Make Money Vlogging: The Definitive Guide (2020)
Whether you want to know if you’ll be able to do it yourself, or you’re just curious about this world, I’ll walk you through the process of how to make money vlogging on YouTube.
If you’re here, it’s probably because you’ve heard of the likes of Logan Paul, Jake Paul or Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg.
These guys are making millions of dollars a year just by vlogging.
…and yet we’re told to study a nice career and get a 9 to 5 job.
And that’s the most reasonable thing because it is pretty rare to earn so much money vlogging.
However, it is still possible to earn a full-time living from creating video content.
You don’t have to be a Tycoon like one of these guys; there are other thousands making a comfortable living off YouTube.
So, how do they do it?
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Vlogger and Make Money
- How do Vloggers Make Money on YouTube?
- How Many Subscribers and Views Do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
- How Much Money Do You Make per 1,000 Views on YouTube?
- How to Earn Money From YouTube Without Adsense
- How Do You Get Paid on YouTube?
- Conclusion and How Not to Go Crazy With All This Information
How to Become a Vlogger and Make Money
How do these millionaire vloggers pull in all that money?
The main reason is that they have is an incredibly large following.
Felix owns the channel with the most subscribers on YouTube, with 60 million as of March 10th, 2018.
And he also has around 17,000,000,000 views.
That’s a lot.
This represents and incredibly large legion of faithful fans that love watching his content.
And all the views he gets is directly and indirectly making money for him (don’t worry, we’ll explain how in just a bit).
The important thing is that the only reason why he has so many fans is because he’s been consistently creating great content almost every day for over 8 years.
And if you want to do it too, you better start as soon as possible.
So lesson number one is:
1. Create great content
What is great content? This is a question that content marketers have been trying to figure out for years.
Basically, great content is the one able to keep people watching/reading/listening and coming back to you for a long time.
Great content is either really entertaining or very informative or both.
You have to give something of value if you want to receive more value ($) in return.
You have to help your viewers with the problems they have if your videos are informative.
Or you have to be really entertaining.
Great contents gets lots of engagement (likes, shares and subscribes) and can go viral if you have a bit of luck.
Just look at the numbers from PewDiePie’s most popular video:
This is your job as a content creator.
And not only that, but you also have to do it constantly to make them come back.
Something that will help you to provide value is by having decent equipment for recording.
No one will stay watching a video that is unbearably noisy.
And noise can come in many forms: maybe your microphone sucks or you don’t have enough lighting in your room.
Get first the minimum equipment required to record decent video quality.
You don’t need anything fancy.
You can simply get a 10$ microphone and use a lighting kit that can cost you around $50 and build a mini-set at home.
Any compact camera you have, or even your phone will be enough for you to record good quality video.
But at least start with a nice microphone.
2. Be consistent
These millionaire vloggers didn’t make it from one day to another.
They started as any other out here: with 0 following and 0 views.
Yet they managed to grow out of nothing but good content.
But that takes time.
You need to think about your next video idea, then you have to record it—without failing in the process— and then you have to edit it and publish it.
Oh, did I also mention that you need to promote it?
In other words, you need to invest a lot of time.
And you might need 5 years or more to blow up on YouTube.
It has happened before with YouTubers like Mr.Beast.
While now he gets more than 1 million views per video, and can even surpass 10 million in some of them, just a couple years ago he couldn’t make it pass 10,000 views per video.
And remember that all of these older videos are getting a lot more views now that he’s gone viral.
And you know what else?
His oldest video is from 6 years ago.
And still, it was when he started publishing videos almost daily 2 years ago when the channel started growing exponentially.
And now he’s probably making more money than 99% of us.
Try to publish at least 3 videos a week.
If you’re too busy during the week, you might want to create a system.
For example, you can think about the subject for your videos during the week.
And after that, choose one day on the weekend to record the three videos, one after another.
Then you can schedule them on YouTube to be published during the week.
This way of working in batches is a productivity tip that I love as it helps me get more things done in less time.
3. Build your brand
Building your brand will make people remember you easily.
This is what will remind them of who published that last awesome video they loved so much, and so they are going to click on your next one.
Create an image for your channel.
And if possible, make all your social networks match with your image.
You will probably need at least a logo or nicely designed portrait image for your channel.
You can get these done for pretty cheap.
You can try going on Fiverr and look for someone offering YouTube channel logos for $5 bucks.
That is going to help you get more subscribers and it will make people trust you more.
Alternative, you could simply upload a nice photo of you, but you’d still want to have a personalized picture for your channel’s portrait.
It just makes things look nice.
Just look at this example:
Pat Flynn’s channel looks really nice and professional.
