Build a content business around a website, and you will have not only income but an asset, too.
Content creators are the engines of a new attention economy.
Think of it this way. Economies form to address scarcity in the marketplace, according to Paul Saffo of the Long Now Foundation.
The industrial economy of the early 20th century provided much-needed consumer goods.
When there were plenty of products to buy, the so-called consumer economy emerged to address the scarcity of desire. As a result, in 1958, the first credit card was issued, and advertising became a Madison Avenue art form.
Today, we have loads of products to buy and, for many folks, the desire to have those new products. What is difficult for brands is getting someone's attention.
As political scientist Herbert Simon put it, "a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently."
It turns out that content creators —or influencers, if you like— are fantastic at getting folks' attention. According to several published reports in 2023, most adults spend about two and a half hours every day consuming social media.
The content creators informing, helping, and entertaining these folks can earn a nice living from revenue shares, sponsorships, advertising, affiliate programs, or their very own informational products.
Getting paid to make fun or helpful content is an amazing job for just about anyone.
Unfortunately, a job is not necessarily a great way to build wealth. Just ask Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Kiyosaki argues that wealthy folks focus on assets more than income.
So how do you build assets as a content creator? I would argue that you should place a website at the center of your content business.
To be certain, a website is not the only form of asset a content creator can build, but it is an asset. What's more, a content creator can own a website, but not necessarily own a presence on a social media platform.
So what am I suggesting here? That a successful content creator should have a website or even a blog that acts as the respository and hub for the creator's content.
Blogging has evolved from a sort of proto-social-media to a lucrative business, and it can be a great way to earn extra income or even replace a full-time job.
In addition to its potential money-earning opportunities, a blogging business augments other creator channels like podcasts, videos, or social media posts; it may also offer a significant amount of freedom and generate an asset —as mentioned above.
Before discussing the money, freedom, and asset opportunities, I want to give a nod to blogging's past.
Depending on which source you choose to get your Internet history from, blogging became a thing in 1993 or 1994, with many sources giving credit for the first blog to Justin Hall's Links.net.
The term "blogging" came a bit later in 1997, when the words "web" and "log" were slammed together so hard the "we" fell off. Get it "blog."
Early blogs read like bulletin boards or even diaries. Some, if not most, were mildly narcissistic and self-aggrandizing. In this way, it was very much like social media is today.
Traffic and SEO
Self-centered blogs became a voyeuristic pleasure for many Internet users, and the bloggers themselves emerged as mini-celebrities, attracting meaningful audiences.
That attraction —in the form of blog traffic— caught the attention of professional marketers, who eventually realized that blog-like, editorial content had fantastic value for search engine optimization.
Since blogs had a sort of personal sense to them, marketers started to refer to their blogging efforts as "inbound marketing" or "content marketing."
Effectively, content marketing is the act of curating or creating content, distributing it in some way, and promoting it, with the specific aim of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers.
The attracting part of the definition is the SEO bit. And circa 2024, content marketing is still a part of how many businesses acquire and retain customers.
Thus, websites can be valuable for their traffic alone. That traffic, which, of course, represents actual humans visiting the website, can generate money.
If nothing else, adding advertising could make the content creator about $40 per 1,000 site visitors in 2024. But ads are just the low-hanging fruit if you will. There are dozens of ways to make money with a website that has an audience, and that's the main point.
A website represents an asset with value in the market without the content creator needing constantly to produce new posts or videos.