As you’re filming your YouTube videos, you can opt to accept money and/or products from companies, then highlight those products within your video in exchange for a paid endorsement. This is considered a paid product placement or a sponsored video, and it’s a smart way to earn money with your YouTube videos.
You can also pay other YouTubers and YouTube Channel operators to incorporate your product placements into their videos, or somehow showcase or talk about your products. Some YouTubers will do this for free, in exchange for free product samples. Others will seek financial compensation, but you wind up with an endorsement by an online personality who potentially has a vast and dedicated following.
According to Google, “Paid product placements are defined as pieces of content that are created specifically for a sponsor, and where that sponsor’s brand, message or product is integrated directly into the content. A typical example of a paid product placement is one in which a marketer pays a partner to specifically mention their product or brand in what would normally be the editorial part of the content.”
To incorporate paid product placements into your videos, you must be a YouTube Partner in good standing, and you must notify YouTube when you upload this type of video. (Simply check the “Content Declaration” option that’s found within the “Advanced Settings” menu. To access it, launch the Video Manager, select the appropriate video and then click on the “Advanced Settings” tab.)
You’re also responsible for working directly with the company that’s paying to sponsor your videos, to determine the terms of the arrangement and to collect your own fees. How much you charge is negotiated directly between you and the company placing the products. To help you facilitate product placements and video sponsorships, search for independent marketing and advertising agencies that specialize in working with YouTubers and companies.
Other options for generating revenue in conjunction with your videos
Many small businesses are also able to earn additional income by designing and selling T-shirts, hoodies, hats, wristbands, posters, mouse pads, mugs, digital downloads and other merchandise with their name, YouTube channel name, likeness and/or logo on them. This business model works well if you begin to establish a large and dedicated following through your YouTube channel.
You can create and sell merchandise on your own or by using a third-party company that handles merchandise sales for YouTube channel operators. Many companies allow you to design, promote and sell custom products that the company then manufactures and drop ships to your customers. Thus, you have no upfront or inventory costs. In exchange, the company you hire to handle your merchandise takes a percentage of the sales.
Depending on what types of merchandise you’re looking to sell, some of the companies you may opt to work with include:
- District Lines
- Short Run Posters
- Sticker Mule (Stickers and Buttons)
- TeeChip Custom T-Shirts
- UberPrints Custom T-Shirts
For a more extensive list of YouTube-approved merchandise manufacturing and drop-ship companies, visit this Google page.
Focus on your objectives
Before you commit to displaying ads from other companies in conjunction with your videos and on your YouTube channel page, think carefully about what your objectives are for using YouTube and creating videos and determine if displaying ads is truly beneficial to your overall goals. Also, make sure you realize that unless you have a significant number of viewers seeing your videos (and the related ads), you won’t generate a lot of money.
Google has created detailed how-to guides for its YouTube Partners to help them produce the best possible videos, and use the tools at their disposal to promote them and build an audience. Check out YouTube Creator Academy’s “Make Money with YouTube” section here.
Another way to become skilled at generating revenue from your YouTube channel is to interact with content creators who are already successful. For instance, AKT Enterprises is a convention producer that sponsors Playlist Live events where top YouTubers and content creators gather. In the United States, these three-day gatherings are typically held throughout the year in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Orlando.