With changes to YouTube’s Partner Program, many small content creators are looking elsewhere.
March 20, 2018 5 min read
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There’s been a dramatic shift within the digital world, and consumers are no longer simply consuming content. Everyone with a smartphone who posts to a social media account is now a content creator, regardless of whether they realize it or not.
Nowadays, even the most casual content creators are able to earn money from views on the videos they share. Contrary to popular belief, making money on digital content doesn’t necessarily require you to devote countless hours to building an audience through vlogging or developing an online “personality.” Social media users and everyday consumers can make a significant amount of money, all by realizing the value of the content they already create and share online with their friends and family.
With the recent scandals involving YouTube stars (see Logan Paul and Pew Die Pie), one might have expected that YouTube would have done more to support creators who focus on producing brand-safe, family-friendly content. However, YouTube’s latest policy changes actually make it harder for smaller creators to make money on their content through advertising. As of January, YouTube began requiring that creators have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time (in the past year). This is a huge shift from the company’s previous policy that allowed any channel with 10,000 views to apply for the Partner Program, which allows creators to monetize their content. With a new emphasis placed on overall watch time and subscribers, YouTube’s changes are penalizing most content creators, particularly those with smaller or more niche audiences.
Not surprisingly, there has been a significant backlash across the web, as these new guidelines have effectively “laid off” smaller creators from YouTube’s Partner Program, at a time when many Americans are looking for new and creative ways to generate household income. In recent years however, new video platforms have emerged that are specifically built to help individual creators maximize the revenue potential of their videos.
Some of these platforms not only allow creators to upload and share all types of video with the goal of monetizing it, but go a step further than YouTube by actively helping creators get their content in front of an audience that is most likely to be interested in it. As an illustration of this, imagine you just returned home from your two-week getaway to Bali, where you captured stunning drone footage of the beautiful scenery on the island. If you shared that content on YouTube, it’s highly unlikely that you would make money on it. However, by sharing that content on distribution platforms that work to find your audience, that video is made available to website publishing partners (like travel bloggers, for instance) who may want to post your videos on their websites, thereby generating views of your video, and revenue for you. There’s no need to be an online celebrity to make money online; you just need to upload videos that have a reasonable threshold of production quality and some degree of subjective value to a website publisher, and if you do, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to make money from your videos.
Anyone with a camera phone can make money on their videos — here’s how.
We’ve seen thousands of videos shared across video platforms, and have taken note of which ones find success and which ones flop. While there’s no exact formula, here are a few tried and true tips we’d recommend to begin building your audience online and monetizing the videos you share:
1. Take time to view what type of content is being watched, and what is doing particularly well. Short, digestible videos that are cute, funny or inspiring tend to see success and receive pickup by publishers.
2. Keep your eyes open! Every day we come across scenes that make us laugh, cry or gasp — be prepared to capture those moments
3. We recommend trying out different types of content — there’s no risk involved for publishing a video that doesn’t perform as well as you’d hoped. Sometimes it’s the most unexpected clips that garner the largest audiences.
4. If possible, edit your videos — while it’s not imperative that your content be professionally edited, videos that have a more polished, finished look are oftentimes more appealing
5. Keep your content safe. Once your content is uploaded, approved, gathering traction and earning money, it is important for you to protect yourself from getting screwed by media companies looking to use your videos. Ensure your videos are being properly looked after through a rights management platform so that your content isn’t being used by companies without your knowledge and without proper compensation.
If you’re willing to put yourself out there and spend a little extra time on your content, you too can earn money on the videos you share online.
Related Video: What Content Creators Need to Succeed on YouTube