12 Content Marketing Lessons From Bloggers Earning More Than $50,000/Year

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The astonishing differences between high- and low-earning bloggers’ attitudes every writer should know about

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an impressive case study conducted by GrowthBadger.

For this study, they interviewed 1,117 bloggers from two groups: the first group consisted of bloggers earning over $50,000/year, and the second group included lower-income bloggers.

The aim of this study was to figure out what high-earning bloggers do differently compared to their less-earning peers.

As the survey results revealed astonishing differences between high- and low-earning bloggers’ attitudes to content creation, I decided to take the most compelling findings and share them with you.

I divided the results of this survey into separate categories and paired them with a lesson every writer can apply to their writing right away.

In some cases, I included resources from my previously published posts that can deepen your knowledge on the specific topic.

And although the survey was orientated particularly toward bloggers, the lessons are meant for everyone who wants to make money writing. So whether you’re a blogger, a freelance writer, or a Medium writer, you can learn a lot.

Note 1: Before you start reading

In this post, I’ll be using two abbreviations:

  1. HI bloggers for high-income bloggers (people earning over $50,000/year)
  2. LI bloggers for low(-er) income bloggers

Note 2: Survey results

If you want to access the case study and survey results, click here.

How to properly prepare your content

The case study results showed that HI bloggers focus 4x more on keyword research than LI bloggers. While only 1% of HI bloggers said they don’t do any research before writing, from LI bloggers it was 18%.

Another thing that set HI bloggers apart was their focus on content optimization.

While LI bloggers cared more about the quantity of published content, HI bloggers rather spent time optimizing their existing content to make it more shareable.

Lastly, HI bloggers used to put a bigger emphasis on great headlines and strong introductions.


The frequency of publishing isn’t as important as the quality of what you publish. Writing 4 high-quality, well-optimized pieces every month is better than generating 5 times a week low/average-quality content no one wants to read.

Optimizing posts is another way to reach more readers. Well-edited and effectively formatted pieces with up-to-date data earn more social shares.

Even digital marketing experts like Neil Patel spend more time optimizing their old posts than creating new content.

When it comes to headlines, writers often neglect the fact that bad, boring, or misleading titles can bury the content effortlessly. Thus, spending significant time crafting clear headlines is a crucial part of every writing process.

If you want to learn more about writing great titles, check the post below:

How to Make Your Writing ‘Easier to Read Than to Skip’ (5 copywriting tips from a 60-year-old book every writer can still profit from today)

Types of content that make you stand out

While LI bloggers frequently published personal essays, opinion pieces, or product reviews, HI bloggers focused 7x more on case studies, 2x more on infographics, and 4x more on interviews.

However, both types of bloggers published listicles and how-to posts with almost the same frequency.


The common mistake of beginner writers is focusing too much on themselves. Everyone has opinions and personal stories to share, yet not everybody is interested in hearing them.

If your audience can somehow benefit from your opinion posts or intimate narratives, feel free to share them.

Conversely, if your posts look more like diary entries — not serving any purpose, don’t expect high engagement or traffic.

It might be painful to hear that, but data show it’s true.

The best post length

LI bloggers usually created posts long anywhere between 500 and 1,500 words. Contrastingly, pieces from HI bloggers usually contained at least 1,500 words, often crossing 3,000 or even 5,000 words.

The average post from HI bloggers was 2,424 words long, which was 83% longer than the most popular content from LI bloggers.


Long-form content provides uncountable benefits:

  • it’s an incredible source of new traffic
  • it’s helpful for readers (it’s unlikely you can explain a topic or solve a particular problem within a 300-word blog post)
  • it puts you into a thought-leadership position
  • it’s a priceless part of your writing portfolio

It doesn’t mean you should avoid publishing short-form.

Shorter posts are easy to write and allow you to connect with your readers regularly. However, make sure they aren’t the exclusive part of your content strategy.

How to come up with content ideas

HI bloggers used social media to research their potential ideas twice as often as LI bloggers, and they also spent a considerable amount of time checking their competitors’ content.

Besides this, HI creators were twice as likely to use data from their already published content (views, reads, comments) to understand what posts worked better.

However, compared to LI bloggers, they were almost 50% less likely to rely on their own judgment when it came to new ideas generation.


Unless you are a niche expert or have years and years of (successful) writing experience, don’t try to generate ideas based only on what you think might work.

If you want to create shareable & engaging content, focus on data.

You always have to look at what people want to learn about, not what you want to write.

How to find the right audience

High-earning bloggers focused on a special group of people, while lower-income bloggers tried to target a wide(r) audience.

Another important thing to note: 68% of LI bloggers didn’t even try to figure out who their audience is, compared to HI bloggers, who were 700% more likely to have detailed insights and info about their audience.


If you don’t know who you write for, it’s hard to define how and what to write.

While focusing on general niches might work well on Medium or Quora (personal development tips or eating healthy), blogging is a bit different.

Niching-down might seem like losing a part of the audience, however, it helps you attract highly engaged followers who are genuinely interested in the niche you talk about.

This makes them your loyal fans.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what kind of audience you want to attract — wide or super narrow. The point is to know in detail who you write for, so you can optimize your content appropriately.

The importance of email marketing

HI bloggers heavily promoted their newsletters, and on average, they used almost 3x more subscriptions forms on their websites than LI bloggers did.

Only 11% of LI bloggers used various free downloads as a lead magnet to get new subscribers, while from HI bloggers it was 53%.

