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How to Make Money on YouTube

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By Sofia Health Staff on April, 04 2023
How to Make Money on YouTube

Becoming YouTube famous might seem out of reach, but a variety of simple strategies for growing and engaging an audience make it so anyone can get there — and earn the paycheck that comes along with it. From earning ad percentages from clicks and views to negotiating high-dollar brand deals, there are many ways to make money on YouTube. The best way is to make sure you are creating as many different revenue streams as you can.


Table of Contents:

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program
2. Advertise Your Own Merchandise
3. Consider Making Sponsored Content
4. Become an Affiliate Partner
5. Take Advantage of YouTube Premium
6. Offer Channel Memberships
7. Monetize Live Streams via Super Chat
8. License Your Content to the Media
9. Consider Collaborating with Other YouTubers
10. Utilize YouTube Analytics

Creating a YouTube channel is a simple and low-risk way to reach billions of users around the world each month with video content. You have ideas worth sharing, so all you need to do is turn that creative power into shareable content. 


Here are 10 simple strategies you can use to learn how to make money on YouTube like the best influencers and content creators and share the knowledge and products you already have.


1. Join the YouTube Partner Program

A crucial step to making money on YouTube is to apply for the YouTube Partner Program. There are a few requirements you'll have to meet before you can join, but becoming a partner will make it easier for you to tap into multiple streams of income, including ads, certain partner-exclusive chat monetization features, and taking in your percentage of YouTube Premium subscription fees.


To be eligible to apply for the YouTube Partner Program, you need to have a YouTube channel with:

  • At least 1,000 subscribers, and

  • 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months or 10 million valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days 


You will also need to create an AdSense account with Google and link it to your YouTube channel — this is how you will get paid for ad views on your videos.


Keep in mind your YouTube channel will need to comply with the YouTube Partner Program policies and Community Guidelines, and your channel will be subject to periodic reviews to ensure this. When generating the content, always be original. Watch out for copyright violations. YouTube is very strict on enforcing copyright and violations will hurt your channel or potentially lead to you being banned or demonetized.


Joining the YouTube Partner Program is a basic first step to laying down a foundation of revenue streams for making money on YouTube, so make sure you include it in your strategies.


2. Advertise Your Own Merchandise

Having a large YouTube audience means you can leverage all kinds of creativity to meet your audience's needs. Whatever your content might be, your loyal fans will want to take advantage of many different ways to support you — and one of the most fun ways they can do that is by purchasing cool merchandise that you can promote directly from your channel.


You won't be able to sell directly through YouTube, so make sure you set up another website to handle your merch and link to it from your channel and in your video descriptions.


Check out Sofia Health to quickly launch your site and sell your products.


You can either store and ship inventory yourself or use a print-on-demand model like Printify that will handle the logistics for you while you focus on creating your YouTube content.


Either way, your YouTube videos can all double as ads for yourself and your own merch. Here are some tips to do this effectively:

  • Rep your merch in your videos whenever you can

  • Remind your audience about your merch shop — and make sure to include links to make it easy for them to find

  • Build hype and announce special new merch leading up to when you release it

  • Thank your followers for their love and support when they purchase your merch


Think of selling merch through your YouTube channel as just one piece of the puzzle. It can be a great way to engage with your audience and get your name out there to as many followers as possible. You don't have to start with a huge inventory either. Try out a few items at first based on what your audience might like best and build from there.


3. Consider Making Sponsored Content

Once you have built up your YouTube audience, you will be in a great position to leverage brand deals for sponsored content. Sponsored content is creative pieces of content that companies pay you to create. You've probably seen these before using hashtags like #sponsored or #ad to make it clear the creator is being paid to promote a brand.


How do you make money on YouTube with sponsored content? The most important part of this strategy is to know what you're worth and negotiate well for yourself. Sponsored content is different from YouTube Partner Program ads because you will work out a deal directly with the brand you promote, which allows you to keep your entire earnings and avoid giving YouTube a percentage.


The best brand deals will happen when you know your audience and relate to the brand, so your creative content will happen more organically and better engage with your fans. The size of your audience isn't necessarily the biggest factor when it comes to your brand deal either — it's how well you engage with your followers. In fact, according to the State of the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2023, brands are much more likely to work with smaller influencers than celebrities or budget-breaking super influencers because they have a better potential to get a higher return on their investment.


