If you're like me (and most other creators), then the COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal for your mental health. It's hard not to feel constantly overwhelmed by everything going on right now — from worrying about getting sick to trying to keep up with work as usual while staying home due to lockdown measures.
The financial strain that this is causing has been particularly bad if you rely heavily upon income from streaming services such as YouTube or Patreon. Many of us have had our content stolen because we couldn't pay someone else to host it anymore after failing to earn enough through ad revenue. In these times where people are struggling financially, there's never been more important to stay positive and look out for each other.
As an artist myself who makes their full time living exclusively via online platforms, I've seen firsthand what it means to lose access to those streams of income. And now that things have started opening back up again, I want to highlight some ways you can use video as a way to generate additional cash flow during this period when everyone needs extra support.
There may be good news though! The pandemic could actually end up being great for monetizing your channel since many viewers were already primed to spend extra money once they returned to buying products normally sold at retail outlets. This was because of all the hype surrounding COVID-related items that came onto shelves over holidays last year. So yes, despite the challenges, it doesn't mean you won't be able to successfully get paid on YouTube next year.
I'm here to tell you that creating and uploading quality creative content consistently isn't just something fun for you to do. You'll also find yourself building trust with your audience, improving engagement rates across social media channels, growing your subscriber base, developing new relationships, and ultimately earning residual passive incomes from all future efforts.
With that said, let's go into detail below about how to turn your passion project into a sustainable business model while keeping the world entertained throughout this difficult time, no matter what type of creator you are. Here's how...
In my own experience, producing high-quality original content takes around one hour per day. If you don't think you're capable of dedicating that much time to your channel yet, try looking at the best creators to follow to see how much content they produce every single week. Once you understand how much effort goes into maintaining consistency and productivity, you might realize that it really only takes a few hours to churn out at least one piece of top-notch content. Then you can scale accordingly based on your goals.
For example, if you aim to create two pieces of fresh content every weekday, and you know that both will take roughly 45 minutes to shoot, edit, upload, schedule, promote, etc., then you'd realistically expect to finish them within three days total. That's assuming you didn't run into any issues along the way, and you weren't delayed by anything beyond your control. But remember, nobody knows exactly how long the pandemic will continue. We hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So always allow room for error should circumstances arise.
It's worth noting that I personally prefer working towards longer term projects rather than short-term ones. After finishing a series of episodes, I usually sit down to write a script for the next season before launching it publicly. As you probably know, scripting is often easier than shooting footage. However, if you plan to release multiple seasons quickly, then you may want to consider filming first and editing later.
But either way, whatever route you choose, stick with it. Consistency is key. Your subscribers deserve nothing less. Now that you know how much time you'll need, ask yourself whether you've got the discipline required to put in long hours regularly. Or maybe you've got better luck with shorter bursts of creativity between jobs. Either way, the main takeaway here is to set realistic expectations for yourself around production schedules. Otherwise, you risk burning out too soon.
Once you've established the amount of time you can commit to consistent video creation, the rest depends entirely on what types of content you decide to focus on. Are you interested in doing vlogs, cooking tutorials, comedy sketches, live Q&A sessions, behind-the-scenes glimpses, music recaps, etc.? Whatever niche you fall under, the possibilities are endless. For starters, check out these popular genres currently trending on YouTube. You'll notice that almost none of them involve using expensive equipment. All you need is your phone, laptop, webcam, and microphone. If you haven't done so already, sign up to become part of Google Preferred Creator Studios. They offer several benefits that include higher payouts for creators, plus free marketing tools and expert advice.
You don't necessarily need thousands of followers to make money on YouTube. Just a loyal following of enthusiastic fans who aren't afraid to give feedback is sufficient. These supporters will help you gain valuable insights that lead to growth faster. Don't forget to engage with comments left beneath your videos. Engagement leads to greater reach and visibility, thus helping increase the chances of gaining further funding.
