Make A Living On Youtube – 3 Ways To Make Money With Youtube

You can now actually make a living on Youtube. People get famous over there and smart marketers and cashing in.

There are plenty of people who rely on this popular video sharing site for their full-time incomes (and sometimes much, much more).  There are actually several different ways to make money through Youtube, and most require very little video production skills.

So if you’re ready to find out more about how you can earn money sharing videos online, let’s get started with a brief discussion on how to create web videos, as well as a more in-depth look at the different ways to monetize your content.

First up – the process of creating web video…  Don’t worry – you don’t need to run out and purchase an expensive video camera and green screen set-up (although you might want to get one later on) in order to create the videos you’ll profit from on Youtube.  In fact, making a web video can be as simple as recording yourself via webcam or filming a simple screen-shot video of a Powerpoint presentation.

Check out the following programs to get started as a web content producer:

Animoto – Animoto is a fun program that allows you to upload images and set them to music.  Once you have everything set up, the program automatically creates professional-looking animation that turns your simple slideshow into a high quality video production.  Animoto is free to use, but does offer paid subscription options with extra features.

Jing – Put out by the web video masters behind the Camtasia video creation suite, Jing is a free program that allows you to record what’s happening on your desktop.  Use this program to record audio narrations paired with Power Point presentations or to create simple tutorials that demonstrate you doing something step-by-step from your computer screen.

Camtasia Studio – More powerful screen recording software that has some awesome features. If you are using a PC then this might be your best choice.

Fiverr – On the other hand, if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating your own web video in the first place, why not outsource the process entirely?  Fiverr allows you to outsource just about anything you can think of – including simple web video creation – for just $5.  Just remember that the quality of the videos offered at this price point can vary wildly, so be sure to double check a provider’s reviews before you sign up.

Of course, the specific type of web video you’ll want to create – whether it’s a product review, a spoken article or a goofy viral video – will depend on the way in which you plan to monetize it.  So without further ado, let’s get into the different ways you can use Youtube videos to make money online.

In general, we can break these monetization models down into two separate categories – profit generating methods that earn money from within Youtube and those that create indirect profits by funneling visitors to external sites.

Earning Money within Youtube – The Youtube Partner Program

Earning money off of your web videos from within the Youtube platform is especially appealing for many web marketers, as no other actions are required besides simply posting web videos.  You don’t need to worry about converting visitors into buyers after they eventually reach your website or picking the right products to promote through your Youtube videos (both of which are Youtube money making techniques that we’ll discuss later on).  Instead, Youtube handles most of the work through one of two business models – in-video ads or video rental fees.

As a Youtube Partner, you have two different options for earning money.  You can display banner advertisements across the bottom of your videos and receive a portion of the revenue from all of the clicks on your videos’ ads, or you can charge a rental fee for viewers to access your videos.  Both of these models can be extremely lucrative, depending on the number of views your videos receive and your specific niche.

But the challenge is that not everyone can become a Youtube Partner, nor does Youtube publish the exact criteria it uses to determine which individual videos or accounts qualify to participate.  To find out if you qualify, you’ll need to apply at and wait for a representative to determine whether or not your videos meet Youtube’s criteria.

Of course, there’s plenty of speculation about what account metrics are needed to get into the program, and Youtube itself offers some hints, listing the following guidelines as important factors in their decisions:

– The size of your audience

– The quality of your content

– Your compliance with the Youtube Community Guidelines and Terms of Use

– Your country of residence

– The absence of any copyrighted materials, including movies, graphics and live performances

It’s interesting to note that Youtube states that videos on all topics and in all different genres are eligible for consideration in the Partners program.  With that in mind, it becomes obvious that the best way to succeed with the Partners program, both in terms of getting accepted and eventually earning enough clicks to make the ad revenue and rental fees worth your time is to pursue viral videos.

As you might expect, guaranteeing that every web video you put out will turn into a viral video that takes off is pretty much impossible, but there are a few things you can do to improve your odds:

– Put out lots of videos – Only a small percentage of videos ever really “go viral”, so the more videos you put out, the better your odds will be to score one.

