How to make money from a YouTube channel

‘Hey guys, welcome to my channel!’

This opening line may be cliché, perhaps even annoying, on most YouTube channels, but it can be also be an absolute cash cow. The video-sharing platform is the world’s second-largest search engine, and celebrity YouTubers are making millions of dollars off their channels.

Closer home, how likely are you to open a channel, get famous and watch the ad revenue roll in? Well, first, it’s not that easy.

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Basically, YouTube holds on to 45 per cent of the ad revenue you earn. This essentially means creators need to generate nearly twice as many eyeballs to make the cash they would if they advertised through themselves directly.

There are ways to maximise the amount of money you get from each viewer, though, and other ways to earn serious money using YouTube as a springboard.

These are some alternative solutions to the monetisation dilemma that will allow you to focus more on the quality of your content than your views.

What you’ll need

1. Engage fans, answer questions and get paid through Worthyt

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Millions of people are logged into YouTube every second of every day, looking for content that entertains or teaches them. It’s, therefore, safe to assume that with the right content, you can have a captive audience.

One of the reasons people get on YouTube is to get answers to their questions. There’s a platform that’s recognised this need and provided a solution. Worthyt lets you create an account, upload a profile and set a price for the questions you answer.

You can link your profile in the description of your videos to direct audiences. When your viewers ask a question or comment through Worthyt, they pay you the amount you set.

If you respond within 3 days, you get the money; otherwise, it’s returned to the user. Worthyt basically allows you to monetise engagements with your YouTube audience.

2. Call for patrons

Sites like Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee and Ko-fi allow your fans to sign up and donate money if they’d like to help support your channel.

Patreon is one of the most popular online patronage platforms for YouTube creators. Patreon allows your followers to pay a certain amount of money each month for access to exclusive content. You can have multiple tiers of patrons and provide them with perks, from behind-the-scenes footage to new content that non-paying members can’t see.

Some YouTubers give their patrons access to videos a day early, others throw in one-on-one private hangouts with the creators themselves.

3. Create and sell custom merchandise

By merchandise here, we’re talking T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, or even just pens and badges that you make on your own.?

Selling merchandise is especially great if you and your followers use specific lingo, catchphrases or have inside jokes. You can also add in teas or workout gear. Once you start selling merch, you can also include it in contests, giveaways, or even add it to one of your Patreon tiers.

You can also sell your goods directly on Youtube. A really popular item that motivational YouTubers sell is their own books or classes. Something like an eBook is especially easy to design and sell because all it really takes is Microsoft Word and save it as a PDF. From there, you can use a tool like Clickfunnels to generate a landing page for people to go to (instead of creating a whole website) where they can purchase and download your book.

4. Join the affiliate marketing bandwagon

One of the most accessible monetisation options is affiliate marketing. Once you sign up for an affiliate programme with a specific brand, you’ll receive a unique discount code that your followers can use when shopping with that brand.

Essentially, it involves you posting a link to a website, and if someone makes a purchase through that link, you get a percentage of the sale. Sometimes you’ll even get paid if someone just clicks on the link without buying anything.

Affiliate marketing is something that pretty much any YouTuber can try for themselves. If your channel, for instance, teaches DIY tutorials, users often like to follow along by using the same materials you’re using in your videos.

5. Get paid sponsorships

Paid sponsorships are a YouTube goldmine. This is when brands pay you to mention or endorse their product in your videos.

It’s never too early to start pitching yourself to companies. Engage with them on social media, show them how you would help their brand, and provide examples of successful product sponsorships or affiliate programmes you’ve done in the past. Even if you haven’t quite hit the desired subscriber count yet, you’ll still put yourself on brands’ radars.

But make sure that the companies you seek out make sense for the content you produce. Some YouTubers will simply mention the brand at the beginning or end of the video, making it kind of like an ad that’s part of the actual video. Others will integrate the product into the content of the video itself. It’s difficult to say how much this pays, but a Quora thread suggests the going rate is between Sh3 and Sh12 per view (against YouTube’s ads that pay Sh12,000 for 1,000 views, making it Sh12 per view).

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