YouTube is currently the most powerful video-sharing platform in the world. Since its launch in 2005, it has produced numerous millionaires, with the highest-earning star pulling in $12 million in revenue in 2015 (Forbes). Plus, according to YouTube, the number of channels that hit six figures in annual earnings through the platform is doubling each year.
We rounded up ideas from the pros to show you first how to make money on YouTube, plus some tips on how to make sure your channel is a success.
1. Try to Make Videos That Don’t Have Too Much Competition
Adhip Ray, Founder, WinSavvy
Find a topic where there aren’t many other videos and then exploit it. For example, if you try to review tech gadgets, your video will be buried under the many other reviews that flood YouTube. But, if you make something more creative, like “15 Apps That Make You a Genius,” chances are you will rank higher in searches in the relevant categories. Always try to find unexploited sub-niches within your niche on which you can create videos.
2. Be Consistent with Your Videos
Chelsey Heil, CEO, Creatives by Chelsey
YouTube is paying less and less for views these days. Fortunately, you can stack different business models to maximize your income. To start, focus on making as many high quality videos as you can and be regular in your schedule. These will need to be mostly reviews, advice and experience-based videos for this tactic to work. When you have lots of videos, you’ll show up in all kinds of searches. Makes sure you enable ads on your page and then recommend affiliate products in your videos. To use this strategy, find a product on Amazon or Clickbank, review it in the video, then include a link in your description and make sure you tell people to click the link in the description. When they buy the product, you get paid a commission.
3. Create and Sell Information Products
Mohit Gangrade, Freelance Writer and Internet Marketer, MohitGangrade.com
If you know a professional skill, you can teach it to make money. If you are a graphic designer, you can teach graphic design. Even if you don’t have a skill you can teach, you can learn a new skill quickly. And don’t worry about not being an expert.
Once you know what skill you will be teaching, start creating free YouTube videos on the subject. For example, if you are good with Photoshop, make videos on how to edit pictures or design logos in Photoshop. To get views on your videos, make a list of all the people who are making Photoshop tutorials. Once you do that, make another list of the top five videos of these competitors. All of these videos have been proven to work. If you make similar videos with similar titles and similar video tags, you have a very high chance of getting discovered.
Once you have at least five to six thousand YouTube subscribers, you can launch an information product. Basically, a premium video course on Photoshop where you teach your subscribers the basic. Because you have already helped your subscribers with the free videos, they will be likely to buy your video course.
4. Make Money with Video Blogs
Garrett Smith, CEO, InboundMD
With a video blog, you will generate income by creating work from your expertise. The video blog places you as a subject matter expert and people want to work with the best. When a viewer begins to need services around information you have already talked to them about, they will come to the experts first. They may come to your YouTube channel for something that they cannot complete on their own. Now that you have provided them with advice on a topic, they complete the task successfully. They will now come back to you on bigger projects or smaller ones they don’t have time for.
The nice thing about a video blog is it is for anyone in the services industry. You can be an auto mechanic, marketing agency, doctor/physician, in home improvement, and so on. Anyone who provides a service to a consumer can talk to show their expertise on topics. People are doing much of their research prior to purchasing these types of services, so why not show the consumer your expertise and why they should buy your service over anyone else’s. Buying a product is usually just price, but when buying a service, you want to know who you are working with.
5. Become a Bitcoin Expert on YouTube
Sophie Miles, CEO, QuotesCalculator
Talking with my group of entrepreneurs, we have discovered that we have something in common: we all want to invest in bitcoin, but we do not know exactly how. Virtual currencies have become a revolutionary concept in the field of monetary transactions. But because the change was so abrupt, there is still a great lack of understanding about this new way of doing business.
It could be possible sell traffic to exchanges that buy and sell cryptocurrencies and then, if the channel reaches enough subscribers and visualizations go up, the main source of income would be the platform itself.
Today, anyone whose account is in good standing can become a YouTube partner through expressly allowing YouTube to place advertising in, on, and around your video content. Google makes money from the views of these ads and partners can then earn a percentage via a Google AdSense account. Exactly how much money a partner can make varies enormously and depends on a range of different factors. Find out how to become a YouTube Partner in this article.
In a digital era where everyone can create and distribute media, the rules of engagement between the media industry and individuals seem ever more confusing. But once you have this down, it will be easy to start earning from your video’s rights. You can either wait for media representatives to reach out to you about using your video, or you can upload it on a marketplace like Jukin. Find out all about video licensing in this article.
YouTube really is one of the most effective and cheapest ways to market your e-commerce store. People are highly visual and watching a video on what a product actually looks like, how easy it is to use, and how it can benefit them. How other individuals have experienced good results with your brand (customer testimonials) can go a long way towards attracting more interest and attention, compared to the written text. This, in turn, can boost your sales in your online store. Read this article to learn how to sell products from a WordPress website.
9. Create Reviews and Earn Through Affiliate Marketing
Reed Floren, Marketer, ReedFloren.com
I have found that reviewing products and offering people bonuses to buy from them through your link underneath the YouTube video is a great way to make money as an affiliate marketer using YouTube.
You can leverage the YouTube videos to get people to know, like and trust you, which makes it a lot easier to sell something. Plus, the built-in audience of YouTube, being the number two search engine on the planet, and the results which tend to rank highly on Google (since they own YouTube) help you naturally get traffic to your videos, which can bring in more profits for you.
