I previously discussed ways to make money using your personal brand. This week, I want to get a little more specific.
The ever-evolving internet continuously creates new opportunities for people of all ages. From philanthropic efforts to social media management, the world wide web is flowing with money. Being able to make a living from YouTube is just one way to cash in online.
Becoming a YouTube professional is more than about how many times your videos have been watched. Having a million viewers does not equal a paycheck. So, how do you actually make a living from YouTube?
The first thing to know and realize is that there isn’t just one determined avenue that generates money from your videos. While YouTube is now making it easier for individuals to monetize their content, guidelines still need to be followed before you can start making money.
To get started, your channel needs to follow the YouTube Partner Program guidelines to ensure it is eligible. In order to qualify, your content needs to be advertiser-friendly, complies with the terms of service and needs to have the permission of artists to use their music and the like. You can see more details of their Partner Program here.
Once you’ve determined that your channel follows the program guidelines, you can begin to set up your account to make money. There are four steps to take to do this:
- Enable your channel for monetization by simply clicking “Enable” under Monetization through the Status and Features section of your account.
- Connect to an approved AdSense account. AdSense functions by matching ads to your site based on your followers and content.
- Recognize which type of videos that are approved for monetization and upload accordingly. For instance, anything that may contain violence or copyright materials may not be eligible. You can also pick the different YouTube ad formats that are available. If you have a preference across the board, you can set it up to be your default setting.
- Decide to enable one or more than one video to include ads. When you upload individual videos, you will select “Monetize my video,” or you can select multiple videos at once to monetize once already uploaded. This can also be set to default settings in your account.
Tips to Be Successful
If a large following does not exist on your account, this should be your primary focus. Here are a few quick tips to grow your following:
- Focus on the audience first. What do people want to see? Go into your videos knowing that people generally want to be entertained or informed. Create videos based on the consumer first and foremost.
- Be consistent. If you are irregular about uploading videos, it will be harder for an audience to want to subscribe. Think about your favorite TV show. You expect a new episode to air at certain times once a week, correct? The same practice should be followed for your channel.
- Be original. If you have an idea for subjects that you’ve never seen before or is not common, consider giving it a try. Who would have thought that millions of dollars could be generated annually by showing yourself playing video games online and providing commentary? Well, Sweden’s Felix Kjellberg did it.
- Love what you do and have fun with it. Viewers can tell when you’re being genuine, and to make the best connection with your audience, pick to capture something you love to do. Involve your audience by talking to them not at them. Whether it is making people laugh or crafting, be you. But remember, you need to grab people’s attention quickly so get creative.
- Create quality videos. Even though some low-quality cell phone clips have pulled in millions of viewers simply because of the content, you’ll want to have higher quality images to improve your YouTube income. Smart phones have improved videos and images over the years, but there are also useful apps to help with editing. Tools like iMovie and Vimeo are great, but YouTube has its own editing tools as well. This basic editor and this one for creatives are just a couple options.
Going Beyond Ads
Relying on only ads will prove to be difficult to make a living from YouTube. Plus, before you can be paid from ads, you have to meet a payment threshold of a $100 minimum.Some of the most successful YouTube stars are able to make a living by going beyond the ads. In addition to monetizing their channel, they create opportunities with brands by featuring their products once they’ve built their online empire (if you will). A few ways to expand your revenue include but are not limited to:
- Sponsorships. Find your own sponsorship to help alleviate costs of video creation if you are planning on thinking and going even bigger with your content. Bringing on your own sponsors helps to cut out the middle man, bringing in more money to your new-found business venture. The process is not simpler, though, so buyer beware.
- Merchandise. As you begin to grow a large fan base, you can start to sell your own merchandise. If you already have merchandise or services you sell that you think your audience may be interested in, you can use your channel to promote those as well.
- Work with brands. Partner with companies and brand names that fit your style and channel. Many brands are often looking for new spokespersons to help promote their products or company name, especially those with a large online following. Do some of your own personal outreach to open up new opportunities for your YouTube career. Try to keep in mind audiences can become discouraged by product placement, so find clever ways to incorporate these into your videos.
- Do events. As you start to become YouTube famous, you can be hired for speaking events or create your own based around your channel.
In summary, the key to make a living from YouTube is to create quality content, grow your audience and recognize opportunities as they arise while simultaneously producing your own. It’s also important to recognize that high wages as a YouTube star is the exception, not the rule. If you are hoping to turn making videos on YouTube as a full-time career, my recommendation would be to study those who have been able to do it, like this list of 23 YouTube celebrities.
Regardless, YouTube could still be a great source of secondary income. You just have to play your cards right.