How To Sell Expert Content Online

March 12, 2011 | by

Do you mind making some extra cash from Adsense? It’s nice and not so hard. You can even earn with average content as long as your site has the traffic. Some would say it’s even better to have mediocre content because people will get bored and click on ads. Beginners in any topic are the best market for making money with Adsense.

The things are completely different if you create expert content.

Expert content does not work well with advertising. Expert information doesn’t attract huge amounts of traffic simply because experts in every niche are much lower number than the beginners. This means less ad impressions, less profits. Experts are less likely to click on ads too – because most ads are targeted to newbies, advanced users rarely find anything relevant in them.

Affiliate marketing doesn’t work well with advanced content either. Sites like Clickbank offer mostly low quality to intermediate products that are not appealing to experts. You may possibly sell some other kind of related products, even physical ones – but if they are really good, your expert users already know about them.

Essentially you are left with only one vital option:

Charge for your content!

This actually works well with expert content:

  • Your readers value knowledge. In one or another way expert users get paid well for their knowledge. Most of them are ready to pay well for valuable information, unlike most newbies.
  • They can afford it. For everyone who is expert in his professional field it wouldn’t be a problem to spend few or few hundred dollars on some e-course.
  • They don’t like ads and content promoting affiliate products. Most advanced users know how easily content becomes biased and loses quality when it’s used to promote affiliate products. Premium, paid content doesn’t need to do this – it just has to be good.

So, what are the best options to sell premium content online?

E-book or audio-book

E-books are the most popular form of selling premium (and not so premium) content online. An 100 – 300 pages e-book (or equivalent audio-book) with valuable information can be sold between $19 and $99. It’s not easy to write a book of such volume, but you only do it once and then there are no publishing costs. You can sell thousands of copies and it will cost you nothing else except the advertising fees.

Promotion methods for e-books are unlimited – PPC, SEO, direct advertising, affiliates… Even if you have to share 50% with affiliates, the rest of it remains pure profit to you.

2. Combined courses – text, audio, video etc. One of the downsides of e-books is that you just can’t charge more than two digits for an e-book. Sure, there is no law to stop you, but if you try with an e-book that costs $200, you’ll find out noone is buying it. It’s just that people expect that e-books cost between $10 and $100 and there is almost no chance to break this rule.

On the other hand if you create a set of videos, texts, and audio records you can charge anything up to $997 and this will be accepted as fair price. On the higher end you’d better ship your e-course on DVDs too. This will cost you few dollars for production and shipping, but well, you are charging 3 digits so don’t be squeezed.

Membership site

This one is my favorite. Instead of working hard for months, sometimes years until your information product is finished, why don’t you start much sooner with developed content for the first 3 months and then develop it further while it goes? This is a great advantage of membership sites over info-products. Moreover, your first users will give you immediate feedback and you can modify your future content accordingly to it.

Your membership site can be a great earner too. While in most cases you can’t charge over $99 (there are few exceptions here), this is ongoing income. As long as your users are happy with the content you provide they will keep paying for it, and every new customer you add will add to your bottom line long term. If you create a private community where people can discuss advanced topics and help each other you may even solve the problem with adding top quality content yourself all the time.

A great example of how turning an e-book into membership site literally exploded profits is Aaron Wall’s SEOBook. It costs $300 per month and has thousands of members!

Offline workshops and seminars.

Selling information on offline workshops is not my cup of tea, so I don’t have first hand experience to share about this. But it takes an easy search to find out that prices for most offline seminars are in the 4-digits range. While there are expenses like conference rooms, drinks etc, they are nothing compared to the profits such workshop can make.

Although seminars can be very profitable, I don’t think doing them can beat running a successful membership site. But there is one huge advantage to these offline events – they connect people in very real way. Many fruitful business partnerships have started on such events.

Have you tried to charge for expert content so far or are you struggling to monetize it with ads? Feel free to share your experience!


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