How To Make Money on YouTube: The Complete Guide

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More people than ever before are learning how to make money on YouTube – and that’s a good thing.

YouTube offers unprecedented creative freedom and is now a professional pathway to success for thousands of individuals. You could be one of them, especially if you have a knack for video creation or editing and have unique content you want to share with the world.

But although more people are successful on YouTube now than during the platform’s earliest years, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to bring in six figures from your videos. So, do you want to know how to make money on YouTube in 2022 and beyond? Read on for a complete guide to YouTube success.

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1. Join the YouTube Partner Program

There are multiple ways to make money through your YouTube videos. The YouTube Partner Program is, by far, the most straightforward way to earn some cash.

The YouTube Partner Program is only available to creators with 1000 or more subscribers. Once you hit this benchmark, Google will start showing ads on your videos. Each time a viewer watches an ad or clicks on one of the ad’s links, you’ll get a split of the fee that YouTube charges the ad maker.

For example, say that someone watching one of your videos sits through a one-minute ad. The advertiser pays $1 for the ad in total. Your cut will range between 10-30 cents (around 18 cents on average). 

That’s not a lot individually, but all that money can quickly add up if you get hundreds or thousands of views. 

To join the YouTube Partner Program:

  • Start your YouTube channel, then create compelling YouTube videos that viewers love 
  • Get 1000 subscribers or more
  • Make sure that your channel has at least 4000 “watch hours” of video viewed over the last 12 months

Once you meet these benchmarks, you can set up a Google AdSense Account. You can configure what monetization method you want to partake in – for example, you’ll need to turn on ads using the YouTube interface. 

You can also set up channel memberships for your most loyal fans and subscribers. With this method, you charge your subscribers a small fee every month, and they get some exclusive content.

YouTube makes earning money even easier for those who join the Partner Program as they build their brands. Once you join the YouTube Partner Program, for instance, you can set up a merchandise shelf on your channel page and leverage other tools to get visitors to your blog, online store, and more.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Although the YouTube Partner Program is one of the best ways to make money on YouTube, you have some alternatives to bringing in cash. For instance, you can practice affiliate marketing and earn money that way.

Affiliate marketing means advertising products or services for companies that agree to pay you a small portion of the sales. Here’s an example:

  • Say that you become an affiliate marketer for an accounting software company. You include a mention of the software during your latest YouTube video. You also include an affiliate link to a premium profit and loss statement template from your partnered company.
  • When a viewer clicks on the link, the company recognizes this and gives you a cut of the sale if the visitor makes a purchase.

As you can see, it’s easy to make money through affiliate marketing, but you need to remember you only get paid if your viewers actually purchase the products you advertise. Therefore, some brands or channels may be better positioned to make money through affiliate marketing than others.

3. Selling Self-Made Merch

If you already have an online brand, you can use your YouTube channel for advertising your self-made merchandise. Say that you run a store on Etsy selling handmade jewelry. During one of your YouTube videos, you can quickly plug in your online store and leave a link to it at the end of the video.

This will allow you to spread awareness of your brand and get more people to check out your online shop. It’s a double win – you can promote your e-commerce store and make money through videos.

Of course, this money-making method only applies to those who have self-made merchandise in the first place. If your YouTube channel gets big enough, you can make merch and sell it straight from the YouTube interface.

4. Sponsoring Products

Many successful YouTubers make money by sponsoring products from brands. It is similar to affiliate marketing, except the creators make money for every sponsored video they produce. 

Sponsoring products is a more straightforward and guaranteed way to make money. However, if your videos don’t produce much revenue for the sponsoring company, they may stop sponsoring your videos in the future.

Furthermore, you should take care to only sponsor certain products you believe in or think your viewers will appreciate. If you run a YouTube channel about financial matters like investment apps, it makes no sense to sponsor luxury clothing. Your viewers won’t care and may stop watching your content as a result.

5. Crowdfunding/Patreon

Alternatively, you can turn to your viewers and ask for funding directly through crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Patreon. Like with YouTube exclusive subscriptions, Patreon allows you to collect subscribers and ask for donations each month.

In exchange, you provide your subscribers with exclusive content, behind-the-scenes footage, or other goodies. It’s much easier to make money on Patreon once you’ve already built up an audience, so keep this money-making method for after you have already seen some success from your YouTube content.

6. Influencing

The age of influencers is upon us, and YouTube influencers can make tons of cash. Influencing is a little different from sponsored advertising. The idea is to make organic, casual-seeming content and “happen” to call attention to sponsored products.

If you already run an influencing business on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, expanding that business to YouTube could be a logical choice. 

7. Use Videos to Advertise Other Income Streams

Lastly, if you have any other income streams on the web, such as from an e-commerce store or a blog, you can use your videos to bring traffic to those streams. In this way, you don’t make money directly on YouTube. But YouTube allows you to increase your earnings through cultivating a video audience and spreading awareness of your broader brand.

Key Tips to Make Money on YouTube

As you can see, there are lots of ways to make money on YouTube in 2022. However, no matter which way(s) you choose, you should keep the following tips in mind to ensure that your videos are consistently successful.

Develop a Distinct “Voice”

Firstly, be sure to develop a distinct brand style or voice for your YouTube content. YouTube is inundated with creators regardless of industry, so you need to make yourself stand out. You can do this by:

  • Speaking in a distinct way or having a distinct voice
  • Making unique videos with specialized editing or unique formats
  • Ensuring your videos are very high-quality
  • Making videos about niche or lesser-known subject matters

Create Compelling Content

No matter your niche or industry, your content needs to be entertaining, compelling and professionally made. It will become easier as you get cash and better equipment or staff. But even in the early days, make sure each video is edited perfectly and is a pleasure to sit through. That’s the best way to make sure you cultivate an early audience and grow it over time.

Choose Sponsors Wisely

Should you choose to make money on YouTube through sponsorships, don’t pick sponsors that your viewers are likely to disagree with or dislike. That’ll just turn off your target audience and make you seem inauthentic.

Besides that, don’t go over the top when praising sponsored products. These days, people know that you accept money from businesses to advertise for them. You can still be positive about sponsored products, of course, but don’t make any product seem like the absolute best thing ever made, as you’ll seem fake to your viewers.

Include Detailed Descriptions and Product Links

If plugging other products or affiliate marketing is the way to go for you, be sure to include those product links – and detailed descriptions of any products – in the YouTube video description underneath each piece of content. Not only is this important to make sure your viewers net you affiliate marketing bucks, but it’s also crucial to make sure YouTube’s algorithm kicks your video to the top of relevant search results.

Consider using hashtags with specific keywords in the descriptions of your videos too. Beating the YouTube algorithm is a skill in and of itself, so don’t be surprised if it takes you a few months to master it.

Post Regularly

Speaking of the YouTube algorithm, you’ll be rewarded if you post videos regularly or on a scheduled cadence. Try to post a video once per week in the beginning. Once your videos have higher production values or are longer, you can take breaks between new content posts.

Engage with Your Audience

Lastly, don’t forget to engage with your audience regularly. Reply to comments on your YouTube videos, but also communicate with your audience members on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The more you engage with your viewers, the faster you’ll build up a big audience and earn big bucks.

Summary

Making money on YouTube is a great creative outlet and professional pathway for people around the world. Whether you plan to join the YouTube Partner Program, use your YouTube videos for affiliate marketing, or do something else entirely, you can make money if you stick with your plan and develop a unique creative voice. 


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Nahla Davies

Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.