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Take Your Content Monetization to the Next Level: Tips, Strategies, and Tools for Success

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Are you a digital publisher or a social media influencer spending hour after hour to making content and trying to grow your audience? Are you unhappy with the payoff? We've got a solution that might just fit the bill: start your own eCommerce store selling virtual inventory from your favorite Shopify or WooCommerce brands as sellers.

While creating meaningful content is important, the seasonality and unpredictability of ads and affiliate links can make it difficult to achieve consistent revenue.

Additionally, working with brands can bring its own challenges, such as negotiating payments or navigating legal issues. How about a stream of income on your terms, independent from the brands, advertising networks, and affiliate programs?

Vendo lets you monetize your content website, Instagram or TikTok audience, Youtube or podcast subscribers, or your newsletter by leveraging a multi-brand eCommerce dropshipping business with tens of Shopify brands onboarded in minutes.

It’s much more efficient and less seasonal than indirect methods such as advertising, affiliate marketing, and brand sponsorships. Here are case studies and proven strategies for content monetization.


Content monetization strategies for influencers

There are a few different ways to monetize your online content, and the best method for you will depend on your subject matter, audience, and goals. Some approaches require a large, established, and engaged audience. Other approaches might actually harm your personal brand if not used wisely. Check out this list of content monetization models to compare their benefits and limitations.


Advertising is probably the most common form of monetization for online content. You can sell ad space on your website or blog or even partner with an ad network like Google AdSense or Youtube Partner Program to place ads throughout your content.

Pros of using ads as your content monetization strategy:

  • It is super easy to set up, and you can launch it right away

Cons of using ads as your content monetization strategy:

  • A large and engaged audience is necessary to make a decent income from ads.
  • Ads can be intrusive and disruptive to the user experience.
  • This method of monetizing content is becoming less effective, with more and more users using adblocking software.
  • If not done correctly, ads can negatively impact your brand image.
  • You may need to sacrifice some control over the content on your site to accommodate ads.

Affiliate sales

Affiliate sales is the practice of promoting another company's products or services in your content to earn a commission on any sales generated from your referrals, usually done with affiliate links.

Pros of using affiliate marketing as your content monetization strategy:

  • It's quite easy to set up.
  • You can choose to promote products or services that are relevant to your niche and audience.

Cons of using affiliate marketing as your content monetization strategy:

  • To make decent money from affiliate marketing, you need a large and engaged audience or a very effective SEO strategy to draw traffic to your website.
  • You might need to join several affiliate networks to find the variety of products that you would like to promote.
  • The best affiliate programs, like Amazon Affiliate or Mediavine, require special approval and are difficult to get into.
  • You have no influence over the customer service around the products that you help sell through affiliate marketing.
  • Google phasing out cookies will limit the effectiveness of this method of monetizing content. You will only get credit for the sales done directly after clicking through from your website, not over the next 30 or 60 days, as it works with cookies now.

Brand sponsorships and product placements

If you have a large and engaged audience, you may be able to attract brands who are willing to pay you to promote their products or services on your site or in your content.

Pros of using brand sponsorships as your content monetization strategy:

  • You can choose to promote products or services that are relevant to your niche and audience.
  • You usually get free products (which is cool but doesn't pay the bills).

Cons of using brand sponsorships as your content monetization strategy:

  • Only creators with a large and engaged audience can negotiate a decent rate. For micro-influencers, brands are usually only willing to provide products in exchange for promotion.
  • Brand sponsorships can be time-consuming to secure. Pitching to brands and negotiating the rates takes a lot of time, not to mention preparing the sponsored content itself.
  • You may have to sacrifice some control over your site’s/account’s content to accommodate sponsors.
  • Too many sponsorships may make your profile look spammy and negatively impact your brand image.


If you have a very large following, you might be able to ask your fans or viewers to donate to support your work. This approach is quite common among YouTubers and podcasters. You can use platforms such as PayPal or Patreon to accept donations.

Pros of using donations as your content monetization strategy:

  • You don't have to sell ads or product placements.
  • You maintain full control over the content on your site.
  • Donations are a form of voluntary payment, so people will only donate if they find your content valuable.

Cons of using donations as your content monetization strategy:

  • You will need a large and engaged audience to receive a decent amount of money from donations.
  • Asking for donations can be seen as greedy or tacky.
  • Not everyone who views your content will be willing or able to donate, so you may need to provide additional incentives for people to donate, such as exclusive content.
  • Donations can fluctuate month-to-month, so it's not a consistent form of income.

Exclusive content

Create premium content that is only available to paying subscribers. Exclusive content could be anything from articles behind a paywall or podcast episodes to detailed instructional videos or ebooks.

Pros of using exclusive content as your content monetization strategy:

  • You maintain full control over the content on your site.
  • You control who can access exclusive content.

Cons of using exclusive content as your content monetization strategy:

  • Not everyone will be willing to pay for exclusive content.
  • You may need to offer a free trial or discount to persuade people to subscribe.
  • Users with access to the premium content might share it without your consent.
  • You will need to create new and valuable content to keep people subscribed continuously.

Create and sell your own products

You can sell physical or digital products related to your niche, such as clothes, cosmetics, ebooks, online courses, etc.

Pros of creating and selling your own products:

  • You can manufacture your dream products.
  • You don't have to share your revenue with anyone.

