Optimizing for higher ad revenues per each visitor session is crucial if you want to truly maximize your ad revenue. But sometimes that’s just not enough cause where there’s revenue there are also expenses.
At the most basic level, AdSense publishers can be lumped into two categories. The first, are the “nice to have” crowd. For them, AdSense is just a tool to make a few extra bucks to cover hosting costs and some expenses while publishing content (mostly) for content’s sake.
They’re a lot more focused on getting their message out than they are on making money from the ads around it. If you’re one of “those publishers” you can expect us to always say hi in the hallway but will probably criticize your choice of sandwich behind your back.
The second type are the “professional” AdSense publishers. They treat online publishing as a business. One with a growth strategy and clearly defined goals of maximizing profit margins on content creation and curation.
If that sounds anything like you, you can expect us to chat you up in the hallway until you’re eventually forced to make up an excuse to get away from us and awkwardly walk away.
Reaching Publisher Nirvana
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know a lot of our content has to do withAdSense optimization for higher revenues. It’s kind of what we do. So we talk talk about it, a lot.
Reaching the ad optimization “sweet spot” is the first step, but in order to reach the perfect balance of “Publisher Nirvana” there’s another “sweet spot” you should be looking for: production ROI.
Publishing is a business like any business. You invest time, money, and effort in producing and marketing a product (content, in your case) and you profit from its consumption (through content monetization techniques). That’s a no-brainer. So while you’re working to bring in more money, you should also be making efforts to spend less.
At this point you might be thinking: “Yes, but if I spend less, I will create an inferior product, which will not only reduce consumption and profits as a result, but also damage the brand.”
Sheesh, When you did get so smart? Are you a publisher or a marketer? Yes, you’re right. Crappy content is the last thing you want in your publication, and content quality is really the last place you should be cutting corners.
But have no fear! We have plenty of tips to help you reduce average production costs while still offering your audience superior value.
Why you should be outsourcing, automating, and crowdsourcing (OAC) your content creation
Don’t panic, we’re not suggesting to fire your awesome team or worse, switch to lower quality coffee. In fact, if you apply your OAC strategy correctly, your team will be more effective and love you more, if that’s even possible. And you’ll be able to generate more content while investing less. That just makes any coffee taste better.
Your team’s time is worth money (even if that team is you and your cat). Now it’s time to squeeze the most you can from it without crossing over to the dark side of fatigue and frustration.
Let’s say you have a two person content creation team – Mel & Bob. Now take Mel, for example. Mel is an amazing vlogger, but it takes her forever to write the text around her video posts. She could be using this time to do what she does best – more videos.
Or take Bob, who is a brilliant content editor that wastes time fiddling with creating and customizing illustrations for posts. This is just your money going down the drain. And odds are? They too would rather be doing what they’re great at.
You might be thinking: “I’ll just move tasks around! Bob can view Mel’s video and write the description while she creates illustrations.” This might make your team’s work a little more versatile, but you’re not actually gaining much, if anything at all.
Mel can still bring more value to the business if she vlogs instead of doing work a moderately trained monkey could do. And Bob can edit two or three posts in the time it’ll take him to watch and describe Mel’s video. You get the idea.
So what do we do with these tasks? We OAC them hard and well.
Content creation automating – Man vs Machine
It’s a chicken and egg scenario, when you think about it: Machines are perfect for the boring tasks that we don’t like to do because we designed them with those tasks in mind.
Or, is it that, unlike people, machines lack creativity, no matter how hard Google is trying to change that. They never get tired or sick, never complain, and can be replaced or upgraded much more easily than people.
Some of the processes in your content production routine can be automated, even if you think they cannot. For example, instead of spending time manually compiling a newsletter (some still do!), you can automate the process with marketing automation software like Hubspot, Autopilot, and even the more traditional ESPs (email service providers), such as Mailchimp, are offering some level of automation.
If none of those are right for your needs you can invest in a programmer to write a few lines of code for you. Don’t be overly fearful of content automation. It’s the future, and In the long run, it will save you money. Scouts’ honor!
Commanding Your Robot Army
Machines don’t often make mistakes. People on the other hand…well, you know.
