I've always wanted to make money with YouTube, but never found the time, the resources, or better, the courage to bring thought into action.
The process of conceiving, recording, editing, publishing, and promoting videos that are relevant to viewers can easily become very complex in a very short amount of time, and the financial return you get from YouTube at the initial stage will hardly match the effort of making these videos.
I briefly experimented with it during the span of a few years by publishing some Facebook tutorials, and what I've learned from these experiments is that the road to success with YouTube is a long and hard one.
The way I like to see this is that the whole venture of building a money-making YouTube channel feels a bit like climbing a mountain. You need a lot of preparation, you will need proper equipment, and more than anything, the courage to face the long and painful process of climbing it.
You will need hundreds of videos, if not thousands, to make it work.
I wrote a post about last year about leaving the comfort zone and stepping into a new direction. It covered the topic of blogging more and being more personal, sharing more of my own thoughts and opinions, but in the back of my mind, I knew that building my channel is what really takes me out of my comfort zone.
I meant to start this project back then but to put it simply, life got in the way, and I just didn't have the time to do it. After all these years, I have finally found myself with the time to make this happen, and writing this blog post is helping me with the courage to see this through.
I have recently moved to a larger place, and with that move, I also managed to get myself a few months free of my regular work, so will dedicate most of this time with building my YouTube channel. This is going to be an experiment, and I plan to share the results here on my blog as well as on YouTube.
If you are thinking about starting a YouTube channel, or perhaps, have recently started one, you might find interesting to follow me to learn with me as I go along with this project.
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I'm planning to put a lot of time and effort into building this channel, so I'm establishing a few guidelines which I believe are going to help improve my chances of success. I'm also defining targets based on the data I've gathered from the video tutorials I published a few years ago.
The Limitations of an Editorial Guideline
The first and most important thing is defining an editorial guideline which I feel comfortable to produce videos on a daily basis.
Even though I'm yet to start on my YouTube learning curve, I think is safe to assume that videos which are filled with absurdities and controversy are likely to gather hundreds of thousands of views in very short amounts of time. It is quite tempting to rely on that strategy to build fast views, but not an angle I'm looking to take on my personal channel.
I'm sticking to topics in the digital marketing area, which is an area of knowledge where I few most comfortable around, but also because I'm bound to get benefits from sticking to these topics even if I don't get any significant financial returns directly from YouTube.
After some brainstorming, here's the list of things which I think would fit the type of channel I want to create:
- Social Media Tutorials
- Review of Marketing Tools
- WordPress Tutorials
- PPC Management Tactics
- Reviews of Books
- SEO Strategies & Tactics
- Vlogs on Project Updates
Limiting myself to a specific editorial guideline and avoiding controversy might turn out to not be the best strategy to build a channel, but I want to a channel genuinely helps people, not just generate views for the sake of views.
With that said, let’s talk about my business hypothesis.
A Hypothesis Based on Results from 2016
I'm going to look at the data accrued during the entire year of 2016 to help me define if I'm on the right track to building a successful money-making YouTube channel. This data is based on ten videos which I still have available on my channel, and the majority of those were published during that same year.
Here's a snapshot of the data* collected from the entire year of 2016:
- I had a total of 10 videos available throughout the period.
- The most popular video reached close to 30k views on its on.
- Earnings for the entire period were just below of $70 total.
- All videos together gathered a total of 85k views.
- On average, each video gathered 700 views per month.
- The average CPM for the entire period is $0.80.
*These are approximate numbers due to the fact that I'm not allowed to reveal the exact numbers from YouTube. I know of people who share their data openly, and I don't think that YouTube would ever punish them for doing so, but I would suggest that if you want to build a money-making channel, the least you could do is to be sure to follow the rules of the game.
The first and most important lesson I take from looking at this data is that views are way more important than subscribers. It seems that YouTube only cares about the number of views you get, so the more views, the higher the earnings.
Quite obviously, having hundreds of thousands of subscribers will make your channel look authoritative, and consequently gather more views, but the point is that a channel with 1,000 subscribers could possibly make more money that one with 10,000 subscribers. It just needs views to make money.
Estimated Earnings Based on Previous Data
I'm focusing on the estimated number of monthly views per video and the estimated average CPM for the period to build my hypothesis:
|Total Videos||Estimated Views||Estimated CPM||Estimated Earnings|
If you look at the table above, then it becomes obvious that making money with YouTube is possible, it is just a matter of having the right amount of views.
I'm going to use the above assumption, and put most of the time I have available in the upcoming months to produce as many videos as I possibly can, and use the estimates above as targets to help me define if I'm on the right track or if this entire venture is nothing but a big waste of time.
I'm pretty confident that there is a lot more to building a successful YouTube channel than total amount of videos, such as using promoting techniques to boost views on videos you have already published, but for the sake of keeping this case study based on total volume of views, I'm not going to doing much else other than creating videos.
Starting to Climb the YouTube Mountain
That is it. I'm officially taking a step in a different direction.
I feel like this case study has the potential to become a life-changing experience, not because it will likely become a welcoming top up to my digital ventures, but I might just manage to break free from being camera shy, something I have been since my early teenage years. I actually might come back to cover this in a future blog post, or who know, even a vlog!
Well, there is a lot of hard work I have ahead of me and I feel quite excited about it. If you are starting your own YouTube channel, or even already have one, feel free reach out to me on Twitter, let's exchange some ideas. I would love to hear from you.
I'll be sharing everything I learn with this case study with future updates here on this blog but, quite expectedly, with videos on YouTube as well.
I welcome you to join me on YouTube to see how this whole project unfolds.