Hello there sea changers, I hope all is going well for you. Today we continue our journey into all things regarding making money in an online world by asking – can you make money with YouTube? To be honest, I cannot actually believe that I haven’t written about this subject in much detail as yet. I did write about YouTube briefly in a previous post on choosing appropriate social media platforms and in others here and there but considering its importance and potential to any online business, I feel it needs to be given its due attention. And all it took was a simple conversation my 8 year old son…
Me: “Yeah mate?”
C: “When I grow up I am going to be a YouTube star!”
Me: “A what?” – I mean I knew what he meant but I was intrigued to know what he thought he meant.
C: “A YouTube star (insert eye roll here) – did you know that YouTube stars make billions?”
Me: “I did actually” I said “What are you going to do?”
C: “Dunno… Oh look, a yellow car….” Conversation over!
He did ask me later if I was making millions from my YouTube Channel? I managed to dodge that landmine but it did get me thinking about my sea change journey. Can you really make money with YouTube or like most other things is it the few who make all the money and the rest who don’t.
So with some more research, I can confirm what I already knew in that absofreakinlutely you can. Let’s check it out…
What is YouTube?
YouTube is a video sharing website that allows users to upload and view video content. And since its inception in 2005, it has grown to become the second largest search engine on the internet (behind Google). Initially the domain of individuals, more and more corporations are using it due to its sheer size and exposure via promotional videos, mocumentaries and of course, online advertising. At the individual level, YouTube can be utilised to view all manner of materials including (but absolutely not limited to):
- Video clips
- TV Show clips
- Music videos
- Documentary videos
- Instructional videos
- Movie trailers
- Live streams
- Video game demonstrations
- Home movies
Essentially, with the increased technology available on mobile/cell phones etc. in this day and age, there really is not much that you cannot find on YouTube.
How does YouTube work?
As above, YouTube is an online video sharing platform. I really wanted to write a big piece here about the implications of how it works, but you know what… let’s keep it simple:
- Create a channel – see next section.
- Upload a video.
- People watch your video.
Now if you want to make money with this process, there is obviously a lot more that we need to discuss – which we will soon – but in essence, if you keep your mindset on the simplicity of steps 2 and 3 above, then you will be on your way to success.
YouTube is free to join which is one of the reasons that it is such a powerful online marketing weapon. All you really need to get started is a Google Account, an internet connection and a video that you wish to upload. You will need to:
- Create a YouTube account – this is where you will need your Google account as a login.
- Create a YouTube channel – This takes a few seconds to create then a few more minutes to customise.
From here you will be able to Upload your videos at will.
See the video below for instructions on how to create your very own YouTube channel.
What do you need to consider?
Once you are set up you will be able to start uploading your videos. Before you do so, there are some important things to consider and do:
1. Know your audience – It probably goes without saying but the trick to making money on YouTube is to attract as many people as possible to view your videos. If you are shooting videos that are not going to attract your intended audience then you are wasting your time. Think about who you are targeting and what they will like. Let’s use an example here:
My son got his inspiration from a channel he watches where these two guys talk about and play Minecraft. If I am being honest, they do my head in – they are loud, annoying and make me want to throw the tablet in the bin. But here’s the thing, I am not their targeted audience, my son is… And he loves them. Oh, and they make millions by simply playing Minecraft whilst consuming food and drink carefully chosen by their sponsors.
2. Follow YouTube guidelines – You can’t make money on YouTube if you do not have an account. And if you breach YouTubes guidelines, they will close it without hesitation – or at the very least ban you from adding advertising to your videos. So to avoid this, make sure you are aware of their regulations into what you can, and cannot upload. In general terms, the following content is prohibited:
- Nudity or sexual content
- Risks to child safety
- Hateful, violent, threatening or content that constitutes harassment
- Anything that constitutes Cyberbullying or Trolling
- Spam and Scams
- Copyrighted materials
- Dangerous or harmful content
Click here for more information.
3. Just do it – One last thing I wanted to leave you with before we move on is that this is one area that many of us procrastinate on. “I don’t look or sound good” or “I have no equipment” etc. Just get on with it and shoot some videos. I will discuss at length in this post about how your content needs to be high quality and engaging etc. but please don’t let that hold you back.
Honestly, putting something out there is better than nothing and in time, you will improve way more that you could ever have imagined. You don’t need fancy equipment and lighting. Set your mobile/cell phone up in front of a window, turn on the camera and start talking… There will be plenty of time for a fancy camera and video editing software in the future – especially as you start to build a band of followers and the money starts to tickle in. But for now, just do it!
How to make money with YouTube
Ok, now let’s get into the real nuts and bolts here – making money on YouTube, like most other online endeavours is not a short term proposition. With affiliate marketing, we carry on about how you need to create a website and release high value, problem solving content that increases your rankings on search engines and hence attracts visitors.
YouTube is essentially a video version of that.. you create a channel, release hours of good quality content that is attractive to your target audience and eventually you will start to make money from it. In fact, most of those who make the big money on YouTube did what they do now at the start, except for free. It was not until they garnered a following that the money started to come in.
That said, there are some good ways that you can make money online with YouTube. Let’s see what we can do…
Drive traffic to your website
As we know, working with an affiliate marketing website requires the ongoing release of keyword driven, problem solving content in an effort to rise through the search engine ranking to make sales. Now, as YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world it is a fantastic way to use those keywords in another platform to attract viewers to your channel and then drive them to your website. The money is not technically made within YouTube, but it can play a major role in increasing the sales to your site.
