How do YouTubers actually make their money? The immediate assumption is that Google throws dollar bills at them. No. However, they do get a percentage of the ad revenue their channel brings in (which I’ll explain later). That isn’t their only form of income. The video sharing platform has opened up a host of doors for young content creators looking to amplify their content. We’ve all seen the likes of Grant Hinds turn YouTube into a full time career.
It can be done.
You’ve set up your channel and you’re smashing out content. How do you make money from it?
Use it as an addition to your current platforms (and vice versa).
The truth is, this blog post should have been a YouTube video. I just didn’t have the time to film one. My blog and the social profiles linked has a much bigger “following” than my YouTube channel. Most of my energy goes into the blog because of this. However, I started using my channel as a way to be a bit more “free” with the content I produced. I get to experience amazing things courtesy of the blog and, a lot of the time, can’t necessarily share those with you via a blog post. I started using my YouTube channel as a place to share that content. Because I now had a new platform AND it had a larger focus than the blog, I can offer it as an extra platform on a proposal. It isn’t the core focus but merely the extension of an offering that encompasses the blog.
In the same way an established blogger or Instagrammer can use YouTube as an extended offering or additional platform to their core one, you can use your social profiles as an extension of your YouTube channel. If you want to make money from your YouTube channel focus on building your Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook accounts as well. These can offer smaller income streams as you grow. You need to cultivate content and a following across the various networks rather than just one space.
2. Make money from the ads
I explained this a bit at the start but lets get in to it now. YouTubers make money when someone watches those blasted adverts that appear at the start of a video, or when someone clicks a link to an advertised video in the top right suggested list etc etc. If an ad runs on your channel and someone watches a certain length or clicks a link – the YouTuber makes money. To make lots of money you need lots of views. So the truth is, as smaller YouTubers we aren’t going to make much cash from this one. But you could still pocket a few hundred rand every month to buy shots at the bar.
3. Brand Collaborations
This is the way most South African YouTubers currently make their money, from what I understand. Basically a brand will approach you to create content on your channel that aligns to a specific message they’re attempting get out to an audience matching your own. You then create said video (take a look at point 1 of this post because this is really the crux of that one as well). Branded content is just one form of collaboration. You could also get a brand to “sponsor” your channel. So they’d pay you a certain amount each month and in return have their branding included in your channel, all your videos and specific mentions. Brand Collabs are relatively open ended and allow for a lot more room to collaborate on creatives and spend. So partnering with smaller YouTubers works in a brand’s favour sometimes (which is why we’re seeing smaller YouTubers land brand collaborations).
4. Use your skills
You have a YouTube channel. You can film. You can edit. You’ve likely used some design along the way. A great way to make money from your YouTube channel is to use those skills a bit more. Have you seen how many brands have horrific YouTube channels? Why not offer your services to create content specific for their channels. Yeah, it might be a boring unboxing or brand plug but you have the chance to improve your skills, create content the brand can use AND get some moola for your efforts. Not bad right?
I was also able to use my YouTube Channel to make money by transitioning in to an Esports presenter role. It started with me making funny Esports videos about the South African scene. Someone saw that and proceeded to ask me if I wanted to try my hand at hosting. Which I get paid to do.
It isn’t always easy. It takes a long time to build a subscriber base and you’re going to bash your head along the way. You’re going to fight for money (I’m still begging the agency I worked with to pay me for a video that went live in November!), you’re going to deal with trolls and you’re going to get told no, a lot. But try remember that the reason you do this, first and foremost, is to create content and engage with other creators.
Stay positive – always!