The YouTube Partner Program is how regular YouTubers get access to special features on the platform.
You don't need to be a partner to make money on YouTube (just setting up an AdSense account and getting views is enough to handle that), but being a partner makes it a lot easier.
YouTube partners have access to multiple revenue streams: not just video ads, but YouTube Premium subscription fees and features that tap into their loyal fans' wallets directly like Super Chat, channel memberships, and the product shelf ( More on this later).
Don't worry, we have a handy guide for this. It's called 'How to Create a YouTube Channel'.
To join the program, you need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months.
Here are some ideas on how to get more of those precious YouTube views.
This is simple. Just follow the official YouTube guide for AdSense accounts.
Each monetization channel has different eligibility requirements. For example:
To earn advertising revenue, you must be at least 18 years of age and must create content that is eligible for advertisers. Basically, the less controversial your videos are, the more comfortable YouTube advertisers will be running ads on them, and the more money you'll make.
If a YouTube Premium member watches your video, you get a portion of their subscription fee. (This one is automatic, which is nice.)
To sell channel memberships to your subscribers (meaning your fans choose to pay you an additional amount), you must be at least 18 years old and have more than 30,000 subscribers.
To sell products from the YouTube Product Shelf, you must be at least 18 years old and have at least 10,000 subscribers.
If you want your fans to be able to pay to have your messages featured in their live chats during your live streams, you must be at least 18 years old (and live in a country where the feature is offered).
As a YouTube partner, your channel will be held to a higher standard, according to YouTube. You must follow not only the YouTube Partner Program policies, but also the Community Guidelines. Not to mention staying on the right side of copyright law.
Maybe you identify yourself as a content creator first and an entrepreneur second. (Just remember that even Drake sells t-shirts.)
Alternatively, you are an entrepreneur first and a video creator second, which means you probably already have a product and are designing your YouTube marketing strategy to sell it.
Either way, merchandise is a viable way to make money from YouTube.
Your channel merch is meant to both represent and nurture your audience's connection with you. That means your merchandise must be unique.
Hawaiian YouTube star Ryan Higa launched his milk-based energy drink Ninja Melk to capitalize on the popularity of his viral sitcom Ninja Melk. While he also sells t-shirts and other merchandise on his online store, Ninja Melk's appeal is broad enough that he has his own website.
Pro Tip: You may have more merch ideas than you can possibly store. So start by dipping your toes in the water with one or two items. But be sure to involve your audience in the decision-making process. Find them about what they want. Or build buzz by offering unique products tied to big subscriber count milestones.
In most cases, you will need a manufacturer, supplier, or wholesaler to manufacture and deliver your product. Some vendors will deliver it to you, and others will save you the headaches of inventory, shipping, and returns by handling it themselves.
If you're not sure where to start, check out Shopify's tutorial on finding a brick-and-mortar business to make your dream come true.
You will need a separate website to handle purchases. If you want to link to it directly from your videos (and you do), check out YouTube's list of approved product sites.
YouTube partners can also use the shelf feature to sell their channel merchandise. If you're eligible, follow YouTube's instructions to enable it.
This is where your charm comes into play. Wear or use your merchandise in your videos. It shows viewers that they have bought it and are using it. (If we were on another platform, we might call this "user-generated content" or possibly "solid gold.")
And don't forget to add your store link to your video descriptions and include compelling end screens and cards with compelling calls to action.
Pro Tip: Don't forget to say thank you. Because he is polite. But also because it's an excuse to remind people how great and popular your product is, once again.
You don't have to be on Instagram to be an influencer. The advantage of the #sponcon strategy is that you don't have to give YouTube a portion of your profits. You negotiate directly with the brand and they pay you directly. No wonder it's a popular way for YouTubers to earn money.
If you can offer brands a large and/or engaged audience, and your content is relevant to their target market, they are likely to want to hear from you.
For example, YouTuber Aaron Marino, aka Alpha M, is big in the men's lifestyle space. How big? So big that even their videos explaining their brand associations have brand partners.
Quality is important when it comes to the names you work with. You probably already have a wish list of dream brands. Whether you're shooting for the stars or building a base style, be sure to perfect your brand pitch before you send it out.
Also consider signing up for an influencer marketing platform. These are intermediary websites that help marketing teams find the right influencers to work with. FameBit was one of the first to focus on YouTubers, for example.
According to this recent study from influencer marketing platform Klear, YouTube videos are, on average, the most expensive type of sponsored content that brands can buy from influencers. Basically, YouTube influencers can charge more for their videos than for Instagram Stories or Facebook posts, because video is more expensive to produce.
While your fee will vary based on the size of your audience, engagement, and relevance to your potential partner, know your value before you sign a contract.
