With each new post, your body of work grows. And it represents a great opportunity. If not now, then in six to 12 months, when SEO kicks in. Of course, there’s always the chance that some of the content will do nothing for you.
But the world, unfortunately, doesn’t care that much about what you created yesterday. The archive can continue to benefit you and your audience, sure, but there are no guarantees that whatever reputation or authority you’ve built up will hold up tomorrow based on what you’ve created yesterday.
Even if you’ve got it, and you know you’ve got it, people want to know that you’ve still got it.
A creator needs to keep creating. They need to take their eyes off the stats and instead focus on finding their voice, developing their message, becoming better communicators, understanding human psychology and copywriting, telling better stories, and enhancing their leadership.
Don’t give too much thought to what has already been done. Surrender your thoughts to what’s next.
And in this case, we’re going to be talking about the words you use to describe your product or the words you use to sell to your audience. But bear in mind that you are what you create yourself as. Meaning – the words you use in all areas of your career and life are key.
Anyway, the technical term for what we’re talking about here is copy. Copy is any text that’s been crafted to sell.
It’s a deep topic, and I don’t expect to be able to cover everything there is to know in a few paragraphs. There are entire books, courses, and online memberships dedicated to the topic, and even the best copywriters tend to remain students of the craft.
But to give you an example, I’d like to call your attention to my book, The Music Entrepreneur Codefor a second. I don’t bring it up for self-promotional reasons, I bring it up so we can see copy at work.
Prior to the book’s release, I didn’t have a subtitle for the book, and its description was a little lackluster. I got some help from my mastermind group and wouldn’t you know it, I ended up with another best-seller.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is a great title, and it does get your attention, but it doesn’t tell you what the book is about. Great for generating curiosity, but not great for specificity.
The subtitle we settled on, although a little long, captures the essence of the book impeccably – How to Get Paid for Your Passion and Impact More Fans Without Wasting Years of Your Life and Thousands of Dollars.
And where the book description originally spoke of shills and charlatans and was more focused on the story going on in my head, it was reformulated to call out the target audience (the first two words in the description are “Most musicians…”), described their pain points (overwhelmed, fed up), identified with their emotions (bitter, angry, and defeated), and pointed to a solution (“…follow a proven roadmap…”).
What you need to take away from this is that when you’re selling anything, the words you use matter.
We all say we don’t like to be sold to, but how many times have you been sucked into reading long sales letters from top to bottom?
Well, prior to this, you may not have known that these were even called sales letters, but now that you do, I would suggest studying the ones you come across. Explore:
What stands out to you?
What words capture your attention?
What emotions does the copy evoke?
What makes you want to buy?
We’re not here to reinvent the wheel, so my suggestion would be to model what you see working. Don’t copy – that’s called plagiarism, and it gets even the most notorious YouTubers in trouble. But you should be modeling what works in all areas of your career, not just copy.
Understand – products that don’t sell sometimes start selling when you brush up on the copy.
As author Dan Kennedy says, the greatest sin in marketing is being boring. And copy represents a huge opportunity to spice up your marketing.
If you’ve visited Music Entrepreneur HQ recently, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been giving the site a facelift… slowly but surely.
Most recently, we put a little muscle into the new homepage layout.
We are still thinking about whether to add additional modules. If we were, we would probably create a module for the podcast, as well as a module that talks more about me.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Here are a few screenshots of the new homepage layout:
My favorite thing about the new layout is the testimonials. We’ve framed it as “what high-performing musicians, creatives, industry executives, and entrepreneurs are saying about David and Music Entrepreneur HQ.”
We used to have this all separated out into different avenues and channels. This time, we brought it all together.
This feels truer to me. It’s not just musicians I’ve been able to help. I’ve contributed to executives, entrepreneurs, and creatives too.
We’ve got more work to do, but gradually the site is evolving into a simplified, streamlined version of its former self, which is what we wanted.
As of late, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about making money as a writer, becoming a better writer, keeping up motivation as a writer and so forth.
I even saw someone who shared a story saying, “there are only three ways you can make money in writing.”
Really? That’s interesting because I’m certain I’ve been able to create an independent income from writing in more than just three ways.
Broadly speaking, he might be right. But on a granular level, there are more opportunities than you might even realize.
1. Revenue Sharing
Revenue share sites like InfoBarrel don’t get talked about as much anymore. Medium and News Break are far more in vogue.
But these types of sites are still out there. Hubpages is the perfect example.
I wrote 71 some odd articles on InfoBarrel. I never made much on the site – you would need a lot of eyeballs on your articles to make anything (how’s that any different than Medium?). Still, I got something from my effort.
I started ghostwriting in 2013. At first, it was just short form blog posts for architecture firms and merchandise suppliers. It didn’t amount to much.
Before I knew it, I was ghostwriting for Entrepreneur and HuffPost contributors. I even got requests to write long form Neil Patel style digital marketing guides.
As I write this, I have a contract shaping up for a 70,000+ word book.
No, you don’t get credit for your ghostwriting efforts, you can’t reveal your working relationships, and it doesn’t help you build your own stature, authority, or following. But ghostwriting can be quite lucrative.
3. Staff Writing
I have been a staff writer of Music Industry How To since 2015 (you can even see my face on the homepage).
