(a 16 minute read)
Let’s get right into it. Part 1 of these posts was all about starting your journey and growing your channel. Part 2 is all about growing your wallet.
I’ll talk about everything from specific tactics to monetization and other income streams - and this time I won’t forget telling you about that “secret” tactic I’ve been teasing in part 1.
Words Of Caution
But before I do, let me tell you one thing again: don’t go into this expecting to become a bazillionaire by summer of next year. Use YouTube and all other platforms as a creative outlet, some sort of memory book or because you feel like you have something interesting and of value to share.
Money shouldn’t be your main motivation behind this...it’ll set you up for disappointment and take away all the beauty from the process. Do it to build skill sets, to experiment with new things and to grow as a person. Do it because you want to, not because you feel like you HAVE to. Alright, let’s go.
All in all there are two main ways to make content: it’s either you in front of the camera or you behind it.
The first option is most common and has countless ways to do it - I’m not gonna start naming all of them because there are way too many. Just go on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.
The second option also has a bunch of ways to do it. You can either talk into a mic and play footage (voiceover stuff), you can make other simple edits without much narration (something like cooking videos with subtitles for example) or you can come up with something entirely new.
But there’s also a third option: do neither. Lots of channels decided to simply use a robotic voice which then reads funny comments on Reddit threads or something like it. There are also a lot of channels that just create meme compilations and post them.
If you have the money, you can even outsource everything and simply reap the rewards...OR you can keep on reading this post to learn about the “secret” tactic. So as you can see, there are a ton of ways to crush it on YouTube if you just keep looking for them - everything is possible on this platform. It’s in your hands.
And now for the obligatory: don’t worry about equipment, your voice, face or whatever...basically, don’t worry at all. The most important thing at the beginning is to just get going - film with your phone, buy a cheap microphone from Amazon, use free editing and just get the ball rolling. You’ll get a better idea of what you want to do and how you can do it over time...that’s when you can start upgrading your gear and skills step by step.
THE most important factor at the start isn’t your gear. It’s the quality of your content and that you understand how to grow your channel. If you want to make money, there are certain categories that simply work better than others. One example would be the business niche because it always attracts lots of advertisers.
Jewelry brands don’t run ads on videos about geo tagging, you know? But there obviously are other valuable categories. Something like traveling, the lifestyle niche, gaming and fashion are the evergreens and always rising in popularity. It’s these ones that are the easiest to advertise on and to find collab opportunities with brands and other channels...but they’re also the most competitive ones.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you which road you want to go on. We always say that you should pick something you’re already very interested in and good at. It’ll make everything much more enjoyable - and that’s what everything should be about, right? The money will follow you if you’re consistent enough and always improving at what you’re doing.
The “Secret” Tactic
Oh yeah, almost forgot. This is the number one strategy to make money on YouTube with little to no effort or video editing skills needed: the so-called “creative commons” section of YouTube. Let me explain.
If you search for something in the ber and press enter, you get lots of results (obviously). But you can also now click on “filter” and then select “creative commons”. These videos are FREE to use which means you basically reupload the whole video or use some snippets of them to create your own. All you need to do is mention the original creators in the description.
Some of the videos here have 10m+ views, so you have the option to use already proven content for free without having to do anything yourself. This is incredibly powerful. But there are essential points you have to follow to be successful at it (otherwise no one will see your videos).
There are a ton of resources already out there that can teach you everything you need to know in much more detail than we ever could...you just have to decide if it's worth your time or not.
But as mentioned in part 1: this whole series of posts is about making you take chances once they cross your path. We can only inspire you to take action and guide you along the way. It’s up to you to actually do it.
Specific Tactics To Crush It On YouTube
As you can see, there are tons of different things you can do and each of them requires different approaches and different tactics to make them work. And I’m not just talking about the way you create the content itself...that’s up to you. You have to get creative and start doing, there’s no way around that.
What I’m talking about is that there are specific tactics that please the algorithm so that your work can rank higher. This is all about how you can set everything up for the best possible conversion. For more general tactics on how to grow on social media, follow us on Instagram and TikTok and check out our other blog posts.