Sponsored content is advertising. That means you need to make sure you're in sync with Google's advertising policies. Both the FTC (US) and the ASA (UK) have guidelines that you should also be aware of if you are American or British.
Transparency is good for your legal health, but also for the relationship with your audience. YouTube has a visible disclosure feature to help you make sure your audience knows you're advertising to them.
If your YouTube audience is loyal and engaged, but hasn't quite reached the staff level yet, look for companies that invest in affiliate marketing.
YouTubers affiliated with companies encourage their viewers to visit the brand's online store or specific product pages. They then get a percentage of the sales made through their, you guessed it, affiliate links.
In terms of setup and logistics, affiliate partnerships are similar to sponsored content offers, so follow the steps in tip #3 to get started.
This strategy for making money on YouTube includes a few different sources of income, but they all have one thing in common: you have to make it easy for your fans to show their appreciation with their credit card.
In early 2017, YouTube replaced its previous Fan Funding feature with Super Chat. This is a feature only available to YouTube partners while live streaming.
Essentially, your viewers can make their comments more visible (they are highlighted and pinned for a set period of time based on how much they pay) on the live chat stream.
youtube super chat
YouTube offers the possibility for your viewers to pay you to become a member of your channel. In return, they get custom emoji, badges, and access to member-only exclusives like live chats with you.
For example, Wintergatan is a Swedish gang that also makes elaborate marble machines and posts videos about it on their YouTube channel. They regularly thank their channel members in their videos. They also make it clear what the membership money supports:
You will need to develop a promotional strategy to convince people to become a member, which may or may not include various levels of membership. Like Super Chat, this feature is only available to YouTube partners.
This step is the last on our list for this strategy because it benefits your channel only indirectly. That said, when YouTube Premium members watch your channel, you get a portion of their subscription fee. (And so does every other channel they watch.)
Requesting donations online is now commonplace. Whether you're looking to generate ongoing income from a bunch of small monthly donations, or looking to fund a personal channel-related project, crowdfunding is how many YouTubers make money.
YouTube has a list of approved crowdfunding sites to choose from.
For recurring funding, Patreon is the best option. In the meantime, sites like GoFundMe or Kickstarter are best for one-off campaigns to get a new microphone, a new laptop, or a new... spleen.
Even household names like Walk Off the Earth or Veronica Mars (okay, she's a fictional character) have used Patreon to fund their projects, be they music videos or feature films.
walk off the earth crowdfunding page
Source: Walk Off the Earth
Detail your specific goals so people know exactly what they can expect when you've succeeded.
Plus, offer attractive benefits that accumulate as your fans choose how much they want to donate.
For more information and inspiration, check out this detailed guide to crowdfunding strategies.
A successful campaign is a cross-platform affair. We've got some tips on how to promote your YouTube channel (and, by extension, your crowdfunding campaign) elsewhere.
When a video goes viral, every media outlet wants to get their hands on a copy to play for their audience. Fortunately, established media companies are well aware that they must pay for what they use. And voila, you have another way to earn money on YouTube.
As a content creator, licensing your most successful work to the media can be as simple as making sure it's easy to find.
You never know when lightning will strike. Even if you don't have a business manager, set up a generic email account that you can point to for business inquiries.
Jukin Media is a great place to start. Even if you don’t have a viral video like the Chewbacca mask lady (see below), media outlets often need timely footage to round out their reporting.
For instance, Jukin has an entire catalogue of ‘newsworthy’ videos that you can contribute to, if you happen to have exclusive footage of a major natural disaster, plane crash, or plague of locusts.
Jukin Media video package
Source: Jukin Media
Sadly, this age-old question has one infuriating answer: it depends.
The sky is the limit, as 9-year old YouTuber and multi-millionaire Ryan Kaji’s story proves. But getting into 7-digit territory takes a lot of time, consistent work and luck.
YouTube revenue relies heavily on AdSense. In simple terms, YouTubers get paid for each ad view on their channel. But rates vary across geographies, demographics, and even industries (software ads may have a higher CPM than, for example, clothing ads).
On average, YouTubers make between $3 and $5 per 1,000 video views through AdSense. If your channel is reaching a lot of people, this can stack up to a pretty paycheck. It’s not uncommon for big creators to cash out upwards of $200,000 each month from AdSense alone.
But even if your channel is trending and AdSense revenue is filling up your bank account, remember that YouTube fame depends on many factors, some (or most) of which are out of your control — the YouTube algorithm can change, as can your audience’s tastes and needs.
To make sure that the money you make on YouTube turns into a healthy and consistent income, follow our 7 tips and branch out. Merch, branded deals and crowdfunding can make you money even if, for whatever reason, your AdSense paychecks go down.
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