Your Passive Income Sources are Also Marketing
Or why publishing one article is more profitable than publishing one article
Anybody who creates and sells content as a form of passive income what’s to know how to earn more money from the content they create. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you; anybody who invests their time in something wants to have as big of an impact as possible, and make as much profit from it as possible.
Medium is full of articles talking about how we can have that impact by writing more, and more, and more. If we commit to creating new passive income sources every day we get better at creating those products. Since we’re better at doing it we create more value for people, more people are willing to consume our content, and we make more money from it.
I think this is all true, and I don’t mean to disagree.
But I do think those articles are missing a key point.
Your passive income sources are also marketing for your other passive income sources. The content you create is essentially advertising for the other content you create.
How does this work?
We all know that this is true at some fundamental level. Let’s start with discussing Medium since it’s a platform we’re all familiar with.
If you write a quality article and publish it on Medium some people will read it. You get paid from the time that people spend reading it (At this point publishing your one article is equally profitable to publishing your one article). This is a good start.
But if people like your article, they might follow you. If they follow you then they’re more likely to see your future articles. Since they’re more likely to see your future articles, you’re more likely to get paid for time they spend reading them…which might not have happened without that first article. Now publishing that first article has increased the profit from your second article. Publishing one article is more profitable than publishing one article.
This same effect can also occur because you already had other articles published. Maybe whoever read your new article liked it, has some spare time, and decided to see what else you’ve written. That new person decides to read your other articles, which (s)he never would have encountered otherwise. And you get paid more. Publishing your new article is more profitable than publishing one article.
And thus we reveal some of the power of passive income and content creation. Each piece of passive income content that you create is also a form of marketing for all of the other pieces of passive income content that you create.
How do these marketing effects happen?
I see three different ways that this effect takes place. They are:
- Accidental connections: Accidental connections are what I described above. You create a piece of content. People find you, like your content, and seek out more of your work. It happened, but you didn’t actively make it happen. It almost happened by accident.
- Intentional connections: This is similar to accidental connections, except you put in effort to direct traffic to make it happen. Maybe you saw common themes between two of your Medium articles, mention it in the article, and provide links between the two. Now people who read and enjoy one article are more likely to read the second. It’s way more likely to happen because you put in the marketing effort of providing the links.
- Connections to synergistic products: In this type we take the initiative to connect our readers, whether they’re reading Medium articles or subscribing to your email list, to other products that they might be interested in. Maybe these products are collections of works they’d be interested in, maybe they support the content they’re currently consuming. Regardless, the content that you produce for them is simultaneously informing them of your other content and giving them reason to want that content. So suddenly the content that you produced increases your income from other content.
What are some examples of this?
These effects are things I’ve noticed in all of my passive income generation work, and they show up in a number of different ways.
Accidental connections mostly happen through people liking what you write and deciding to pay attention to you. Since you write one article they’re more likely to notice other articles. This could even be connections between completely unrelated articles. People who like my personal finance articles are more likely to notice my articles on leadership, Python programming, or comedy. I’m not putting in any effort to create the connections, but they happen anyway. One good piece of work convinces people to pay attention to other good pieces of work.
Intentional connections happen when we intentionally link our work. For instance, I have a series of articles that provide readers with a tutorial on how to automate scientific data analysis. This series of six articles naturally flows from one to the next in the series, and I provide a table of contents at the end of each article. In this way readers of one article are more likely to both find and be interested in the other articles. If you want to see an example of how I do that, check out this introductory article (See what I did there?).
Then, finally, we can use the content we create as marketing for other synergistic pieces of content. In this case we’re directing people to something that their interest in our new content indicates they may be interested in. For instance, the automated data analysis tutorial I linked to above is far more valuable if the readers can perform the data analysis themselves. Then they can practice thinking through the concepts, writing the code, examining the results, and so on. So each article in that series contains a link to a data set that I created and that they can purchase. They may be interested in it because improves their learning experience. And I get more sales of the data set because the tutorial articles act as marketing for it.
How can you use these concepts?
Think about how each piece of content can be marketing for your other content.
There’s one main question here that you can use to turn your content creation into marketing. That question is: What else would people find interesting?
That question can take many forms.
- If they like this article, what other articles would they like?
- What challenges might arise in this article, and how can I address them?
- Would readers of this article be interested in collections of articles, or purchasing a published book?
And any number of other examples that may fit based on your unique situation.
When you start thinking beyond whether or not people want to read your article and start thinking about what other content they may be interested in, you can start thinking about how each piece of content you create can be active marketing for your other content.
Wrapping it Up
I imagine that most content creators have the same goals. We want to solve problems for people, and we want to make money. We want to help as many people as possible with as many problems as possible, providing our solutions so they can use them at their own will. And we want to be compensated for the value we provide to them. Anything we can do to connect people from one piece of our work to another will help achieve both goals. They’ll be more likely to find solutions to their problems, and we’ll receive more income.
The way to do this is to start thinking about each piece of content you create not as an individual piece of content, but as a marketing tool. Think about what the people reading your article will also be interested in. Think about how you can connect the dots between your different pieces of content to offer as much value as possible. Think about what supporting products could be created to make your existing content more valuable. Then connect them, so that people are more likely to find what they need and you’re more likely to make profit.
If you start thinking about your content in this way publishing one article will be more profitable than simply publishing one article. Because that new article will make all your other works more profitable as well.