Successful course creators understand the importance of having multiple income streams. Even if the bulk of your content is not available for free, there are still ways to make money from YouTube sponsors.
However, there’s a catch, and I've seen it firsthand. Someone decides to give content creation a shot. They start a channel, publish one video, and immediately start looking for YouTube sponsors. Don’t do this!
Brands want to work with influencers that deliver what every brand needs: sales. It's your responsibility to prove your channel can do that for them. Let’s start there.
Steps to take before monetizing your YouTube channel
Of course, there are a few things you must do before monetizing your YouTube channel. That begins with content and community.
Develop engaging content
Your content is the top-notch product you deliver. Top-notch does not have to mean expensive studios and equipment. We’ve covered how you can start a home video studio with your smartphone and a few key accessories.
Now that you have the equipment, determine your target audience. If you’re already creating courses, you have a good idea of the persona or personas to target. Use them to figure out your audience, style, and type of content.
Next, do some keyword research and think of content ideas that fit your topics. As a course creator, you have the benefit of starting with clips of online courses you've already recorded. Turn to your learning management system (LMS) to find existing content for your videos. Grab recorded sessions and presentations to repurpose for YouTube content.
It’s now time to work out a content calendar. Figure out how often you want to post videos on YouTube and set the deadlines on a real calendar. You can then backfill it with the milestones or steps necessary to publish each video. Your milestones may include finishing a course, editing existing presentations, or recording personal introductions for each video.
And finally, the fun part: creating. You already understand the content creation process, and all you have to do is get to work.
It may be difficult to hear, but your first few videos are not going to be your best videos. Just about every content creator will tell you they got better as they created. You will experience the same so rather than beat yourself up over the content, focus on connecting with your audience.
Now is your chance to reach out to your audience and engage. Their feedback may get you to the next level and improve your work.
Here are some keywords to use in your videos to encourage engagement:
- Like and subscribe to my channel to get more on this topic;
- Let me know your thoughts;
- Be sure to drop any comments or questions for me and I’ll answer them in my next video;
- Are you interested in this career path but not sure it’s for you, drop me a line;
- If you have any topics you want me to cover, let me know in the comments.
Use your channel to have conversations with subscribers, not to tell them what to do.
Put yourself on paper
After developing an engaged following through great content, you are ready to present your channel. Now it's time to present your channel to potential sponsors with a professional media kit.
You can make a professional and stylish media kit that fits your brand with Canva. Your media kit should include key metrics like subscribers, engagement rate, and watch hours. This kit is your sales pitch to potential sponsors.
Remember to target brands that fit your channel. For example, brands like Nerdwallet are great for finance channels, but not the ones focused on graphic design.
Make money from YouTube sponsors
Now that you’ve put in the work and are ready to monetize, there are a few different ways to do it.
1. YouTube membership
Starting a YouTube membership turns your community into paying sponsors for your channel. If your content consists of clips of your courses, you can offer members one of your courses for free. Members could gain access to an introductory lesson of your courses.
Say your full paid course consists of 10 lessons. You can offer members a recorded version of a live lesson you held with a previous cohort. You can even give members a full introductory course without a certification.
If you have several courses available, you can offer an older course to your members in full as a lead magnet. After all, your members can serve you well as you move to try the other sponsorship options.
2. Affiliate links
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize through direct partnerships with other brands. Companies give you a unique link for you to include in your video. Each time a person clicks on this link, you get paid for it.
Affiliate links can be general, where the company is looking for someone to go to their website and buy any of their products. Others may be more specific and take people to a product or offer. In almost all cases, you’ll be able to offer a special discount to your viewers to make it more enticing. You’ll work this out in advance with each brand.
3. Sponsored videos
Sponsored videos are the next step from affiliate links. You will still get a unique link but the video itself will include a more in-depth mention of your sponsor and how it lines up with your audience.
There are a few different ways to present sponsored videos. They include unboxings, sponsored mentions to kick off your video, and pre-recorded ads you create and insert in the video. The video itself can even be your review of the product or service.
4. YouTube ads
YouTube ads may seem like the obvious way to monetize, but it also has strict requirements. These are the three major conditions for joining the YouTube Partner Program:
- A channel with 1,000 subscribers;
- A channel with over four hours of watch time over the last 12 months;
- A Google AdSense account tied to the channel.
Once these are set, you can start your account and add YouTube-approved advertising to your videos. You can set these up as skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, or bumper ads.
How much can you make from YouTube sponsors?
YouTube is not likely to become your main source of revenue. Your online courses will earn more. However, if you take the time to generate content and cultivate a community on YouTube, the platform can be a successful source of additional income.
According to Intuit, “With the average YouTube pay rate hovering between $0.01 and $0.03 for an ad view, a YouTuber can make around $18 per 1,000 ad views, which comes out to $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views.”
Affiliate marketing, where you have more control, can vary. Smaller companies may offer up free or discounted products in return for mentions. As you develop your pitch and can prove your account has influence, you can get better commission rates. These can range between “between 5% and 50% of the purchase or subscription price.”
Your main source of income may be tied to your full courses, but that does not mean you can’t take advantage of YouTube’s sponsorship opportunities. Whether you join the YouTube Partner Program or use one of the other options, you can make extra money on YouTube. Work out your strategy today and take advantage of this additional revenue stream.