That said, due to its popularity and reach, many affiliate marketers are turning to YouTube as a means of affiliate marketing without a website. This process works in exactly the same fashion however the entire problem solving process is undertaken via a video with the affiliate links in the comments. This process can work extremely well in the following scenarios:
- Create a video reviewing the service and how it helps users
- Create a demonstration video of product
- Instructional/How to videos of products you promote
- Interview other users of the product/service
- Ask questions of the viewers and encourage online interaction
The sky really is the limit here but you need to keep in mind that with whilst video is popular, attention spans are short so you will need to keep your program entertaining as well as be solving the problems of your users.
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Now originally I was going to write about the following opportunities independently until I realised that they are actually all providing money making opportunities in a similar fashion – via sponsorships. This is how the guys that my son watches make a lot of their money, how internet ‘influencers’ make money and it is a way that you can make money using YouTube. The process itself is quite simple:
- Shoot engaging videos – lots and lots of them.
- Attract lots of followers – because your videos are so awesome, entertaining and cleverly target your chosen audience.
- Attract company marketers who want to jump onto your bandwagon of followers by paying you to use their product in your videos.
Wow – then why isn’t everybody doing this? Well, lots are trying and lots are making some decent coin from it. The thing is however, that you need to be patient – you will not be able to build a video demonstrating your favourite skateboard, post it and then wait for the sponsors to call – you need followers! After all, it is the followers that they are after.
Here are some of the ways that you can use YouTube to build a large enough following to attract sponsors:
Create ‘How to’ videos
Besides those infernal cat videos, demonstrations on how to do things is one of the most popular uses for YouTube. As an example, I went through my own viewing list the other day and realised that I have watched instructions on everything from cropping images for websites to learning how to tie knots that attach braid fishing line to nylon fishing line. I also know of a friend who rebuilt an entire car solely via instructions he followed on YouTube.
The trick here is that if you demonstrate a particular skill and are good at it, then people with that interest will subscribe – simply because, as with affiliate marketing, you are solving problems. If you are then able to continue to provide good content with instructions covering all aspects of a particular skill, then sponsors will start to ask you to demonstrate your skill using their products.
Record product reviews
Again, this aspect follows the website based affiliate marketing processes of undertaking reviews of products and providing purchase links and as above, you can certainly do this with YouTube. Where this can be expanded however is that if you get a good following as someone who is an authority on a particular product or products, then you can review a whole range of them within a certain niche. For example, you may choose to use a good number of different lawn mowers and demonstrate the pros, cons and results of each.
Again, get a good following and the lawn mower companies will be falling over themselves to get you to review their product.
This a booming market and one that has made some very funny and boisterous young lads a cult following and a truck load of cash by simply playing video games online, talking about them, providing hint and tips and generally just being teenage boys. As I said earlier, I have to leave the room when they are on as they drive me insane but they appeal to the kids.
Now there are many that are trying this so you need to be very entertaining and knowledgeable. I actually looked at a few for this post and these guys really are a step above. However I did watch one guy with over 1 million followers who simply plays the games and narrates with a boring mono-tone voice. I guess he is knowledgeable and good at the games as he nearly put me to sleep – but he still has 999, 000 odd more subscribers than I do so what do I know? haha.
This one intrigues me but did you know that there are hundreds of people out there who simply open new stuff on video and narrate their ‘discoveries’ as they open them. There is a kid in the U.S. who makes over 11 million a year opening Marvel toys. Again, you need some knowledge but people really go for this. So build a following and sponsors will again come knocking.
The funny thing about YouTube, or the internet itself, is that you really never know what is going to be the next viral craze. People love watching other people in real life. Some do it just by videoing their daily lives, another makes good sponsorship money by taking his mother to retail outlets (chosen by his sponsors) and playing tricks on her.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that YouTube attracts more viewers every night in the U.S. than ALL of the major television networks combined. Sponsors also love an audience, so if you can create something new, fresh, entertaining, funny, annoying, serious, opinionated, silly or anything else you can think of that can attract an audience, then you can attract sponsors too.
As with anything online, advertising can play a large role in your ability to make money on YouTube. Again, you will not be able to do this straight away as to run ads on YouTube you need to be a member of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). This is a program that has been setup by YouTube that allows channel owners to monetize their accounts via the placement of advertising on their videos.
However, in order to ensure that their advertisers (who pay good money to place their ads on YouTube) are getting the best bang for their buck, they have in place some fairly strict guidelines as to who can join this program. Basically they only want channels that have some good content determined by their followers so
in order to join the program and set up advertising you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Your channel meets their policies and guidelines – see above.
- You have an AdSense account. – you can apply for that here.
- Make sure you have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours. – This is the part I was talking about – you need to meet these minimum requirements in order for YouTube to be sure that you have a valid channel that is providing quality content that attracts viewers.
- Apply for YPP. To apply for YPP. Follow these instructions:
- Sign in to YouTube.
- In the top right, select your account icon > Creator Studio.
- In the left menu, select Channel > Status and features.
- Under “Monetization,” click Enable.
- Follow the on-screen steps.
Once you have applied, your channel will be reviewed to ensure that you meet the requirements in steps 1 to 3 above. Once that is completed, ads will start to show on your videos.
Do I recommend it?
As I have said a number of times, making money on YouTube, whilst not a quick process, is an area where with some hard work you can definitely be successful. Do I recommend it? Absolutely I do and from an affiliate marketing point of view, it is an absolute must! It can provide you with so many advantages including:
- Increased SEO juice for your website when videos are embedded in your blog posts.
- Increased exposure to your keywords.
- A second entity that can be ranked in search engines (and usually way before you blog post makes it there).
- A chance to personalize your website and interact with readers/viewers.
And obviously, extra money making opportunities as outlined above.
And there it is – my honest opinion on whether you can make money with YouTube. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
Do you want further assistance with some of the skills needed to make money with YouTube or to set up some other online business building processes?
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Until next time
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