How do publishers make money online?
If you frequent the average WordPress news-y property, it goes like this:
- Paid/Network ads
- Sponsored reviews
- Affiliate links
Few WordPress publishers have an actual product for sale to generate their revenue. The alternative? Pump out content littered with affiliate links and network ads — even if it conflicts with the content a visitor is currently reading. From what I’ve gathered (no, I haven’t fully investigated this) the latter does quite well. Good on them — you’ve got a nice cash machine.
However, at the end of the day, this content is exhausting.
I can only read so many listicals and top free themes for the <month><year>. A place where sponsored reviews are quickly becoming just a thin overview of what happens next when clicking ‘activate’ more than a full-on review for the curious reader. Oh, also, your recommendation? It always ends with: maybe.
I get it. Supply and demand. We’re not playing with big money. Passive income.
…but, we can do better.
Can everyone win with sponsored content?
There must be a way:
- Writers – Need to make make money.
- Creators – Want great content.
- Readers – Want trustworthy information.
When the Writers make a monetary transaction with the Creators, there’s a level of distrust baked into the content.
- Is this accurate?
- Are they being paid to say this?
- Is this just BS promotion?
When the Writers create content for the Reader, it causes issue with the Creator:
- “That’s not how we see our product.”
- “Yes, but…”
- “You’ve interpreted it wrong.”
When the Writer, who writes great content for the Creator AND the Reader, but struggles to make an income – there’s a hitch:
- The writer goes broke.
- The content ceases to exist.
How do we solve for all? (Writer + Creator) + (Reader + Great content) = Everyone happy.
Let me cut to the chase: I don’t have the answer.
However, my gut tells me that it is possible — especially in our space. Content doesn’t have to be a boring review, it can (and should) offer positives & negatives views of the product, it should offer a definitive use case.
At the end of the day, I don’t mind your affiliate links, I use them to keep the lights on here too (like, one 8W LED light, really.) I also REALLY trust the products I recommend. Take Siteground for instance, their support is like Tesla ‘Ludicrous Mode’. Just stop serving us hollow, thinned out, repurposed content for the new month. Give us something to really sink our teeth into. Innovate and prove us all wrong. Make something where we can all win.
Or don’t and keep making more money than this blog does.