Your team of marketers may already be creating valuable, insightful and market-leading content by the buckletload, and driving additional views to your website, as well as increasing your social media followings; but have you thought about content that will bring in additional revenue? Here is how to monetise B2B content from your online community - you could be sitting on some very easy wins.
Webinars are such an effective way for sponsors to get their hands on high quality leads and often use third party webinars for demand generation.
Of the lead generation tactics available, webinars are the second most effective type of premium content for marketers and yet they are one of the least often used ranking 12th out of 14 tactics according to CMI.
The key in attracting sponsorship for your webinar is ensuring you have a killer topic, a strong speaker/panel of participants and a healthy network to promote it to. If you can demonstrate your reach beyond your own database too that's a big bonus - social media, partners, speaker networks.
A point worth making - unless your webinar is highly technical / unique we wouldn't suggest you charging attendees - you're much better off focusing on getting a sponsor instead. Just ensure you retain some of the content narrative and don't let sponsors take complete control!
This is one of the most efficient ways of getting money from a potential sponsor. It kills three birds with one stone so to speak. Revenue, insight and content! B2B solution providers and sponsor profile companies are always keen to acquire prospect qualification data and surveys are a great way to do this. It's also a powerful tool to gain customer insight which will help carve how you develop future products, services, content and even tone - it's amazing what can come out of a survey if you ask the right questions! And imagine the potential content ideas - a trigger for endless blogs and articles.
A little tip which you probably know already - with a survey, you would normally need to offer something juicy to get people to participate - the chance to win free event tickets, an iPad, free training etc..
Ebooks and it's very effective cousins
So ebooks have been around a while and for the most part they are still very effective - again you need a strong topic and well written, structured content for it to be a good lead generation tool. But beyond the trusted ebook, what we're encouraging more and more of are formats that are less about reading and much more about useful documents to help readers through a process or activity more efficiently - for example step-by-step guides, templates, blueprints and workbooks. Things that people will keep by the side of their desk (this is a whole blog in itself in fact.. which we'll add to our content list!)
So with any of these formats you can either collaborate with your potential sponsor and create something together or the sponsor may have something in place that they simply want to put infront of your audience or they approach you to create it from scratch. Whichever way, there's a great opportunity to monetise this channel.
Videos and Interviews
Why use video and why would sponsors pay for it? Videos are really versatile and because they're engaging and interesting in nature, they instantly attract a good CTR. They can be nicely positioned in your blog, newsletter, homepage and resources page.
To monetise this channel, you can interview companies that market relevant solutions and distribute these to your community as a soft-sell advertorial. Sponsors are keen to make use of this medium given the rise of video - and sometimes they just need the external resource to make it happen. They may also be interested in sponsoring speaker or delegate interviews from your live events.
Here is an example of how our friends at the business-reporter.co.uk do it (and very well).
As a B2B online community you'll be sending out regular updates to your database - and this presents a great opportunity to include third party inclusions. To ensure it still "adds value" put some guidelines in place, where you'll only include a banner/mention of a webinar, report, whitepaper etc or get them to sponsor an article. The key is not plastering your newsletter with hard-sell adverts otherwise your unsubscribe rates are likely to soar. Solus emails are also an option - which you can charge good money for.
Your marketing team may already be creating content worth monetising - or at least have some cool ideas, so turning it into an additional revenue stream will be relatively simple and of course great for demonstrating ROI from your community. All that's needed is working closer with your business development/sponsorship teams in creating a bank of content assets you can offer to your potential sponsors and clients.
Photo credit: Alf Melin