While the primary reason most people start a YouTube channel is for the passion of creating content, the platform also provides ample opportunities to earn money.

YouTube has revolutionized the way we consume media and has created a whole new industry for content creators. If you're looking to make money from your YouTube channel, there are several ways to monetize your content.

Some may believe that ad revenue is the only way to earn money on YouTube, or social media in general, but that's not the case at all!

Below are some popular methods to build a scalable and long-term income source through YouTube.

How To Monetize Your YouTube Channel

1. Ad Revenue

Ad revenue is the most common way YouTubers make money. Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and start earning money from your videos.

How this works is that YouTube displays ads on your videos and shares the revenue with you.

To start earning ad revenue, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months.

2. Brand deals

Brand deals are another popular way to make money on YouTube. Brands pay content creators to promote their products or services on their channel.

If you have a substantial following and a niche audience, you can leverage your influence and earn money through brand partnerships.

3. Merchandise

If you have a loyal fan base, you can sell merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, phone cases, and other branded products.

This can be an excellent way to earn money while also promoting your brand.

Remember that successful merchandise sales on YouTube require time and effort. Building a strong connection with your audience and offering appealing, high-quality products are key to a successful merchandise strategy on the platform.

14 Tips to effectively sell merchandise on YouTube

  • Understand Your Audience: Know your target audience's preferences, interests, and demographics to create merchandise that resonates with them.
  • Quality Merchandise: Offer high-quality, attractive merchandise that people will want to buy and wear or use.
  • Branded Merchandise: Incorporate your channel's branding, logo, catchphrases, or inside jokes into your merchandise to make it unique and recognizable.
  • Promote Merchandise in Videos: Mention and showcase your merchandise in your videos, explaining its features and benefits.
  • Include a Call-to-Action (CTA): Encourage viewers to check out your merchandise by including clear CTAs in your video descriptions, on-screen graphics, and verbally in your videos.
  • Limited Editions and Special Drops: Create a sense of urgency and exclusivity by offering limited-edition merchandise or organizing special merchandise drops.
  • Run Contests and Giveaways: Hold contests or giveaways where viewers can win your merchandise. This generates excitement and interest.
  • Collaborate with Influential YouTubers: Partner with other popular YouTubers for collaborations or cross-promotions to expand your reach and promote your merchandise to their audience.
  • Use YouTube Merch Shelf: If you are eligible, use the YouTube Merch Shelf feature to display your merchandise directly below your videos.
  • Offer Variety: Sell a range of merchandise items, including clothing, accessories, posters, stickers, and more, to cater to different preferences.
  • Provide Value: Offer value to your viewers through your merchandise, such as promoting a positive message, supporting a cause, or offering exclusive content or perks to those who purchase.
  • Set Reasonable Prices: Price your merchandise competitively, considering production costs and what your audience is willing to pay.
  • Secure Reliable Suppliers: Partner with reliable suppliers and manufacturers to ensure the quality and timely delivery of your merchandise.
  • Engage with Your Community: Interact with your audience by responding to comments, feedback, and questions related to your merchandise.

4. Channel Memberships

Channel memberships allow your subscribers to support your channel with monthly payments in exchange for exclusive perks such as early access to videos, behind-the-scenes content, and live streams.

Building a successful channel membership program takes time and ongoing effort. It's essential to create valuable and engaging content for your members and consistently promote the benefits of becoming a member to your audience.

Eligibility criteria for YouTube Channel Memberships

It's important to note that YouTube's eligibility criteria may change over time, and the availability of the Channel Memberships feature may vary by region. Therefore, it's essential to check YouTube's official guidelines and requirements regularly to determine your eligibility and access to this feature. 

  • Channel Monetization: Your YouTube channel must be monetized, which typically involves joining the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and enabling monetization on your channel.

  • Location Eligibility: You must reside in a country or region where YouTube Channel Memberships are available. The availability of this feature may vary by location.

  • Minimum Subscriber Count: YouTube may require a minimum number of subscribers on your channel to be eligible for Channel Memberships. While the specific threshold can change, it's often set at 30,000 subscribers or more.

11 Ways to Attract and Retain YouTube Channel Members

  • Offer Exclusive Content: Provide members with access to exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes videos, early access to videos, or members-only livestreams.
  • Custom Badges and Emojis: Create custom badges and emojis for your channel members to use in the comments section and during live chats. These perks add a sense of identity to your community.
  • Member-Only Community Posts: Share member-only updates, polls, and discussions through the Community tab to engage your members and make them feel special.
  • Discounts on Merchandise: Offer members exclusive discounts on merchandise or other products related to your channel.
  • Recognition and Shoutouts: Give shoutouts to your channel members in your videos or during livestreams to show your appreciation.
  • Monthly Q&A Sessions: Host monthly Q&A sessions exclusively for members where they can ask questions and interact with you directly.
  • Early Video Access: Allow members to watch your videos a day or two before they are made public. This creates anticipation and a sense of privilege.
  • Member-Only Live Chats: Hold live chats or livestreams exclusively for members, providing them with direct access to you.
  • Tiered Membership Levels: Create different membership tiers with varying perks and price points to cater to a wider range of supporters.
  • Set Reasonable Membership Fees: Price your membership tiers competitively, taking into account the value you provide to your members.
  • Consistency is Key: Be consistent in delivering the promised perks and exclusive content to retain existing members and attract new ones.

5. Super Chat and Super Stickers

Super Chat and Super Stickers are features that allow your viewers to pay for their comments to stand out during your live streams. The more they pay, the longer their comment is displayed, and the more visible it becomes.

6. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is another way to make money on YouTube.

You can use platforms like Patreon, Kickstarter, or IndieGoGo to raise funds from your fans to support your content creation.

7. Fan Funding

Fan funding is a feature that allows your viewers to donate money to your channel directly. It's similar to crowdfunding, but the funds go directly to the content creator rather than to a specific project or campaign.

Wrapping up

From ad revenue to brand deals, merchandise sales, and fan funding, there are multiple ways to make money on the platform.

Of course, there are many more interesting methods for monetizing your YouTube channel, like affiliate marketing, selling your own products or services, and more.

I recently put together another article on how to make money from your Instagram profile if you're interested in reading more about that. Many of these ideas can also be used on other social networking websites such as YouTube.

The key to success is to create engaging, high-quality content that resonates with your audience and leverages your niche. With time, effort, and a little bit of luck, you can turn your passion for creating videos into a sustainable career.

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