The pictures he’s using makes his audience feel closer to him.
Like any other real person you trust.
And it’s perfect for his channel because he teaches people how to make money.
And when it comes to money, people need to trust and believe who they listen to.
This ultimately helps him sell products to his audience.
Of course, this works in different ways for different channels.
If you have a funny channel, you obviously want a funny image.
Just make it consistent to who you are and what you’re offering to your audience.
4. Learn about the technical side of YouTube
Have you heard about SEO?
If you haven’t, it stands out for Search Engine Optimization.
You have to optimize your videos for the search engine that YouTube is.
When someone types a search query on YouTube, they are typing a keyword and your videos need to be optimized for that keyword for them to show up on the results.
But there are many things that will determine how well you rank in the results.
Total watch time is one of the most important ranking factors.
This a much deeper subject, but some general guidelines you should follow are:
Publish 5+ minutes videos
Preferably more than 10 minutes will help you get more watch time
5 seconds to grab your audience
You have just a few seconds to catch your viewers’ attention before they decide to look elsewhere.
Write attractive titles
If your video gets more click, then you will earn higher ranks and get even more views.
Design thumbnails that stand out
Stand out from the videos that compete with yours to get more clicks
Why do you think that a lot of vloggers talk about a lot of things first before showing what the title of the video is about? The more watch time you can hold, the more YouTube will like you.
Learn about SEO-friendly titles, tags, thumbnail and description
Let’s say YouTube shows 5 results for a keyword and your video is ranked last; if your video still gets more click, then you will earn higher ranks and get even more views.
That’s why having a well-designed thumbnail that stands out from your competitors’ on the results will give you more views.
Also, tags will help YouTube recommend your video after people watch someone else’s related video.
But don’t stuff in tags, as YouTube doesn’t like that.
Just place the tags that are actually related to your video and you will be fine.
To know more about SEO for YouTube, I really recommend this video from Backlinko:
Also, these are just guidelines that work for the current algorithm YouTube uses.
Yes, this can change at any moment, and you need to be aware of this.
This happens with all search engines, including Google and even social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
This will be part of your job as a content creator, as you will need to learn to adapt to how YouTube works and changes constantly.
But now let’s say you got the content and also the following… how exactly is the money made?
It doesn’t fall down from the sky, it has a couple real sources.
How do Vloggers Make Money on YouTube?
Once you got the content and the following you can start making money.
There are many ways of earning money on YouTube, and you’re going to learn about most of them in just a moment.
But if you want the short answer, most vloggers get money from the ads displayed on their videos.
Like this one:
Adsense is the name of the platform that handles all the process of working with advertisers.
But vloggers don’t need to worry about any of this.
They only do their thing—creating content—and choose the videos they want to monetize (as long as their video is eligible for ads, more on that later).
YouTube takes a part of the earning and the creator take the rest.
And how much money they get paid will depend on many factors.
Some of them include:
- How many views does the ad gets (not all viewers are going to get an ad)
- How long are the ads watched
- Whether there was interaction or not with the ad
- Audience demographics
- How many advertising are looking to advertise about a particular subject in the current season
Whew… definitely there’s no easy way to predict how much money you will be able to make.
In the end, you will basically need a lot of views just to make money from Adsense.
How are these ads shown in your video?
There are different kinds of ads a video can show.
There are banners that show at the bottom, trailers that show before, during or after your video.
Some can be skipped and some are non-skippable.
Later on, you will be able to experiment with the different ads and choose the ones that work better for you.
YouTube offers a guide on this, so you should check that out.
But for now, remember to just focus on creating content and building a following.
Bonus Info: How to avoid getting demonetized by YouTube
As I mentioned before, some videos might not be monetizable.
In recent times, it has become a real problem for many YouTubers, so much that it’s been referred as the “Adpocalypse”.
But just like some vloggers got heavily demonetized, some others started earning a lot more from one day to another.
The general rule to not getting demonetized is using content that you created—you can’t monetize videos with copyrighted music—and that is politically correct.
The tricky part is, what is politically incorrect for YouTube?
You can find some clues on their Community Guidelines.
However, there’s been a lot of cases where a video isn’t really breaking their community rules, but still gets demonetized.
The most popular cases are those videos that mention any subject around religion, war or social justice.
It seems like you can’t even speak against war if you want to monetize your video.
They’ve also taken action against channels where people appear in suggestive clothing, even bikinis.
Sadly, YouTube has failed to be completely clear and transparent about the subjects you can monetize.
A lot of people is getting demonetized without any warning, and they don’t even know why.
It is still a chapter that needs closure and a lot of communication work from YouTube.
