How to Monetise Your YouTube Channel in Record Time 
With 1.5 billion visitors each month, YouTube is without doubt the go to platform for video. The opportunity for views is there, but how can you grow your channel in order to start monetising YouTube quickly?
YouTube’s new monetisation rules were introduced on January 16th 2018, in a move designed to help steady the ship and protect advertising, but which hurt small creators in the process. In order to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), you now need a total of 4,000 hours watch time in the past 12 months, and 1,000 subscribers. Sound doable? Of course it does – but it can be a harder and longer endeavour than you imagine.
So that begs the question – how you can you supercharge your channel growth in order to hit these milestones as quickly as possible in order to turn that money tap on? What exactly is considered ‘best practice’ when it comes to the details of running a successful YouTube channel? Below we run through a number of practical tips on how best to grow your channel to the point of monetising (and beyond). Follow these and you’ll fast track your way into the YouTube Partner Program.
Choose Your Niche
The first and most important point that you have under your direct control is the type of content you are going to produce (skip this section if you are already up and running).
- Choose a topic where you have good knowledge, skills and passion. That way you’ll love the process of creating videos, and that passion will translate into good authentic shareable content. This is the single and most important factor you are faced with, so think through it carefully.
- Choose an area within that topic that is a tight and unique niche. You then have the advantage of less competition. The trick is not choosing something so obscure that it has no audience, versus something that is too broad where you are unable to stand out from the crowd. For example, gaming is heavily saturated these days – but what could your niche within gaming be?
- Validate your ideas with some data. Google Trends will help you understand how popular certain topics are over time. Avoid focusing on areas with minimal traffic, or declining interest.
- What kind of content are other YouTubers in this niche producing? Why are people watching their videos, and how exactly do they keep their audience engaged? Look at what viewers are commenting, and figure out exactly how you can be better than they are.
Post Videos Consistently & Frequently
Scheduling regular videos is one of the best ways to grow your subscriber base and keep them coming back. The more you upload, the more chances you will have to be seen. This is entirely dependant on you.
Essentially you want to upload new videos as often as you can make good content. You never want to upload for the sake of it – if the quality slips you risk losing subscribers. So finding the right balance that works for you and your viewers is essential. Of course if you could upload a high quality video a day and that was your life’s focus then fantastic! But chances are this will start as a part time hobby, so don’t set unrealistic goals – find a nice balance and then stick to your posting schedule. Is it weekly? Great! Make sure every week you upload a high quality clip on the same day. Every. Single. Week.
Engage with Your Audience
We don’t think of YouTube as a social media platform – but it is. Sure, it’s not like Facebook or Twitter at all – it’s much harder to build content that engages an audience. But at the end of the day you are distributing content in order to drive followers, likes, and shares – and as a part of this you need to interact with your community.
This is the fun and relatively easy part so there’s no excuse for not doing it. And if done right, it will bring viewers back to your channel again and again. Engage in conversation with your viewers, and ask them for their opinions. Like, dislike, and respond to comments, add hearts to your favourites, and pin them to the top. Make sure you understand all the ins and outs of posting and interacting by reading the YouTube help here. And remember, a lot of this can be done via mobile so there’s no excuse to not reply quickly to keep the conversation going.
Drive More Views On Platform
You need to utilise every opportunity to turn a viewer into a subscriber and keep them viewing more of your content. Here are some easy tactics to achieve this on YouTube:
- Use descriptive and search friendly titles – a descriptive title will help users find your video. And utilising Google’s Keyword Ad Planner will help you research exactly what search terms will help drive more organic views for your videos.
- Nail your video description – this help tell search engines exactly what your video is about and is another key factor in driving more organic video views.
- Use tags – this helps tell YouTube’s algorithm what your video is about and again the Keyword Planner can help you nail the tags to target.
- Use cards – cards can be used to add interactivity to your videos, and most importantly to drive a viewer to a specific URL. This could be to subscribe to your channel, sign-up to your email list, or watch another video – so use these wisely!
- Create end screens – if someone has made it to the end of your video, they are a highly engaged user. Use an end screen much like a card in order to encourage them to subscribe to your channel, watch related videos, or visit your site. This is your chance to keep them within your world before YouTube’s suggested videos steal them away to other content!
- Make catchy thumbnail images – you could argue that this is one of the best ways to drive more organic video views via search, suggested videos, and even social. High quality eye grabbing images that help describe what a video is about but also tease the content can really drive click throughs.
Drive Interest Off Platform
Is YouTube the only site your potential audience visits on the internet? Of course not. Therefore you should be promoting your channel and videos as far and wide as possible. For starters, make sure you’ve tapped your own networks. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc to ensure you get as many friends and family onboard as quickly as possible. Make them subscribe, and get them to watch your videos! Not only is this good for numbers sake, but they’ll give you great feedback too.
To generate some real volume though, you need to find places outside of your network where your content will resonate. The golden rule of this step is simple: DON’T SPAM. Share your content where it’s relevant and provides value and entertainment.
Let’s say you’ve started a channel recreating famous movie scenes using Lego (!). Let’s look at the 3 main places you might find opportunities to promote your content:
- Facebook Groups – These are an absolute gold mine of enthusiasts for literally any topic, and can have tens of thousands of members. Join a few that are relevant, start engaging in conversation, and over time start sharing some of your videos.
- Reddit – If done right Reddit could make a huge difference quickly. Firstly learn how to use Reddit properly, and ALWAYS take heed of the rules for specific subreddits. Secondly, engage in conversation and use the platform for a few weeks before you post anything related to your channel. Redditors smell self promotion a mile off – but the volume of traffic can be immense. There are 337k subs on the Lego Subreddit, and of course there are other related subreddits that could also work.
- Relevant Message boards – A quick Google search will unearth multiple message board opportunities like this and this. Again, join, get involved, and provide value and you’ll reap the rewards.
Using the above approach could bring you success a lot quicker than you’d expect. But always remember – DON’T SPAM! Provide value, and engage in conversation.
Learn as Much As You Can
There are many free resources and articles available online to help you learn how to ace YouTube. YouTube’s own Creator Academy is one of the best places to start, and of course it’s 100% free. There are over 30+ topics covering everything from analytics, production, channel growth, case studies, and much more.
Another fantastic resource is Reddit, and in particular the subreddits r/YouTube and r/PartneredYouTube. Chat to your fellow YouTubers, and learn through getting involved in relevant discussions. If you want to grow fast, learn everything you can about the platform and what makes it tick. Never. Stop. Learning.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the success seen by YouTubers like PewDiePie or Dude Perfect. Don’t expect success day one. Sure you might get lucky, your video may even go viral. But chances are – like anything in life – it will take hard work and time to achieve the success you crave. But if you stick at it, remain patient, and follow the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to monetisation as quickly as possible.
4,000 hours watch time and 1,000 subscribers may sound achievable – and it definitely is – but it can be harder than you first think. But if you follow some of the advice above there is no reason why you can’t be getting that application in for your YouTube Partner Program within your first few months as a YouTuber. You’re a step closer to monetising – good luck!