Who of us hasn’t watched YouTube at some point or another? Whether you stream music videos, watch makeup tutorials, or search for how-to videos for your latest DIY project, you’ll probably end up on YouTube. As a consumer of video content, you already know how valuable it can be. And if you’re someone who loves to make their own videos, why not pursue a paid career making money online as a content creator on YouTube?
While these tips may not be the next Baby Shark Dance and get you listed on the most viewed YouTube videos, they’re sure to help you towards your goal of creating a revenue stream from your videos. Here are five of the most effective methods for making money on YouTube as a video creator.
1. Become a YouTube Partner
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) lets content creators access a number of special features, including revenue sharing from your video ads. You can make money on YouTube without being a part of the YouTube Partner Program by simply setting up a Google Adsense account and getting views on your videos. However, the YPP allows you to access more monetization features so you can start making passive income.
In order to be eligible to apply for the YouTube Partner Program, your account must have at least 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months and at least 1,000 subscribers to your channel. If you’re under 18, you may need a parent or guardian to help you link an approved Adsense account to make money on YouTube as a kid. Once you apply for the YPP, your channel will be assessed by YouTube to see if it meets their monetization policies. If you’re accepted, you’ll gain access to multiple income streams from video ads, YouTube Premium subscription fees, and other exclusive features.
How to become a YouTube partner and get paid
We’ve broken down the process of becoming a YouTube partner and enabling monetization of your YouTube channel into the following steps:
Check that your channel meets YouTube’s policies for monetization
Before you apply for the YouTube Partner Program, you should ensure that your account meets with their policies. YouTube checks to see if your videos contain advertiser-friendly content since they have a very specific set of rules when it comes to determining which type of videos are allowed to run ads. Even once your channel has been approved, YouTube retains the right to remove monetization from your channel if you start creating content that violates their policies or if you are inactive and have not uploaded a new video or made a new post in over six months.
Enable 2-step verification on your YouTube account
This step is not technically a requirement for enabling monetization on your videos, but not having a 2-step verification (2FA) set-up could prolong the application timeline, so it just makes sense to add this to the list. Plus you get the added benefit of protecting your account.
Sign the YouTube Partner Program terms
In order to submit your application for the YPP, you need to sign off on the terms and conditions. To do this, head to your YouTube Studio and click “monetization.” If you haven’t reached the eligibility requirements to join the YPP yet, you can click “Notify me when I’m eligible” to get an alert once your channel reaches the threshold. If you’re already eligible, go ahead and click start on “Review Partner Program terms” and sign the form.
Connect your Google Adsense account
The next step to monetizing your video content is to connect your Google Adsense account, which is how you will get paid by YouTube. Go to your YouTube Studio page to sign up for Google Adsense or connect an existing account.
Wait to receive approval
Once you’ve completed all of these steps, your application will be submitted to the approval queue. After being accepted, you can start setting up your advertisement preferences and enable monetization on each of your individual videos.
How long does it take YouTube to approve monetization?
It usually takes around 1 week to a month to hear back and get approved for YouTube monetization.
2. Sell products or merchandise
Another great way to make money as a video creator is to sell your own branded products or merchandise using YouTube’s merchandise shelf. Eligible channels are able to showcase 12 products of official merchandise directly on YouTube. In order to gain access to the merch shelf, your channel has to be approved for monetization in a country where the YPP is available. If you make music, your channel has to be set as an Official Artist Channel. Otherwise, you have to have at least 10,000 subscribers to sell your own merch.
To set up your own merch shelf, head to YouTube Studio, click “monetization,” and if you’re eligible, you’ll see a tab called “merchandise.” Click on this tab and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on the merch shelf for your channel and videos. You can also pause your merchandise shelf or turn it off entirely at any time.
Start by choosing a manufacturer from YouTube’s list of partners, and create one or two items that you can use to gauge your target audience’s interests in your branded merchandise. It’s a good idea to engage your subscribers in your decision around what kind of products you will offer. Soliciting input ahead of time helps prevent you from creating products that your audience doesn’t actually want to buy.
Make sure to continuously promote your merchandise in your YouTube videos so that subscribers and new viewers alike will be aware of what you have available. Just because you create merch doesn’t mean that all of your potential customers will see your new products or understand why they should buy them. Show up in your videos wearing your branded T-shirt or sip from the mug you’re selling, so that viewers will see your products and are more likely to want them for themselves.
Another great way to convert your video viewers into paying customers is by using user-generated content (UGC). For instance, by featuring viewers who bought your merch with a username shoutout in your video or live stream and share their photos on your channel. Not only does this make your customers feel valued and appreciated, it also makes viewers who haven’t bought your merch feel like they’re missing out.
Use compelling calls to action in your videos to inspire viewers to check out your merch shelf and actually make a purchase. If you want to introduce an element of urgency to encourage even more sales, you can offer a limited run of products and build a buzz around your product releases.
3. License your content to the media
Whether you create hilarious pranking videos that go viral or you manage to capture an unexpected event by being in the right place at the right time, there may come a time when a news outlet wants to use your video in its content. If this happens, make sure you’re aware that media outlets are required to pay you for using your videos.
