Youtube has become the platform No. 1 for online video consumption. Remember the days when watching a video on the web browser was a strange experience, having to install unsafe plugins, often from weird sources then trying to play it back on a dial up or slow DSL connection while half the videos were copies from TV shows or just plain cheap porn? Within less than 10 years Online Video not only solved all the early issues but surpassed traditional TV in variety, technology (360°-Videos, 4k Resolution, 60fps, etc..) and quality.
Whereas quality is a subjective matter, most content uploaded is nonsense, reuploads of existing videos or simply not interesting for most viewers. Youtube has evolved over the past 5 years dramatically to cater its platform for so called Youtubers with some of them not only making a living but a packing out of it. Famous Youtubers such as PewDiePie with more than 15 Billion views and 56 Mio Subscribers are taking home Millions of Dollars in annual revenue.
And it seems that the race for fame is far from over. More and more viewers with lots of spare time and income at hand are met by Youtubers with interest based communities who share common knacks in areas from Music, Gaming, Technology, Entertainment and infinite amounts of more niches.
1) DEFINE YOUR NICHE
And here is where you can start working: identify such a niche, that not only is not very well covered yet but also of your personal interest. If you want to run a channel about Antique Motorbikes, you better have a good idea about what you are talking else your viewers won’t take you all too seriously and will subsequently turn their back to your channel, not to mention that they won’t bother subscribing.
Keep in mind that your nieche needs to be of relevance, a lot of them are covered already in English. But do you speak a 2nd language? Check out channels and subscribers by simply using the extended search function of Youtube to find out how well certain topics are covered in other countries.
If it’s a nieche that is well covered already, determine who the biggest Youtubers are and find and edge over them to draw a specific section of their subscribers over to your channel. Always remember: if you are just a cheap copy, people are less likely to subscribe as they feel it is just the same thing again.
2) BUILD YOUR CHANNEL
Making videos can be very cumbersome. You need to decide on which tools and hardware to use. There are plenty of websites covering in great detail which gear is the best for different budgets. And yes, if you use your iPhone well, you can still achieve some quality material. Whether you work them on a PC or Mac is more a matter of personal preference these days as most hardware can easily digest HD material. If you want to go full blown 4k @60 frames per second you better invest into some serious hardware.
Editing Videos is a bit like playing an instrument: your first attempts will look rough and don’t even try to add overlays. You can of course compensate with bad video/audio as long as your videos are interesting enough, however, there is always that one competing channel around that does these cool slow-mo shots and funny overlays which you would love to have as well.
One way to shortcut is to use templates for your Video suite, such as “Youtuber Packs” sold on Videohive, the biggest marketplace for Video Templates and footage. For little money you can save weeks or even months of learning how to create your own custom overlays. Simply drag these “elements” into your project, set color, text and add your logo and your first videos will look pretty decent and viewers will get the impression that you put out quality stuff (and may subsequentially subscribe).
Make sure your Channel is set up correctly with Cover Art, a complete and informative About Section as well as an impacting and remarkable channel name and icon. Youtubes search prefers “quality” and descriptive titles so you better use it right!
3) BUILD (AND INTERACT WITH) YOUR AUDIENCE
Subscribers are almost everything but ultimately it is the content of your videos that will make people share it or not. It is quite common to ask for “Thumbs up” and “Subscribe” during a video, I personally wouldn’t do it as it comes across desperate and sleazy, however, it is your call and you can always experiment with such “CTAs” (Call To Actions) to see whether a video with CTA is converting in to more subscribers or not.
Never miss a comment! And yes, you will get trolls and bad mooded viewers who feel that they need to unload their mental stool into your comments section, but remember: any comment, any user interaction Youtube sees as a good thing. Also respond carefully to their comments if you want to make things clear or simply to trigger a discussion. But be careful not to trigger users too much as it may lead to complaints which again could get you on Youtube’s radar for offensive content. After all you want to make a side-income or maybe even more, right?