Keep in mind that you shouldn't view success on YouTube purely as a numbers game. Success is subjective and determined by personal preference. What matters is that you're happy with the results of your work and confident in your ability to sustainably grow your channel long-term. Remember why you created your channel in the first place. Keep your vision in sight, and don't compromise on your values.
Here's another thing to bear in mind: How much money you desire coming into your account on a monthly basis directly affects how frequently you should post new material. If you want to hit the big bucks, you must invest more time upfront to ensure that you receive larger payout checks once your channel starts attracting significant viewership. Think of it this way: If you wanted to buy a house with zero equity, you wouldn't rent until you accumulated enough savings. Similarly, you shouldn't wait to build up your brand value before starting to film content.
So, what's the magic number of views needed to make $1000/month on YouTube? There's no exact answer to this question. However, research suggests that the average person watches anywhere between six and eight hours' worth of TV programming every day. By multiplying this figure by 365 days, you arrive at a daily viewing estimate of 1,920 hours per year. Of course, this varies depending on your target market and demographics. For instance, older adults tend to watch significantly fewer hours compared to millennials. Therefore, you'll likely need fewer views to make the same amount of money as a 20-year old would.
However, regardless of age group, the general rule remains the same: More views translate to more opportunities for exposure and increased earnings potential. So, the more views you attract, the better. Again, you can easily test different thresholds to determine your ideal threshold for profitability. You can also experiment with posting more frequently versus waiting longer. Most importantly, however, remember to prioritize viewer retention above acquisition. Build a strong relationship with your community by providing regular updates, responding promptly to questions, addressing concerns, offering exclusive giveaways, and so forth. Only then will they come back to your channel repeatedly.
Nowadays, YouTube offers numerous subscription options for its users. Some charge a flat fee ($6.99/month) for unlimited ads, others require payment per minute watched ($0.005/minute). One option allows you to stream your content simultaneously to various devices such as computer screens, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and webcams. Others provide similar functionality except instead of charging a fixed price, they depend solely on impressions. Yet others simply charge a percentage rate of the sale made from each individual clip viewed. Although there are pros and cons associated with each approach, the choice largely comes down to your preferences regarding advertising vs subscriptions.
Regardless of which method works best for you, it's crucial to know that certain niches lend themselves well to monetization. To name a few examples, beauty makeup artists are known to enjoy generating substantial profits from advertisements. Meanwhile, fitness enthusiasts can benefit greatly from selling merchandise or premium memberships. Other areas of interest include crafting, pet care, travel, food & drink, technology, healthcare, fashion, lifestyle, sports, and entertainment. You can learn more about this topic in depth in the book "YouTube Money" by Mark Lino. He shares his secrets for maximizing revenues via the platform.
In this article we'll share with you ten tried-and-tested methods that have worked for many of us over the years as well as giving details of one additional method (which covers how you can also make money even if you don't produce any content).
If you want to know more about our other tips, please check out our other blog posts here.
YouTube is used by millions worldwide every day - there are now two billion hours watched per month! But what's interesting is not just its popularity but also its growth globally. In fact, according to Statista, users spent an average of 622 minutes watching YouTube in 2019 compared to 735 minutes viewing Netflix or 890 minutes listening to Spotify. The stats above show the breakdown across regions where people spend their time online. We've found that most people watch at least some of their entertainment via YouTube. It seems only natural then that businesses should be keen to advertise on such a huge platform. However, things change rapidly when new developments occur and technology evolves, so it was no surprise that Google announced changes to YouTube monetization in October 2020. This has led to confusion amongst creators and left them uncertain whether they can continue to earn from advertising revenue on YouTube in 2021. So, let’s look at the facts...
1) If your audience isn't primarily based within North America, Europe or Oceania, you probably won't get much benefit from using AdSense.
2) You're likely to see far better results through affiliate marketing than AdSense.
3) There are lots of opportunities to create passive income streams on YouTube.
4) There are several types of ads available for use on YouTube.
5) Videos need to comply with YouTube Community Guidelines before being eligible for monetisation.
