No More Money to Pay for Content? Do This

Cutting costs

This blog post was original published in the Fat Stacks email newsletter on April 3, 2020.

Yesterday I talked about a few things I’m doing to deal with a large hit to my ad revenue.

You can read it here.

I know I’m fortunate. Believe me, I’m grateful every minute of every day.  People are dying. Losing loved ones.  Suffering financial catastrophe.  It’s madness.  Yes, I’m very fortunate.

But I too must face the very real possibility that ad revenue may drop so low that I may NOT be able to pay for ANY content.

The thing is I still have to eat. As does my family which means I do have costs more important than content.  It’s not like I’m 22 and can get by on $750 per month.  I’m heavily dependent on ad revenue that I need to live on.

At this stage of the game, I’d rather roll up my sleeves and write it myself like I did for so many years instead of tap savings and investments.

If my ad revenue goes down 60% or more, my content budget goes vamoosh.

As an aside, one very good aspect of this business is that I have incredible flexibility in my monthly expenses.  I can cut them drastically yet still earn revenue.  If I never published content again, eventually traffic would drop.  However, cutting back for a month or two won’t really impact the big picture.

I’ve resolved to not let any VA go as long as humanly possible.  They’ve been with me for a long time.  They are great folks. I’m lucky I get to work with them.  They’re my team that got me to where I am so I’m committed to keeping them on board. I’m reducing content orders before I let them go.  Fortunately there’s plenty for them to do.

In the meantime, it’s not the end of the world if I can’t order any new content.

I have a plan for that.

And I believe it’s a good plan for you if you’re facing the same grim reality.

That plan is… drumroll please…

Spend more time focusing on improving existing content.

I do this regularly.

But I haven’t improved every article on my site.  I know I have a good number of stinker articles I published way back when I didn’t know any better that I haven’t got to.

I also have a sizeable chunk of good articles sitting at spots 5 to 30 in Google. With a little TLC, they could jump up a few or many spots in Google.

Guess how much improving content costs?

It costs me nothing.  I do it.

Sure, I could outsource it but I typically do it.  Often I’ll order 300 to 1,000 words to add, but often the improvement is in the form of a chart or graph I can make in a few minutes.  Or it’s in the form of low-cost FAQ.  Or it’s a better intro.  Or I do some quick KW research and add some sections going after additional keywords.  Sometimes it’s all of the above.

This is high-value work that costs little or nothing.

It’s also good for readers and if it’s good for readers, it’s a good thing to do.

How should you go about improving your content?

Don’t overcomplicate this stuff.

Do keyword research and look for phrases and questions you’re missing.

Check what your existing article is ranking for and then plug those keywords into the KW research grinder and see what comes up.  Keep drilling down until you get a nice list of additional KWs you aren’t serving as well as you can.

More importantly, use your brain and make it as good as it should be.  Polish the article to the point that it’s the article you would want if you were visiting.

Is the intro boring? Spice it up.

If you’re like me, content you published 2, 3 or 4 years ago isn’t as good as what you’re publishing now.

Therefore, see how it’s lacking compared to your current practice and fix it up.

If you really want to some great info on improving content, read my epic post setting out 29 ways to improve existing content.

These desperate times make for a perfect opportunity to get to this type of work that many of us put on the backburner.

What if you have oodles of cash for content?

Lucky you.  Spend away.  Your writers and other freelancers will be grateful.  Employ and pay as many people as you can.


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