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How to Make Money on YouTube: Effective Strategies

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If you’re wondering how to make money on YouTube, look no further than these 7 strategies for monetizing your channel and your creative work.

YouTube is half the internet: that’s 1.9 billion users logging in every month. But at the same time, 500 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute.

So you already know this article is not going to be about how easy it is to buy a Swiss watch with the ad revenue from your YouTube views. (Though if you have millions of video views, you could probably at least rent one. Wait, don’t.)

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program

The YouTube Partner Program is how regular YouTubers get access to special features on the platform.

You don’t need to be a partner to make money on YouTube (just setting up an AdSense account and getting views is enough to handle that), but being a Partner makes it a lot easier.

YouTube Partners have access to multiple income streams: not just video ads, but YouTube Premium subscription fees, and features that tap your loyal fans’ wallets directly like Super Chat, channel memberships and the merchandise shelf (more on these later.)

2. Sell your own merch

Maybe you identify as a content creator first, and entrepreneur second. (Just remember that even Drake sells t-shirts.)

Alternately, you’re an entrepreneur first and video creator second, which means you probably already have a product, and you’re designing your YouTube marketing strategy to sell it.

Either way, merchandise is a viable way to make money on social media — especially on YouTube.

Merchandise for your channel is meant to both represent and feed your audience’s connection with you. That means your merch should be unique.

3. Create sponsored content

You don’t have to be on Instagram to be an influencer. The advantage of the #sponcon strategy is that you don’t have to give YouTube a cut of your earnings. You negotiate directly with the brand, and they pay you directly. No wonder it’s a popular way for YouTubers to make money.

If you can offer brands a large and/or engaged audience—and your content is relevant to their target market—they probably want to hear from you.

4. Become an affiliate partner

If your YouTube audience is loyal and engaged, but not quite there yet headcount-wise, look for companies investing in affiliate marketing.

YouTubers affiliated with businesses encourage their viewers to visit the brand’s online store or specific product pages. They then get a percentage of sales made through their — you guessed it — affiliate links.

In terms of setup and logistics, affiliate partnerships are similar to sponsored content deals, so follow the steps from tip #3 to get started.

5. Get your fans to pay you directly

This strategy for making money on YouTube includes a few different income streams, but they all have one thing in common: you have to make it easy for your fans to show their appreciation with their credit card.

6. Use crowdfunding

Soliciting donations online is now commonplace. Whether you’re looking to build ongoing revenue from a pool of small monthly donations, or looking to fund a personal, channel-related project, crowdfunding is how many YouTubers make money.

7. License your content to the media

When a video goes viral, every news outlet wants to get their hands on a copy in order to replay it for their audience. Fortunately, established media companies are well aware that they need to pay for what they use. And voila, you’ve got yourself another way to make money on YouTube.

As a content creator, licensing your most successful work to the media can be as simple as making sure you’re easy to find.

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