My first attempt at monetizing the internet was a complete and utter failure.
I was sitting in my bed, ferociously hunting down referrals for a cryptocurrency smart contract. I wanted to add to my profits that were so small they could only be viewed through a microscope.
I made YouTube videos and maybe told two people via word of mouth.
As I said, I failed.
I (obviously) didn't know it at the time, but I've now come to understand that any successful digital business—let alone a writing business—must have 3 ingredients if there's going to be any hint of success.
We're about to go over these elements and I hope you guys enjoy today's issue!
Element 1 → Attention
If you haven't figured it out yet, we're currently living in the attention era.
With TikTok absorbing half of the world's focus, and just about every other social media claiming the rest of the consciousness, it's imperative that a business operates alongside this reality.
Attention is now the world's most valuable currency.
It used to be money, time, or whatever else anyone used to say, but I think it's clear that attention is now king. And in case you're wondering why, it's because that attention can easily be turned into money which in turn, is time.
So. This begs the question. How can we take advantage of this attention engine?
For writers specifically, I believe that there is a trifecta of platforms we can utilize.
In that order.
You could argue one over the other concerning the initial two, but I have grown a strong liking for Twitter. That's just me.
However, LinkedIn has an incredible user base and I'm currently putting the pedal to the medal there (if you're not already following me, you should be).
The main point of this "attention engine" is to build out a niche and attract potential customers. The attention we gather will (hopefully) send them to our retention element, which we're covering now.
Element 2 → Retention
You're currently reading my "retention engine."
It's the newsletter!
I just finished listening to a mini-podcast with Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush, where Cole was talking about how the newsletter acts as a closed loop.
What he means by that is this. The only way someone will find your newsletter (from your current subscriber base) is if they tell a friend via word of mouth.
The attention element is an open loop because the algorithm can continuously push your content to new eyes.
Since the retention aspect of a writing business is just a list that doesn't change (unless you yourself bring more eyes), its sole purpose is to retain the readers.
The long-form content does a great job of gaining trust and building more of a relationship between the consumer and creator.
Me specifically, I like writing long-form content more than short-form, so it works well. I started writing on Medium, so long-form has always had a special place in my heart.
With that said, the newsletter or any email system is what will retain our readers so that we can move them toward the element that will actually provide for our lifestyle.
Element 3 → Monetization
Money makes the world go 'round.
Like it or not, it's true. And now that we've found an interested prospect through the element of attention, and moved them over so that we may retain them, it's now time to hopefully monetize them.
Here's the cool part I haven't yet mentioned.
You might actually be able to monetize a viewer from the attention engine (they go straight to the purchase). And in fact, you can actually monetize the retention engine (newsletter sponsorships).
That's the beauty of all this.
But what's most likely to happen, is that someone comes along and enjoys your "attention content" (the short form) and then they move to your "retention content" (the long form).
Once they do that, there's a way higher chance of them interacting with your monetized content which can live in the form of many things.
Anything. These are just a few options.
And this is where the big bucks are made. Monetization is key to any successful business, but you need to have the first two aspects to get here.