Ten Questions: When Is Your Content Ready to Be Monetized?

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ESPN is a prime example of a corporation heeding Osborne’s advice. Josh Snow, senior director of interactive video at ESPN, states, "At ESPN, we want every sports fan to be able to reach our content and have a great experience with it, no matter where they are or what device they are using."

5. Do you have a growing viewer base?
John Bell, managing director of the 360° Digital Influence initiative at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, suggests asking, "Does your content have six months of steady audience growth?"

By showing steady growth over a period of six months, you demonstrate the ability to capture an audience, keep them intrigued, and grow your user base. These are attractive characteristics for advertisers. The growth also gives you an increasing set of audience profile statistics.

6. Do you know your audience?
Expo TV president Bill Hildebolt tells us that "content needs to have several attributes to be monetized by advertising, including a critical mass of viewers and a definable viewing demographic that is of interest to advertisers."

This "definable viewing demographic" information includes attitude, psychographic, and audience segmentation information that advertisers can use to target their messaging and create metrics to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

7. Does your content have social currency?
Are your fans vocal about your content? A vocal fan base is usually a good indication of how your viewers will communicate with each other and with others on the web about your content.

Ogilvy’s John Bell advises to ask "Do people compete for the first post slot on the blog associated with your episodes?" In the Web 2.0 world, viral distribution and vocal users on the blogosphere lead to traffic spikes for your content.

8. Do you have a unifying theme for your content?
If you’ve answered "yes" to the first seven questions, then you probably have a good formula to start making some money off of your content online. The next step for you is to sustain that revenue stream. Offering unified content or content themes allows you to sell advertising across a slate of content and allows you to predict traffic and create inventory and forecasts.

9. Is your content advertising-safe?
If you decide on an advertising model, be aware of the challenges you might face depending on the nature of your content. Hildebolt says "a low risk of negative associations or PR with your content." Risk is what makes user-generated sites less attractive to advertisers right now.

10. Can your content increase your company's overall revenue?
In some instances, monetizing content is not as straightforward as selling advertising or subscriptions. Some companies’ online strategies may be about brand extension or driving other revenue streams. These are all forms of monetization if they help your bottom line.

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