YouTube has been the unbeatable video-sharing platform for several years now, and it just continues to grow. Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has amassed over 1 billion users, paving the way to many YouTuber millionaires and hundreds of low-key, fix-figure-earners. The top 10 highest-earning YouTube stars in 2016 earn from $5 million a year to a whopping $15 million (PewDiePie/Felix Kjellberg).
If you want to take a slice out of the YouTube money-making machine, there’s only one major way to do it… become a YouTube star. From there, you can take advantage of 15 different ways to earn massive income through your YouTube channel.
Direct YouTube Earnings
1. Make Money with AdSense
Since Google owns YouTube and AdSense, its YouTube Partner Program operate with ad platform AdSense. However, it isn’t as simple as creating a channel, uploading some videos, and then splashing some AdSense ads to your videos. A new review process (updated in April 2017) explains that only channels with 10,000 public lifetime views can apply to the program.
If your channel is approved for the YouTube Partner Program, your videos will be served AdSense ads relevant to your videos’ topics. Generally, you can get $2 to $4 for every 1,000 views. While this may seem little, imagine how much you can get if you have 50 videos with 10,000 views each – it would add up to $1,000 to $2,000 passive income each month.
The cool thing about AdSense on YouTube is that there are no restrictions about other monetization opportunities. As such, even if your AdSense is running, you can still take advantage of other YouTube-based, income-generating techniques below…
2. Seek Brand Sponsorships
Brands know the potential of YouTube, which is why YouTubers with thousands of followers can get sponsorships from companies within your niche. For example, many YouTube make-up tutorial channels are offered free products to review, or given a fee to talk about a brand’s product on one video.
Michelle Phan, makeup guru and celeb makeup copycat, had a huge following that led to a number of brand sponsorships from makeup she uses. Her most recent success came when L’Oréal collaborated with Phan for a makeup line called EM.
3. Sell Products
Selling products of other people/companies (also known as affiliate marketing) is good and effective, but why just get a cut of the sales, when you can sell your own products and take home 100% of the sales? Depending on the amount you wish to invest, your product could range from online courses/ebooks, to actual products (like shirts, plushies) that you have to ship.
A great example of this is the debut graphic novel of Minecraft YouTuber DanTDM (real name Dan Middleton). His book “DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal” was promoted on YouTube and actually landed on the #1 spot of The New York Times Best Seller list, and spent 3 weeks at UK’s best-selling books list.
How-to’s and tutorials are one of the most popular YouTube channel themes. It has created many of today’s six-figure-earning YouTubers and it’s never too late to join them. If you have a very specific skill – from drawing to dancing and everything in between – that can be taught through videos, there’s no limit to what topics you can teach.
5. Offer Services and Consulting
If you’re going with the teaching route, the next step is to offer your professional services. For example, if you’ve been uploading Adobe Photoshop tutorials and you’ve got a huge following, you can offer one-on-one tutorials, promote local workshops, or even offer consulting services. As long as you are offering something of value, and the services you’re advertising is related to your YouTube’s content, then you’ve got this covered.
6. Create Your Own YouTube Series
TV viewers have already been juggling streaming sites with cable TV for years, which is why YouTube web series are rising in popularity. What’s interesting is that shows on YouTube are going beyond the prank-type and sitcoms, expanding into shows with actual script and plots, talk shows, and more. Check out some of these web series here, and maybe team up with a frustrated scriptwriter, director, actor, and other creatives just waiting for their chance to shine.
Note that traditional YouTube videos can only go for 15 minutes, so if you’re planning a show with longer episodes, you’ll have to request for a limit increase.
7. Start Vlogging
Ideal for bloggers who are trying to get into the YouTube making-money game, vlogging combines the concept of blogging with video creation. You don’t even have to leave your blog behind – you can just add vlog posts every now and then.
8. Fan-Fund Your Channel
If you have an interesting channel that your audience can’t get enough of, but you don’t earn enough on AdSense yet, you can set-up your account with YouTube’s fan funding feature and let your fans send a tip your way.
YouTube as a Bridge to Earning from Third-party Sites
9. Promote Your Website via YouTube
The viral nature of videos make YouTube a great host to use for your business. Whether you run a small online store, or maintain an info site, directing traffic from YouTube to your website increases conversion rates significantly.
It’s important to note that you should always keep your viewers in mind when promoting your site. Always consider if the site, product, or anything you’re marketing has value to your audience. Take Walmart’s YouTube channel as an example. The people handling its YouTube channel balances product promotion with video recipes, testimonials, and product reviews.
10. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways of earning money from YouTube. You don’t have to have your own website, ecommerce store, product or service, but you can earn commissions of 5 to 15% if you direct a YouTube viewer to stores like Amazon and this referral purchases anything from the store.
Some cool video ideas that work with affiliate marketing include product reviews, unboxing videos, product recommendations, and more.
11. Crowdfund Your Project
If you have an amazing idea for a product, but you can’t turn it into reality for lack of funds, crowdfunding can be your solution. Many crowdfunding platforms like Kickstart and Indiegogo use YouTube videos to explain product idea and encourage people to “invest” in their would-be product.
12. Market Research
YouTube is a goldmine for marketing professionals. The platform has an in-depth analytics to let you compare success of specific videos. Although you won’t exactly be uploading videos, you can use YouTube to discover what people are interested in, or what they think of a particular brand. It’s free marketing research.
YouTube Jobs: Gigs for those Waiting to Hit it Big
13. Become a YouTube Manager
Many companies are looking for people to man their social media accounts. However, the main requirement of this job is experience with the platform. If you’re an active YouTuber waiting to hit it big, or building up the required number of views to monetize your videos with AdSense, this career path may be what you’re looking for.
14. Create or Edit YouTube Videos
Many affiliate marketers, companies and even individual YouTubers are looking for people to help in the background. If you have the skills to create or edit videos, be on the lookout for jobs like these. Of course, you have to know what makes a YouTube video viral, such as using keywords for meta tags and crafting share-worthy titles.
15. Become a Journalist
Anyone can be a journalist on YouTube. And with modern technology allowing you to communicate to people around the world with just Wi-Fi and a laptop, you can interview celebrities and experts for your own YouTube show. Take a look at these millennials who interviewed then-U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, and decide if you’d like to try your luck with journalism.
The Bottom Line
The money-making potential of YouTube grows by the day, with every new platform launched (like KickStarter), or new ideas made. Many have been taking advantage of the world’s most popular video-sharing site, but it’s never too late to join in, become the next YouTube star, and start earning money you couldn’t earn from an 8-to-5 day job.