It’s funny, because Music Industry How To ranks for a ton of broad keywords, so when musicians are searching for something online, there’s a good chance they’re reading one of my articles.
My own business, Music Entrepreneur HQ, ranks for a lot of long-tail keywords, so if they aren’t reading my works on Music Industry How To, there’s still a good chance they’re reading my works on Music Entrepreneur HQ.
I was also recently added as a writer on MIDINation.
4. Guest Posting
Writing for various entrepreneurs and companies was reasonably lucrative. That is, until I found out just how much they were willing to pay for ghostwritten or staff-written guest posts.
One of the reasons I was able to start working completely from home in 2016 was because I had so many guest posting assignments lined up.
Backlinks are still quite important as applied to SEO, and the reality is entrepreneurs or businesses can either spend countless hours on outreach or pay good money to have someone write a quality guest post and pitch it for them.
There have also been times when I’ve literally been paid for writing guest posts for other musician service providers. That was a nice surprise.
I have seen other Medium writers say copywriting is where the money is at, and they aren’t wrong.
When I have made an income from copywriting, though, it has usually been part of a bundle deal (e.g., setting up a landing page along with relevant copy).
I still think there’s quite a bit of opportunity in copywriting, though I suspect GPT-3 powered sites and apps could make human copywriters obsolete soon.
At times, I have also written emails for clients (again, usually as part of a bundle deal for web design or something along those lines).
You’ve got to keep in mind, a lot of people don’t want to get too technically involved in building landing pages or sales funnels, let alone writing the emails to go along with it. There’s a significant opportunity here.
If you’re lazy, you could even use a tool like Funnel Scripts to generate the copy and edit at your leisure.
At times, I have experimented with placing ads on my own blogs, and this has generated some revenue over the years.
This has the potential to be higher reward than revenue sharing sites but getting traffic to your own blogs can be a challenge. So, you’ve got to weigh your options.
8. Affiliate Marketing
Writing about products, reviewing them, comparing them, and so on, all offer valuable opportunities for you to create an income as an affiliate.
I wouldn’t say I’ve made it as an affiliate marketer over the years, but I have easily made four-figures from my efforts, with potential for significantly more.
My first online product was an audio course I published in 2014, but I have also been writing and publishing eBooks since around the same time.
My most recent eBook is The Renegade Musician, and it contains an important and timely message on artist empowerment (I wrote it in three days).
These days, I mostly make eBooks for Twitter money. Sounds crazy, but there is an entire Twitter subculture that generates solid revenue from eBooks.
10. Kindles & Paperbacks
I put Kindles and paperbacks as their own category.
An eBook should be concise and value-packed – helping the reader get quick wins and not forcing them through walls of text just to find the information they’re looking for.
A book, on the other hand? Well, that’s another story. Because someone who takes the time to read walls of text and is willing to sit with ideas for longer, ultimately becomes your best clients.
“Hold the phone – are you talking about text-based courses?”
Nope. I‘m talking about video courses. But how does that work?
Well, although I have not done this for every course I’ve ever made, there are courses I scripted out in their entirety before ever presenting them.
So far as I’m concerned, that’s another source of income from writing.
Obviously, I have made some money on Medium, and over the years, it has added up to at least three figures.
Currently, I make enough money for three fancy fruity iced teas per month. But hey, I like iced tea.
Yeah, Medium hasn’t been a big source of income for me so far. That’s okay – I’m writing more and enjoying the journey. See where it takes me.
13. News Break
Where others are growing bearish, I’ve been growing more bullish of News Break by the day, and I’m looking to increase my output because of the potential I see.
If you’re a new writer, it’s going to be far easier to make a bit of an income on News Break compared to Medium.
That said, if you’re looking to get more exposure for your articles, Medium is the better place to be.
This is outside the box thinking.
But over the years, my songs have earned me thousands of dollars – from streaming, sales, royalties, live performances, and more.
There’s the technical, musical, and performance aspect of music, obviously, but you can’t forget the writing aspect.
Is the Music Industry a Lucrative One?
Having read this story, you may have come to the end of it wondering to yourself, “should I get into the music industry?”
The reality is that I’m probably one of the lucky few who makes a steady income in the music business as an independent writer, educator, coach, producer, composer, and artist.
It’s not a big industry and I have either personally met or have interviewed most of the personalities in the same space.
Don’t get into it unless you have an undying, fiery passion for it. You could get paid much more as a medical, political, or legal writer.
I’m Sorry – What is it That You do, Again?
So, you might have seen mention of sales funnels, websites, email marketing and so forth and wondered to yourself, “what does this guy do anyway?”
I think of myself as a multimedia or new media designer.
I create content, make websites, design graphics, produce music and podcasts, edit videos, coach and train musicians and creatives, build communities, and more.
I’ve shared 14 ways here, but honestly, I’ve probably forgotten some of the other ways I’ve created an income as a writer.
All you need to do to come up with new ways of creating an income is to think a little outside the box. There’s more opportunity out there than you’d even think.
And just writing pieces like this can sometimes catch someone’s attention (I almost ended up as a whitepaper writer for a well-known content management system because of a piece I had written on the topic).