The Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business (How to Make Money)
Where do you go for all of your sudden video needs? YouTube, right? If not all of you, it’s going to be the answer for most of you. YouTube has changed how we look for information on the internet forever. And in this YouTube guide for beginners, we are going to go deep on this most popular video platform on earth.
What is YouTube?
Officially, YouTube is an online video platform. But for the majority of us, it’s the only online video platform that we use. You might think about Netflix or Amazon Prime as an online video platform as well. But in reality, those are VOD (Video on Demand) platforms that you access for a subscription fee.
YouTube, on the other hand, is completely free. Both for the users and the creators. It’s a public platform where everyone has the right to post their video content, as long as it doesn’t break any community rules.
If you didn’t’ know already, YouTube is owned by Google, the largest tech company in the world. Steven Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim are credited to be the founding fathers of YouTube. The video platform was in development during 2005 and 2006.
What started as venture capital turned into the largest platform for creators. And it all started when Google took over YouTube in 2006. Google is notoriously known for anticipating the potential of a concept better than other names in Silicon Valley. Even in 2006, Google paid 1.5 billion US dollars for YouTube.
The growth of the platform was beyond anyone’s imagination. Being the first of its kind, people were getting crazy over sharing everything on YouTube. A report by The Daily Telegraph said in YouTube was consuming the same amount of internet bandwidth in 2007 as the whole internet did in 2000!
Do you know what the best thing about YouTube is? You can make money from it! And it’s absolutely free!
How Does YouTube Work?
To access the platform, all you have to do is type in www.youtube.com on your web browser. If you have a Google account, you can sign into YouTube with it. All of your preferences and information will be synced across all your devices, using the same account.
YouTube has a very engaging mobile app for both Android and iOS users. Even if you leave in the middle of a video on your desktop, you can continue watching it from your mobile. YouTube has revolutionized user preference and ease of access entirely.
But the technology was not nearly as advanced during the initial days as it is now. In 2005-2006, your personal computer would need the Adobe Flash Player plugin on your web browser to access the videos. It was the only way to watch videos until 2010.
2010 is the time when developers decide to implement independent multimedia capabilities into YouTube that eliminated the need for Flash Player. The latest HTML5 protocol was also adapted during this time. Later in 2015, HTML5 became the default protocol for all playback methods.
YouTube has gone through tremendous changes over the years to improve the usability and platform-friendliness for the users and the creators. Today, both a 2-year-old kid and a 90-year-old man can access it equally without having any technological knowledge.
How Do You Make Money from YouTube?
We know you’ve been waiting to learn about how you can earn money from YouTube. And you may have preexisting knowledge about it as well. But buckle your seatbelts because we are going to uncover at least some facts that you didn’t know before.
There is a very common misconception that YouTuber’s earn money according to their subscriber count and the views they generate. The more the view, the more money they earn, right? Well, not exactly.
Earning money from YouTube is more complex than many of us are willing to admit. If it was so easy, every household would have a YouTuber, right?
The YouTube ecosystem is undoubtedly a wonder of modern technology. It’s so easy to use yet so balanced in terms of earning, we cannot help but wonder how it all came to be.
So, how do YouTubers make money?
Primarily, from AdSense. You know that ads pop up when you’re watching a video, right? Those are the primary sources of income for the creators. And the interesting thing is, creators don’t place those ads. YouTube does. However, the creator can select a few categories of ads they want to run on their videos during monetization. More on it later.
The process of analyzing which ads to put on which videos is so complex that we’re not even going to touch that in this post.
The next stream of a YouTuber’s income comes from the patrons. Recently, YouTube has introduced a feature called ‘Join Now’ where you can directly support the creators as you want. Another very popular medium is Patreon. In exchange for exclusive content that you don’t find on YouTube, you pay a monthly subscription to the content creators on Patreon.
Another huge source of income would be the affiliate links you put in the description of a video. The YouTuber is most likely to be listed as an affiliate on multiple networks. And if you find interest in one of their products and click the link below the video, they get a kickback.
There are other revenue streams for YouTubers who decide to sell merchandise or do sponsor segments on their videos. The possibilities are practically limitless. Creators get the utmost freedom with what they want to do with their YouTube Channel.
Don’t worry if the concept is not clear to you yet. We will go in much deeper shortly.
How Do You Get Started with YouTube?
