How to monetize your YouTube channel, starting today

How to monetize your YouTube channel

So you’ve seen hundreds of YouTubers making it big through their channel, and you want in. But how do you start making money through your channel? Sure, you can create some great videos but how will you monetize them? This article is going to help you learn just that. Read on to learn more about YouTube monetization and how to get started.

How to get monetized on YouTube

The most popular way to get monetized on YouTube is by joining the YouTube Partner Program. This gives you access to YouTube monetization features such as advertising revenue, channel memberships, merchandise shelf, and more.

This first step is probably the toughest as it requires you to meet a certain set of criteria. If your channel is new, work toward meeting these minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Have at least 500 subscribers to join YPP and 1,000 subscribers to monetize
  • Have at least 3,000 hours of valid watch time during the past 12 months to join YPP, and 4,000 to monetize your content
  • Live in a country where the program is available

You’ll need to link your AdSense account with your channel and follow all the YouTube monetization policies to a tee. And remember, it will take about 30 days to review your application and enable monetization on YouTube. So keep working on your channel, create more videos and put the champagne on ice while you wait.

There’s a chance YouTube might reject your application if they feel that you don’t meet all their requirements. Though they give you a general reason for your rejection, they won’t be too specific about which content caused it so have another read through the criteria, make some tweaks and reapply for YouTube monetization after 30 days.

Other ways to monetize YouTube videos

Getting monetized on YouTube is just one of the few ways to make money from your videos. Once you get through this first step, you should start looking for other monetization options to grow your revenue. As you continue to build your following, you can monetize your YouTube videos using any or all of these options:

1: Get patronage from your loyal fans

One of the best ways to monetize your YouTube channel is by creating extra perks that will be available to your loyal fans for a recurring monthly fee. Consider providing these patrons with valuable content and features that won’t be available to regular subscribers.

While YouTube gives you the option to do this through channel memberships in the Partner Program, you need at least 30,000 subscribers to qualify. So if you don’t have that many subscribers, you can also use platforms like Patreon to get patronage from your most engaged fans.

Patreon allows you to create multiple patronage tiers with different levels of access based on how your subscribers commit. YouTuber Jack Douglass (aka Jack’s films), for instance, has seven different tiers ranging from $1 per month to $60 per month. Some of the perks include patron-only streams and Discord channels, early content access, etc.

Jack's Films Patreon YouTube monetization

2: Get some must-have merch out there

Give your followers something more tangible to support your channel in the form of cool merch. T-shirts, mugs and notebooks are popular choices but don’t be afraid to get creative, you could make any relevant products featuring your channel logo and slogan. Printing your channel-specific catchphrases, lingo, and inside jokes on your merch is another way to make your fans feel connected.

YouTuber Cuestar, for instance, created some merch with the phrase “roller bros,” which he always uses to greet his viewers. Fans can get t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags, phone covers, and stickers with the catchphrase.

Cuestar merchandise sold via the YouTube monetization merch shelf

Before you get into this, check with your subscribers to see what sort of merch they’d like most. You don’t want to go printing thousands of t-shirts just to sell a hundred of them.

If it’s relevant to your niche, you could even go a step further and launch your own line of products. Take for example, Jeffree Star, who built his fame through makeup tutorial videos on YouTube and has since gone on to launch an entire makeup brand in his name.

Recently, Jeffree collaborated with another famous YouTuber, Shane Dawson to create the Shane X Jeffree Conspiracy Collection. The reveal video alone received over 19 million views on Shane’s channel.

Shane x Jeffree conspiracy makeup collection does well on youtube monetization

3: Get those affiliate link clicks

Even if you don’t meet all the YouTube monetization requirements to join the Partner Program, you can still monetize your YouTube videos by joining a relevant affiliate program. This allows you to earn a commission from any sales you refer from your channel.

See if any of your favorite brands or retailers have an affiliate program in place. The Amazon Associates program is a good place to start mainly because of the sheer variety of products, it’s likely you’ll find a number of items you could promote on your YouTube channel. Ideally, you should only promote products or services that you truly like so the promotion feels more natural.

Most affiliate programs will give you a unique link to include in your video description. But don’t just expect your viewers to click on it without a bit of prompting. Include a small section in your video about the product you’re promoting and encourage them to click on the link.

And whatever you do, make sure you’re genuine in your efforts to drive clicks. The YouTube channel Lawrence Systems/PC Pickup, for instance, includes prompts in their outros, asking viewers to check out their affiliate links if they want to support the channel.

Lawrence systems' YouTube channel with affiliate links in the description

4: Strike a deal with the right brand

Brand partnerships are another excellent way to monetize your YouTube channel and influence. With the rise of influencer marketing, brands are always on the lookout for influential content creators to help them promote their products.

If a brand decides to sponsor you, you’ll have to create a video featuring their product or service in some way. This could be a review video, an unboxing video, or even a simple product feature depending on what the brand needs. And in return, they’ll pay you a predetermined fee. You could even get recurring sponsorships if things work out well.

If your favorite brands haven’t reached out yet, there’s no harm in making the first move. To get their attention, look for  the relevant contact information on their website or on social media and be prepared with your channel stats and reasons why a brand partnership would be beneficial.

To inspire you, LEGO enthusiast Ryan from MandRproductions started out creating videos about LEGO products he had bought and tried out. Now LEGO send him new products to review and he can even give away free LEGO prizes to his fans.

Ryan MandRproductions reviewing lego products in a sponsored YouTube video

If you’re not comfortable reaching out to brands yourself, you can sign up for communities like Grapevine and TRIBE to get connected with brands that are looking to partner with YouTubers like you.

Once you get it, don’t lose it

The YouTube monetization journey is long and tenuous – make sure you don’t lose your place once you make it. To stay monetized, be sure to keep up with YouTube’s monetization requirements and avoid creating any content that could get you demonetized such as excessive swearing, violent content, hate speech, etc.

Additionally, don’t forget how easily you can lose your ad revenue for using copyrighted music that you don’t have a license for. For a huge library of mainstream music that won’t take away your ad revenue, Lickd is here to help. Plus, if you’re new here, you even get a 14-day free trial to stock music and 25% off your first mainstream track!

Lickd popular music for video


Want to know more about how much money YouTubers make? Read this article which goes into more detail on how the best and brightest YouTube stars make their millions, and how you can too by licensing chart music in your YouTube videos.

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