YouTube logo with dollar signs

Illustration by Jason Reed

Build your channel the right way.

Making money from posting videos on YouTube sounds as simple and ideal as winning the lottery at your neighborhood gas station. But the reality of the "vlogger" dream takes effort, time, and strategic planning to actually make it to the big leagues of YouTube stardom. 

The key to success when beginning your journey is taking advantage of the monetization YouTube offers with its ads. Follow these simple steps to guide you in the right direction toward your goal of making money on YouTube.

1) Set up your account

Yes, it's an obvious first step to building a path to revenue, but it is an important one at that. If you own a Gmail account or have signed up for any Google services in the past, you already have an account to use via the YouTube account page. 

When setting up an account, it is important to keep in mind a channel name or brand appearance that will be easy to remember, as well as be visually appealing. Adding channel art, visual icons, a unique channel name and description will help you stand out.

2) Create content 

After setting up your channel with the attention-grabbing branding, uploading the first batch of videos is the next box to check off your list. This can be a series of videos that pertain to the image you are striving for, or even an introductory video to describe who you are.

The key with a majority of content curation for YouTube channels who are monetized is to frame the content to be SEO-friendly. This will make your videos easier to discover.

While creating videos, always shoot in the highest HD quality, and lean on your editing chops for added flair. Whatever you do while editing, keep in mind to not use copyrighted material or else your video will not be eligible for ads.

3) Monetize!

After your YouTube account is set-up with a few videos already uploaded, enabling your channel for monetization will begin the money-making process. This means that YouTube is allowed to place ads in your video—so long as there is no copyrighted material in your channel.

Simply choose “monetize with ads” for your videos, and you can also decide what the ads will look like. You will receive a share of the income from the advertising on YouTube, and will get paid for each thousand views.

Connecting your channel to an AdSense account is the last step in beginning the ad process. AdSense is the primary advertising engine Google utilizes on its own sites and partner sites, like YouTube. (Google has a great tutorial for how to work and sign up for AdSense.)

4) Build an image

Building a solid image is the answer to engaging a loyal audience, which is your biggest customer. Tailor your videos to fit the message or idea that you envision for your channel.

Fun and popular ideas for creative content can entail makeup tutorials, video game reviews, comedy webseries, or even partnering up with someone inspirational for speaking engagements. If you are knowledgeable on certain topics and subjects, share that insight with your viewers and get paid for it. 

According to Forbes, in 2015 YouTube user PewDiePie was worth $12 million for his "playing video games with your bros" channel. Smosh's comedic adventures and the Fine Brothers' "React" series each made $8.5 million.

No matter what the concept is, when produced frequently these interactive videos can lock in viewers and create devoted fans, it's as simple as that.

5) Look into partnerships

The last step after some lead way has been made is pairing with the YouTube Partner Program, which offers extra content creation tools, community support, and tips. To get the most out of the Partner programs, you need to have 15,000 watch hours for your channel over the last 90 days.

Partnering with brands, or gaining sponsorships, is another great way to gain revenue. Brands and agencies can be eager to collab with creators when their target audience is keen to the channel's audience. 

While this is just a handful of steps, utilizing these tips and tools will generate revenue toward your account. Don't be shy, put your best foot forward, and show YouTube the best you've got.

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