In less than 15 years, YouTube has gone from a novelty full of cat videos to a vital part of our information and entertainment infrastructure where young people can achieve stardom.
YouTube set out to be a 21st century answer to TV. Just as “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the biggest YouTube channels reach audiences popular TV shows can only dream of. Top YouTubers can earn five, six, even seven figures from monetised videos, ads, endorsements, and expansions of their brand.
From beauty gurus to gamer channels to commentary channels and video essays on every topic imaginable. There is something for everyone on YouTube – but is the YouTuber life for you?
Potential Pay as a Youtuber
Let’s get the big question out of the way first. How much can you make by getting into the YouTube game? That depends on a variety of factors, including endorsements and other more salesy tidbits. Firstly, let’s deal with the pay you get from YouTube itself. This is generated from ad revenue.
Advertisers on your video can pay between £0.07 and £0.23 per view. This works out to around a couple pounds per 1,000 views. For a video which gets 20,000 views per day, that works out to between £21.60 to £46.
Of course, the big YouTube stars get millions of views, which inflates those figures considerably.
Certain videos are more monetisation-friendly than others. For example, videos that feature violent content (think first-person shooter games) or copyrighted music are almost certain to be demonetised.
On the flip side, advertisers can more readily monetise beauty videos, lifestyle vlogs and other gaming content.
It is also advisable to create content that is a blend of topical and evergreen.
Trend too topical, and your channel will become too niche or trend-chasing. The potential for people viewing your content after the first couple of days post-release dip significantly. Videos which continue to generate those views and thus ad money long after the initial upload date help a YouTuber’s long-term interests.
That longevity is key for rising through the ranks of paid YouTube stardom. Multi-million pound stars such as Mark Fischbach (Markiplier), Sean McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye), Kandee Johnson, Jenna Mourey (Jenna Marbles), and Zoe Sugg (Zoella) have all been around for years. Cases such as Zoe Sugg also point the way toward an increasingly lucrative path for YouTubers – self-made brands and endorsement deals. Sugg has expanded far beyond her iconic beauty channel to create a lifestyle brand of her own. She has written four books and engages in other projects. Thus, her activity on her YouTube channel is far less than what it used to be.
Fields of Interest to Aspiring Youtubers
It is also worth mentioning that some YouTubers make additional money. They engage in work that is related to their online specialty or YouTube in general.
Matthew and Stephanie Patrick of The Game Theorists are a good example of this. Their multichannel hits Game Theory, Film Theory, and GTLive get millions of views. Even so, the pair has also discussed working as online consultants for their self-made company Theorist Media. This company helps clients looking for analytic-driven insight into online and YouTube content creation and marketing.
Another example of a YouTuber turning their intellectual background into YouTube and self-branding is Lindsay Ellis. Her video essay channel is one of the best-regarded on the platform. She covers a wide range of topics. These include film, media, and the socioeconomic and political contexts influencing them. Ellis studied media at NYU and Film Studies at USC. She used that expertise for her YouTube channel, PBS’ It’s Lit series as well as public engagements.
Educational entertainment has been rising in the past couple of years. This makes it easier for individuals with knowledge in non-lifestyle, gaming, or media interests to make their mark on the platform. Overly Sarcastic Productions covers literary and media tropes as well as history. It has risen from its humble starting point to 1.15 million subscribers.
YouTube has also created an environment for commentary channels that focus on social media trends. Tiffany Ferguson’s Internet Analysis series is a good example of this.
Ferguson is a YouTuber and has risen from scratch to 529,000 subscribers. She has made much of her success in the past year with the success of Internet Analysis. She is currently a major in a Media Studies degree.
Tips for Aspiring Youtubers
As YouTube grows in popularity and its stars become more financially stable, YouTubing is becoming an increasingly viable career. YouTube is becoming more involved with major corporations and the global market at large. Thus, experience with and expertise in YouTube is becoming a more valuable asset.
Some helpful tips for aspiring YouTubers include:
- Being financially self-sufficient before beginning a career. Do not make the switch to full-time YouTuber status until after you are well-established (a point Ferguson herself covers)
- Having a concrete, distinct, and easily-identifiable theme
- Being authentic in your content
- Diversifying your platform (several creators listed here maintain multiple channels covering different topics)
- Invest in good production values (lighting, sound quality, editing software, and so on)
- Market your channel via a sustained social media presence
Whether or not “The Revolution Will Be Televised,” as the YouTube Revolution continues, aspiring creators in years to come are sure to lend their voices to one of the world’s most influential media platforms.
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I don’t think anyone should try to be a youtuber in this this day and age. I mean it’s too late. I would love to be proved wrong but I will link a video below explaining how nearly every genre in youtube is overstocked and its really hard to break in and become popular. The video below will be about how MKBHD became successful and the main reason he became famous was because he had no competition. My advice would be to wait for the next “Youtube” another platform that will allow you to monetize yourself.
Honestly couldn’t have read anything more wrong than this comment
Youtube has so many gaps in terms of content its unbelievable
Entertainment and online content is a growing industry, it will never die. Especially youtube, the second highest traffic website on the internet lmao
New games, new shows, new things are being made 24/7. Youtube is a perfect platform to build a channel around these new innovatings. Make a channel for reviews, or “lets plays” or compilation videos, or reactions. There’s so many. If you put in the time and money, you will see the rewards
Find a genre where it is less crowded