How To Make Money From YouTube (10 Effective Methods)

How To Make Money From YouTubeThe principles of "making money" from video is really the same as any other content medium - it just happens to be a lot easier to convince video viewers to buy something than it is to convince a blog reader.

Equally, you don't have to be directly selling a product or service through video - you can review products as part of an affiliate marketing strategy, or sell advertising "space" directly in your videos.

All this of course, requires traffic, and in it's a HELL of a lot easier to get traffic to good YouTube videos than it is to your website. Once someone is watching your video, it's really simple to get them across to your website if you know some simple video conversion secrets

1. Revenue Sharing (Ad-supported Videos)

The first taste of money most people get from YouTube is an email they send asking if you want to enable revenue sharing on your videos. YouTube will place banner ads on the bottom of your video and in the side bar next to your video; and subsequently share a proportion of the clickthrough profits with you via an AdSense account, which you'll also need to sign up for.

You need to be clocking a couple of hundreds real views on your videos, and have good content that's backed up with a good description, relevant title and tags.

You don't need to be a Youtube partner for this option. Whilst it's initially exciting to get this email from YouTube, the reality is you won't earn much from this unless your videos are clocking views in the tens of thousands. Equally, enabling the adverts may alienate your subscriber base as the ads are fairly intrusive to the videos.

If you choose this route, make sure you enable your videos for embedding, as ad-click impressions from viewers seeing your video on other sites is often much, much more profitable than the ad clicks on YouTube itself.

2. YouTube Partner Program

If you're publishing regularly and have established a big subscriber base, YouTube will invite you to their partner program. The best part of this is you get some extra branding options for your channel, including the ability to put links on your channel page and choose your video thumbnails, which can really affect views and clickthroughs to your website repsectively.

For both revenue sharing and the partner program, your content has to be 100% original - no radio music in the background or clips of other people's content. YouTube simply cannot be seen to be profiting you and themselves with content that is copyrighted. This is a big one, so make sure your content is clean from the get-go.

3. YouTube Rentals

YouTube have now provided the option (US only) to publish premium videos, enabling you to sell access to special videos you produce for a fee which you can determine. This is a great option for anyone who's regularly publishing good content to a loyal audience, by supplimenting your free content with some in-depth, "expert guides" you could expect to earn much more from this option.

4. Sell Access to Unlisted Videos

If you can't get into the paid video program, an alternative (though somewhat brittle) is to publish videos you intend to charge for as unlisted videos, meaning they will not show in your channel or in search results. You could then sell the videos as content through another medium, and provide access to them on a page on your website. Alternatively, you could host the videos on Amazon S3 if you don't like the idea of hosting them on YouTube.

5. Sell Advertising Space in Video

If you're selling website banner advertising, a logical extension is to sell advertising space directly in your videos. This can take a number of formats - a short 10-15 second segment placed in your video at the beginning/middle/end, or even just a graphic overlay you place in the video that acts like a banner advert.

Offering actual video as the advertising solution is a much more attractive offer to advertisers, and you will be able to charge much for it than a web page advert with the same traffic.

You'll obviously need to be regularly clocking a lot of views on your videos to do this (which advertisers can easily check themselves), and again consider the balance of how advertising in video will affect your existing audience.

6. Sell Links in Video Descriptions

A simple and quick way to make money off YouTube videos that get significant traffic is to "lease" your description field. Since Youtube enable links in the description field, a video that receives 10,000 visits a month from Google is guaranteed to get a smaller percentage of visits to the description field link. Work out how many clicks your link gets in this place, then offer a CPM figure to advertisers to replace your link with theirs.

Again, care is recommended for your existing subscriber base - if you allow adversiters to link to unrelated content or absolute trash, you damage your channel's reputation. Accept quality advertisers and your audience won't have a problem.

7. Paid Reviews

A step further from advertising is to sell production of an entire video that reviews an advertiser's product or showcases their requirements in some way. This is similar to the "pay per post" model some bloggers offer for written reviews.

You can make a lot of money via this method, but this (more than any other method) needs to be done with real care. Forcing a video on your subscribers that's basically an advert will cost you some subscribers. A good reference point is the blogger John Chow - he offers paid review blog posts, but he warns review buyers up front his review may not necessarily be positive. As a result, his paid reviews don't read like adverts - simply his content and honest opinions.

You may be able to sell paid reviews and keep them in the buyer's interest by getting creative with the deliver. If your videos are known for a specific style or format, your viewers may be happy to watch obviously-paid-for productions are are delivered in your own unique style - that needs to be something pretty special though.

8. Sell the Channel

If you're in the YouTube business purely for profit, selling the entire channel outright is an option. This isn't something most serious channels would (or can) consider since the brand and production of their channel is intrinsically bound to their personality. Put another way, buyers will be very hesistant to purchase a channel that has an audience expecting the producer to continue delivering the same standard of content. Where this can work for blog or website buys, it's far more difficult for unique Youtube channels.

On the other hand, if the channel only consists of basic content (e.g screencasts) and is somewhat dormant (ie just gets search engine traffic) this is an attractive proposition to traffic buyers. Try and understand buyers trying to differentiate between acquiring a channel for it's search engine traffic, versus it's subscriber traffic. In most cases, search engine traffic is more valuable.

9. Review Affiliate Products

Probably the easiest, quickest and most effective way to make money on YouTube is to promote affiliate products, then link to them in your description field. You could make a great video talking about how great a product is and sell the benefits in the same way the affiliate product's sales letter does, but a far better way to get guaranteed sales is to simply show how to use the product and get results. Better yet, if you've used the product yourself and actually got those results, this is effectively a testimonial and pretty much the most powerful vehicle for making sales.

10. Promote Your Own Products

Last but not least is to simply promote your own products. If you're regularly publishing helpful videos, injecting the odd video that does nothing but tell folks how your products will help them will be received well from subscribers, and you'll get purchases.

Which should you choose?

The good news is that with this many options available, you can easily pick one or two models that enable you to monetise your channel that suits your brand and subscriber base. Some channels will expect product views and recommendations, others will be annoyed by adverts and sponsorships but happy to pay for premium content.

Experiment with what you're comfortable with, see how your viewers react and get a little payback for your hard work.

If you're stuggling to convert viewers into buyers, subscribe to my newsletter for regular tips on selling with video.

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