But put short, it’s this: be authentic at what you do, be sincere and genuinely care about your audience and the process, cross-promote your channels to build a web of presences, find your own style along the way to stick out and yadda yadda yadda. The principles are universal and don’t really change from one week to the next.
Before going over all the specific settings, let’s talk about geography first...wait what? You read that right. Have you ever heard of “tier one countires”? Basically, these are the countries that perform better on YouTube. More people watch from there and advertisers are comfortable spending money there - which means opportunities are greater.
These countries are basically all the english speaking countries, most of Europe and parts of Asia. South American countries are great for all spanish speaking creators out there. Here’s a full list of tier one countries I found: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America.
It’s best if you target all of them by talking in english - if it’s not your native language and you’re not comfortable with it, you obviously use your native language but that means you’ll probably reach less people.
Hey, I just had a content idea for you: “Learning English in XY weeks”! Just document your journey from beginner to being able to speak fluently. It’ll be great content, you can inspire others to take action as well and you can expand your reach over time while growing as a person. It checks all the boxes. Everyone has something to offer, you just have to find what’s yours.
Now let’s get to specific tactics when it comes to formats, keywords and everything else. I was wondering how to do it but I think Gary Vee did it best in his book “Crushing It!” (from page 200 onwards for anyone wondering). I’m just shamelessly gonna copy him so you don’t have to read it yourself. But you should read our blog post on his book, you’ll love it (I know that for sure because you’re still reading this). Let’s go.
Gary Vee’s YouTube Settings
Titles: How much thought have you put into your video title? Does the title accurately reflect the video's content? Is the majority of the title viewable on mobile? Is the title short and concise, emotionally driven, and/or keyword optimized?
Descriptions: Are the top two lines of the description keyword optimized? Are there links to other similar videos or playlists in the description? Is there a subscribe link? Are there links to your other social media accounts? Are all of the links clickable and trackable?
Tags: Are there at least ten tags in the description? Are both one-word and phrase tags included? Do the tags accurately reflect the video’s content? Are the tags valuable, that is, do they have high search volumes but low competition? You can find this out by using tools like VidIQ, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, and keywordtool.io
Thumbnails: Does the thumbnail accurately reflect the video’s content? If there is text on the thumbnail, is it easy to read on all devices? If there is text, does it complement the title?
YouTube Cards: To extend watch time on your channel, are you including YouTube cards within your video to drive traffic to other relevant videos you’ve posted?
Banner: Does the banner accurately reflect the channel’s content and genre? Does the graphic transfer well to all devices?
About Section/Channel Description: Are the top two lines keyword optimized? Is the first paragraph an overview of the channel? Have you included the upload schedule? Are all of the social-media links clickable? (They don’t have to be trackable)
Playlists: Does the channel have custom playlists? Do the playlists have keyword-optimized descriptions? Are the playlists featured on the landing page of the channel?
Channel Trailer: Is a channel trailer displayed on the landing page? Does the channel trailer accurately reflect the channel’s content and genre? Is the channel trailer telling the best story in the shortest amount of time?
How Does Monetization Work?
Now finally...the thing all of you came here for: MONEY. How does monetization even work? As you know, YouTube makes money by running ads. But they don’t just run ads anywhere - they run targeted ads on well-performing videos and channels that meet their criteria.
This means not everyone gets the same, it all depends on how many clicks you get and on your CPM (which basically means how much you can get paid per 1,000 views on your videos). You can look up estimated earnings of other creators on websites like socialblade.com - which also has a section on trending channels by the way...you can use it to gather some video ideas for your own channel if you need to.
But always remember: getting that sweet adsense revenue is good and all but it shouldn’t be your only source of income. There are other ways to use YouTube to make more money...but more on that in a minute. Let’s cover a few other things first.
As mentioned, not everyone gets ad revenue and it’s personalized for each individual. So, let’s go over everything you need to do to be eligible for monetization. First, go to your settings by clicking on the channel icon in the top right corner -> then click on settings -> then on channel status and features -> and finally on monetization. If you click on “learn more”, there’ll be a list that tells you to create a Google AdSense account and accept the partner terms of YouTube.
