OK, let’s talk about channel monetization, a topic close to many creator’s hearts. On YouTube, making good money is all about influence, and you build this influence by creating a channel that's focused on a topic that you are an authority on.
That influence is going to be different, depending on the type of channel you have. A small-town fishing channel is going to have a different measure of influence than, say, a gaming channel that is hoping to reach a global audience.
That local fishing channel isn't going to need tens of thousands of viewers before they can start creating partnerships with local businesses. But for that gaming channel but big ambitions - it’s a different story. Before we take a deeper dive, don’t forget to check out this video that covers the topic of making money as a gaming channel on YouTube:
What New Creators Need to Know About Monetizing Their Video Content
Of course, there are many opportunities to generate revenue on YouTube, but let's take a step back for a moment. Before we even start talking about how to make money as that influential gaming content creator, we need to look at what it takes to monetize your channel.
If you're a gaming channel that gets 500 views or less per video, monetization shouldn’t be your main focus.
Many new creators tend to put the YouTube partnership program on a pedestal, and furiously work towards meeting the criteria needed to apply. They want those 1000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of Watch Time right now.
We understand the frustration to meet that goal. After all, who doesn’t want a little return on investment for all the time and effort put into video creation? You want to be able to run ads against your content so you can start to earn some money.
On your journey to that major goal, it can be tempting to try to find shortcuts, into monetizing your channel, in the form of Patreon profiles or affiliate links. However, asking your very new audience on YouTube, to make that kind of investment in your channel, should be done very thoughtfully.
The last thing on your mind should be how to make money with a very small YouTube channel that's still growing. Instead, your focus should be on providing value to your subscribers, so you give them a reason to subscribe and continue to coming back. Encouraging that relationship is the key to your audience getting to know you as a creator. We talk about this strategy more in this video:
How to Make Money as a YouTube Gaming Channel
OK, so we’ve about the ‘when’ now let’s talk about the ‘how.’ Let’s assume you've built a sizeable YouTube channel, and you have an audience that cares about you enough to invest in your content. They understand that this investment will likely mean that you can continue making more videos, or perhaps afford better equipment to improve their overall quality.
You’ve been approved to join the YouTube Partner Program so you can now run ads against your content - yay! However, while that revenue is something, it's likely not enough to realize your more immediate goals for your YouTube channel. The good news is YouTube itself offers lots of ways you can monetize your channel now that you’re a partner including:
- Super Chats
- Channel Memberships
- YouTube Applause
Super Chats are a way for creators to monetize their live streams. Fans can contribute financially to their favorite channels via a Super Chat, and catch the attention of a creator in a way that a comment or another form of engagement can't. Find out more about Super Chats here. Here's what one looks like in the wild:
Channel Memberships are also a way of monetizing your channel, but only when you’ve grown to a certain size. Generally speaking, you need about 30,000 subscribers to unlock this feature - unless you're a gaming channel, then you only need a thousand subscribers! More info here.
YouTube Applause rolled out earlier this year, and it’s similar to Super Chats but fans can also donate to videos as well as your live streams. Find out more about how you can benefit from this feature as a creator:
How YouTubers Can Make Money With Patreon
Outside of the YouTube Partnership Program, Patreon is proving a very popular option.
Patreon is a crowdfunding website, where you can essentially set up different levels of ‘perks.’ People can subscribe to you, at different dollar amounts, and the amount they pledge determines what kind of perks they get from you.
What kind of perks could you offer? What about access to a private discord server? Or perhaps you could release some of your content early to them. Or you could set up an exclusive Minecraft server just for them.
While Patreon is a fantastic way of generating revenue, it requires some significant work on your part. If for example, you set up that private discord server, there's going to be an expectation that you'll spend some time there.
If you want to release your videos early, that's going to need to factor into your workflow every single time you upload a video. If you've set up a Minecraft server for them to play on, it's going to be expected that you actually play on that a Minecraft server with your audience.
The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing on YouTube
If crowdfunding sites aren't your cup of tea, there is always the option of putting an affiliate link in the description of your videos. Lots of different companies out there utilize affiliate programs to help promote their products or services. As a viewer, you may have seen examples on other videos, including the affiliate program that vidIQ run - join that here!
However, it does pay to be cautious and not to partner with the first company you find, who's affiliate criteria you happen to meet. Instead, give some real thought, into the types of products or services that you and your audience could benefit from. Then see if these companies that you already commonly see around or work with, have affiliate programs and reach out to them.
Do Your Research Before Accepting a Brand Deal!
After you have ads enabled on your videos, consider these other avenues for making money very carefully. As your channel starts to transition from being just a hobby to becoming an actual business, do your research. For example, don't just say yes to the first sponsorship deal that's offered to you, just because it sounds super exciting to have a sponsor.
Do solid research on any company you consider partnering with, and always read the contracts you're about to sign, carefully.
YouTube channels can eventually become a financially successful business venture, but it does take time. And at the end of the day, don't forget to maintain that respect and trust that you've built with your audience.
There are so many ways you could potentially monetize a YouTube channel, but these are some of the more common ones, especially in the gaming space. If you want to know much more then we have the 'Complete Guide to Making Money on YouTube' course over on the vidIQ Academy.
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