In 2018, it seems like everyone and their mother are making money online. Some have blogs that generate hundreds of thousands while other have vlogs that seem to generate quite a lot of money. Of course, we would like to get a piece of that cake. But first we need to understand one thing.
That is how a vlogger actually are able to make money. Is it as simple as to throw up a video on YouTube and get ads on it to make a living out of vlogging or is other methods necessary? Check out this article where I discuss how vloggers make money.
Ads on YouTube from Google AdSense
When a vlogger posts a video on YouTube, they have the chance to monetize it. This means that Google (the owner of YouTube) asks them if they want to display ads alongside their content. If they say yes, they’ll get a cut of the profits for every ad displayed before, during, or next to their video.
Of course, this isn’t very much. How much you make through Google AdSense is going to depend on how much hundreds or thousands of views your videos get, the engagement levels (likes, dislikes, comments), and how big your audience/subscriber base is. A bigger channel with more engagement is going to make more per individual ad serve than a small channel that’s just starting out.
Not all videos are eligible for monetization either, especially those on controversial or potentially controversial topics. In fact, many channels have videos up publicly complaining that advertisers have chosen not to work with them for one reason or another. YouTube’s algorithm will also scour titles and descriptions to find content that is potentially controversial and then block that content from the ad network.
This is because, in general, advertisers do not want to see their ads displayed next to controversial content. Topics that are usually ad blocked include political discussions, vlogs about protests/current events, and so on. Even if you remain unbiased on the matter, keep in mind your video will usually not be able to be monetized.
So, if you’re looking to post content on the above topics, keep this in mind and look for other ways to go about monetizing your channel. Remember, most vloggers use a mix of multiple monetization methods to monetize their channels and make a profit.
Sponsorships from Companies
This is another big way that many growing channels make money. Whether or not you’re choosing to display ads next to your videos, you’ll find that many vloggers are getting paid extra through direct company sponsorships. There are actually many platforms you can sign up as, labeling yourself an “influencer”, so that companies interested in sponsoring a video can pay you to feature their product or talk about their work briefly during the video.
Sponsored videos do need to be disclosed, however. This means somewhere during the video, you need to say, “Thanks to _____ for sponsoring this video.” This is needed for full disclosure and it helps avoid legal claims that may come from you endorsing the product/company. Some people place sponsored mentions into the start or middle of the video, clearly showing that it’s an advertisement. Others will make the entire video about the product or company, like in the case of many product reviews.
You can also get creative when incorporating the product or company into your video(s). For instance, wearing a t-shirt with their name on it or incorporating the product in a subtler way may be appropriate. Maybe Coca-Cola sponsors a video. In return, you could be drinking a coke or using Coca-Colas to do product testing for “Best Bottle Opener Gadgets” or a similar type of video.
Generally, you’ll want to discuss with your sponsor about how exactly they would like you to incorporate their product or company into your content. Most vloggers will charge per video they are included in. If you’re just starting out, you aren’t going to have as large of an audience which means you aren’t going to have as many sponsorship opportunities. This also means you aren’t going to get paid as much simply because companies who are sponsoring you won’t expect as much exposure as they’d get from larger channels.
Despite all that, you can still find sponsorship opportunities as your channel grows. In fact, many small and medium-sized brands are looking for “micro influencers” who have a small niche following. Put yourself out there by joining platforms and including a small blurb in the description of each video explaining where interested companies can contact you if they’re interested in being reviewed or promoted.
Selling Their Own Merchandise
If you’re a creative person and/or if you are building up a loyal cult following, you could make a great deal of money by simply selling your own merchandise. This is branded merchandise that people will want to buy and wear in support of your channel and, by them doing so, it’s also working to further promote your channel and how loyal your subscribers are.
Some channels come up with fun t-shirts not necessarily related to their brand, like How To Cake It, which creates all sorts of fun “cake puns” to be placed on a t-shirt each month. To get those t-shirts, you either have to go to the online store or you can be a member of the “Cake Club” and the newest design will be shipped to you each month. This sort of subscription-based setup is awesome for building brand loyalty and getting recurring revenue.
As a vlogger, you can do something similar, even crowdsourcing designs and taking suggestions from your followers about what they want to see on the new t-shirt designs each month. During the holidays especially, you can come up with all sorts of fun and creative ways to promote your channel through merchandise. T-shirts aren’t the limit, either. You can also sell hats, hoodies, and other items people may want to wear.
When it comes to merchandising a channel, Good Mythical Morning is a good YouTube channel to take after. They have an entire Mythical Store where their Mythical Beasts can go to shop. They even have their own signature products, like Rhett’s beard oil. Again, you can take notes from them as a vlogger and work to grow your own channel by coming up with unique merchandise that your followers might be interested in.
In addition to branded merchandise, depending on the focus of your vlogs, you might also benefit from selling products that compliment your niche. For instance, going back to the first example, How To Cake It has a store that sells “Sir Squeeze” and other handy baking gadgets that are featured in just about every video. This helps the striving bakers watching the channel find the tools they need to recreate all the fun cakes the channel bakes up.
As a vlogger, you might focus on anything from baking to photography or anything in between. Have a gadget customized or created just for your store is a wonderful way to build a brand and make money while you’re at it.
Do you review products? Do you feature cool gadgets in your videos? Affiliate marketing is one way that can make you big bucks with minimal effort on your part. Sign up for an affiliate network like Commission Junction, ShareASale, or even Amazon’s affiliate program.
When you feature a product in your videos, go through the platform to get a unique link to the product page. Post that link in the video’s description and, if someone clicks on it, you’ll get a cut of the profit from the sale. If they don’t buy that product, you might even still get a commission. For instance, if they follow an Amazon link, usually Amazon will give you a small % of the revenue from any order they place within so many hours of using your link.
With affiliate marketing, you need to be sure you disclose in the description that you may receive a commission if someone clicks the link and buys a product.
How Can You Get Started?
With all these ideas swirling around, you may be more motivated than ever to become a vlogger and start making money. But, remember that you aren’t going to get rich from these things overnight. In fact, even the biggest YouTube stars are still having to work their day job or supplement their income through another source.
Even if you reach that goal of 1 million subscribers, unless you’re using a mix of these tactics, ad revenue alone isn’t going to get you that far. Get creative and try to bring in money from your channel through multiple sources. Having a website and building an email list will help you grow your following, connect directly with followers, and build more loyalty amongst your subscribers.
As your channel grows, your revenue will increase, but remember: stay true to your roots! Remember your unique angle and why people subscribed in the first place–they like you!