Have you ever come across a hilarious meme or relatable quote that you just had to share? In the era of social media, memes and viral content spread like wildfire, capturing the cultural pulse and bringing joy to millions. But did you know you can actually monetize this viral content and turn your funny finds into cold, hard cash?
Selling meme posters, prints, and merch is a wildly lucrative business, with some top meme creators raking in 5-6 figures per month. Keep reading to discover the step-by-step blueprint for building your own money making meme empire. Whether you want to earn some side income or scale a viral business, creating and selling meme art online has never been easier or more profitable.
How to Find Viral Meme Ideas That Sell
The most critical component for creating profitable memes is finding trending content that really resonates with your target audience. Here are some strategies to brainstorm meme ideas and predict viral potential:
Analyze Trending Memes
Study current viral memes on Reddit, Instagram, and meme aggregation sites. Take note of common themes, formats, and captions that get big engagement. Remixing or riffing on existing viral memes can be a recipe for success.
Follow Trending News and Pop Culture
Stay on top of hot topics in news, politics, sports, pop culture, and niche interests. Turn the big headlines, scandals, and drama into shareable commentary with a funny spin. Timeliness is key.
Mine Nostalgia and Geek Culture
Tap into millennial and Gen Z nostalgia with memes about old school video games, cartoons, toys, TV shows, movies, and pop icons. Also capitalize on superfans of anime, sci-fi, fantasy, and other geeky subcultures.
Leverage Relatable Experiences
Universal experiences like dating struggles, work stress, adulting failures, and family dynamics make great fodder for relatable memes. Even mundane daily inconveniences like messy rooms or slow WiFi can be meme gold.
Piggyback on Trending Templates
Some viral meme templates clearly have enduring potential. Make fresh versions of popular and versatile templates like the Distracted Boyfriend, Success Kid, and Woman Yelling at Cat memes.
How to Make & Design Viral Meme Graphics
Once you’ve mined a meme idea with viral potential, it’s time to turn it into an eye-catching graphic. Here are some best practices for meme design:
Use Meme Generator Sites and Apps
To instantly produce memes on trending templates, use sites like Imgflip and apps like Meme Generator. Just upload an image or choose a template and add your custom text.
Customize With Canva
For more design options, use Canva to customize meme templates. The platform makes it easy to resize images, change fonts, add graphics, and adjust colors to fit your brand.
Design From Scratch
To create 100% original memes, use Photoshop, GIMP, or other image editing tools. Combine illustrations, photos, graphics, and text for the flexibility to turn any idea into a viral meme.
Lightly watermarking your memes helps deter theft while still leaving them shareable. Just avoid obtrusive watermarks that ruin the aesthetic.
Optimize Resolution for Printing
For maximum print quality, design memes at 300+ DPI resolution with a 1:1 aspect ratio. This high resolution leaves options open for large print products.
Use Bold Text
Big, bold white text makes the meme caption pop against color block backgrounds. Use a mix of upper and lower case for improved readability.
Pick Expressive Faces
When using existing meme templates with faces, pick ones that best match the emotion and reaction you want to convey. Zoom in on the funniest facial expressions.
Include Trending Hashtags
Incorporate relevant trending hashtags like #relatable, #mood, #viral, #funnymemes, and #dankmemes to boost discoverability. Just don’t overdo it.
Where to Sell Viral Meme Merch & Prints
Once your memes start going viral, it’s time to cash in. Here are some top sites that make it easy to sell meme-inspired merch and prints:
This print-on-demand platform lets you easily create meme t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, stickers, and more. Just upload designs and set prices. When items sell, you collect your profits.
Similar to Teespring, Redbubble handles print-on-demand fulfillment for your meme designs on t-shirts, cases, mugs, wall art, masks, and other products.
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Etsy’s marketplace gives meme creators an established platform to sell printables and merchandise. Digital meme posters and physical prints are popular here.
Society6 offers upgraded wall decor like framed and canvas prints of your meme designs. Their global artist community provides built-in exposure.
This site sells limited edition meme metal posters that magnetically mount on walls. The sleek modern display adds a premium touch.
Once approved for Merch by Amazon, you can post meme designs on hoodies, shirts, and more. Leverage Amazon’s massive shopper base and handle.
For maximum control, build your own meme merch shop on Shopify. Sell prints, apparel, phone cases, and products across multiple platforms.
Instagram & Facebook Shops
Leverage your meme social media presence to drive sales through integrated Instagram and Facebook shops. Make impulse buys seamless for viral viewers.
Top Meme Niches to Target in 2022
Certain themes and niches perform exceptionally well in the meme market. Here are some of the hottest and most lucrative to focus on:
The drama of elections, scandals, gaffes, and outrageous quotes means rich material for timely political meme gold. Memes also power grassroots organizing and activism.