Unless you plan to record any kind of controversial content, you should be safe to work as a partner on YouTube.
How Many Subscribers and Views Do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
As of February 20th 2018, YouTuber enforced new rules to be able to earn money through displayed advertising within your videos.
You will now need:
All of this just to join their YouTube Partner program, which is what allows you to monetize your videos.
See why you need to start creating content ASAP?
But still, this isn’t a big game changer for you.
Before, if you didn’t have at least a thousand subscribers and 4k hours of watch time, you would’ve been lucky to have earned more than a $100.
So this doesn’t really change the rules for people looking to earn real money from YouTube.
If you wanted to get decent pay on YouTube before, you already needed a lot more than what this new requirement demands.
So there’s no reason to get discouraged by this.
It is a good way of getting rid of spammy channels that could potentially take revenue from the advertisers that are now going to need your dedicated videos to reach their audience.
It’s still a really good year to start out on this ever-growing platform.
And remember, there are still more ways to make money on YouTube beyond Adsense.
How Much Money Do You Make per 1,000 Views on YouTube?
How much money do YouTubers make per subscriber? This is an extremely popular question and you’ll find hundreds of answers across the internet.
The truth is that you can’t really predict how much you’re going to earn per view because it really varies according to all the factors we previously mentioned.
Your earnings are determined by the Cost per Mille (CPM) that advertisers pay, which is the cost per 1,000 impressions of their ad.
YouTube takes 45% from that cost and the rest belongs to you, which is referred as eCPM or Effective Cost Per Mille.
CPM and eCPM will even vary according to the season.
There’s a really wide range of how much you could earn.
Your revenue per 1,000 views could be as low as 5 cents or as high as 15$.
If your public comes mainly from countries that aren’t worth for advertisers, like third world or developing countries, you will not earn much money.
The sad truth is that making money just from ads on YouTube is not an easy task.
This is why YouTubers diversify so much.
And you should too.
How to Earn Money From YouTube Without Adsense
This is my favorite part.
There’s nothing more intriguing and interesting as a marketer than discovering new ways of making money.
There are many alternatives for YouTube vloggers:
Affiliate marketing is when you take products that already exist and try to help selling them.
If you’re able to influence somebody to buy the product, you will get a percentage of the sale. Your commission will depend on the affiliate program you’re using. It can start as low as 1% and as high as 200%
This is probably the most popular monetization technique on the internet.
But most small YouTubers have no idea about this.
And you simply need to insert a special link to the product with your referral code in your video’s description.
If someone buys the product after clicking your affiliate link, you will get a percentage of the sale
Ever wondered how do review channels survive? This is their main source of revenue.
But you don’t need to be a review channel to get affiliate sales.
As a vlogger, you will be using somewhat expensive equipment to record your videos, right?
Look for this equipment on Amazon, join their Affiliate Program and insert the links.
Their program is the most popular affiliate network there is.
It is as easy as going to https://affiliate-program.amazon.com and following the registering process.
After that, you can get the special links that you can use to get affiliate sales.
Amazon pays between 1% to 10% depending on the category of the product. But the best part about it is that you will get commission for ANY sale amazon makes to that person in the first 24 hours after clicking your link.
The only thing left is to insert the links and hope someone clicks them and buys something.
But it would be much more effective if you could do a review of a particular service or product; people will be much more likely to click and buy.
Start reviewing stuff that you already got, that’s how Marques Brownlee, who owns the largest review channel on YouTube, started.
You could start your own review channel and record your first reviews with stuff you already have. After you grow, you can start approaching brands online to get them to send you their products so you can review them
But remember, you have to be unbiased.
List the good and bad things. That’s why people watch YouTube review videos. They want a sincere review.
Leave the sales to the company’s sales department. If you act like you’re selling out to make people buy so you get a commission, they will call you out and dislike your video.
You want to give your opinion and tell who would benefit more from this kind of article or service, and who wouldn’t.
Remember that almost anything that sells online has an affiliate program (software, products, services, etc.). Just go their website and look for the “Affiliate Program” link in the page footer. Sometimes they call it something like “Work with us”, or “Partnerships”
So if there’s something you think your viewers would be interested in, put an affiliate link to it in the description of the video.
With this method, you will earn money without even realizing it.
You should do this for all of your videos. The more videos you post and the more people that find you, the more money you will make from these links.
Selling your own products
Once you’ve built a brand you could, for example, start making T-shirts and selling them.
I don’t think there’s a successful YouTuber that doesn’t do this.
Just look at Logan Paul’s brand: Maverick.
He includes a link to this online shop on every video and he gets millions of dollars per month from that.
There are more alternatives to this.
