YouTube is currently the most powerful video-sharing platform in the world. Since its launch in 2005, it has produced numerous millionaires, with the top-earning YouTube star PewDiePie earning $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.
These figures prove that you can indeed make money from YouTube. So how can you get your share of this huge pie and make the platform work for you? We rounded up ideas from the pros to show you first how to make money on YouTube, and then how to make sure your channel is a success.
How to Make Money on YouTube
Krista Fabregas, Fit Small Business
YouTube really is one of the most effective and cheapest ways to market your ecommerce store. People are highly visual and watching a video on what a product actually looks like, how easy it is to use, how it can benefit them, and 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 can, in turn, boost your sales in your online store.
Read this article to learn how to sell products from a WordPress website.
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 #2 search engine on the planet and the results which tend to rank highly on Google (since they own YouTube) helps you naturally get traffic to your videos which can bring in more profits for you.
You do the work in creating engaging content and growing your subscribers, and Google Adsense operates in the background to earn money for you. All you have to do is to sign up for Google Adsense and they do the rest of the work- by posting ads relevant to your theme and paying you every time an ad gets clicked from your page.
Kenneth Kunkle, Trademark and Copyright Attorney, Kunkle, Trademark, Media & Legal
Typically reserved for higher volume YouTube channels- if you have a large and consistent following, there may be opportunities to turn that into revenue for simply continuing to do what you do, but utilizing specific brands and products. Keep in mind though that there are some rules regarding disclosure for paid endorsements.
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.
Casey McEnry, FollowerFlock
Share any business-related knowledge that you possess, which would not be common knowledge for the average person, but they would likely pay to learn. Examples are: 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.
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.
Joe Warnimont, Freelance Writer, Ecommerce Platforms
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.
Sam Hook, Video Marketer, Replay Science
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.
Jess Ekstrom, CEO and Founder, Headbands of Hope
If you focus on your expertise and personal branding, and you love talking- your YouTube videos might pave the way for you to eventually become a paid public speaker. Remember that giving a speech or monologue for your video, where you can cut and edit scenes, is a lot different than speaking in front of a live audience.
Make sure that you can communicate points that are not available on your ‘free’ YouTube videos to create value for your paying audience. Engage with the crowd, and deliver your message with confidence and a bit of humor.
Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business
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.
Your can market your video-making skills as a freelancer. Fit Small Business shares the ultimate guide on how to become a full time freelancer.
Tips for Creating a Successful YouTube Channel
Patrick Schwerdtfeger, Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed
It is crucial to capture an audience for your channel. One of the best ways to do this is to present your expertise or your brand’s unique functions. Leave viewers craving to hear and learn from you. You have to do it in a clever way to stand out from the rest.
These YouTube channels are good examples of accounts offering expertise in their related field- business tips for small business owners.
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.
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, you need to be persistent. These things, like anything else, take time. Remember, no one gets to one million followers overnight.
Max Soni, Founder, DotComSEO
One of the most effective methods of promoting your videos, is actually commenting on other videos, and appending your link. This is one of the least used methods, but actually really effective. Typically, we recommend identifying a list of 100-200 videos that are niche relevant, and then leaving a meaningful comment (please don’t spam), with the link to your own channel/video inserted in an organic process. The key is not to look or act spammy. We’ve found this to be a great way to get your early viewers and make money from YouTube.
Heather Renae Cosson, Inbound Marketing Specialist, Communications@Syracuse the Online Masters in Communications
What are the profiles of YouTube subscribers and viewers? Where are they located? What is the YouTube Partner Program? Who are the YouTube superstars and what are their affiliate brands? Knowing the answers to these questions and more can help you plan your move on the platform and set yourself up for success.
Adam Hendle, Contributor, Social Media Examiner
In case YouTube is part of your marketing strategy, but you’re still a long way away from getting the traffic you want with your own channel, or you do not have the time or skills to build your own video content- you can contact YouTube stars or influencers and get them to promote your brand on their channel.
You might have to compensate these individuals to endorse your products, but if you choose the right influencer- someone who can create exciting videos and reach your target market effectively- your sales will grow and you can make a lot of profit.
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.
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.
Geoff Desreumaux, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, WERSM
Keep your audience hooked by giving them what they want. According to Geoff, people watch videos for one or a combination of these four reasons: inspiration or entertainment, learning, understanding, or deciding what to buy.
Other things you need to keep in mind are: focus on mobile viewers, decide on the right timing, share your video links in your email messages, and collaborate with your followers to build a community around your channel.
Drew Hubbard, Search Engine Land
Use Google AdWords keyword tool to identify what your target audience is looking for. Then, create a video related to these keywords and utilize them in your video title.
This will help drive traffic to your channel and videos from search engine visitors. Make your title descriptive, enticing, and creative. Remember that next to your videos, your video titles are the most crucial content on your page. They will help your viewers decide whether or not to play your videos.
You are probably familiar with blogging and all the ways you can earn money from it. Supplementing your vlog with a blog (or the other way around) can multiply your money-making potential and also expand your channel’s exposure.
Vlogging and blogging can be used together- for example, you can provide transcriptions of your videos in your blog, or you can feature a product you like on your blog and then link to a how-to-use video on your YouTube channel.
Dara Fontein, Blog Writer, Hootsuite
An effective YouTube contest should generate buzz for your channel, allow you to reach a wider audience, and drive traffic to your site or social media channels. Expanding your number of followers is one of the most important keys to increasing your earnings on YouTube.
There are several ideas for contests that you can run: it can be as simple as a commenting contest wherein the most creative answer wins, or it can be more interactive like having users submit their own videos and letting users vote for their favorite entry.
Iker Calderon, Director, Fenomeno Studios
Start with your phone. Don’t go spending $5,000 to buy a 5D camera that you have no clue how to use. Your smart phone’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 as good as anything made by Oscar Award-winning director Alejandro G. Iñarritu. 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.
When you feature guest appearances of well-known individuals on your YouTube videos, you get the chance to reach a wider audience and expand your channel’s exposure. You can also provide your viewers with valuable information related to your niche and establish your page as an authority on the subject.
But how do you get experts and celebrities to say ‘yes’ to you? Here are 10 tips on how to book celebrity guests for video interviews.
Over To You
Did this article inspire you to create your very own YouTube channel? Are you determined to be the next YouTube sensation? What is your favorite idea from the list?
We would love to hear from you!