If you’re thinking about opening your own YouTube channel to make money, this is the section you’ve been waiting for. A lot of beginners go wrong in the initial steps that hurt their brand image and earnings in the long run.
There are a few steps that you need to follow correctly before going into production. Let’s take a look at what those are.
Setting Up Your Account
For users, a Google account works as a YouTube account. But for creators, it’s not the same. You can always share your videos with your regular YouTube account. But if you want to take things seriously, you need to tweak the account settings.
If you don’t have a Google account, it’s recommended that you open it first. Just visit Google and select Sign Up. All you have to do is provide some information to get your account started. Once you’re set up with your personal Google account, you can proceed to the next steps.
It’s time to give your YouTube channel a proper name. If you upload videos directly from your Google account, your channel will show the name of your Account, your first and last name to be precise. It’s a good way to start if you want to go that route, but most YouTubers want a different name for their channels.
And to do it, you need to log into your YouTube account and click on settings. On the Account tab, you will find a screen that contains all of your information. Under the ‘Your YouTube Channel’ section, you will find your primary Google account listed.
Below that, you will find a few options and one of them would be ‘Create a new channel’. That’s what you want to click to open a dedicated channel as a creator which is separate from your primary Google account.
You can now name your Channel whatever you want. However, your chances of becoming successful as a creator depend on how relevant and how engaging you make your channel. And the name plays a major role in that. Select a name that doesn’t violate the community rules of YouTube.
One of the many advantages of having a dedicated brand account is that you can give access to multiple people to help you out with your YouTube channel. Otherwise, you would have to compromise your personal Google credentials.
Another advantage would be the access to YouTube Analytics. It’s a very helpful tool for the creators to monitor the activity of their audience and make necessary changes to their content. You can find out who is watching your videos, what is your average watch time, which contents are getting the most engagement, etc.
After you’re done setting up your YouTube brand, it’s time to customize it. On your channel dashboard, you will find an option labeled ‘Customize Channel’. Just click on it to add information, the layout of your channel, add keywords that will help the viewers to find your channel.
Uploading Your First Video
Uploading your first video as a creator is always exciting, isn’t it? Make sure that your video is ready to go before you upload it. Design a nice thumbnail for the video as well. Not sure how to do that? Stick around to the end of the post to know more about thumbnails!
Click on the create button on your channel dashboard to access the upload menu. From there you can click on ‘Select Files’ and navigate on your computer or mobile device to select the video. Now, it’s time to let the video upload. The upload time will entirely depend on the size of your video and your internet speed.
At this moment, you are restricted to videos that are not more than 15 minutes long. But don’t be disheartened because omitting this restriction is as easy as verifying your account with your phone number.
As the video uploads, you can set the titles, the descriptions, select whether the video is made for children or not, whether this is a video with age restriction or not, etc. information. You need to be careful while filling these out because the algorithm will pick up any inconsistencies in the information and flag your video, which is something you don’t want.
Be Eligible for YouTube Partner Program
It’s not a mandatory step to earn money from YouTube but it can certainly help you out a lot. By becoming a YouTube Partner, you can unlock multiple sources of revenue like YouTube Premium Subscription fees, super chat features, channel membership, and so on. Without it, you’re only stuck with ad monetization.
Having at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time is mandatory to become a YouTube partner, which is also a prerequisite for monetization. Also, the program must be available in your country.
Set Up Your AdSense Account
If you’re not familiar with the Google AdSense Program, it’s a mandatory step that you must complete to make money from YouTube. The program is run by Google for websites that publish text, images, or interactive media advertisements. It’s a cross-platform program that works well on all devices.
To set up your AdSense account, you need to go to the AdSense page and click Get started. The first step is to provide your website address. In this case, it’s the URL for your YouTube channel. You can find the URL from your channel dashboard.
Then, you need to provide your email address associated with the channel and click ‘Save And Continue’.
In this step, you need to provide your name, address, and payment methods. All of the information must resonate with the Google account. You need to provide your real name and real address to have the best chance of approving you’re your AdSense account.
Another important thing about the AdSense account is that you can only have one. You may have multiple Google accounts, but all of your payments for web services will go through the same AdSense account.
From there on, follow the steps carefully and apply for your AdSense account. If you do everything currently, your account will get approved in a few days, no questions asked.
Monetize Your Channel
Monetization of a YouTube channel simply means that you are agreeing to run ads on your videos. It’s a mandatory step to earn money from YouTube because it’s directly connected to your Google AdSense account.
