The internet has become an extraordinary place for earning cash in ways we’d only dream about in the past. One common – and highly versatile – way of making money online is to sell your knowledge. They’re called information products, and like traditional consulting or teaching, you can make money online by sharing what you know about anything under the sun. That’s right. You’re an expert in crafting chicken coops? How about digital illustrations? You can earn a sizable income if you targeted a topic that people want to learn about.
According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., online learning will reach over $240 billion in sales by 2021. This means that the outlook for tutorials, courses, and other information products remain an all-time high, even if the internet seems to have tutorials about just everything imaginable. Plus, the cool thing about selling your knowledge is that everything you need is inside your brain – the industry secrets, information, steps, techniques, tips and anything else in between.
There are four popular types of info products you can create – PDF-based eBooks, text-based tutorials, videos and audio. Each of these types requires a different method of production, but when it comes to monetizing information products, the options for earning are similar.
How to Earn Money Online from Info Products
Before you decide on how to monetize your tutorial, you first have to determine which route would fit your needs: hosted on third-party sites (like Udemy) or your own website/blog. There are pros and cons to both, but I’d recommend going with the first option if you don’t have an online following yet, and the second option if you do.
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1) Affiliates Commissions – As experts in a particular topic, there’s a good chance that the person reading, listening, or viewing your tutorial will follow your recommendation. To take advantage of any recommendation you may mention with your tutorial, add affiliate links wherever possible. This could be anything from a software, product, service, or even apps, as long as it is relevant to the tutorial.
Make sure that you don’t add affiliate links just to earn. You should believe in the item you’re recommending to your audience because doing so will increase your credibility.
2) Ads – If you have your own website and post tutorials there, you can use AdSense or any other ad network to earn from every click visitors make from the ad. This is the oldest income-generating technique of bloggers, but don’t expect to get rich overnight. In most cases, each click from an ad equals cents, so you’d have to grow your blog and audience first to be able to earn more.
For video tutorials, you have to link your AdSense account with your YouTube account and register to on YouTube’s Partner Program. You’ll then have an option to incorporate ads into your video tutorials and earn cash from each ad view.
3) Subscriptions – Ideal for tutorial blogs with a significant amount of followers, subscriptions are a great source of extra income. To make this work, you’d have to schedule a podcast, seminar, group Q&As, and any other special online conference that you can host with a fee. Industry secrets or insider knowledge works best for this kind of monetization, since you’re asking your followers to pay as ticket for the revelation they wouldn’t find anywhere else.
4) Sell Your Tutorials on third-party sites – If you are 100% sure that you have unique information worthy of sharing, but don’t have any online presence or followers yet, your best bet is to host and sell your tutorials on third-party sites such as Udemy, Skillshare, Curious, OfCourse, Selz and OpenSesame, among others. While these sites take a percentage of the sales from your courses or tutorials, they take care of everything else – from hosting your eBooks, slides, videos and other files, to marketing your tutorials, and even processing payments.
5) Create an Affiliate program – For those who would rather take a bigger chunk of the sales from your tutorials, you can set up your own affiliate program instead of relying on third-party sites to market your info product. This way, you’ll get to decide how much commission to give to your affiliates and benefit from their marketing efforts.
If your website is WordPress-based, you can easily install a plug-in dedicated for your affiliate program. If not, there are affiliate software available for $20 to $500 per month, depending on the number of affiliates and traffic.
The Bottom Line
Aside from providing a valuable product that many people can benefit from, selling information products also double as a marketing technique for service providers like consultants. By proving that you are an expert (or know a lot about a certain topic) with your course, potential clients can see your worth and hire you for a project.
Selling information products also don’t require much investment or any employees. While you may outsource technical tasks, such as video editing or eBook layout, this business has minimal operating costs. However, you do need to perform a comprehensive market research to gauge how much interest your topic will have. There’s no use in creating a tutorial about something no one is interested in learning, so give enough time to conduct your research before starting to produce any kind of tutorial.
The best thing about selling tutorials online is that they’re passive income-generating, which means after crafting your tutorial, you’ll continue to earn for as long as the course remains online.