It’s a content creator’s world, and we’re just living in it.
Why do I say that? According to The Small Business Blog, nearly 52% of kids aged 6-17 say they want to become YouTubers, vloggers or bloggers, and 70% of kids say they are more connected to YouTubers and influencers over traditional celebrities.
Those are pretty staggering statistics, but it is also not entirely surprising with more and more folks making a living online. After all, what could be better than making your own schedule and being in control of your own salary, using only smart devices, maybe a camera and the internet?
I suppose, for better or for worse, I am part of that culture. Even though I didn’t necessarily think I’d ever want to become a blogger or a YouTuber, I sort of fell into it when I partnered with my sister on our regional travel blog in 2019. Today, it has grown into its very own business with additional regional travel sites and a monetized YouTube channel.
How we started a monetized YouTube channel
I’ll walk you through my journey on YouTube, however, keep in mind that my team and I primarily make most of our money through the blog itself.
For the record, blogs traditionally have far better RPMs (revenue per thousand views) than YouTube or TikTok channels.
In fact, we initially started making videos with the goal of driving traffic to the blog and increasing the blog’s RPM. Eventually, we began repurposing those same videos for YouTube.
So, we started uploading videos to YouTube in 2020, but we didn’t regularly upload content until about a year later in 2021. After about another year of consistently uploading new videos, we were accepted into the YouTube Partner Program in July of 2022.
Today, the YouTube channel earns an average of $225 per month (in just ads) and currently has about 3,870 subscribers.
While YouTube is not the main focus of our primary business, I think there are steps you could take to grow your channel better and faster if you want to have a successful YouTube channel.
How do beginner YouTubers make money?
Like most things in life, you have to take the first step, which can often be the hardest. Currently, YouTube’s eligibility requirements for ad monetization are at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours. You can read more about eligibility here.
Before you commit to starting a new channel, you may want to think about what traits a successful YouTuber will need.
For example, to master the platform, there will be times when you need to be a good entertainer, marketer, video editor, entrepreneur, graphic designer and storyteller.
And perhaps above all, you need some grit. Just take it from one of the most successful YouTubers out there, Mr. Beast, who said:
Your first video is not gonna get views. Period. It’s not. Your first ten, are not gonna get views. I can very confidently say that. All you need to do … is make 100 videos and improve something every time. Do that. Then on your 101st video, we’ll start talking …Mr. Beast
With that in mind, here are some tips for starting your journey to become a successful YouTuber:
1. Choose your niche
Hopefully, you have some idea of what kind of videos you hope to create. Inspiration will be important in your journey.
I’ve heard interviews with some of the most successful YouTubers, who will say that they didn’t necessarily start with the goal of making money. Many of them simply felt inspired to share knowledge or content, and the money naturally followed.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to focus on what you know. If you have an idea in mind, decide on a YouTube channel name and make sure it is not already taken – or that there’s nothing out there that is already too similar.
2. Scope out the competition
Once you’ve landed on a niche, be sure to check out some other content creators who are in that same niche. How many views are they getting? Are they posting affiliate links? What type of videos seem to be working for them?
I’m in no way saying you should do exactly what they are doing. Simply copying the competition will not get you very far, but it will give you some information on whether or not there is a market for what you’re pursuing.
In fact, as you’re watching your competitors, think about ways you can do it better. Are there gaps in their content? What can you do to make your content more engaging and interesting?
3. Plan your content
Before you hit the record button, you want to think about your strategy for your videos.
Consider making a list of video ideas. Then, dabble in some YouTube SEO (search engine optimization).
TubeBuddy is a good SEO tool that specializes in videos. They have a pro plan for only $6 per month. For that price, you have search engine optimization features, engagement tools and guides to help you be successful.
We also use services like SEMRush. So why is keyword research important? Being strategic about trending topics and keywords will help you appear in searches so you can attract new viewers. This will be vital to future success.
4. Gather resources
Now that you have a solid plan in place, think about the logistics of recording a good video. Do you have a good camera? Editing software? A microphone?
If you don’t have a good camera, your phone may work to get you started. But over time, you may want to consider getting a better camera and some audio equipment.
