How-To Monetize Self-Publishing

Many social media networks student-athletes use to monetize their NIL are video and picture-based. Everyone knows the power of Instagram and TikTok, but there are other options, too. Some student-athletes may have ideas and opinions, but might not be comfortable in front of a camera. Others may be in a major like journalism and have a passion for long-form writing. Whatever the case, written storytelling sites like Substack, Medium, and Patreon provide great opportunities for athletes who are interested in sharing their stories through words.

Getting Started

To unlock the full monetization potential of these sites, consistency is key. In order to establish a loyal audience that will keep coming back, your content needs to be fresh and engaging, in addition to posting regularly. Another important concept to keep in mind when creating long-form content is to make it shareable. Spark conversation and provide a unique inside perspective on a concept that makes your audience want to share it on their social media platforms and drive more traffic to your work.

The typical subscription for these sites is about $5 per month, but can range depending on where you’re publishing, how many subscribers you have, and how often you’re posting. Weigh your options and choose what platform serves your goals best. Ask yourself questions to understand your goals:

  • Are you writing just to monetize?
  • Are you writing to improve your skills?
  • Are you writing as a creative outlet?
  • Is this your only monetization stream?
  • How often do you want to publish content?

Content Ideas

Long-form writing is something most student-athletes are obligated to do for course work. It can be intimidating and often stressful when assigned a specific topic but long-form content on these sites shouldn’t be. Have fun with it, get creative, and share stories that will connect with an audience or your existing fan base.

The student-athlete experience is unique. It’s often shared on social media and fans have seen behind the scenes in quick 15-to-60 second videos, but it’s rarely written about. Content ideas could include: 

  • Detailing the process of your gameday experience 
  • Telling stories about what happens when your team is on the road
  • Provide a weekly journal and include the highs and lows of being a student-athlete
  • Write about how a topic in one of your courses relates to athletics or life
  • Discuss the skills you’ve learned on the playing surface that you’ll carry on after the game. 

Long Term Benefit

What you write and share as a student-athlete can also provide value as you transition out of sports into a full-time career after your playing days are done. Since most student-athletes have a busy schedule and can have a difficult time securing an internship or job, long-form content creation like this can provide value on a resume for prospective employers. Strong writing skills are always transferable, and writing about what you know and what you enjoy is a great way to fine-tune your skills.


Be sure to disclose all payment activities to your institution or governing body to remain compliant and eligible in your sport.



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