Ariana Grande’s latest single. Kyle Rittenhouse’s crocodile tears. Will Smith’s Oscar slap. Pop culture moves fast, but memes freeze peak moments for ongoing laughs and commentary.
Anxiety and depression memes are hugely popular as people use humor to cope with struggle. Memes create community and bring dark topics into the light.
Office memes unite over the universal experience of corporate misery, bad bosses, meeting fails, inept coworkers, and TPS reports.
Gaming memes showcase inside jokes and frustrations around popular games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Animal Crossing. Superfans eat up relatable gaming humor.
Finance & Crypto
Finance memes hilariously convey market dread, rollercoaster rides, and get rich quick dreams. Bitcoin and crypto memes also ride the volatility wave.
Dogs and cats dominate this evergreen niche. Hilarious pet behavior, cute photos, and expressive faces are immortalized in endless viral memes.
TV & Movies
The best scenes, characters, and pop culture moments from new movies and shows explode into memes and stick around for years. Fans can’t get enough.
Advanced Tips for Scaling Viral Meme Income
Once you’ve carved out a niche in the meme market, it’s time to scale up income. Here are some pro tips:
Batch Produce Memes
Don’t just create one-off memes. Develop batches around trending topics to maximize volume and exposure. The more you pump out, the more chances for viral hits.
Dropship Print Fulfillment
Offer a wide array of meme products without inventory risk by dropshipping items printed on demand through sites like Printful and Printify.
Sell Digital Downloads
Offer meme templates, design elements, clip art packs, and more for passive income from digital downloads. No fulfillment or shipping required.
Launch a Podcast
Launch a “behind the meme” style podcast sharing secrets to viral success. Monetize with sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and exclusive merch.
Create YouTube Explainers
Go beyond static images with YouTube videos breaking down meme origins and context. Ad revenue and influencer marketing offer multiple income streams.
Diversify Meme Products
Expand beyond posters and t-shirts into displays, home decor, phone accessories, figurines, plushies, and more specialized merch.
Attend Pop Culture Events
Sell meme prints and merch at a booth or pop-up shop at conventions, festivals, and other IRL gatherings of your target fandoms.
Pay influencers in your niche to feature your memes and merch. Convert their viral following into sales and scale fast.
Launch Memberships & Courses
Superfans will pay for premium meme content and insider tips. Offer members-only Discord groups, tutorials, guides, templates, and more.
Use software like Mailshake and Lemlist to automate cold email and social media outreach for sponsorships, affiliates, and influencer gigs.
Hire Virtual Assistants
Outsource tedious design, posting, customer service, order fulfillment, bookkeeping, and other tasks to low-cost virtual assistants.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Money With Memes
Selling viral meme content may seem simple on the surface, but tons of creators looking to turn humor into dollars have lingering questions. Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs:
Are memes copyrighted?
Memes themselves can’t be copyrighted, but the original images used to create them often are. To avoid infringement, use original photos, licensed images, public domain content, or sufficiently transformed/remixed work.
What types of meme content is profitable?
Relatable humor, funny animal photos, sarcastic work memes, political humor, pop culture commentary, and fandom/geek culture jokes tend to gain traction and sell well on merch.
How much money do popular meme creators make?
Top meme creators can make upwards of $30,000 per month through merch sales, brand sponsorships, appearances, and licensing content. Even mid-tier creators earn $3-5k monthly.
How can I make my memes go viral?
Use trending formats, timely topics, funny combinations, and highly relatable content. Promote on high-traffic platforms like Reddit, Instagram, and Facebook. Work with influencers to expand reach.
What’s the best meme merch to sell?
T-shirts, hoodies, phone cases, mugs, prints, and stickers sell well for casual buyers. Posters, clocks, blankets and high-quality wall art sell at higher price points to superfans.
Do I need a business license to sell meme merch?
You need to register your business, collect sales tax, comply with seller policies, and properly report business income. But specialized licenses aren’t legally required in most cases.
How do I avoid copyright on pop culture memes?
Legally transform content by creatively remixing and altering recognizable characters and IP. Add new illustrations, text, effects, and layers that create a distinct derivative work.
Memes have evolved far beyond just disposable social media laughs. For creative entrepreneurs, they now offer massive money making potential with sky-high demand and low barriers to entry. With the right combination of crafting viral content and monetizing engagement, anyone can build a lucrative business around memes.
Follow the blueprint in this guide to research trends, design captivating graphics, choose profitable products, identify lucrative niches, promote memes, and scale up income. While memes seem fleeting, their life as physical merch and digital downloads is eternal. Each hot new meme is a potential goldmine just waiting to be tapped.
So next time inspiration strikes for a viral meme, take your shot and turn that laugh into profit. With a bit of business savvy, you too can leverage the power of humor and start building your own money making meme empire today!
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