Which brings us to point No. 4:
4) MAKE MONEY WITH YOUTUBE
If your views slowly but surely creep up into the hundreds or even thousands of views per upload, you will become eligible for monetization. Youtube would place banners and play interrupting videos ads in front or in the middle of your videos. Advertisers pay Youtube a certain amount per ad-video watched or impression served and Youtube shares some of that money with you.
However, it is fully under Youtube’s control who gets served when, where and what, their ad-technology is strongly parameter driven. The kind of your content, your audience and the relevance to advertisers play a strong factor in what you will be earning.
Initially don’t think of making money too much. Your passion for the topic, your love and time you put into the content will eventually bring you the success. Your viewers will love your content, then subscribe and return. Youtube has an eye on your channels activity and will help by recommending it to new viewers who it deems to be relevant to your content.
So: be nice to Youtube, play by her rules and you will quickly enter the profitable zone. It goes both ways however: if your content is politically or socially dividing or will trigger too many viewers into despiteful comments, Youtube can and will de-monetize you. Not because it doesn’t like your opinion or people arguing about whether Trump is a douche or not, it is the Advertisers who control where their ads are served. Youtube is not manually deciding whether your videos are “Hate Speech” or not, all this is fully automatically decided by algorithms and semi-intelligent AI bots. So you better play it smart, if you think using naked skin or else on your Video or Channel icon, don’t be surprised when these “Snowflakes” in California pull your (income-)plug.
5) MAKE MONEY WITHOUT YOUTUBE
Youtubes ad-revenues are not the only source of income for many Youtubers. In the past few years brand endorsements and sponsorships have evolved dramatically, mostly by product placement or direct recommendations for specific products (that new eye-shadow, cool Online Learning Courses, this amazing new game.. etc.). However, initially you won’t appear on anyones radar until you get into the hundreds of thousands or Millions of subscribers and views.
New services popped up to fill the gap for Youtubers who don’t or don’t want to be endorsed by brands, most notably Patreon (UPDATE: Youtube is very supportive of external income streams, even allowing to add a Patreon button on your profile header image) which helps you to crowdsource “Sponsors” for your content, either monthly or per-video basis. Famous examples here are “Kurzgesagt” and “Primitive Technology” with thousands or tens of thousands of extra income.
Other ways to make money include promoting your own products, simple donations or just using your fame in whatever business-fashion you deem smart.
6) ANALYZE YOUR AUDIENCE
Youtube gives you some tools (Analytics, AdSense, etc) to share essential information about subscriber activity, channel views, Income and more. Anything financial should not be shared publicly else… well see above.
See where most of your audience is based, what their interests are and slowly but surely evolve your channel around this “market”. Reading and understanding these insights correctly will help grow your audience and your channel in the long term. So you better get used to such magic things like retention rates, conversion rates, average watching time per video etc. There is a plethora of information you can find online about how to grow you audience using and understanding data.
7) FUTURE “YOUTUBES” & THE BLOCKCHAIN
A growing portion of Youtubers are fed up with Youtube’s black box policies and almost god-like control of who gets to see and paid what. The big bet is on Blockchain, the system that Bitcoin uses for transactions, but in the case of dtube.video it is used for transparent ad revenue distribution – in realtime! Go check it out, it is still infant but don’t forget: Youtube’s first attempts looked way more horrible than this.
Youtube itself is not stopping innovating of course. “Youtube Red” is her latest attempt to monetize it’s content without advertisers. Whether this is going to be a thumbs up or down is yet to be proven, but no matter what, times have never been more ideal to get started to build your own Online TV Channel or even Network (remember: there is no limit to the amounts of Channels you can create) and become rich and famous!
TO WRAP IT UP:
Keep an eye on new developments but also grow a sense for trending topics and large trends to build your career all the way up to the top. To become a successful Youtuber is all about your content and how efficiently you can put it together. So go check out these above mentioned “Youtuber Packs“, they will certainly give you an edge and will help speed things up!
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