Since it first launched in 2005, YouTube has grown to become the king of online streaming video by democratizing video production and distribution. Indeed, the platform is so popular it even ranks as the second-most visited website – narrowly behind sister service, Google (both sites are owned by parent company Alphabet).
However, while YouTube’s success is beyond question, from a content producer’s point of view, it can often seem impossible to build an audience and monetize your videos.
Key requirements for YouTube monetization
YouTube requires publishers to sign up to their YouTube Partner Program and meet certain criteria to monetize their content, including the following conditions:
- Channels must now have over 4,000 qualified watch-time hours
- Channels need to have 1,000 confirmed subscribers
- Channel owners must comply with community guidelines, monetization policies, be located in a country where the Partner Program operates and have a linked AdSense account
Building your audience to become eligible for Partner Program membership
Of the conditions above, the two that cause the biggest problems for new channel owners are reaching the key targets of 4,000 viewing hours plus 1,000 subscribers. Below are some tried-and-tested tips you could use to grow both:
Keep your content relevant to your channel: This might sound obvious, but if you’re to stand any chance of success with a YouTube channel, you should keep your videos relevant to an overall theme or subject. Sticking with videos relating to your channel title and description will help with keywords and improve the visibility and exposure of your content.
Post regularly: Building channel loyalty takes time and effort and YouTube likes nothing more than regularly updated content (most experts suggest a frequency of at least once a week). While this might sound challenging, today’s modern tech, such as smartphone cameras and modern editing software, make this process much easier. You should also check for the best laptop deals so you can have a mobile editing studio with you, on the go – plus making sure you have a good cellphone service will allow for ad hoc uploading.
Make your own thumbnails: YouTube’s in-built grabber software does an admirable job of producing automated thumbnails, however, these images will rarely (if ever) give a full description of your video’s content. To have the best chances of grabbing the attention of potential viewers, you should make your own thumbnails including text headlines and summaries.
Cross-promote your YT channel on other social media platforms: Social media is great for engaging with followers so don’t be afraid to cross-promote your channel across all platforms. Also, if you have a website, you should ensure you include links to your YT channel on your pages.
Reply to comments: If someone takes the time to comment on your video, you should reply to them (even if their feedback is negative). Comments encourage discussion, which is more likely to engage other users (plus YT appreciates content producers that build a community).
Improve your branding: Your YouTube channel comes supplied with design and branding tools that help you personalize your page and give it personality. At the very least, you’ll want some form of logo plus a banner image that adequately explains the core subjects of your content.