Another interesting fact — HI bloggers used 343% as many email-collection methods.


Without arguing, an email list is the most valuable asset of every content creator. It presents the easiest way to connect with your audience and sell or promote products.

On average, every $1 spent on email marketing generates $38 in ROI (for some niches even more).

If you want to make money online, building an email list and focusing on your subscribers is one of the first steps you should take.

How to increase traffic to your blog

While getting traffic from Google was equally important for HI and LI bloggers, HI bloggers had another significant traffic source — emails. They got 3x more traffic thanks to their newsletters, which again proved the importance of an email list.

Besides traffic from Google and email campaigns, HI bloggers relied on traffic from:

  • social platforms (namely YouTube, Reddit, and Pinterest)
  • guest posting
  • non-live videos
  • partnerships
  • managing a forum or group
  • providing a free tool
  • having a podcast


If you want to increase the traffic (and income) as a blogger, doing solid keyword research or SEO isn’t enough — anymore.

You don’t have to be active on every social media platform, but sticking to at least one makes your content more visible.

It doesn’t only allow you to drive more traffic to your posts — it helps you build authority within your niche and connect with more like-minded people as well.

You can learn content promotion fundamentals in this article:

Beginner Writer’s Guide to Digital Marketing: Everything You Need to Know About Promoting Your Content (How to get ahead in the writing game if you’re just starting out)

Starting a YouTube channel or Facebook group to answer readers’ questions is another great way to reach more people.

And if you think about providing a free tool, check CodeCanyon. They offer thousands of tools you can purchase for a few bucks, plug them into your blog and let website visitors use them free of charge.

How to promote your content

70% of HI bloggers actively promoted their content (compared to 14% of LI bloggers), and 31% used paid advertising. Out of LI bloggers, only 3% were willing to pay for ads to promote their blog.

Thus, bloggers earning over $50,000 were 10x more likely to use a paid promotion.


One of the most used tactics I’ve seen over the past years is spending at least 5% of monthly revenue on Facebook advertising.

There’s no point in driving traffic to a half-finished blog, so don’t bother starting with paid ads straight away.

However, once you’re done with the website content and design, consider taking advantage of driving traffic from paid sources.

After all, if your content/product/service is good enough, paying ads to promote it doesn’t count as spending, rather than investing.

How to actually make money blogging

HI bloggers were 9x more likely to sell their own products, and they made twice as much money with affiliate marketing as LI bloggers.

LI bloggers, however, used Google AdSense as their income source almost twice as much as HI bloggers.


You can significantly increase your income by creating & selling your products even as a beginner.

If you manage to put together valuable information in the form of an e-book, course, or template, there’s no reason to not make money as long as you promote it appropriately.

A few weeks ago, I published a piece explaining what makes products attractive and how to create them from scratch. You can learn more about it in this post:

How to Create High-Priced Products That People Are Happy to Pay For (Key lessons from the book “How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No”)

Not confident about creating your products?

Then affiliate marketing is the safest way to go. Promoting and selling someone else’s stuff is one of the easiest methods of earning a side income.

However, as the affiliate marketing world is overcrowded, make sure you aim for micro-niches. In the post below, you’ll find 5 less competitive niches with high earning potential that are great to start with.

If You Want to Start Affiliate Marketing Side Hustle in 2022, Begin With One of These Niches (5 less competitive niches for beginners)

When it comes to Google AdSense, there’s no wonder HI bloggers often avoid this monetization method.

Ads are annoying, distract the readers, and decrease the overall user experience.

Hence, they shouldn’t be the main part of your earning model (if you have any respect for your readers, which you hopefully have).

Other interesting facts to notice

1. The need to be original

HI bloggers didn’t spend their time figuring out a way to become super original and unique. They focused on a narrow niche and established themselves within it as leaders.


Don’t waste your resources on originality. It’s better to be useful than original.

Readers don’t care about your uniqueness if it can’t help them improve their lives or solve the problems they face.

2. Troubles staying on track

Out of all HI bloggers, only 13% said they have a problem staying disciplined or motivated, while among LI bloggers it was a stunning 54% of people.

Another fact worth mentioning: HI bloggers were 3x less likely to have difficulties finding time to write.


Lack of motivation often means a lack of planning. If you don’t know what exactly to do, you are more likely to give up.

Thus, create detailed plans for everything you want to achieve in a specific time frame.

Use Trello or Notion to create your editorial calendar, set deadlines, track your progress, evaluate the results, and collect data that help you write better content in the future.

3. Visual identity of your brand

HI bloggers cared more about their website design and its performance. Additionally, they were more careful when choosing blog & domain names.


The visual appearance of your blog doesn’t only determine the user experience, it also defines you as a brand. If your design looks cheap, it decreases your authority.

However, the website design isn’t that important if you’re a beginner. It’s better to start with something uncomplicated and build it slowly instead of wasting months making something perfect.

There’s one thing more important than design: website performance.

Use Google Search Console to see how your blog performs and don’t forget to fix the suggested mistakes.

One of the most significant factors of blog performance is website speed. Always optimize your website for the highest loading speed, and implement AMP.


Besides the particular strategies and lessons you just read about, there is one major takeaway from the survey results:

Bloggers earning over $50,000/year focus solely on their readers.

They do everything to improve user experience, collect data about what readers want/like, and rely on building deeper connections.

Thus, if you want to get into the blogging world and make good money writing, make sure you make it all about the readers, not yourself.