits and pieces on YouTube.
People are willing to pay for structured online courses that will bring value to their lives. So, if you are a content creator that regularly pushes out tutorials, advice, and more, then maybe you could consider developing a course.
Want to know how popular online courses are today? Just take a look at the teachers over at Masterclass.
Everyone from filmmakers to ex-presidents is developing online courses. Passing down knowledge in a format that also serves as passive income is an excellent idea for content creators.
MKBHD: Master YouTube Like Me
Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) is one of the top tech YouTubers in the world. He achieved success on YouTube through high-quality tech review videos.
Videos that are expertly filmed, scripted and edited. These are amazing skills that can be monetized, which is exactly what Marques did by releasing his YouTube Success Course.
The benefits of the MKBHD YouTube Course:
- Marques can share his expertise with a new generation of YouTubers.
- This course will cement Marques as an expert in the field of YouTube filmmaking.
- Sales generated from this course open up an additional revenue stream.
- The course just has to be developed once. Then it will continue to sell online 24/7. This means passive income even while you sleep!
As you can see, online courses are beneficial to content creators. If you have some expert knowledge that you want to exchange for passive income, then you should get started with developing a course now!
More Ways To Charge People For Your Content
It doesn't have to end with the above 5 ways of charging people for your content. Here are a few more ways:
- Online classes - Teach your skill to an entire class on a platform like Zoom. If you are a music producer that uploads tutorials, then you can charge people to attend your Zoom classes that provide a more hands-on approach to teaching.
- Consulting - Similar to online classes. With consulting, you offer your advice and expertise to a smaller audience. A one-on-one approach where a content creator can advise a new creator on what equipment to use at the start of their career (for a fee of course).
- Sell ebooks, guides, and PDFs - Have a story to tell? Sell an ebook. Want to share some knowledge? Sell a guide. Do you have step-by-step instructions for something awesome? Create a PDF and sell it!
- Tailored content - Create content for a paying fan/client. This is similar to something like voiceover work where you create custom content for your fan for a price.
- Sell digital content - Musicians can sell digital music. Filmmakers can sell digital movies. Photographers can sell digital presets for Lightroom. The list goes on…
BONUS: Learn How Mike Poarch Charges For His Content
Mike Poarch is the co-founder of Alpha Status Stocks. A brand that pushes out content focused on stock market tips and learning resources.
Mike provides extremely high value to viewers for free on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. However, he does offer viewers additional resources and knowledge for a price.
There are Alpha Status Stocks online courses, paid memberships, merch, Discord, and a podcast. People are willing to pay for advanced expert stock market tips. So, Mike gladly directs these people to his paid resources.
You can learn a lot from Mike in the interview below:
Q&A: Ways to Charge People For Your Content
Can content creators earn an income directly from Instagram?
Instagram does have many tools available that allow creators to accept payments from users on the platform. The Instagram Reels Bonus program does, however, promise to pay out an incentive to creators with many views on their video content.
Is it ok to charge some people for my free content?
It will be unfair to the people who paid for your content. You can, however, charge people for your content during its initial release. This can be premium content that requires payment for early access. Then release the content for free after a few weeks or months.
The above strategy ensures that people who wanted to view the content early have the option to buy it. The rest of the viewers can simply wait to get it for free.
Can I use the Instagram and Facebook Donation tools to accept donations as a creator?
Most of those donation tools are reserved for charitable donations for a specific cause. Be careful, Do Not use these features for your own personal gain.
Donations on platforms like Instagram may have different names and features like “Badges” which allow users to buy badges during your live videos. A portion of the purchases goes to you. Some platforms will call donations “Tips.”
TL:DR: How To Charge For Content
Creating your own special work of art is an exhilarating experience. A passion that every content creator lives for. Unfortunately, there is only so much a person can do for free. Content creators must learn how to charge for content if they wish to turn their passion into a dream job.
We explored five effective ways for creators to charge people for their content. From setting up a membership model to straight charging for a premium post. These income-generating ideas have been tried and tested by some of the world's leading creators. You should give them a try to see if they will work for you.
Please do let us know your thoughts on the above ways to charge for content. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in trying some of the strategies in this guide and require assistance.