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With the rise of the internet and, consequently, online media, it isn’t uncommon in today’s techno-centric world for one to accrue income through their social media platforms. You’ve likely seen this at work with self-proclaimed “influencers” who use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote their lifestyle and the subsequent products and services that come with it.
But in terms of potential monetary success, there is no site more lucrative than YouTube. In recent years, vloggers have taken over the video-sharing site, regularly creating content often pertaining to a particular subsect of consumer culture or niche interest: make-up tutorials, weigh-ins on cultural happenings, reviews on the newest technology, ASMR.
Some of the most successful vloggers have reported earnings of over 100K annually, a salary that rivals that of many jobs out here in the real world. It almost seems too good to be true, but I assure you it isn’t—we already spend an obscene amount of time absorbed in the interweb, so why not make a profit off of it? Here are the seven ways to monetize a successful YouTube channel:
- Get Onboard With YouTube’s New & Improved Guidelines
As of January 16th, 2018, YouTube has updated their criteria regarding which channels are eligible to profit. The biggest change to the criteria is that now only channels with 4,000+ watch hours in the past 12 months and 1,000+ subscribers are qualified. If you meet the requirements and hope to make money through the site, getting approved is the crucial first move. The steps toward approval are a bit lengthy but I’ll break them down as briefly as possible.
- First, read and agree to the YouTube Partner Program terms. This can be done by signing into your account, selecting the creator studio from your account icon menu, and then clicking (in the left menu) channel > status and features. Once here, click enable, under “Monetization”, and follow the steps to accept the terms.
- Next, you have to sign up for AdSense, which allows you to earn money from advertisements.
- After you’ve done this, set your monetization preferences. These let you dictate what types of ads will be associated with your videos. You’ll also have to confirm you want to monetize for all your existing and future videos, so check the boxes under ads formats to choose the types of ads you want to show, and click save.
- Finally, you are reviewed by YouTube, and they decide if your channel adheres to their guidelines. This includes making sure you’ve followed the above steps, as well as ensuring your content is “advertiser-friendly” (ie. all your content is original or you have permission to use it commercially and you have documentation proving you own commercial rights to any audio or video content).
- After all of this, YouTube will contact you to let you know if your application has been approved.
It sounds like a lot, I know, but considering how much bank you could potentially make, I’d say it’s worth the hassle.
- Use Pre-Roll Ads
A pre-roll ad is an advertisement that plays before the content a viewer wishes to watch. These types of ads make more money per 1 thousand views than ads that linger on the sidebar of videos, and you’ll get a profit per ad click, as well as a smaller profit per view. These ads don’t typically exceed 15 seconds, so it isn’t much of hassle for viewers and it’s a quick way to ensure you’re making money simply through people clicking on your videos.
- Acquire YouTube Sponsors
Brands are constantly looking for influencers with large platforms to promote their products, and YouTube is the perfect place to make this happen. Try reaching out to some brands you trust and genuinely want your audience to know about, and inquire about any potential sponsorship opportunities. If reaching out to companies is daunting or futile, sites like FameBit and ClickBank are meant to help creators network with brands in an efficient and safe manner. One thing to note: if you are being paid to endorse a product, it is important that you alert your viewers to this fact, or else you risk violating the rules of the FTC and YouTube’s platform bylaws.
- Cater to YouTube Red Subscribers
YouTube Red is a service that users can subscribe to which eliminates ads from their video-watching experience, as well as other benefits the average YouTube users aren’t privy to. When you’re linked to the service, you can actually receive commision based on how much time YouTube Red subscribers spend on your channel. If you can try to target some content towards this demographic, you’ll see a profit as your viewership grows.
- Sell Some Merch
If your channel reaches a certain level of success, with an audience that genuinely likes what you’re about, you could profit by selling merchandise to your viewers. This would really only be successful if you’ve created a distinct brand out of your channel, with enough content to be made into products consumers actually want. This is most easily made possible with a loyal fan-base of viewers who would buy your merch as a means of showing support, or who want a tangible piece of your brand apart from what they see on-screen.
This isn’t necessarily a way to make profit for yourself, per say, but you can monetize your channel through crowdfunding if you have an important project or business venture that you need help getting off the ground. You can make videos that target your project, explain what your mission is and encourage people to donate to your venture by providing accurate information and links to relevant pages regarding your mission.
- Utilize SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is a process that involves incorporating keywords and phrases into your video descriptions as a way of boosting your content to the top of various search engines, which is sure to bring you a bunch of viewers and expand your outreach in unparalleled ways. Do some research on key terms to link with your videos so you can reel in watchers, which is the most crucial factor in monetizing your channel.