In other words, people often place more trust in smaller influencers with whom they can relate more closely, which leads to higher engagement and conversion rates. Keep this in mind so you can negotiate the best brand deal for your worth. And of course, make sure you are working on connecting with your audience in genuine ways.


To be most successful here, it's a good idea to spend some time developing a great pitch that works for you and researching excellent brands that you want to connect with your name. Some questions to consider are:

  • What are brands that you personally enjoy and would want to represent?

  • What are brands that have a similar audience to you, or that might want to expand into your target market? 


The place where those two questions overlap will be your sweet spot for brand deals.


You can also explore using influencer marketplaces to easily reach out to a wide variety of brands and build a good reputation as a quality influencer.


Here’s some more good news for you as a YouTube creator. According to a recent study, YouTubers can charge the highest rates for their sponsored content brand deals, even more than on Facebook or Instagram. Remember, YouTube sees a ton of traffic and you can take advantage of that when making your sponsored brand deals.


4. Become an Affiliate Partner

Similar to sponsored content, affiliate partnerships allow you to work directly with a brand to promote its product with affiliate links. Rather than creating ads that you might be paid for per view or for a flat rate based on projected views, you can promote a brand you love to your audience with a unique affiliate link. The unique link allows the brand to track where their traffic is coming from and earns you a percentage of those sales.


The best way to begin making money on YouTube with affiliate partnerships is to make sure you know your audience and know the brands you are partnering with — your followers can tell when you are being genuine!


Affiliate partnerships are an especially useful tool while you are still building followers and honing your audience. And since most of the work is done upfront in negotiating a contract with a brand, they are a relatively easy way to add a revenue stream to your list of strategies.


5. Take Advantage of YouTube Premium

This is another passive way to increase the revenue streams from your YouTube channel. Like most other streaming platforms, YouTube offers a paid, ad-free membership called YouTube Premium. Paying subscribers can watch videos without ads, so rather than being paid for ad views on your channel — since there won't be any ad views — you will receive a cut of every subscription that watches your content.


Income generated from YouTube Premium subscribers will be a smaller amount overall than what you can earn from ads and sponsored brand content, but it's a good idea to use all of these strategies to increase your revenue streams.


Being featured on YouTube Premium will help boost your views and a subsequent paycheck from this strategy.


6. Offer Channel Memberships

You will need to be a YouTube Partner to offer channel memberships, so make sure you don't skip that step. Channel memberships allow you to offer exclusive content and perks to your biggest fans for a monthly subscription fee. This is separate from a YouTube Premium subscription; with channel memberships, your subscribers are only subscribing to you and will still see ads on your videos.


To make this a successful marketing strategy, you will need to think through your brand and develop a multi-tier system that works for you and offers something special to your audience like:

  • Members-only videos and exclusive posts

  • Live streams and live chats with you

  • Loyalty badges, stickers, and milestones


Channel memberships can give your followers the chance to connect with you and show their support. Make it easy for them by offering cool ways to engage with you and your content.


7.  Monetize Live Streams via Super Chat

Another way for your followers to show their support to you directly is through Super Chat, YouTube's fan funding feature available exclusively to YouTube Partners — so make sure you join the YouTube Partners Program.


Here's how it works. When you set up a live stream with your followers, they can pay via Super Chat during the live stream for their comments to be more visible to you depending on how much they pay. This is a great way to better connect with loyal fans.


You will want to make sure your followers are aware ahead of time when you are planning to go live.


8. License Your Content to the Media

This applies to any of your content that a news outlet or other media might want to share. One reason you want your content to go viral is so that other media that want to share it will have to pay you to do so. This kind of content might be a funny video or it might be relevant footage of anything newsworthy that you happened to catch or create, from weather to viral opinions.


Make sure you are easy to contact and your videos are easy to find. Some ways to do that include:

  • Keep your contact information up to date and clear on the About section of your channel

  • Consider using a video rights marketplace to sell your copyright footage

  • Make sure the SEO tags on your videos are relevant and clear


9. Consider Collaborating with Other YouTubers

The bigger your YouTube audience is, the more opportunities will come your way. A great strategy for growing your audience is to collaborate with another YouTube channel.

Here are some tips for building some great collabs:

  • Partner with a YouTuber who has a similar audience. The goal is for the collaboration to benefit both of you, so try to find other channels with a similar number of followers. If you aim too high, the chances are they won’t consider the collab to be worth their time.

