7 ways to make money on YouTube

YouTube, which has more than a billion monthly users, accounts for 50% of all internet traffic. Here’s how content creators can make money off this platform.
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The most obvious way to make money on YouTube is through advertising. However, it's not the best or the only option. There are many methods to generate money on YouTube.

With over a billion monthly users, YouTube accounts for 50% of all internet traffic. Close to 500 hours of videos are being posted on the website every minute. How do you make money off this platform?

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program

Regular YouTube users can access exclusive features on the website through the YouTube Partner Program. Being a partner makes things much easier, but again, it’s not the only way to make money on YouTube. Simply setting up an AdSense account and gaining views is enough to manage that.

YouTube Partners have access to several revenue streams in addition to video ads. YouTube Premium subscription costs and services like Super Chat, channel memberships, and the product shelf directly tap into the wallets of devoted followers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can go about it.

Step 1: Start a YouTube channel. Explore all the features available to create your unique channel.

Step 2: Increase your channel's popularity to the point where it satisfies the criteria for the YouTube Partner Program. You need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the last 12 months to be eligible to join the programme.

Step 3: Set up an AdSense account by following YouTube’s official guide to AdSense accounts.

Step 4: Explore new monetisation features. Each monetisation channel has different eligibility requirements. Firstly, the user has to be at least 18 years of age. The rest of the criteria are listed below:

Ad revenue: Produce advertiser-friendly material to monetise from ads. Essentially, the less contentious your videos are, the more comfortable YouTube advertisers will feel placing adverts on them, and the more money you will make.

YouTube Premium revenue: If a YouTube Premium subscriber views your video, you will receive a percentage of their monthly price.

Channel memberships: You need to have more than 30,000 subscribers in order to sell channel memberships to viewers, i.e. have them choose to give you more money.

Merchandise shelf: You need 10,000 subscribers for your channel in order to sell goods from YouTube's store.

Super Chat payments: You can have viewers pay to have their words featured in your live chats during your live streams. But you need to also live in a country where this feature is offered.

Submit ongoing reviews: According to YouTube, a channel will be held to a higher standard if a person becomes a partner. You must adhere to both the Community Guidelines and the YouTube Partner Program rules along with copyright regulations.

2. Sell your own merch

You need to have the mindset of an entrepreneur and a content creator. If you are a businessperson first and a video maker second, there is undoubtedly already a product to sell, so plan YouTube marketing strategies accordingly. Keep in mind that Kanye sells T-shirts too!

Here are some sneaky merchandising hacks:

Imagine and design your product: The merchandise should both reflect and strengthen your relationship with the audience. That means, it must stand out.

Pro tip: There may be more merchandise ideas than you can stock. Generate hype by releasing special products in connection with significant subscriber milestones.

Source and/or build your product: To create and deliver a product, one typically requires a manufacturer, supplier, or wholesaler. Some vendors will send, while others will handle inventory management, shipping, and returns to reduce hassle.

Create your ‘shop’ and landing page: A different webpage is required to manage purchases. Here’s YouTube's list of permitted product sites to help you connect to the landing page directly from videos.

Make your YouTube Partner store operational: YouTube Partners can also use the shelf feature to sell their channel’s merchandise. If eligible, follow YouTube’s instructions to enable it.

Promote your product in your videos: Get creative with your products. Wear or incorporate your merchandise in your video content. Don't forget to include end screens and cards with a call to action and a link to your website in the video descriptions.

Pro tip: Express gratitude often. This practice allows you to gauge how good and well-liked your product is, or otherwise.

3. Produce paid content

An influencer need not be limited to Instagram. The benefit of using the #sponcon approach is that one is exempt from having to give YouTube a portion of their profits. The brand pays directly after a straight negotiation. It makes sense that YouTubers use it as a standard method of income.

Find a brand to partner with and be transparent. Brands are likely to be interested if you can provide them with a sizable and/or active audience and the content is pertinent to their target market.

4. Become an affiliate partner

If your YouTube audience is loyal and active but not big enough, look for companies that invest in affiliate marketing.

Brand-affiliated YouTubers encourage their followers to visit the brand's website or specific product pages. Then, they get a share of any sales that are brought about by their affiliate relationships.

5. Get fans to make payments directly

One thing that unites all the different revenue streams is this YouTube money-making method. Make it easy for viewers to show their appreciation by paying with a credit card.

6. Use crowdfunding

Online donation requests are increasingly routine. Crowdfunding is a way many YouTubers make money, whether they want to finance a personal, channel-related project or develop a continuing income from a pool of small monthly donations. Set up a crowdfunding account. YouTube has a list of approved crowdfunding sites to choose from.

7. Give the media a licence for your content

A majority of news organisations are always on the lookout for popular videos to play for their viewers. And thankfully, most reputable media organisations know that they need to pay for the resources they consume. So, licensing is another way of making money on YouTube. 

Key takeaways: A lot of factors that affect your ability to become famous on YouTube are outside your control, including the YouTube algorithm and the preferences and needs of your audience. This is true regardless of how popular your channel is or how much money you're making from AdSense.

But these methods have been tried and tested and one of them is bound to work for you, provided you adhere to the rules and requirements of each criterion!

Edited by Teja Lele

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