Once you build a good level of recognition and engagement with your audience, you can take it up a notch by establishing your channel as your own personal brand. You can sell branded merchandise, such as shirts, mugs, umbrellas, or items that are more relevant to your niche.
A good example of this is fitness guru Cassey Ho, who was able to turn her Blogilates YouTube channel into branded activewear, gym bags, sports bottles, etc.
11. Start Teaching via YouTube Videos and Link Them to Your Paid Online Courses
Casey McEnry, FollowerFlock
Share any business-related knowledge that you possess that isn’t common knowledge for the average person but something they would likely pay to learn. Examples include how to leverage LinkedIn effectively for your small business, how to write blogs to get noticed by bigger publications, or something simple like accounting.
You can then easily create your online course on a site like Teachable—they will host your classes, provide all the payment gateways and everything else you need to run your business. All you have to do is get people there by advertising on places like YouTube, Google or Facebook. After that, the business runs completely on its own and you can collect monthly passive income.
12. Manage YouTube Channels
Maggie Aland, Fit Small Business
If you are knowledgeable about how to operate a YouTube channel and how to use the different features of the platform, you can work as a manager for an account. YouTube has added a feature wherein one account can be managed by several people. It depends on your agreement with the account owner, but some of your functions could include uploading videos (you can use Hootsuite to schedule your posts), responding to and leaving comments, thinking of video ideas and titles, writing the video descriptions and including links, and promoting the videos on various social media platforms. You can create an account on freelancing platforms, such as Upwork or Fiverr, to offer your video creation and editing services.
To be able to update their channel regularly, some YouTube account owners may consider looking for existing videos that they can buy and post on their page. This provides an opportunity for experienced and creative videographers to sell their work. Webinars and video training courses are especially profitable and marketable. You cannot sell your videos directly through YouTube, but you can promote through the platform by giving a sneak peek of what you do and then linking to where they can buy the full video.
YouTube allows sponsored content, but make sure that you comply with the site’s terms and guidelines regarding videos of this nature. Keep in mind that companies are willing to pay you for your video reviews because of the high level of credibility that you have built with your followers, so be honest in your reviews and opinions. Do not push a product that you personally do not want to use.
Remember that your viewers would love to hear your real experience with the brand and not some sort of canned marketing pitch.
Remember that making money on YouTube does not necessarily mean appearing in front of the camera. There are opportunities to work and earn income behind the scenes too. One way is by creating and editing videos for other people. This is similar to ghostwriting—you make the content based on your client’s or employer’s requirements, and then they post your work under their name. Getting ghost workers is how successful people usually keep their YouTube channels and blogs updated in the midst of all their work commitments. You can market your video-making skills as a freelancer. Fit Small Business shares the ultimate guide on how to become a full-time freelancer.
16. Have a Unique Personality and Capture Attention
Iker Calderon, Director, Fenomeno Studios
Here’s a list of the commandments you need to follow to be successful on YouTube. These are the basics! Once you get more involved with YouTube, then you’ll understand more about them:
- Make your profile and channel artistic
- Create a ritual with catchy phrases or slogans
- “Call to Action”—tell your viewers to subscribe
- Collaborate with other creators
- Create content based on the comments your fans write
- Come up with original and clever titles for your videos
- Make your thumbnail interesting—something that grabs people’s attention
- Write descriptions with a hook—don’t say too much or too little
- The most important thing: good image and audio
17. Be Visible: Upload One Video per Week
Iker Calderon, Director, Fenomeno Studios
Upload a video at least once a week and let your subscribers know about it. Respond to their comments, let your fans get in touch with you, and build your fan base. Mention in advance when you’re uploading a new video—date and hour, if at all possible. You need to fall in love with your project, and you need to be persistent. These things, like anything else, take time. Remember, no one gets to one million followers overnight.
18. Channel Your Originality and Creativity
Heidi Hecht, Blogger, Nothing in Particular Blog
Don’t rehash other people’s video content. Besides the possibility of getting your YouTube channel gutted for violating intellectual property rights, your audience will figure it out after a while and walk away.
19. Focus on Something You Feel Passionate About and Don’t Make It About the Money
Iker Calderon, Director, Fenomeno Studios
YouTube is like any other business: you need to be persistent and bring something new to the table. There are thousands of YouTube channels out there. The hugely successful ones are the ones who came first and who did it because they loved it, without expecting anything in return.
If your first goal is to make money on YouTube right away, that is your first mistake. YouTube, like any other social media outlet, is about passion and doing it because you love to produce videos and you are creative. Making digital content is like that hobby that you need to turn into your daily work and maybe one day make a living from it.
20. Use Your Available Tools and Equipment Before Investing in More Expensive Ones
Iker Calderon, Director, Fenomeno Studios
Start with your phone. Don’t spend $5,000 to buy a 5D camera that you have no clue how to use. Your smartphone’s camera is perhaps one of the best cameras out there—the trick is in the lighting.
With good lighting and your phone, you can produce something that could look almost as good as anything made by an award-winning director. Start simple and make it grow. It’s like going to the gym: make it a habit and once you notice that you love it, get the equipment you need.
Over to You
Did this article inspire you to create your very own YouTube channel? Do you have more ideas on how to make money on YouTube? What is your favorite idea from the list? We would love to hear from you!