– Play with popular memes – If you’re truly lucky, you might – at some point – stumble across something so unique and appealing that it becomes an overnight sensation, like the recent Chuck Testa and Honey Badger videos.  But even if you aren’t the trendsetting video producer who distributes these cultural zeitgeist videos, you can often ride along on their coattails with related videos if you catch on early enough.

– Go really funny… or really bad – Web viewers love to laugh, and whether they’re laughing with you or at you, being able to command this type of attention can go a long way towards turning a video viral.

– Brand yourself – People love a good web personality, so if you have something unique to bring to the table (say, an in-depth knowledge of an obscure subject or a quirky way of sharing information), it is possible to get famous on Youtube and benefit financially from all the views your videos receive.

Identifying web videos that have the potential to go viral isn’t an exact science, but with practice and careful observation, you may be able to replicate the success of past viral videos in order to create your own profit-generating web videos that qualify for the attractive Youtube Partners program.

Using Youtube to Drive Offsite Profits

Sure, you can make money from within Youtube itself, but this certainly isn’t the only option available to people who want to benefit from the site.  In fact, publishing videos on Youtube can be a powerful way to drive traffic and generate sales on your own websites for a minimal amount of effort.

Let’s look at a couple of these off-Youtube business models in more depth…

Building a Buzz for Your Site

According to Mark Robertson of Reel SEO, Youtube is – in fact, the second largest search engine online:

In November of [2009], YouTube surpassed Yahoo for the first time in total U.S. search queries, making it the 2nd largest search engine in the U.S. next to only its owner, Google.  Ever since then, YouTube has continued to dominate the search space when you look at the total number of search queries.

So think about Youtube just like you think about Google.  Every time someone searches inside Youtube, they’re looking for a particular piece of information.  And just like in the traditional search engines, if they choose your result from the internal SERPs and like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll wind up clicking back to your homepage – making Youtube a great way to generate traffic and leads for your main site.

Videos listed on Youtube also offer a number of other benefits to website owners, whether you run a blog, affiliate niche site or other type of web property.  The first is that videos shared on this platform are typically indexed much more quickly than static pages.  They also benefit from priority placement in the SERPs, as Google, Yahoo and Bing are all committed to blended SERPs that display videos alongside the traditional results.  As there are often fewer Youtube videos optimized for particular keywords, you stand a much better chance of breaking into competitive SERPs with video than with content pages.

To summarize, posting web videos on Youtube can help your site get attention in a number of different ways:

– By appearing as a search result within the Youtube internal search feature,

– By getting indexed more quickly than static content pages, and

– By breaking into competitive SERPs through the blended results.

Of course, to get the biggest benefit out of these techniques, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of.  First, in order to have your video rank well – either within the Youtube internal SERPs or in Google’s blended results pages – it needs to be well-optimized for your target keywords.  Just like with traditional SEO, it’s important to optimize your web video by including your keywords in your video file name, title, description and tag fields.

It’s also a good idea to do some promotional work for your videos, as the number of views each video receives plays a big role in determining how videos rank within the internal Youtube SERPs.  To encourage views, try sending a few backlinks to your videos or embedding it on your own website to guarantee views from your regular audience.  You can even request that your video be listed as a “response” to another popular video in order to pick up viewers from other top videos.

Once you’ve got people watching your videos, the final step in the process of making money with these videos is to get people back to your site so that they can purchase your products.  Here’s how to do it:

– Include a link in your video description – The first line of your Youtube video description should be the full URL of the site you want viewers to click through to.  Leaving the link as the only line of text in this position ensures that it will be clickable and won’t be hidden in the “More Information” section.

– Use annotations to feature your URL – Either use Youtube’s annotation feature to have your website address pop up during the video or add this information to your content during the production phase.  Displaying your URL throughout the video helps to build brand recognition and provide a subtle reminder to viewers that more content is available on your site.

– Encourage clickthroughs from within your video – Sometime during your video, get direct and ask people to click through to your website.  Not all viewers will make the mental leap that good content in your video equals more good content on your website, so ask them directly to visit your website, subscribe to your Youtube channel or take whatever other action makes the most sense for your business.

With a couple of reasonably popular videos and an audience of Youtube subscribers that tunes in to every video you release, it’s not unreasonable to generate enough traffic back to your website to result in sales that equal a full-time income.