6) Video views alone aren't enough to qualify for adverts. Viewers must click on links displayed in video descriptions.
7) Content owners may choose to set a lower price point for displaying sponsored content than standard advertisements.
8) When creating content for YouTube channels, consider how much competition exists for keywords related to the subject matter.
9) A creator cannot claim copyright ownership over their own uploaded footage.
10) Creators who upload original material can protect themselves against piracy with Digital Rights Management software.
So, yes, although these rules might seem confusing right now, once you begin working your way around them, you can build up a successful channel. Some of the best advice anyone ever gave me was "It takes hard work to become successful." And, in my experience, the harder something is, the greater the reward.
As mentioned previously, according to statistics published by Statista, global monthly active users increased by 1% between 2018 and 2019. That means that the number of unique visitors grew from 2.95 billion to 3.19 billion. Of course, in reality, this figure represents the total amount of unique viewers rather than actual individual visits. For example, someone could visit multiple times during each session. As YouTube provides free service to view videos, it is easy to understand why people would stay longer and therefore consume more data. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that YouTube is owned by Google, so perhaps unsurprisingly, mobile traffic accounts for 82% of all pageviews. According to eMarketer, 59% of U.S adults aged 18+ visited YouTube daily in 2017. More importantly though, almost half (48%) subscribe to YouTube Premium. With a subscription comes access to enhanced features like offline downloads and expanded parental controls. These subscribers are typically affluent individuals who are willing to pay extra for convenience and peace of mind.
Video consumption continues to grow year on year despite COVID-19 restrictions. Many people turn to social media platforms to find news updates, funny clips, celebrity gossip and viral trends. Even those who prefer reading articles often opt to read them on screens instead of paper due to ease and accessibility reasons. Additionally, according to Comscore, 53% of teens who stream music listen on YouTube. They spend an hour or more streaming audio weekly. What does this tell us? Well, it shows that YouTube remains very relevant today.
On top of that, YouTube is home to hundreds of thousands of small business brands who rely on the platform for customer acquisition and retention.
And remember, YouTube is great for B2B companies too. 87% of marketers say that YouTube plays a key role in helping them reach consumers.
There are plenty of different factors that dictate how long it actually takes for a channel to generate sufficient profit to live off. Here's a few examples:
Your niche and target market. How accessible is your topic to potential customers? Do you offer value beyond simply entertaining/amusing people? Are you able to provide real solutions to problems? Can you convince others' that your product/service is worthy of spending money on? How easily can you convert prospects into paying clients?
The length of your videos. Obviously, shorter videos tend to perform better. However, if you're looking to gain brand recognition, quality is paramount. Your aim needs to be to engage and entertain while providing valuable information. Don't worry about having a short attention span because research suggests that we're becoming increasingly impatient with lengthy formats anyway.
Traffic generation strategies. Is your audience actively searching for your type of content? Or are they passively consuming what appears on their favourite feeds? Think carefully about your strategy. Passive audiences are easier to cater to. However, they require more effort to maintain interest levels. On the flipside, generating high volumes of targeted organic search engine referrals requires consistent SEO efforts.
I'm sure you'll agree that earning money directly from uploading videos is preferable to relying solely on third party services. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn't currently allow direct payments to its creators until August 2022. Until then, here is a list of five simple ways that you can start building a profitable channel straight away.
1. Use pre-roll ads. Pre-roll ads appear immediately after your video begins whereas interstitial ads display whilst the viewer scrolls down the screen. Although both sell similar products, pre-roll tends to be cheaper and usually delivers higher conversion rates.
2. Build relationships with influencers. Having established yourself as a reliable source of useful content, you can approach influential figures in your industry and ask to feature in future pieces of content. Influencer marketing involves offering support, guidance and endorsement to boost awareness of specific brands and services. Typically, influencers receive compensation in exchange for promoting a company's offerings.
3. Create branded merchandise. Merchandise includes t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases etc., which bear logos and branding associated with your account name. Once your subscriber count reaches 500,000, you can apply to be verified and receive special perks exclusively reserved for Channel Members.
