Starting your own blog can be a great experience. You have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with an ever-growing audience of readers. While writing itself is a joy, many bloggers also find ways to make money through their writing. Most of these are through your readers, whether they are clicking affiliate links or buying your digital content. However, one of the more exciting ways to make a buck off your blogs is to share your content with other websites. With the right platform, marketing, and content ownership strategy, anyone can make money by writing a valuable blog and exporting that content to other websites.
Many larger websites and blogs keep their content lively by hosting other writers, usually found through their private blogs. But once you start dealing with other websites, writers, and their income streams, things will tend to get more complicated. Whether you're doing it for the readership exposure or for the money (if there is money involved), it's essential to know how to protect yourself and your content when making this kind of deal. For bloggers who don't yet have a huge following or aren't business-savvy outside of blogging, this is most likely to occur as a more extensive blog reaching out and asking to host a few of your articles. But beware, the deals they offer you initially are often not in your best interest.
Today, we're here to talk about the five rules of sharing your blog content with other websites. These tips will help you retain ownership and control over your content and increase the chances of actually seeing returns on your hard work.
Always, always, always have a contract. No matter how flattered you are to be asked for your content, no matter how much you like the other blog; you're hosting with, never agree to share your content without drawing up a fair contract that protects you from potential problems.
Contracts define both expectations and rights. Your end of the contract will likely include either writing dedicated content or agreeing to share specific articles that your new blogging partner likes and wants to host. Their end of the contract will include treating your content with respect, not sharing it without your permission, approved edits, what can be advertised using your content, and so forth.
Look into boilerplate contracts to start with and prepare to make sure certain things are included. Do not simply accept a contract that is offered to you by another party, as it will most likely be designed for their benefit and not yours.
One of the primary things your contract should define is content rights. DO NOT sell your content to another website. You can let them use your content (free or for a fee), you can let them link to your content or advertise their affiliate links through your work, but do not sell the rights to the words you have written or the images you created for your blog. Otherwise, they might have grounds to keep you from using your content for your own purposes.
That said, be careful when posting your content anywhere that is not your privately owned website. Many websites have clauses in the Terms of Service that define any and all posted content as theirs to do with as they please. Third-party websites are tricky, and we recommend linking your blog content to them rather than posting the text directly in order to protect your automatic digital copyright.
It's a great feeling when another blog wants to host your content, but don't let them do so without oversight. Many bigger blogs and content websites have partners, affiliates, child-sites, and other places they might put content they have acquired. And the last thing you want is for your content to be used indiscriminately without your knowledge. You don't want to run into an article you wrote taken out of context on a site you wouldn't approve of, or being used to make someone else money without you getting paid.
Make sure that your contract includes a requirement that your new blogging partner gets your permission any time they want to re-post your content. Whether they want to refresh the content on their own blog, post it with a partner, or use it for a future promotion, they will need to get your permission first. This gives you the ability to both control where your content goes and be aware of any place it has been used after giving permission for it to leave your private blog.
Next, it's time to decide if you're going to charge for the use of your content. For the most part, you should. If your content is good enough that someone else wants to use it, then it's good enough to pay for. However, there are a few circumstances where a different kind of trade is more appropriate. If you are new to the blogging scene, for instance, and still trying to build your readership; then being hosted on a bigger more popular website can be a valuable source of new reader attention. Especially if you are properly attributed with a link to your website. You may also get paid for 'free' content sharing if your affiliate links are still in place.
Whether or not you should require money for content usually depends on the relative popularity of your blogs. Once you have a large and growing readership, almost always require payment. But if you're still building your readership, sometimes exposure is a reasonable payment as long as your rights and attribution are preserved. Make this decision wisely and know when you've reached a point in readership where payment is always appropriate. At this point, partners who once accessed your content for free should be re-negotiated with.
Finally, your contract should define your right to break an ongoing agreement or revoke use of your content at any time. In most cases, continued use of already shared content won't be a problem as long as you are asked each time the content might be re-used. However, revocation rights are particularly important for an ongoing agreement. If, for instance, you agree to let another blog pick and choose a few of your articles each week to share, your contract should define that you can break off this sharing agreement at any time. This way, you can renegotiate when necessary and break a partnership if it no longer fits your brand.
Part of writing a profitable blog is running it like a business. Even if writing is recreational, you will never make a real profit off of your work unless you protect your rights and ensure that other businesses aren't making a buck off your content without giving you a fair cut. Know your worth, and any time another business wants to use your content, be sure to build a contract that benefits you as well as them.
For more great tips on how to build revenue with your blog and cultivate a wide network of readers, contact us today! Our team specialises in connecting content creators with the right website design and marketing strategy to create the greatest possible benefit.