The steps are simple. You need to access your channel settings from the dashboard and select monetization. You can go a few different routes from here. You can go with ad revenue, YouTube Premium Revenue, Channel Membership, Merchant Shelf, Super Chat Payments. Depending on the type of your channel, you can select all of them or a few.
Don’t forget to sign up for the YouTube Partner program before you can apply for monetization if your country allows it. You may open your AdSense account after you become eligible for monetization as well. But we recommend keeping it ready to go start earning faster.
Once you meet the criteria of 1,000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time, you should keep an eye out for an email from YouTube that says your eligible for monetization application.
Or, you can simply go to your YouTube Studio dashboard and click on Monetization to see whether both criteria have green checkmarks or not. If they do, the ‘Apply Now’ button below will most likely be activated. If not, wait for a few days.
The monetization happens over three steps. The first step is you complying with all the YouTube terms and conditions. The fact that you’ve become eligible for monetization indicates that you’ve been complying with the terms through your content.
The second step is connecting your AdSense account. That’s why we recommend having the AdSense account preapproved because it minimizes the time you need to get monetized.
The third step is reviewing. YouTube will go through all of your information and approve your application for monetization in a few days. When that happens, your revenue stream from YouTube is up and running!
Tips to Maximize Your Income from YouTube
Now that you’ve completed all the initial steps of becoming a YouTuber, it’s time to utilize all the opportunities lying around for making more money.
If you’ve heard your favorite YouTubers say ‘go buy some merch’, they are referring to the merchandise that they sell. And you can do the same with your channel as well. You need to bring your brand persona to life via t-shirts, hats, mugs, or anything that you want to sell.
And don’t forget to promote your products through your videos. No matter which niche you cover for your videos, add a section where you promote your product in a fun way.
If you’re not sure what to sell, why not ask your audience to comment below your video about what they want? Or, create a poll from your channel if you’re confused between multiple items. It also allows your audience to interact with you which will result in better visibility for your channel.
YouTube has an approved list of third-party merchandise websites and you can easily connect with them to sell what you want. Or, you can create your own website to handle the orders.
Once your channel becomes big enough, you can look into the sponsored content space. It’s a great way to generate a sustainable stream of revenue. If you’re lucky, company’s may contact you to promote their product. Or, you can contact a business that associates well with your audience and see if they’re interested in sponsoring you.
You can either go for a monthly salary from your sponsors or go with commissions for each of the products that you sell. Sponsored videos have become more popular in recent years thanks to the huge audience YouTube has pooled. Both businesses and creators benefit from such partnerships.
Provide Affiliate Links
If you’re familiar with affiliate marketing, you might know that you can earn a lot of money as an affiliate. YouTube works as an amazing platform to promote products because you have access to a mass audience.
However, keep in mind that you need to declare in your video or in your description box that you are doing affiliate marketing. You can also link any products you review on your channel, the camera setup you use, the mic you use, etc. The possibilities are limitless as long as you want to explore them.
Live Streaming and Super Chat
Super chat is a great way to earn money directly from your audience. And the best thing is that you don’t have to ask for it. All you have to do is host live streams from time to time on YouTube and enable super chat. You’ll be wondered to see how many people out there want to support their favorite creator.
You can get your audience to become a member of your channel in exchange for a fee. In return, they will get custom badges from you, get early access to giveaways, exclusive content, and whatnot. The YouTube Partner program allows you to connect directly with your audience via the channel membership feature.
YouTube Premium is a subscription-based platform where viewers get access to exclusive content that are not available on the free version. You can go ahead and promote YouTube Premium in your videos. And when they do subscribe and watch your content, you automatically receive a percentage of the fee through your AdSense account.
Patreon has become immensely popular among YouTubers recently. With the YouTube algorithm and community policies changing constantly, it has become harder for creators to express their true selves on the platform. Hence, opting for Patreon.
Patreon is free from all guidelines and algorithm changes of YouTube. You can directly buy a subscription to your favorite YouTuber. And if you’re someone’s favorite YouTuber, they can do the same for you. Patreon is a great way to express yourself without the fear of channel demonetization or violating community guidelines.
Just in case you go viral, you may want to keep your option open for licensing. Modern news outlets tap into the YouTube space to gather viral and engaging content for their audience. And the media laws dictate that they must pay to use a creator’s content.
There are plenty of video licensing platforms that you can use. Just get into one of them and license your best work. So, if a media outlet wants to feature your content, you get the payment you deserve.
