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4 Cool Ways to Monetize Your Visual Content

How to Monetize Visual Content: Existing Solutions & Tools

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Creating and sharing visual content is one of the most important aspects of content marketing. GIFs, infographics, videos, comics, images and memes are everywhere. A single campaign can launch a viral sensation that brings a huge amount of success, even bringing websites or brand names from the brink. 

Yes, visual marketing is big right now but it’s not an over-saturated market yet. There’s still a good opportunity to stand out and build your own unique business model.

Truth be told, the visual content marketplace is pretty sparse. It is a new concept, and one that is continuing to grow. There’s still lots of opportunity there: New platforms, models and monetization ideas are coming up every month. Those who make visual content may not know where to start making money.

Visual content can be monetized if you know where to look. Below is a list of current experiments and solutions that may provide a way for you to make money with your own visual content.

1. Monetizing your Instagram channel

You have two ways to sell on Instagram. First, you can sell actual physical prints from followers if they contact you. Seem far fetched? Daniel Arnold did it, and he made $15,000 in a single day using prints of Instagram photos.

The second way is to sell the digital rights. This gets a little tricker, and your Instagram account will probably act as more of a catalog. But both make great lead generators to your own website, where you can sell the rights to be used in any way you choose. You control the licensing fees.

Further reading9 Ways to Make Money On Instagram

Featured tool: I use Cyfe to keep an eye on multiple Instagram metrics and correlate it to other social media profiles I co-promote. It’s a great (and the only one I know) way to monitor multiple Instagram accounts which is why I love it so much:

Cyfe - Monetize visual content example 3

2. In-Image Ad Revenue (Imonomy and GumGum)

Monetize visual content example 1

Ad revenue isn’t just for PPC anymore. Two websites have boasted huge returns and customers based on their unique platform. You place images in ads, and you engage more; the idea is a pretty simple one.

Don’t want to use your own images? You can actually use a gallery of already provided photos to place your ads, which is good news if you worry about your photos being monetized that directly. You are an artist, after all… you just don’t want to be a starving one.

3. YouTube monetization

Finally, you have the big one: YouTube. Not all visual content is stagnant. If you are a video creator, or thinking about becoming one, YouTube offers a platform for success that is hard to beat.

Not only have some YouTube users been able to generate an income, some have actually become rich using the website. Felix Kjellberg, also known as gaming afficionado Pewdiepie earned $12 million before taxes in 2014, and has made a great deal more than that over his years of over-exaggerated screaming.

He isn’t the only one. Olajide Olatunji, known on YouTube as KSI, earned $4.5 million in 2014 with his own gaming videos. He ended up releasing a rap single, where his popularity on the video streaming site launched him into the Top 40 UK charts.

You may not have heard of the two young men above, but one you almost certainly know is Justin Bieber. He got his start by posting self-recorded videos of him singing covers on YouTube, and is now one of the most recognized names in pop music.

These are only a few examples of the potential of YouTube monetization. From ad revenue to lead generation, it provides a unique opportunity to make money and gain visibility when used right.

4. Turn visual content into a product to sell

While I respect all other various ways to earn money by creating visual content, my favorite one is to turn your creativity into an actual product you can sell.

Depending on what visual content works best for you, you can try one or many of these options:

  • Turn your visuals into calendars and holiday cards. The easiest way to start is to use Picaboo but there are more options geared towards professional photographers.
  • Turn your visuals into posters. Daniel Arnold is a great example of how creative prints can turn visuals into a career. It’s easy to do as well! Here’s an easy way to sell your own photos as prints, T-shirts, etc. As an example, here’s a great cheatsheet turned into a poster.

Computer hardware - Monetize visual content example 2

How to increase your chances of monetization

Now that you know some avenues available to you, you may be wondering how you can be seen above the countless other content creators scrambling to sell their work. There is no magic formula, only some common sense tips that will get you there.

  1. Narrow your audience. The most successful visual content creators are the ones who understand their audience, and what they are looking for. They don’t waste time casting their net too wide. To use the Pewdiepie example, he targeted teenage gamers who would relate to, and enjoy, his videos. He doesn’t expend time and energy making videos for adult professionals, hoping to dip into that demographic.
  2. Keep quality high. Every once in a while a low quality piece of content will gain viral status, but this is a fluke. Don’t wait for your flash in the pan moment that might never come. Make sure everything you produce, no matter what it is, maintains a high quality of excellence that is worth buying. Remember that just because something doesn’t sell now doesn’t mean it won’t later once you have gained a following. You want to make sure your earlier stuff is still worth paying for.
  3. Create often, sell often. Daniel Arnold didn’t sell prints because he had a couple of nice ones. He had 22,000 followers and more than 1,500 images when he made that offer. Consistency is important when you plan on selling visual content, because it both offers plenty of options for your customers, and keeps visibility high. Aim to release something regularly, without sacrificing content. Mixed mediums can help with this, as some formats are simpler than others.
  4. Vary your selling spots. You won’t get anywhere if you limit yourself to a single storefront. You should be spreading yourself as thin as possible when it comes to advertising your talents. Upload to multiple stock photo sites. Use social media profiles. Have your own website. Use photo sharing platforms like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest. Use both YouTube and Vimeo. Take advantage of every tool you have at your disposal. You will see much better results. Here’s a great guide on promoting your (visual) content that you can download too.
  5. Center your activity on your own site. If we look at the Daniel Arnold example again, we’ll see that his Instagram account was once closed and he had to start over again. And this can happen to anyone: No matter how much you love your Instagram, Facebook or Youtube channel, there’s always a chance you’ll lose it one day. Make sure you bring your customers back to your site. Always. And since that’s about visual content, make sure you choose the most reliable hosting from day.

Have a tip to go on the list? Let us know in the comments!

Guest Author:  Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas and co-founder of Viral Content Bee, the free platform helping your content reach social media influencers!

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