A tool in your toolbox.
You’re a content creator, and you make great stuff. It’s carefully crafted, takes a ton of time to produce, and is your labour of love. You’re proud of what you’ve made, and are excited to share it with the world. The internet, thankfully, makes that super easy. Distributing your work in digital form is simpler than ever, taking little effort, and you reach a global audience with the click of a button.
Whatever motivates you to create is personal, but one thing is universal - you want to be rewarded and compensated for your work. Fame? Fortune? Or both! Achieving either (or both) can be hard, but if you’re not just doing it for personal fulfilment choosing how to be compensated monetarily can be just as tricky, and potentially negatively impact your efforts. Do you rely exclusively on advertising revenue directly? Or, do you give your work away on some other platform, with the aim to become famous and influential, and then leverage that fame to get paid?
At QUID, we’ve built a pretty cool thing that enables content creators to accept small payments online. You could put up a Pennywall and ask everyone to pay a small amount to access your thoughts, ideas, and creations, and call it a day, but we also don’t believe you should necessarily abandon your existing methods of monetization (unless you’ve been looking to do that).
Let’s dig into it.
Here’s where micropayments make the most sense, and charging for exclusive content is the most straightforward approach. But what does this look like? The internet is a treasure trove (and dumpster fire) of good (and bad) content, and there is no shortage of things to consume. No one is going to pay for content - even if it’s just a cent - if they can easily get the same or similar stuff somewhere else.
If I want to read a general recap of last night’s basketball game, or a summary of the congressional budget, I’m going to search around until I find a free version. I could subscribe to ESPN online, or the New York Times, but I really don’t want another subscription. I’ll probably get the same information elsewhere, and I won’t have spent anything to get it. But, along with the main story (which is free to read) what if one of those free sites I found created a really interesting and exclusive infographic showing shot selection at that same basketball game, filtered by player, historical performance, and opponent? I’d pay a few cents for that. Or perhaps there is some deep analysis about a particular niche area of funding within the budget that isn’t being analyzed elsewhere that directly interests me? I’d gladly pay a few pennies for that, too.
I subscribe to a few podcasts that I enjoy, and I’m sure you do too. You probably don’t enjoy the inline ad reads, though. I know I don’t. Thankfully, there’s that 15 second skip button on my player that allows me to fast forward to the good stuff - the content. I’ll do that dance where I skip forward too many times, realize I have, then skip back a few too many times, and then forward again, until I get to where I want in the episode. Fun? It’s annoying. I’d pay to remove those ads. What about paid premium subscriptions? Sure, that’s an option for some podcasts, but not all, and while most of the podcasts I listen to release fresh episodes every week, I may only listen to 3 or 4 episodes a year. Paying monthly just doesn’t make sense for me and would be a huge waste of money. But, if I could pay 25¢ or 50¢ for an episode without ads? I would do so, happily. Or how about an extended version of that same podcast episode with an exclusive interview? If I liked who was being interviewed, or the subject of the discussion, that would be worth another 25¢ or 50¢ to me for sure. Or, how about $1 for a whole episode, or 25¢ per segment?
Paywalls or exclusive memberships force an upfront choice on your audience. Pay, or don’t get in. Just like some nightclubs do. Instead of making your consumers pay to gain access to the club, why not let them in for free and then give them options to pay for the things they want? Besides, how do I know if the club is any good in the first place? Why would I want to pay an entry fee or monthly subscription? That leads to our next topic:
Your Unique Voice
As a content creator, your reputation is everything, and building a strong reputation online for whatever reason, is your ticket to success. You reputation, however, isn’t built in a day, and if no one knows who you are, they’re not going to start spending money to consume what you’ve written, recorded, or created. For content creators just starting out, your main focus and concern should be getting noticed and respected so you can eventually turn your work into profit. Until you earn a reputation, traditional ways to monetize such as advertisements, would probably work best, but it doesn’t mean micropayments can’t help you along the way. As you build your audience and reputation, you could ask for individual donations for content. People will pay small amounts if its easy, and if they like what you’re doing.
If you’re already a successful blogger who has a back catalog of interesting articles, how about charging a few pennies for someone to access one of them? If people like your work, and appreciate your unique voice, spending a few cents to access what you’ve created in the past is a no brainer, and it also gives them a direct way to show their support. Which brings us to:
I follow a bunch of people whose content I consume online, be it via their blogs, YouTube videos, or Tweets. I’ve been voluntarily supporting Wikipedia via yearly donations for years. Sometimes, I’ll come across an article or a how-to-video that I found really useful or interesting, and I’d like a way to show my support, but usually I can’t. If I can find a way to contact the creator to send a quick thanks to show my appreciation, I will. I’m not interested in another monthly subscription, and who’s to say I’ll ever want to read about how to troubleshoot and fix a hybrid combi boiler gas fired water heater and furnace again? Here’s where QUID’s donation buttons can help. A simple slider allows consumers who want to support your work to voluntarily choose the amount they want to give - once - without a recurring subscription. $2 to help me figure out how to get the heat back on? I’d click that every time.
At QUID, we don’t think of micropayments as a solution to all problems as it relates to revenue generation and building sustainable content creation businesses. We think of it as another tool in your toolbox. You could use the end of a screwdriver to hammer a nail, but it wouldn’t be that efficient, it could damage your screwdriver, and you would look pretty silly doing it when you could have just picked up the hammer instead.
If you’ve built a successful business that is ad supported, congratulations, keep going! If you’re already accepting monthly donations for your work, and it’s helped sustain your efforts, great! Those tools are working for you and you should continue to use them, if you choose. But we think you should add another tool to your toolbox. A tiny, secure, easy to use one.