Today, you can earn a full-time online income by creating content like videos, blog posts, podcasts, and other media.
The average annual income of content creators – $108,000 – is comparable to what you can earn as an entry-level software engineer, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Achieving that level of income takes substantial effort and followers. If you want to build a business around your passions, you first need to choose your niche. This is easy when you follow our step-by-step process.
Step 1: Explore your passions
When you start a business as a content creator, recognize that you will spend a lot of time on the topic. That’s why it is why to start with exploring your passions and hobbies first. Use the following tips to identify your passions.
- What do you spend your time outside of work, school, family and household responsibilities?
- What do you regularly spend money for fun?
- What online media (e.g., podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels) do you enjoy the most?
- What magazines do you enjoy the most?
- At the end of a long day, what do you like to do for relaxation?
Keep going through the list of questions until you come up with three to five ideas so you can filter for the best idea in the following steps.
Step 2: Identify which passions have market demand
To have a successful content creator career, you need to earn a living from your content. It is easier to earn an income from your content when other people are already spending money on the interest, hobby, or passion. The following few examples suggest different ways to validate market demand for a given topic.
- Are There Dedicated Magazines For The Topic?
If there is a dedicated print magazine for the topic (e.g., Wine Spectator for wine or Golf Digest for golf), that is a good indication of business potential.
- How Many Dedicated Retail Stores Relate To The Topic?
Let’s say your passion relates to comic books. In that case, you might check the number of comic book stores in the US. In 2019, Publishers Weekly estimated that there were 2000 comic book stores in the US.
- How Many Related Products Are On Amazon?
Search for your passion on Amazon.com to see how many physical products are available related to your niche. For instance, there are 40,000+ products related to soccer on Amazon.
- Are There Podcasts With 50+ Episodes Dedicated To The Topic?
Long-running podcasts dedicated to a topic indicate it may be easier to create content related to a topic over the long term.
- Are There Market Research Studies Available?
Some passions and hobbies are so big that are research reports you can study. For example, the global golf apparel market is worth more than $250 million. To check for research studies in your passion, do a Google search for “PASSION market study” or “PASSION market size.”
Step 3: Make a list of ways to earn money
In the previous step, you probably identified one of your passions with the most significant commercial potential. Your next step is to make a list of the ways you could make money from the passion. In general, it is best to choose a topic where there are multiple ways to earn income.
- Advertising. Once your website, YouTube channel, or podcast has a certain number of subscribers, you can earn income from advertising. For example, Ezoic works with website owners that have a minimum of 10,000 monthly pageviews.
- Affiliate Marketing. You can earn a commission by recommending specific products to your niche. The best-known affiliate program is Amazon Associates. However, there are many other affiliate programs on the market that pay higher commissions.
- Online Courses. Some content creators earn additional income by selling online courses. For example, author Joanna Penn sells courses to help authors become more successful.
- Physical Products. You can sell physical products like t-shirts, coffee mugs, and accessories related to your niche.
- Services. You can sell services related to your passion. For example, let’s say you launch a website dedicated to collectable sports cards. For example, Leila Dunbar offers written appraisals for sports collectables and other products. CheckYa makes it easy to sell services and products to your audience.
Use the “rule of three” to validate the money-making potential of the niche. Find at least three content creators in the niche and check how they are making money. If you cannot find three other creators making money in your niche, that may be a red flag! By the time you complete this step, you will hopefully have one specific topic in mind. The next step will confirm whether you are ready to build a business around the topic.
Step 4: Develop your voice and perspective
Your fans, subscribers, and customers will ultimately keep returning to your content based on your unique perspective and voice. Developing your point of view as a content creator takes practice. The following questions can help you to develop your point of view.
- What kind of arguments do you get into about your niche? For example, a tennis expert might be passionate about a particular tennis racket. Your passion for making that argument can help you develop your voice.
- What questions do other people ask you? Think about times you have discussed your passion with other people. For example, a wine enthusiast might be asked about food wine pairing ideas over and over again. In that case, you might focus your perspective on the challenge of food and wine pairing.
- What mistakes in your niche get you upset? Strong opinions are your friend when it comes to developing a strong point of view.
Your voice and perspective will change over time but reflecting on the questions above will help you get started.
Step 5: Create a content plan that works for you
Now that you know your niche, you need to create a content plan. Let’s say that you decide to focus on creating a YouTube channel based on golf for women. Your content plan would include the following elements.
- Platform: YouTube
- Audience: Women between 30 to 50 who play golf on weekends
- Format: You decide to create two types of minutes: short 5-minute videos explaining a quick golfing technique and 10 minutes in-depth reviews of golfing products.
- Posting Schedule: You decide to publish two videos per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays by 12 pm.
Following a consistent schedule of posting new content will make it easier to build an audience.
Step 6: Develop your content creator habits
Achieving success as a content creator takes significant effort. A single video, article, or podcast will not lead to success. That’s why it is helpful to adopt the following habits.
- Consume content. Spend some time every week consuming content related to your niche. For example, you could read and review books about the niche. You can also listen to podcasts in your niche. By consuming content regularly, you will find it easier to generate ideas.
- Use an idea notebook. Use the notes app on your phone or a notebook to write down content ideas throughout the day. Aim to write down at least two content ideas a day so that you have plenty of options to draw on.
- Daily content creation. Set aside time every day to create your content, even if it is only a few minutes. Author BJ Fogg found that he made steady progress by committing to writing just one sentence a day for his dissertation. For more insight on building good habits, read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and “Tiny Habits” by BJ Fogg.
Step 7: Promote your content regularly
Publishing your content online is the foundation of your success. However, it is not enough. You also need to work on promotion actively. Depending on your time, money, and skills, there are a few different ways to promote your content. Use the following list for inspiration.
- Post on social media. When you upload a new video, article, or podcast, post links to the content on social media so more people can find it.
- Interviews. You can interview other people in your content. When you publish the interview, your interviewee will probably share it. For more insight on this strategy, read “Content-based networking” by James Carbary.
- Collaborations. As you become established as a content creator, reach out to other people in your niche to create content together.
- Get comments and reviews. Ask your fans to leave comments and reviews about your content. More comments and engagement on your content means you stand a better chance of standing out.
Make It Easy For Your Audience To Support You
You need a sustainable way to earn income from your content creator business. Advertising fees and affiliate marketing are good options, but why limit yourself to those resources? You can also use CheckYa to sell products and services directly to your audience.