4. Offer subscriptions. Subscriptions mean you can charge fans a flat fee to access premium content regularly. Currently, the biggest selling points for paid memberships relate to early access to exclusive content, discounts and deals on selected items.
5. Start charging for workshops & events. Depending upon your niche, you can either run regular classes, seminars or workshops. Alternatively, you could host bespoke corporate training sessions or conferences. Either option allows you to keep control of the agenda and ensure attendees learn exactly what you'd intended.
In 2019, I wrote an article titled "Why You Shouldn't Make Money Off Your Content". In that piece, I argued that the best way for content creators (like myself) to monetize their work is through affiliate marketing, where we promote other people's products instead of our own.
Fast forward one year later...and now many big names have jumped onto the bandwagon by creating branded channels off their own content, such as PewDiePie, who has his own merch range called 'Pewdie'. It seems like everyone from popular influencers to high-profile personalities are jumping on board this train — but what does that mean for us lesser mortals? How are brands using YouTube to generate revenue today? And more importantly, should YOU be trying to get involved? Here's everything you need to know about whether or not you can actually make money on YouTube in 2020.
Yes! Yes, yes, YES! Affiliate marketing isn't dead yet. The fact remains that if your goal is simply to use YouTube to further yourself as an artist/creator/writer/etc., then it's perfectly acceptable to continue being paid for your content via adverts.
If anything, the amount of affiliates taking over social media platforms means there are far fewer ads on the platform itself these days. This is because most companies realise they're better served placing their ads elsewhere rather than having them interspersed throughout user uploaded content. There's also less competition too thanks to the sheer number of users online at any given time.
To give you some numbers, according to data collected by Tubefilter, the average monthly views per channel was 2 million views in 2016, 3 million views in 2017, 4 million views in 2018, 5 million views in 2019, 6 million views in 2020, and 7 million views in January 2021. If you look at those stats alone, you'll see just how massive YouTube really is right now — especially when compared against Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat combined. That said, the growth doesn't necessarily equate to increased income...but let's move onwards anyway.
I'm sure you've noticed that many of the biggest stars on YouTube already have their very own merchandise ranges, TV shows, podcasts, etc. Some of these celebrities' businesses were started long before they became famous enough to command millions upon millions of dollars each year, whilst others saw huge success after becoming household names. Either way, the point is clear: anyone can become rich on YouTube. As long as you're willing to put in the hard yards, create quality content, and market yourself properly, you absolutely CAN earn decent cash every month.
That said, remember that it's unlikely your audience wants to buy something directly related to what you post about. They may love the music you listen to, but maybe don't care all that much about the latest album releases. Or perhaps you enjoy watching cooking tutorials, but would never consider buying cookware themselves. Whatever niche you choose to follow, you must ensure your subscribers want exactly what you're selling. Otherwise, you won't ever get another cent out of them again.
The easiest way to avoid this problem is to focus on topics you genuinely believe in, but keep away from things that might seem pointless to someone else.
So, if you're looking to build up your following purely to profit from advertisements, stick to posting regular video updates about whatever interests you. But if you'd prefer to create content specifically tailored towards helping your viewers achieve certain goals, go ahead and branch into something else. After all, you wouldn't try to run a bedding store unless you had experience working within beds, would you?
Of course, you can always use YouTube's built-in tools to find new audiences and gain popularity anyway. For example, you could set up a dedicated Facebook page, group chat, podcast, website, newsletter, blog, etc. However, bear in mind that while growing your subscriber count is great, it doesn't guarantee greater earning potential. Just check out my personal statistics from last year: despite getting nearly double the views of the previous year, I only earned half as much money due to lower overall engagement levels.
It's important to note however that the vast majority of successful vloggers typically spend thousands of hours building up their channels prior to hitting mainstream success. If you haven't been doing that kind of groundwork, you probably aren't going to reap the rewards either.