This means two things:
1. Test before you automate
2. Keep an eye on the machines
Anyone can offload work to machines, but we want to make it effective in the long run. So first of all – take it slow and test before you pull the trigger and decide on a winning solution..
Try different tools and services to see which saves the most time while costing you the least money. Make sure your shiny new script works on the testing server before unleashing it on production.
Second, automating a process doesn’t mean you can forget all about it. If you own a cleaning robot that sometimes gets lost in the house – you know what I mean. You still need to check on your automation workflows to make sure everything works and looks right. An effective automation process does not mean you don’t need a content team anymore. Instead, it makes editors and curators out of content creators and researchers, and that’s a big time and money saver.
Need a scenario? If you have a WordPress based website, then Curation Traffic is a WordPress theme that automates the process of content curation while allowing you to build your list and authority.
If you have posts that are backed by a lot of data then Automated Insights translates data into words, and they do it well.
Power to the People – Outsourcing & Crowdsourcing
Please stay calm! You don’t need to start preparing for the robot apocalypse just yet. Despite the recent proliferation of automation software, algorithms, and bots, humans are still necessary. Not just to oversee, maintain, and manage but also to perform tasks that are difficult for computers to accomplish.
Those tasks don’t need to burden your already overworked staff. Instead, some of the tasks you and your team do now, can (and sometimes must) be offloaded into the hands of other people. Here are some examples:
> Finding and customizing illustrations and graphic components
> Source checking
> Specialized content (that would require the creator to learn and research a lot)
> Authority content (lawyers, doctors and other professionals)
If you give it some thought, you can probably come up with more content generation tasks you can offload to other people that are unique to your online business. So the next step is finding the right people to do it for the right price.
Crowdsourcing – The Price of Free
There’s a saying that claims that you get what you pay for. This is half true. Some things don’t have a price tag attached to them, and getting them requires time and effort.
When it comes to content generation, finding people who will write (or create other types of content) for free isn’t easy. When you do find them, they are often so bad at it you end up investing more in making their creations suitable for consumption than you would creating something else.
Our first tip is to avoid the free content that’ll end up costing you time and effort. Don’t jump on any opportunity and every text you’re handed.
Remember that value is paramount. So when looking for guest post authors, seek out professionals or experienced writers who can provide something unique like a different angle.
A few examples: reach out to artists you think might want to use your website to launch a new creation. Find experts who’ll be happy to just have their name out there in a publication they do not own.
Now depending on your niche, crowdsourcing content can be very easy or very difficult. You can try using HARO to get blurbs of short to medium length from various authors and then simply bring it all together for a round-up post.
Those can be very popular and your authors will likely help you drive traffic as well. Another option is to go on relevant forums or social media chats and ask for participation. In return you can offer links or simply a mention.
Outsourcing – Bang for Buck
You gotta spend money to make money. But you also need to do it right to keep those margins growing, and that average cost per item dropping.
Unless you’re a one-man-wonder or a beginner in the world of publishing, you’ve had some experience with freelancers (both domestic and foreign) and it’s more than likely that some of it was just plain bad.
But don’t despair! High-quality freelancers are out there. This thread on Builder Society has some good tips on hiring cheap workforce overseas and making the most of it.
In addition to the valuable information offered in this post, we strongly recommend you “adopt” freelancers. What does that mean? In the process of working with freelancers and outsource services, you’ll come across some that are especially good and professional.
Hang on to them as hard as you can and treat them well. Even though you might not be paying them as much as you pay your team, if they’re good at what they do and cost less, you want to keep them around. At the same time, you want to maintain reasonable expectations. You’re not going to get high quality content for cheap and quickly. When in need, please refer to the graph below:
Now that we have a full(er) understanding of content outsourcing we should probably provide you with at least one recommended service that delivers quality outsourced content.
Writer Access brings in over 14,000 US based writers that do anything from simple marketing copy to creating a full content strategy.
They’re also not too pricy with prices ranging from $0.02 per word for simple SEO copy up to $2 per word for what must be some mind blowing content. However, keep in mind that they will not work on your CMS so you still have to do some work.
OAC The Future
Content creation automation, specialization, and work process optimization are all just fancy words that mean that now you can finally book that vacation in the Bahamas you’ve been promising yourself for years. Now that’s real content value!