Cons of creating and selling your own products:

  • You will need to invest a lot of time and money into manufacturing the products.
  • Many costs are connected with keeping a stock, creating and operating an online store, managing orders, returns, etc.
  • You will need to take care of shipping and returns or pay someone to do it for you.
  • There is no guarantee that people will buy your products, so your investment might not pay off.
  • You will need to continuously create new products to keep people interested and the sales going.

Launch a dropshipping marketplace with products from your favorite brands

Pros of launching an online marketplace:

  • You have complete control over your brand, pricing, and customer service.
  • You keep the relationship with your audience and customer.
  • You can start with very little up-front investment.
  • You don't have to carry any inventory or worry about shipping.
  • You set your commission values, meaning you have greater control over how much revenue you generate.
  • It’s a scalable business model with minimal operational or cash-flow risk.
  • There are no limitations on how many products you can have in your marketplace.
  • You can work with multiple suppliers from all over the world.
  • No hidden costs


Why is a dropshipping marketplace a great idea to monetize your content?

Many new and old media companies rely too heavily on advertising revenue, which is both an indirect way to monetize content and also happens to be unreliable and often frustrates audiences. This outdated model was carried over from traditional media to digital media and individual creators. As a result, content creators are always looking for new and innovative ways to monetize their content to preserve their longevity..

A dropshipping marketplace is an alternative wherein the benefits greatly outweigh the effort. It's a proven and scalable business model that requires very little upfront investment. With Vendo, you can launch an online dropshipping platform within days. And fill it with hundreds of products by integrating with your favorite brands' Shopify stores.

Vendo is a marketplace software created with content creators in mind.

Examples of content-driven eCommerce businesses founded by digital publishers

Woo by ITV

Woo is an online platform that combines editorial content with a marketplace that runs on Vendo. It is funded and owned by ITV to help the broadcaster reach Gen Z viewers through a combination of social media content as well as documentaries and comedy series featuring major TikTok stars, all with wellness at the center.

Goop by Gwyneth Paltrow

Goop is a lifestyle brand providing digital content and commerce launched in 2008 from Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen as a homespun weekly newsletter that quickly grew to 1 million subscribers.

Gwyneth wanted a place to organize her unbiased travel recommendations, health-centric recipes, and shopping discoveries for friends. Now, Goop has become a fully formed lifestyle marketplace, offering a tight curation of products and content.

Ipsy by Michelle Phan

Ipsy is an eCommerce subscription business founded in 2011 by YouTube beauty vlogger Michelle Phan. For $10 a month, subscribers receive a “Glam Bag” with sample-sized beauty products.

Ipsy raised over $100 million in Series B funding in 2015, and with well over 2.5 million monthly subscribers, the site maintains its leading position in the beauty subscription-service industry. In contrast, Ipsy’s closest competitor, Birchbox, has 1 million monthly subscribers.

Ipsy spends very little on paid advertising; its growth can be accredited to Michelle's social media efforts, which amassed over 8 million on YouTube and over 2 million on Instagram.


Glossier is a beauty brand launched by Emily Weiss, a fashion assistant at Vogue. It started in 2010 as a blog called Into the Gloss featuring interviews with inspiring women and articles on skincare and makeup. 2012 saw 200,000 monthly unique visitors to the site. Come 2016, that number had risen to 1.3 million.

After the website Into the Gloss reached 10 million page views per month and gained corporate sponsorships, Weiss left her job at Vogue to focus on her business full-time. In October 2014, the eCommerce site was launched and introduced the company's first four products. According to Fortune, Weiss "Quietly turned Glossier into one of the most disruptive brands in beauty."

Violet Grey

Based in Los Angeles, California, Violet Grey is a venture-backed content and commerce beauty company with a readership base in over 170 countries and a luxury shopping destination bringing together an edit of the best in beauty.

Violet Grey started like so many 21st-century brands: as an Instagram feed. In this case, one belonging to interior designer Cassandra Grey, the company’s founder. The popular feed evolved into the Violet Files blog before taking off as an eCommerce venture.

Unlike the massive spectrum of products and price points, one might find in a Sephora or Ulta Beauty, Violet Grey’s stock is deliberately pared down. Only products that are the mainstays of celebrities and their makeup artists make it onto their shelves.

The Blonde Salad by Chiara Ferragni

In 2009, Chiara Ferragni launched her fashion blog, In 2013, she followed that up with the launch of her brand, the Chiara Ferragni Collection. In 2016, Chiara took her style blog to the next level by turning it into a full-blown lifestyle website and expanding it into an eCommerce platform.

In 2020, Forbes nominated her as the world's most powerful fashion influencer, and Instagram announced that her Instagram profile has the second most engaging Instagram stories in the fashion category.

Launch a marketplace with Vendo in 7 easy steps

Vendo enables publishers, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, and other influencers to quickly and easily launch their own marketplaces with curated products, customizable pricing, and detailed analytics reports.

With Vendo, you'll be able to maximize your revenue and reach a wider audience.

  1. Book a demo call to get started
  2. Find Shopify brands you like and onboard them to your marketplace.
  3. Start curating your product catalog to be on-brand and reflect your angle
  4. Set your commission rates.
  5. Start selling by allowing your marketplace customers to shop for many different products in a single order and with a single payment.
  6. Keep your sales commission from all marketplace orders
  7. Track your progress and earnings with detailed analytics in the Vendo dashboard.


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