Tips to Make Your Videos Reach More People
All of what we’ve been talking about so far will only be possible if you make good content. We’ve seen a lot of newcomers in the YouTube space with immense potential, only to fade away with time. And we don’t want that for you. So, we’ve gathered a few tips for you that you can incorporate into your content.
YouTube’s policies and guidelines are constantly changing. What you were allowed to do a month ago may not be allowed anymore. It’s YouTube’s way of making the platform friendlier to a mass audience. And it means the inclusion of kids and minorities.
If you make videos that are not exactly appropriate for a certain niche, you must be careful about what you say or do in your videos. Also, the algorithm is updating regularly which may disrupt your channel’s visibility.
So, make sure to read the YouTube Community Guidelines from time to time to see if you’re compliant. And encourage your viewers to engage with your videos by liking and commenting.
Invest in Good Production Equipment
As you’re making videos, you need to please your audience’s visual and audio needs. And you can only achieve that with good quality equipment. Don’t be afraid to invest in a high-quality camera and audio setup because it will contribute to maximizing your audience’s satisfaction.
If your niche requires you to make videos indoors or at night, a good lighting setup is very important. Consider all of these as investments instead of expenses. Better content quality means a better and consistent audience when it comes to YouTube.
Add Music to Your Content
The conventional ambient sound or voiceovers often don’t quench the thirst for good content. You need to add music to your videos to make them more engaging. And you cannot use just any audio due to copyrights.
However, there are many copyright-free music libraries available on the internet. Some of them are free while some charge a premium for their music. Whatever you do, you must make sure that you’re using copyright-free good music in your videos.
Add an Engaging and Relevant Thumbnail
The thumbnail of your video is going to be the first thing the audience will see. So, you must add a relevant and attractive thumbnail to your videos. If you don’t add custom thumbnails, YouTube will create random snapshots from your video and use that as a thumbnail. A very bad practice if you ask us.
There are plenty of tools on the internet that you can use to make engaging thumbnails. Canva would be one of them. It’s perfect if you don’t want to spend hours understanding the technicalities of a photo editor. You just go into Canva, import your image and customize it as you want.
And if you want the best out of your thumbnail, we recommend using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or a combination of both. You get more options and more freedom to make just the thumbnail you want.
Keep Your Ideas Unique
As a creator in the creative industry, it’s not unlikely that you may run out of ideas from time to time. It happens to the best of YouTubers. But if you don’t resolve the issue immediately, you may start to produce monotonous content. And it will result in you losing a big chunk of your audience.
In such cases, a keyword tool or a video idea tool comes in very handy. If you’re not sure what video to make next, go into a keyword research tool and search your niche. You will come across many ideas from the keywords alone.
Then there are dedicated video idea generators specifically targeted to YouTubers. WeShare is a great example of such a tool. All you have to do is input two keywords from your niche and WeShare will give you video ideas with complete titles.
Optimize Your Uploads
Your task doesn’t end at uploading the video and publishing it. You need to optimize your video to reach the most number of people possible.
The first thing is the title. The title of your video must contain keywords that your audience will search for or often searches. Going with high competition keywords from Google Keywords Planner is a surefire way to maximize your visibility.
Then comes the description. Your video description must also contain one or more keywords to help the algorithm narrow down the searches. You can also link to your other relevant videos to guide the new viewers to explore your previous content.
Finally, don’t forget to add tags. Tags are the most important part of the equation because they are directly related to the YouTube algorithm and SEO. The more relevant tags you can include in your video, the more engagement you can expect.
Go for Cross-Platform Promotions
There is a very good chance you have multiple social media accounts apart from your YouTube channel. So, why not utilize them for promotion? If you have a Facebook account, provide a link to your channel and ask your friends to watch your content. You can do the same with Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, and so on.
Give Your Channel a Trailer
When you click on a YouTube channel, you may often find a video that plays immediately. That’s a channel trailer. Or, you can include your best work or most popular work to date as a trailer. This way, you grab a new visitor’s attention immediately by showing them what you do.
There are hundreds of ways you can make money from YouTube. YouTube is constantly evolving and so are the ways to make money. YouTubers don’t make money in the same way they did 5 years ago. And it won’t be the same 5 years from now.
Your job is to stick to the platform’s policies and update yourself and your content with the demand of your audience. Only then, you can make a sustainable living from YouTube.