Selling Amazon Products on Youtube

When it comes to building a buzz for your website, just about any type of content will work.  You can film short tutorials on how to do simple tasks within your niche, tape yourself speaking into your webcam on industry issues or pitch your products and services directly.

However, there’s one type of video that lends itself especially well to Youtube – and that’s the product review.

People are always anxious to learn more about products before they purchase, especially if they’re considering investing in a high priced item from an internet retailer.  They want to be sure they’re spending their money wisely, and that means uncovering every detail they can about a product before pulling the trigger.

If you promote items as an affiliate marketer, you can certainly use this technique – where you cover a product’s features and performance in-depth in your video – to build traffic back to your own website.  Or, you can cut out the final step and simply share your affiliate links on Youtube directly.

Sound crazy?  Well, it’s happening – check out the screenshot of a video I took that’s making money promoting Amazon products on Youtube:

For those of us affiliate marketers who have worked for years to cloak our links and generally fly below the radar, this type of blatant advertisement seems shocking.  But it’s happening, and you’d better believe that people are making money off of it!

For best results with these types of review videos, consider the following tips:

– Do your keyword research – The specific product keywords that you choose to target with your video will make a huge difference, as your audience is now people entering product-specific keywords into the search engines.  Amazon can be a great place to generate seed keyword ideas, but be sure there’s enough search volume to justify the effort you’ll put into creating your videos.

– Promote your videos – While you don’t need to go into hyper-competitive niches like electronics, there’s no doubt that there are more buyers in these areas and that popular videos featuring these products can make a ton of money.  To increase your odds of success, combine the natural ranking advantage of the video format with some good authority backlinks and you should start seeing search engine traffic right away.

– Consider doing in-person videos – Yes, it’s easier to slap together a slideshow presentation, but what viewers really want from their product reviews is a hands-on demonstration.  Paying for a product to use in your video will be an extra expense, but in most cases, you’ll make this fee up with increased conversions.

If you want to pursue affiliate product reviews as a Youtube money-making strategy, do your homework. See what types of videos are doing well in terms of total views and which accounts are attracting the most subscribers.  Apply the lessons you learn from this market research to your own video creation and there’s no reason you can’t be one of the lucky few to earn a full-time income from Youtube’s video platform.


16 thoughts on “Make A Living On Youtube – 3 Ways To Make Money With Youtube

  1. I’ve used Camtasia Studio and love the controls it offers. I use it to edit my audio files as well as create screen capture video. I believe it is well worth the financial investment. They do have a Mac version as well (and its actually cheaper than the Windows version).

  2. Camtasia does quite a bit and I use it a lot. Didn’t know they had something for Mac though. I am not a fan of Mac but I still like other Apple products 😉

  3. Hi Pawel, Video marketing is the bomb!!! I didn’t realize all the free resources for recording your desktop. Thanks for passing them on

  4. Thanks Jeff! Youtube Partner program is definitely worth getting into because of the branding features they offer. Good luck with your channel.

  5. Good post. Looking to make more ytube vids. I got that email that said I can post ads on my videos. AMP I think they call it… Did everyone get that too? Or is that just for some people?

  6. You can definitely make more money as an affiliate marketer than trying to promote MLMs. When promoting/reviewing real products your reach potential is much larger.

  7. Most of the videos on Youtube are made by amateurs. The important thing is to start actually producing videos (that provide value) and getting them out there.

  8. I like the annotations feature, I have never used that so will give it a try. I use Camtasia for all my recording and it is really a great tool for creating video’s.

  9. Hi Pawel, My friend, you nailed it with this post. Tons of resources and great tips. I shot a couple of videos so far and look forward to do more using these suggestions. Post bookmarked:) I used Proshow Producer for the first videos..I will check out more about Camtasia.

  10. I use a program called Screenflow on my Mac to make my screencasts and videos. So far I’ve made videos with both the video mode on my Nikon S3100 digital camera and with the built-in HD camera in my Macbook Pro. Thanks for the tips.

  11. Me and my team have put together dozens of YouTube channels, and the ones that drive the most leads and sales are the ones that are doing reviews. Or simple how-to video’s.

  12. It really is just an issue with the quality of the videos uploaded by the user. YouTube will also Consider how much the number of viewers, but it is a step further.

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