You have a few different options when it comes to negotiating content licensing fees with the media. Start by making it easy for people to contact you by having all of your details clearly available on your “About” page on your YouTube channel. Even if you don’t have an established business or website yet, you can use your personal email account or you can set up a free business email address. When the media reaches out, you can either choose to negotiate the content usage fee directly, use an online video marketplace like Jukin Media, Storyful, and Viral Hog or make a business website where they can purchase different licensing fees depending on how they plan to use your content.
4. Work with brands as an influencer or affiliate
Influencing and affiliate marketing with your YouTube videos are similar but different ways of monetizing your online presence. Both are about using your platform to promote a product or brand. but with influencing, you get paid a set amount regardless of how successful your campaign is. With an affiliate program, you only make money if people make a purchase using your unique affiliate link.
In order to be successful at either influencer or affiliate marketing (or both), you need to start with a clearly developed business brand identity within a specific niche market. Then work on creating content that this audience is interested in consuming. You can identify trends by watching other popular videos in your niche to see what type of videos get the most likes, saves, and comments. Keep in mind your video content should always be providing value to your viewers so that they feel compelled to subscribe to your channel. Make sure you post new content on a consistent basis so that your viewers come to rely on new videos being published at specific times.
How to become a YouTube Influencer
Once you have an established channel and audience, you can start partnering with brands whose ideal customer is the same as your current audience. You can get paid to recommend or mention products during your videos, or post product review videos. When you become an influencer for a brand, you’ll negotiate payment with them or with a third-party agency. Depending on the terms of your contract, you should receive payment regardless of the outcome of your partnership.
You can choose to wait for brands to reach out to you, or you can be more proactive and leverage your audience by proposing a partnership with brands that have a similar target audience. Work on perfecting your brand pitch, then send it out to companies that are your dream collaborators. You can also consider joining an influencer marketing platform in order to help connect you with brands that are actively looking for influencers.
Make sure you do your research when it comes to industry standards for YouTube influencer fees. These will likely depend on your audience size, level of engagement, and the relevance of your viewers to your potential brand partner. YouTube takes its advertising policies very seriously, so always make it clear when you are being paid to advertise something. That way you don’t violate their policies or ruin your trustworthy reputation in the eyes of your community.
How to become a YouTube Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is different from being an influencer because it is much more accessible to creators with a smaller audience. You don’t need a certain amount of followers to become an affiliate marketer with your favourite brand. You can simply create an account with a company, and you’ll get access to unique affiliate links to products that you want to recommend to your audience on YouTube. Then, when someone uses your affiliate link to make a purchase, you’ll automatically receive a percentage of the sale, usually ranging from 5 to 30 per cent.
5. Direct payment from fans
In addition to all of the techniques we’ve already covered for monetizing your YouTube presence, there are also a number of different ways that you can get paid directly by your fans.
Super Chat feature on Youtube
Super Chat is a feature that is available to members of the YouTube Partner Program while they are live streaming. Viewers will be able to pay to use Super Chat and Super Stickers so that their messages will be highlighted in your live chats.
If you’re enrolled in the YouTube Partner Program, you’re over 18 and have over 30,000 subscribers, you could be eligible to offer a paid channel membership to your subscribers. A channel membership means viewers pay a monthly amount in order to gain access to exclusive members-only perks. You can offer multiple membership levels at a variety of different price points.
Channel membership perks can include members-only community posts, videos, live streams, and live chats. Members will get custom badges displayed next to their name in chats, comments, and the community tab that show how long they have been a member of your channel. You can also set it up so that members get access to one or more exclusive custom emojis that can be sent in video comments and live chats. Make it clear what perks you’re offering at each membership level so that it’s easy for subscribers to see the value in paying to be a member of your channel.
Encourage subscribers to join Youtube Premium
While it doesn’t necessarily directly impact your potential for income, any time someone who pays for YouTube Premium watches one of your videos, you’ll receive a portion of their subscription fee. This means that if more of your channel subscribers pay for YouTube Premium, chances are they will also continue to watch your videos, bringing in more income for you. YouTube Premium membership fees are distributed to creators based on how many members watch your content.
Crowdfunding on another website
If the options for making money directly on YouTube aren’t enough, you can also create an ongoing revenue stream from monthly donations through a YouTube-approved crowdfunding site like Patreon. Alternatively, you could use GoFundMe or Kickstarter to raise money for a specific project or purpose. Remember to promote your campaign or your Patreon page in your YouTube videos so that viewers will know how they can support you.
How much do YouTubers make?
It is possible to earn $18 for every 1,000 ad views or about $3 to $5 for every 1,000 video views. You can make anywhere from $0.01 to $0.03 per ad view on YouTube, which usually equals about $0.18 per video view. So, if a video of yours gets one million views, you could end up making around $5,000. In fact, some of the top YouTubers and teen influencers make upwards of $20 million per year from YouTube videos alone.
Ultimately, the amount of money that YouTubers can make from their video content is dependent on a variety of factors like the number of views your video gets, the number of ad clicks, the ad quality, whether viewers use ad blockers, and the length of your videos. The number of subscribers you have on your channel also won’t directly influence the amount you make, but subscribers tend to be more invested in your content, which means they are more likely to like, comment, and share your videos. This can lead to more views and more income.
Final thoughts on starting a YouTube business
There is a ton of potential to make money as a content creator on YouTube. If you love making videos and you’ve been thinking about how to make money from home, it could be worthwhile for you to try monetizing your video content and developing your community on YouTube.
This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.