Another example is if you teach something, you can create a more throughout course and sell it to the part of your audience that really wants to learn more.
If you’re this kind of vlogger, then combining it with a professional-looking site is a really good idea.
Create a Patreon page
This is really helpful if your videos can’t be monetized due to copyrights or any other rule that keeps you from being able to earn ad money.
You have to go to patreon.com, create a page and ask your viewers to support you through a monthly donation.
You should create milestones to encourage people to support you.
You can set a milestone that if you get to earn $1000 per month, you will be able to quit your job and upload videos more frequently.
There are many creators that live mainly from this.
One of my favorite examples is Team Four Star.
They have over 2,700+ patrons that love what they do.
They also offer different benefits and unique content to patrons that donate more money monthly.
Their only way of earning money on YouTube is this because they make parody stories from the popular Anime series Dragon Ball Z.
Since they use the original characters and story, they have to rely on their fans to support them due to not being able to display ads on this kind of copyrighted content.
And it has done wonders for them.
We already mentioned how Olga Kay got a free car from Ford just to show it on her videos.
Imagine being able to influence people to use what you use or buy whatever you show on video.
Isn’t that exciting?
Brands love this and they will approach you if you got enough followers.
The method varies a lot.
They may want you to use your products on video, do a review, mention it or simply show it.
When you get to this point, you will probably want a manager that negotiates for you.
This is another reason to combine YouTube with other social networks.
You should be present on at least Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This way you can show brands more numbers and you will have a lot more engagement with your followers, which will help you get more brands to advertise directly with you.
How Do You Get Paid on YouTube?
So finally you’ve made it against all odds.
You were able to get your first precious 1,000 subs.
You also managed to keep people entertained for 4,000 hours in the past 12 months.
It’s time to reclaim your well-earned payment.
Or is it?
Well, first you will need to make sure you pass the minimum payment threshold.
Don’t worry, you simply need to wait until you earn $100 or 70€, and only then you can get paid.
That’s the minimum earnings you need to receive payments from Adsense.
You can choose from different payment methods:
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
- EFT via Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
- Wire Transfer
- Western Union Quick Cash.
The best method for you will depend on what country you are and your bank’s commissions for each deposit method.
And you also need to fill in your tax information.
You didn’t think that YouTubers, even though they have a really hard time to earn some money, were free of paying their fair share of taxes, right?
Remember that you will have to declare your YouTube income.
How much you pay will depend on your country’s laws, so you should ask an accountant for that.
Conclusion and How Not to Go Crazy With All This Information
Looks like you’ve made it to the end of the post.
Do you still want to be a vlogger?
If you want a real piece of advice.
Do not do it for the money.
It is never about the money when it comes to earning money on the internet.
Do it for the people you are able to reach.
This part you’re about to hear is really important.
Do first things first.
What You need
- 1,000 Subscribers
- 4,000 Hours of Watch Time in the Past 12 Months
How to make it
- Create great content
- Be consistent
- Build your brand
- Learn YouTube SEO
After that, you can start thinking about the money.
I also mentioned a bunch of ways of making money vlogging on YouTube.
The main one is Adsense, but you may not be able to earn money from ads depending on the content you create.
Alternatively, there are many ways you could earn money before reaching the YouTube partnership threshold:
- Affiliate marketing
- Creating and selling your own products
- Creating a Patreon page for crowdfunding
- Reach out to brands and make sponsored videos with them
This last one will only be possible when you’ve grown a lot on YouTube.
In fact, once you grow, you will the one being reached out to.
My final advise is to stop thinking about whether you will be able to make it or not.
If you stop to think about all things you need to know and the work you have to do, you will end up overwhelmed and you won’t even be able to begin.
That’s why it’s really important that you start with the core of your profession: creating content methodically and without pressure.
Just focus on creating content and sharing it on your typical social networks.
Share with it family and friends and ask them to help you by clicking on the share button.
But ultimately, you should be aiming to making the algorithm your friend and make it do the promotion for you.
Entertain, teach, help. Give first and you shall receive.
And don’t even think about too complicated alternative monetization methods before you’re able to make some money with Adsense.
Use that as the key point where you start thinking outside the box to grow even more.
I know some of you might create content that can’t be monetized, and if that’s you then you do need to start creating a Patreon and direct people there, or using another of the monetization methods I mentioned.
Maybe you can use a blog or a website to sell your main products and only use YouTube as a way of attracting visitors.
But for the rest of you that want to grow a channel, start to create content right now and build a good following first.
Focus on the most important things first and you will be able to do the more complex steps one by one.
So now, I recommend you start thinking about the next idea for your video.
And hit that record button.
Got any question? Just ask below.