What's more, if you truly intend to make a living solely via YouTube, you should take advantage of YouTube's Creator Academy, Community Guidelines, and Revenue Sharing partners programs. These three resources are designed to assist you in setting up your business correctly, avoiding legal issues, understanding advertising guidelines, and maximizing earnings.
As mentioned earlier, it's vital that you stay true to your genre. A lot of content creators fail precisely because they stray away from their roots. Don't fall prey to the temptation of thinking that once you hit 1 billion subs, you suddenly deserve bigger paychecks. Chasing large amounts of traffic down the wrong path can lead to serious disappointment. Stick to what you know, and grow organically.
Making money on YouTube IS worth it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. Especially considering the current state of the industry.
With so many established players spending hundreds of hours producing content day in, day out, it's easy to wonder if it's even worthwhile uploading original content anymore. With no real end date attached to your creations, surely it makes sense to recycle old material instead, thus saving countless hours of effort? Unfortunately, this line of thought overlooks several key points that determine the profitability of your content.
Firstly, if you're struggling to come up with ideas for new videos, think back to times when you found inspiration. What made you watch that particular show/movie/song/book/TV episode in the first place? Was it the acting? The storyline? Did the characters tickle your fancy? Were you moved emotionally by the plot? Perhaps you were interested in the subject matter? Maybe you wanted to learn more about the world around you? Try drawing connections between your favourite moments and present circumstances. Alternatively, ask your friends what they enjoyed most about a recent outing, movie, book, song, event, etc. Once you establish which elements resonated the most, it becomes easier to pinpoint areas where you can improve.
Secondly, consider the age demographic of your target audience(s). Do they tend to actively seek out older movies/shows/books/music/videos/etc.? Or are young kids your main focus? Are teenagers your primary audience? Then consider how relevant newer versions of your chosen items are to modern tastes. Remember, teens are notoriously fickle creatures, and you'll often struggle to hold their attention longer than 20 minutes. On top of that, the younger generations nowadays consume digital entertainment differently to their parents. So if you upload something aimed at adults, chances are your teen followers won't engage with it. Conversely, if you produce content geared toward children, it might appeal to their adult counterparts as well.
Thirdly, consider your production values. Can you afford to invest in equipment, software, wardrobe changes, professional editing, location shoots, travel expenses, props, sound effects, background score, studio recording sessions, green screen footage, voiceover artists, CGI animation, animatronic puppets, special effects, lighting rigs, etc.? Even if you're planning to stream live on Periscope or Meerkat, you'll likely need additional assistance from external sources. One mistake here, and you could easily lose thousands of dollars overnight.
Fourthly, take stock of your existing portfolio. Is it extensive enough to support a full-time income? Does it include plenty of variety? Think carefully about what you choose to highlight next. Will it cater to your fans' desires? Also, decide whether or not you want to release exclusive episodes exclusively on your channel. Doing so ensures your loyal patrons get access to them immediately, whereas releasing similar content across multiple networks creates brand awareness. Additionally, if you plan to rely heavily on Patreon donations, you should aim to produce at least two new videos per week.
Fifthly, factor in your time investment. Obviously you need to allocate sufficient time for research, writing, filming, editing, colour correction, graphics creation, audio mixing, live streaming, social media management, copyright clearance, product development, customer service, promotions, marketing campaigns, etc. Depending on your skill level, expect to devote anywhere from a few hours to upwards of 100+ hours per week.
Finally, consider your budget. You'll obviously require capital to fund your initial growth phases, but beyond that, you need to realistically assess whether or not you can reinvest profits in order to sustain the momentum required to reach higher heights. Unless you're independently wealthy, or fortunate enough to receive financial aid from family members, crowdfunding will almost certainly be necessary.
Also, remember that regardless of how much you currently earn, running a YouTube channel takes commitment. If you're serious about turning your passion project into a career, you MUST treat it as a job and dedicate consistent blocks of time to its upkeep. Without constant motivation, your efforts will soon wane.
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.