If you are a video creator, you’ve probably asked yourself how to monetize your YouTube channel at some point.
Maybe you launched your channel as a passion project and it’s going surprisingly well. Or maybe you started out with the express aim of becoming a YouTube superstar.
In any case, YouTube can be a solid source of income for creators – if you know how to go about it. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to monetize your YouTube channel.
7 Different Ways to Monetize Your YouTube Channel
1 – Join the YouTube Partner Program
To begin with, you need to join the YouTube Partner Program to make any money directly on YouTube.
To be eligible to join, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 valid public watch hours over the last year. Make sure that your channel follows all of YouTube’s monetization guidelines and doesn’t violate any community rules.
You’ll also need to create a Google AdSense account and link to your YouTube profile.
Once you’ve checked these boxes, you can apply to join the program through the Monetization menu in YouTube Studio. You’ll be notified once your application has been reviewed, which can take anywhere between a few days and a month.
2 – Benefit from YouTube Ads, Premium, and Super Features
Once you’re part of the program, you can control your monetization options.
The first thing that’ll come to mind is ads. You earn money off ads on your videos if viewers watch them or click on them. While ads can be a great stream of income, they can also be inconsistent. In addition, YouTube keeps 45% of all ad revenues on your videos.
Taking all that into account, YouTubers earn $3-$5 per 1000 video views on average.
Then, there is YouTube Premium, the platform’s subscription service. Viewers pay to watch videos without ads on them. And creators earn money depending on how much of their content YouTube Premium subscribers watch.
In addition, YouTube rolled out several “Super” features over the past few years that allow creators to monetize their channel more directly.
Super Chat and Super Stickers are targeted at live streams and premieres. Your fans can color or pin their messages and post animated images in the chat window. To make their post stand out this way, they pay between $1 and $500. The more they pay, the bigger the highlight, and the longer it will stay pinned to the top of the chat.
Most recently, YouTube launched Super Thanks, which lets fans tip $5, $10, or $50 to their favorite creators directly in their videos.
However, YouTube still keeps 30% of the revenue generated via Super features. In addition, they are not yet available to creators worldwide – only in select regions.
3 – Set Up Tipping and Subscription Platforms
Another way to earn money off your YouTube content is to use external monetization platforms like Patreon, Ko-fi, or Buy Me a Coffee.
Then, you can include links to these platforms in your videos and your video descriptions. Fans who want to say thanks for your great work can then leave you tips on these platforms.
A big advantage of this approach is that you don’t need to meet the YouTube Partner Program thresholds to monetize your content. Plus, external platforms usually take a much smaller cut of your revenue. Patreon, for example, keeps only 5-12%, depending on the plan you choose. And Ko-fi even has a completely free basic plan.
These platforms also allow you to create member programs. For instance, you could make exclusive content available to Patreon supporters.
4 – Join Affiliate Programs
Another avenue to generate additional income streams is via affiliate links.
This means you join affiliate programs of companies like Amazon or manufacturers of makeup and sporting gear. Then, you link to their products and services in your videos and video descriptions. Each time someone makes a purchase through your link, you earn a commission.
Finding affiliate programs isn’t hard – there are several platforms and social media groups dedicated entirely to establishing the connection between brands and YouTubers.
However, many programs do have minimum subscriber counts. If you use affiliate links, you’re also required to disclose that in your video description.
5 – Close Brand Deals
Taking brand interactions to the next level, you can close deals with them directly. Usually, this is a great option for high-profile YouTubers with large follower counts.
Brands will pay you to become an ambassador for their products and services. That means promoting them directly in your videos and on your other social media accounts. It’s also possible to get paid for appearing in photoshoots and other advertising materials.
6 – Offer Merchandise
One relatively accessible way to monetize your YouTube channel is to create your own merchandise.
YouTube’s most successful creator, 9-year-old Ryan Kaji, for example, has an entire brand emporium – Ryan’s World. His branded products are being sold at Walmart and other major retailers, contributing to his $30 million annual income.
However, a simple merch shop is something that even small channels can set up.
If you’re in the YouTube Partner Program and have over 10,000 subscribers, you can create and sell your merchandise on YouTube directly. Otherwise, you can outsource this to a platform like Patreon or Spreadshirt.
7 – Sell Courses and Products Like E-Books
Finally, you can make money as a YouTuber by selling additional content such as online courses and e-books, among other things.
Especially if your channel aims to teach your viewers a skill – whether it’s craft, cooking, or yoga – this can be a great option to provide additional value and generate revenues.
Different Ways to Monetize Your YouTube Channel
It’s absolutely possible to make money off YouTube if you have the right strategy. In most cases, creators need to diversify their income streams. Ad revenue alone is often a very inconsistent source of income.
But by harnessing options like Super features, merchandise and course sales, brand collaborations, and tipping and subscription platforms, you can build a sustainable set of income streams. And get started on the financial path to YouTube success.