In fact, one thing I would focus on early is a good microphone. Audio quality can make or break a video, in my opinion.
I like this desk Blue Yeti USB microphone because it works with a PC or Mac and is a best seller for streaming and podcasting and more. At this time, it’s available for only $99 on Amazon.
If you need something wearable, I like the Rode microphone like this one, which is available for about $65 at the time of this writing.
5. Start making videos
Can you believe that making videos is all the way down in step No. 5? But finally, it’s time to do the fun part.
As you record your first video, consider developing a style and sticking to it for branding purposes. You’ll also want to make a short video intro, as many famous YouTubers have.
If you do not have video editing skills, consider pausing this step to take a few online courses, watch other YouTubers teach you how to do it or hire a freelancer on a platform like Upwork or Fiverr to help you out if you have the budget.
Note that I have not recommended uploading these videos yet. Record a handful before uploading anything so you can hit the ground running when you set up your account. This will prevent you from falling behind right off the bat.
Finally, find a style for making engaging thumbnails. This will help tremendously with your click-through rates.
6. Create reels
Making a few reels (or Shorts) along with your regular videos will help your channel in the YouTube algorithm.
Vertical videos, reels and Shorts are trending lately with the explosion of platforms like TikTok.
7. Create a YouTube account
Now that you have laid the groundwork and created some videos, you’re finally ready to send them out into the world.
If you do not have one already, you will need a Google account and a YouTube account. Customize the channel page by making a unique banner and a simple logo that fits your video style.
8. Make a schedule
Decide which days of the week you want to upload new videos and how often you plan to upload. Make sure to choose something that will work for your schedule. Then, stick to that.
Remember, you can schedule uploads as well, which can help you stay on track.
9. Upload your first video
It’s finally time to upload and publish your first video! As you upload, write engaging descriptions with each video to help people find you in search results.
Sending your little creation out into the world can be a scary step. Try not to focus on perfection. You’ve worked hard to get to this point, so be proud of yourself and that video!
10. Watch your YouTube analytics
As you start uploading content regularly, YouTube will show you analytics on how your videos are performing.
Pay attention to who your audience is and think about how you can better cater to them. Which videos are performing for you? What do those videos have in common? Use your analytics to help you plan your future content.
11. Grow your channel
Now it’s time to buckle down and focus on growth. You can help gain a few views by promoting your videos on another social media platform like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
And as always, encourage your viewers to like and subscribe. An engaged audience will help the algorithm, which is why almost every YouTuber mentions this somewhere in their video.
12. Explore monetization
After you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply to monetize your videos with ads via Google Adsense with the Partner Program.
Your RPM (which stands for revenue per mille, or thousand) might range from about $3-5 or lower in the beginning. This number will depend on a variety of factors, including watch time.
If you can increase your watch time, you can increase your RPMs. You can also monetize your channel by using affiliate links or making a Patreon account for your most dedicated followers.
13. Be consistent and engaging
Audience engagement plays into the YouTube algorithm quite a bit. Try to encourage your viewers to leave comments on your videos, and respond to as many comments as you can.
Finally, consistency is vital to the success of any YouTube channel. If you set out to do new videos each week, make sure you stick to that. Are you taking a trip? Record an extra video and schedule it in advance. If you want your channel to pay you like a job, you want to treat it like a job.
How much money does a YouTuber make?
It depends on a variety of factors. The average RPM can be anywhere from roughly $3 on the low end to about $8 on the high end. So, a video that receives one million views can make about $3,000-$8,000, depending on view duration, tax quarter and other factors.
You read that correctly. The season can also affect your earnings. Content creators typically see higher RPMs in quarter four because advertisers are spending more money during the holiday seasons.
So, your income will likely vary on several factors.
Our small travel blog’s channel currently makes an average of $225 per month with an average of 35,100 views.
How hard is it to become a successful YouTuber?
While it may not be the hardest job in the world, there are definitely certain skills you need in order to be good at making engaging, high-quality YouTube videos. Again, a YouTuber needs to be able to wear a variety of hats. But with training and dedication, I have faith that you can do it!
Have you started a YouTube channel? Tell me about it in the comments below. And don’t forget to connect with Morgan Media on social media.