Arguably the biggest hurdle to overcome is to “Get reviewed after reaching 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.” To achieve that you need to upload consistently and really care for your viewer base. Creating longer videos can also help you in getting to 4,000hrs of watch time (and you can run more ads on longer videos once you can).
It’s important that your content gets the audience hooked for them to want more of it (which means all the titles, thumbnails and especially your beginnings need to pop, and you need to remind them of all your other videos and cross-promote your social media as usual). If people leave your videos early, the algorithms will automatically rank them lower which isn’t good.
These policies make everything much tougher for new creators but YouTube does it that way to make sure that people are serious about it. You need to be persistent and not just in the game to profit. They don’t throw money at everyone. Other important metrics next to watch time are the types of ads on your videos, the countries you target and obviously the content you post (which is what that whole family-friendly thing and so on are about).
More Ways To Make Money
But as mentioned, YouTube shouldn’t be your only source of income (or even your main one). There’s so much money to be made via the Internet, even in places you’d never think of.
People are earning fortunes, the times are changing and you need to adapt if you truly want to be free. Don’t contemplate getting into it and get left behind because of it. The other options I’ll talk about now are great in combination with YouTube but they are also for more general things if you can build a following.
First: Patreon. You’ve probably heard of it. It allows followers to support you on a monthly basis by donating money and you can decide what value you provide in return (and you obviously need to be worth it or no one will pay).
Most of the time people simply post additional content on Patreon and give their audience more control over their YouTube content (these are basically the benefits they’re buying). This can be great for small creators because it provides financial support and it can build a really strong viewer base that cares deeply. I won’t go too deep into it so you should do more research on it yourself.
The second option is affiliate marketing with a business of choice. Probably the easiest way to do it is with the Amazon Affiliate Program. You just need to choose a product in their collection and basically send traffic to it via a link in your description or bio on other profiles. And then every time someone buys something through your link you get a commission.
Obviously only a small percentage of people will click the link and an even smaller percentage will buy the product but you can make decent money with it, especially if you grow (not to mention that it’s not a lot of work to do).
It’s best if you use products and links of stuff that’s related to you (could be equipment, digital products, you could make reviews, and so on). You can also reach out to brands directly and just ask for deals. This can work great with smaller brands that want to grow and need help from people like you. The larger your reach, the bigger your deals, the bigger your income.
Now for the third option...drum rolls please...merchandise. What a surprise. But there’s a reason why literally everyone’s doing it: it works. By growing your community and bonding with them you will eventually develop inside jokes, your own themes or live through memorable events together. Use these things to create good-looking merch that people would want (via websites like designbyhumans.com, shopify.com or spreadshirt.com).
You can build your own store and let designers come up with styles (could be from your audience or outsourced like on fiverr.com) or you can use services that focus on this and already have websites that other creators can use. Once that’s finished, promote the merch to your audience and BOOM...you’ll basically have guaranteed sales (especially if you teased it and already know that your audience is looking for it).
You can also use general marketing tactics to push your merch and grow your sales but more on that on our other socials. This is why merch is such a huge thing for most creators - it’s a really large chunk of their income.
You can even go a step further and grow your merch into something much bigger if the designs are great and the concept behind it is more universal. The perfect example for this is Yes Theory’s merch on seekdiscomfort.com - it looks amazing, represents a great message and even people that don’t follow them would buy it.
Now, last but not least...
Go And Do
Once you actually get the whole thing going, it’s pretty easy to spread your following across multiple platforms...all you need to do is tell them to.
If you’re providing high-quality, native content on all (or most) platforms, you can crush it in no time (a relative term). This will then create even more possibilities and you can push your brand to the next level. Everything grows exponentially from then on.
But to do that you need to do one thing: get started. Go and do. Don’t keep on looking for excuses and don’t waste time waiting for the “right” moment. Start breaking the whole process down into manageable steps and start walking.
It could turn out to be the journey that changes your life...and at the very least you’ll learn new skills, make new experiences and grow as a person. Something your future You will look back on proudly.