This month the digital story that made YouTuber’s everywhere despair was the change to YouTube’s monetization policy for small YouTube channels. The company let a huge number of smaller video publishers across the world know that they would no longer be entitled to a cut of advertising money unless they reached an extremely ambitious threshold each month. Naturally, this upset a lot of people and sent many to social media to vent and complain alongside some empowering threads that called upon followers to help promote the smaller channels they love. Although it’s mildly annoying to be missing out on that (often minuscule) monthly profit from the YouTube Partner Program, when you look at the bigger picture this move makes a lot of sense.
Stock Photo from Splitshire
Here’s the official statement from YouTube so you can get up to speed…
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.
The digital content creation world has grown at an incredible speed, with new wannabe YouTube stars popping up every five minutes seeking their dream of fame, independence and what is often perceived as easy money. With that aside, there’s also a lot of unsavoury content worming its way out, which YouTube has been struggling to keep on top of, imagine how many people you would need to check if every single upload was appropriate!? How would you even go about training people for that mammoth task? From Logan Paul’s Japanese suicide forest fail to the infiltration of sexual and torture themed content amongst content created for Kids, there’s a lot that needs to be done to keep the platform safe and legal for all. So, although we may be crying about loosing out on that £100 a year advertising payout, when we look at the bigger picture, you can start to understand why they needed to make a change.
This is just another one of those game-changers which will weed out the poor quality and unsavoury content, whilst driving smaller creators to find new routes to monetize their content, which is annoying for the good creators out there, but it’s not the end of the world. If you’re truly dedicated to your content creation, whatever it is, you will find a way to make it work. Sometimes, you just need to look outside of the obvious box. And never fear, there are plenty of alternative ways to make money from your content without YouTube should you want to put the work in.
Here’s just a few ways we can think of as alternative routes to content monetization with or without the help of YouTube. Naturally, a combination of supporting social media, marketing and PR will help you along the way, there’s a lot of competition out there and these things take time. Let us know how you get on!
Championed by the likes of Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman and featuring content from all walks of life, Patreon is an awesome new business model for creatives of all types. On this site, you create a Facebook Page style profile that outlines what your project is , what you do and examples of your work. You then set monetary goals that you want to achieve and ask people to become a patron or subscriber of your work via the website. The clever, flexible system works for all kinds of subscription and funding type models that work as an incentive for you to stick to the promises you made your profile. For example, you can ask patrons to donate £5 a month and in exchange you will send them a new song, a product or give access to an exclusive live video. The possibilities are endless and people are getting very creative with their incentive options. If you spend just 10 minutes browsing the site you will see examples of Patreon members earning good salaries from practises within music, art, comic book, cosplay and more. They’ll probably explain it better than I did.
Predominately aimed at the geek audience, with the majority of the content currently focused on video games, Twitch is a live streaming video platform that is currently diversifying its content. With a growing creator community within cosplay, music, art and food, if you can make content that goes live this could be a good place for you. Following in the footsteps of YouTube, Twitch has a similar advertising models to YouTube as both a Partner and an Affiliate, you just need to prove your worth before getting involved, which we think is entirely fair. Just go into it remember it will take time, effort and often an element of luck before the cash comes rolling in.
Hosting on your own site or blog
Probably the most future-proof option for any content creator is to have your own website or blog, many already do, but if you don’t, now’s a good time to get it set up. Once you’ve launched your new site, you can either embed your video from YouTube or another platform like Vimeo and promote in the usual fashion. You then have the option of setting up pay-gates, subscription services and selling advertising space and sponsored content. Managing a website takes time and dedication, but there are plenty of plugins and social media tools that you can use to your advantage. Putting some work into your site’s SEO will also help you grow your audience and give you the opportunity to publish more evergreen content (that being content that is relevant for a long time) which has the greatest chance of consistently adding value to what you’re doing. If you’re new to making websites, we’d recommend WordPress or Squarespace.
Selling your content as a service
Whatever your craft, the way in which you create your content has a useful skillset attached to it. Is there a way you can turn your talent into a job or freelance business? In most cases the answer is yes. And in many cases, all you need to get started is a professional looking website or portfolio online somewhere and a pile of business cards, which you can do for under £50 no problem. Do your market research, see where you can fill a gap in the market and gather up the courage to just try, network and pitch yourself to suitable clients. If you’re looking for super slick business cards with minimal effort and a low price tag, you can’t go wrong with Moo.com who also ship worldwide and deliver them in a hand hard carry case, so you can be extra fancy without the Christian Bale in American Psycho vibe.
BONUS TIP! Podcasting
Probably the next big thing next to YouTube right now is the podcast, a digitally hosted radio show that can be listened to on the go online or downloaded onto whatever device is easiest for the listener. If your content translates well to a radio show format, this could be your winner! We haven’t delved into podcasting ourselves just yet, although we would like to, but there are a gazillion courses online for very little money if you want to learn. We’d recommend checking out some of the course options on Udemy to get started quickly.
So the moral of the story? It’s not that bad and you can do it! If you spot any other awesome sites that YouTube users should check out, leave them in the comments. We’ll be writing more blog posts about making money, saving money and passive incomes over the coming weeks, so stay tuned!