How to sell a content creation service to earn recurring revenue
Recurring revenue is glorious. Once you reach that elusive land of automatic money coming in every month that isn’t requiring you to constantly close new sales, everything gets easier. Selling a content creation service can be an essential component of your plan to serve your clients better and bring in more income.
As a web designer or developer, you have the potential to add recurring revenue to your business through long-term retainers and ongoing monthly website support. Offering monthly support can be a win-win for you and your clients, especially when you automate and batch many of the support related tasks.
With more and more cheap support companies opening their doors, there is a pricing plateau when it comes to how much you can charge for ongoing website support.
Luckily, there are other ways you can serve your clients, add value to their business, and increase the amount of recurring revenue in your business.
For example, you can offer:
- Additional design services, but you have to be a designer.
- Email marketing services, but you have to know or want to learn email marketing.
- Social media management services, but you have to invest in additional software, learn a new industry, and then do the job.
- SEO services, but you have to know SEO and have the right tools and resources — and it changes all the time.
- Content management services.
Out of all of the choices listed above, offering content creation services is the easiest additional monthly service to add to your business.
The client provides you the content for new blog posts and you take care of getting them added to the site, formatting the content, selecting and adding featured images, and optimizing them for search.
You manage the content creation process for the client. You select the blog post topics, plan the publishing schedule, create the content with the help of your client, and publish the new posts.
For both offers, the investment is based on the number of blog posts the client wants to have published each month.
Now you might be thinking, “This sounds interesting, and I could probably sell the basic offer to my clients no problem. But the deluxe offer … No way.” You’re probably also thinking, “I’m not a writer.” Or maybe you hate writing and it feels hard.
You don’t have to be a writer to sell content creation services and add a new income stream to your business.
Upselling your clients the deluxe content management offer is easier than you think. You don’t even have to be a writer. In fact, you don’t hardly have to write at all to add this new income stream to your business.
Let me explain …
Your clients are already busy and while they probably love the idea of having a blog for their business, they probably also haven’t figured out where they’re going to find time to produce new content regularly. This is why so many brand new websites are launched and when you check back three months later, not a single new blog post has been published.
That three-month mark is the perfect time to reach out to your client and check in about a content creation service.
Let them know that you noticed they haven’t published any new blog posts and ask them what’s going on. When they share their struggle to find time:
- Share that you do offer two different content management services that they may want to consider.
- Explain each content creation service option and see if they would like a proposal.
- If they say yes, send the proposal and include a minimum commitment of six months.
How to earn recurring revenue by creating blog posts for your clients
With the Basic Option, you don’t have to do any writing. The client is doing the writing and providing you the final blog post ready to be published. All you have to do is add it to the site, format the content, select and add the featured image, and optimize it for search.
With the Deluxe Option, you still don’t have to be a writer. You can still offer the entire deluxe suite of services for a premium recurring monthly fee and do very little writing. What’s even better is that if you structure it correctly, the majority of the work is only done once every quarter!
The 7-step content creation process
Here’s what the process might look like for the first three-month quarter of the Deluxe Option:
Let’s break each step down and explore how you can add this content creation service revenue stream to your business.
1. Topic planning
Identify topics the client should be creating content on to improve rankings in specific areas. Do this through competitor and keyword research. Brainstorm potential blog post headlines using the keywords and long tail key phrases discovered.
Remember, questions make great headlines because people often type questions into search engines.
If you’re not great at coming up with headlines:
- Perform a Google search for the keywords and key phrases or questions related to them and see what pops up.
- Find books on the same topic at Amazon and review the Table of Contents, looking for chapter and section names.
2. Client approval
Review the keywords and key phrases you discovered and the blog post topics and headlines you brainstormed with the client. Ask the client to approve the keywords you’re going to be targeting and to select the headlines they want to use on their blog. At this time, your headlines might inspire the client to come up with additional headlines.
At the end of this step, you and your client should have enough headlines selected to cover three months worth of blog posts based on the contract they signed.
3. Content planning
With a collection of blog post headlines approved and ready to go, create a content calendar and add each headline and its publish date. For example, if the client is publishing one article a week for 12 weeks, you may have the article publish every Tuesday at 10 a.m.
When the content calendar is created, share it with your client and schedule a content interview.
4. Content interview
A content interview is a time you and your client come together to create blog content where you interview the client on each topic/headline and ask a series of questions that will naturally create the blog posts. This interview is recorded.
For example, for each approved headline/post, you might ask:
- Why is this topic important? Why does it matter? Why should people care?
- What is your experience with this topic?
- What are the biggest mistakes you see people make? What are the biggest problems or challenges people run into? If their story included a mistake and a solution, what are other common mistakes?
- How can someone avoid these mistakes?
- What do you recommend? What solution(s) is (are) available?
- What is the next step?
5. Transcription management
Send the recording of your interview to a transcription service like Rev.com to have the entire interview transcribed.
By transcribing the interview, the majority of the content for the blog posts is already done in rough draft form. Now the content just needs to be edited and cleaned up to create the final blog post — and it’s far easier to edit existing content than it is to write new content. You can edit it yourself, hire a virtual assistant, or even hire a journalism student from the local college to edit it.
Avoid writing content from scratch by transcribing your interview. You’ll find you’ll save time and there will be little to no revisions when the client reviews your work.
The reason this approach works so well is that you’re not writing any content from scratch. You’re using your clients words and the draft content was created from their voice. This way the blog posts feel and sound like your client and you’ll find there are little to no revisions to your work.
Pro tip: If you really hate writing, you can host the client interview through Zoom, record only the client, and edit their answers for each blog post into videos. By editing the videos in advance, the transcription will be much clearer and require little to no editing. This means each blog post will be a video with the transcription below it for better SEO.
6. Client review
When the transcripts are edited and the blog posts are ready to go, send them to your client to review and approve. This is their chance to make any changes needed.
7. Schedule publishing
Once the client has approved the blog posts, add them to the client’s website, add featured images, format the content, optimize the content, and schedule the publish date for each post.
The content creation structure
There is huge value in offering a content creation service to your clients. And as you can see with this recurring revenue upsell, there is little to no writing at all. Instead, there is just a little bit of editing and you don’t even have to do that yourself.
What’s even better is that:
You can structure the content management package to run in 12-week cycles. With this approach, you can batch all of the work and get all of the blog posts created and scheduled at the beginning of the cycle. It truly is a set it and forget approach … until the next 12-week cycle starts.
Have multiple clients who want this service? No problem! You can stagger the 12-week cycle start dates. By staggering the start date of each content creation service client’s schedule, you can batch all of their posts at one time without being overloaded. You can also focus all of your attention on one single theme of content, allowing you to be more efficient with your time.
The non-writer’s guide to earning recurring revenue
Again, there is nothing fun about constantly needing to close new sales to stay afloat and pay your bills or your employees. When you’re relying on constantly closing new sales and landing new clients, you experience far more worry and stress than is healthy.
What you should strive for instead is a good balance of recurring revenue and one-off sales.
Recurring revenue provides a stable baseline of income you can depend on and plan with, and the individual sales on top of that creates added cash flow to get things done in your business.
There are many opportunities to add recurring revenue to your business. But, there is only one that doesn’t require you to become an expert in a new service area or industry — content creation services.
By offering content management services to your client for an ongoing monthly fee, you’re helping them put the website they invested in to use, drive more traffic to the site, get more brand visibility, and get more conversions so they can grow their list and enjoy more clients and customers.
And you know what happens when you do that for your clients? Their website produces better results, which means you will not only get better testimonials, but you’ll be able to get better figures and success stories for your own case studies.