  • Stick to your niche. Reach out to YouTubers who not only have a similar size audience but who also create in your category. That might mean health and wellness, beauty, finance, DIY — whatever the topic, make sure you don’t stray too far outside your niche in collaboration so that you keep your content relevant to your audience.

  • Come prepared to pitch your ideas. Go into a collaboration meeting with ideas already on the table from which to build. Doing so will make it easier for your potential collaborators to agree to work with you.

  • Consider different ways to collaborate. Will you meet somewhere in person to film your videos together, or will you send content back and forth? Will you create one video that you both will post on your channels or will you create separate content for each channel? Will you each do a takeover of the other’s channel? There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, and the creative possibilities are endless.


10. Utilize YouTube Analytics

Last but not least, as a user with a brand account, you will have access to YouTube Analytics to help you optimize your channel for discoverability. This is an amazing tool and should not be used as an afterthought if you want to be serious about making money on YouTube.


Some quick tips for using YouTube Analytics to your best advantage include:

  • Title your videos with intention. This is what catches the eye of your viewers, so you want your titles to be straight to the point while also using solid SEO keywords. It might take some practice to really dial in this skill.

  • Write some killer video descriptions. The keywords you use in your video descriptions will also help pull your videos to the top of searches, so be intentional and clear here too. Your descriptions can also include links to other relevant videos, affiliate links, and links to your merch. To really capture all the information that you're putting in your videos, you can lay out a table of contents for viewers to easily find the exact thing that brought them to your video in the first place.

  • Utilize tags. This is a tool that will help plug you into YouTube's algorithm so you will pop up in searches and be grouped with the right categories of videos. Once again, be clear, accurate, and descriptive with your tags just like with your video titles and descriptions. Use keywords that people will search for that are relevant to your videos.

So How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

According to Forbes, the top 10 YouTubers in 2021 earned a total of $300 million — with Mr. Beast topping the list at $54 million, and his videos garnering a massive 10 billion views worldwide. For the average YouTuber starting out, the answer is ‘it varies’.


Making money on YouTube depends on the time and dedication you are willing to spend crafting your YouTube channel, curating different revenue streams, and building your own personal brand. It also depends on the changing YouTube algorithm and how well you can harness it to your advantage. And then there are other factors to consider that impact how much YouTube pays out, such as:

  • Video Length

  • Ad Blockers

  • Ad Quality

  • Number of Views

  • Number of Ad Clicks


Remember, by diversifying your revenue streams, you're increasing the ways you can start making money on YouTube. The most passive way is with YouTube ads powered by AdSense — essentially, this is what YouTube will pay you per view for every ad on your channel. You could make around $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views, which adds up to a significant amount as your views increase.


This means on average you can expect to make $1,000 from ads after around 500,000 views.


While you are starting out, your main goal is going to be building your audience and crafting your brand. What do you have to say to your audience? What makes your content unique and niche? What is your passion project? What expertise do you have to share? Be specific and try to plug yourself into a popular topic. Understanding the YouTube algorithm and using best practices when it comes to optimizing your channel's SEO will be crucial at this stage. Once you start picking up more followers and gaining more views, the dollars will start adding up and other opportunities for growth and creativity will present themselves.


So what about some specifics?


With 100,000 subscribers to your YouTube channel, you could be looking at making around $2,400 to $4,000 per month if you leverage your worth correctly and make the most of opportunities for brand deals, building your audience, and retaining loyal followers. This will mean a lot of hard work and dedication on the front end — but the payoff could be great.


YouTube channels with 1 million subscribers on average make around $60,000 a year, which is a combination of all of their revenue streams and likely includes brand deals and sponsored content in addition to ad revenue from YouTube. There are around 30,000 channels with over one million subscribers, making it a great goal to shoot for to measure success.


In Conclusion

When it comes to the question of how you make money on YouTube, the answer can seem complicated, long, and involved. While it certainly involves a high level of dedication and patience, the truth is that it all depends on what you are willing to put into it. Be sure to connect your YouTube channel to your Sofia account, which will let you easily tap into an established audience and grow from there.


Your creativity and passion projects can connect in big ways on YouTube, resulting in new streams of revenue that might not have occurred to you as possible before now. You won’t get paid just for uploading videos to YouTube, but you can cash in a substantial paycheck by enabling monetization and tapping into a variety of revenue streams.


With a few simple strategies and some willingness to learn, you can start making money on YouTube in no time. 



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