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How to start making money on YouTube 2021

Video content continues to top the charts on many social media platforms. For those involved in affiliate marketing, YouTube is now one of the most promising ways to generate revenue. In this article, we’ll show you how to become a successful YouTube affiliate.

YouTube is the king of video content with enormous potential. More than 2 billion viewers from around the world spend time on the platform every day, and watch a staggering 1 billion hours per day making YouTube a unique platform that offers tremendous traffic opportunities.

What is YouTube affiliate marketing?

We already know that people spend an insane amount of hours watching videos on YouTube. But how does this affect the profits of those on the other side of the video - the video content creators?

Before we talk about what affiliate marketing on YouTube is, let’s get familiar with YouTube’s affiliate program. YouTube channel owners who have at least 1,000 subscribers and have accumulated at least 4,000 hours of public viewing in the last 12 months often show their audience monetized pop-up ads when viewing their content. 

Of course, it takes a lot of time and effort to reach this level of popularity organically. But don’t worry, this is where affiliate marketing comes in handy. Even beginners and small bloggers can make decent money with the right business model.

YouTube is a very useful and profitable channel for affiliates. 

Let’s look at some examples. The children’s video blog Vlad and Nikita, according to the latest data, earns about 312 thousand dollars per video, and the annual income from the blog amounts to 64 million dollars. The blog has 34.5 million subscribers.

But let’s take a more realistic, down-to-earth example: Lawrence systems. This channel covers the topics of information technology, IT business, open source, and other related topics. It was created in 2014 and currently has 187,000 subscribers. The channel’s income is about $2,500 per month. Less than Vlad and Nikita’s, but definitely a more attainable goal.

Starting a YouTube channel and creating videos might seem a bit complicated and intimidating at first. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be very lucrative and well worth the effort.

A YouTube channel can be a great addition to your blog on other platforms, or if you don’t already have one, can be your main sales platform. 

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What you will need to become an affiliate on YouTube:

  1. Google account - youtube is a google service and you’ll need to log in to your account to create a channel.
  2. YouTube Channel - In your YouTube account, click “Settings”, go to “Manage Channels” and click “Create Channel”. 
  3. Choose a relevant niche or vertical - we’ve already written about which niches will be relevant in the near future; choose what’s closest to you.
  4. Offers - choose the most lucrative offers that you plan to promote with your content (evaluate current and profitable options by registering with Converting Team).
  5. Quality videos that you will publish regularly. Obviously it’s easy to say that your videos should be “good”, but how do you actually achieve that? We’ll show you in this article! 
  6. Traffic - People need to view your videos, click on the links and make purchases to get you your interest. Without traffic, you won’t make any money. Of course, to do that you need to learn best practices for attracting traffic to your channel, which we’ll also write about next.
  7. Reliable software - stock up on the best tools for creating, editing, verifying and monitoring content and your traffic. We’ve already written about easy-to-use affiliate tools here.

Beginners Guide to Creating Quality YouTube Videos

To grow a YouTube following and attract new subscribers, people need to like what they watch. Every aspect matters - the picture, the subject, the title, the sound, the framing, the story. You’ll need to become a writer, director, cameraman, video editor, maybe even a cool actor, presenter or interviewer at the same time. 

It’s great if you already have your own team up your sleeve that can handle individual tasks professionally. If not, you’ll have to sweat a bit and figure out a few things. Let’s start with the types of promotional videos for YouTube.

Types of promotional videos for promotion on YouTube 

These popular video formulas for YouTube allow for more natural and organic embedding of promotional offers into content:

  • Video tutorials: show viewers how to apply foundation, boil an egg, install a ceiling fan, or change a Wi-Fi password. Anything you can demonstrate will be useful and someone needs it.
  • Top picks: e.g. Clips of Gordon Ramsey yelling at confused chefs or Tyra Banks telling models to smile more.
  • Ratings: make, rate and confirm your ranking of the best volleyball players, Korean horror movies or pizza toppings.
  • Reviews: especially if you have a niche-focused account, do a series of reviews of movies, music, electronics, ad blocker, supplements, linens, etc. You get the gist.
  • Unboxing: this format is especially popular with instagram bloggers who get promos en masse (get a sneak peek). Video unpacking is when you open a particular product on screen and basically comment on every aspect of the process (waiting, arrival, packaging, appearance, turning it on, setting it up).
  • Essentials List Videos: Tell and show viewers what you should take and how to pack it all with you on a particular trip, hike, trip. These videos are usually for outdoor use, but you can make equipment lists for climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, etc.  *

Youtube is already full of similar formats and great examples - see how others are doing it and get inspired! Once you decide which format is right for you, you can get to work. 

Notice that most youtubers show their face to the camera and build a relationship with the audience. The way you speak and look at the camera is very important for this! 

Also remember the rule - not every video should contain ads so as not to scare away regular subscribers.

Make sure you have the equipment to shoot your video. For example, if you want to film your product review or talk about the benefits of a new diet (and you learned about it through that great book you’re promoting) you’ll need:

  • A good camera
  • Lighting fixtures 
  • Video editing software.

If you’re still missing something from the list, we’re now happy to give you some helpful tips.

Don’t rush to spend money - appreciate what you already have! 

Maybe your smartphone will be enough to prepare your first (and further) videos? Or do you already have a camera in your home (office) with a video function that you have never used before? You definitely don’t need the latest and most expensive video equipment to get started but you should be able to produce decent quality. 

Next you need to think about your setup, will you need the camera to film yourself, or will you mostly film your screen? Obviously, it depends on the industry and style. Static setups are a lot easier and less time consuming because you won’t need to restage everything every time you want to shoot. So it’s worth considering the space in which you are filming.  

If you decide to record using a screen/monitor, then the free OBS working screen recording service is great.

If you need to film selfie style videos, then we’d recommend starting with a smartphone. It’s best to use a front-facing camera rather than selfies - as a rule, it will have much better quality video (many modern smartphones shoot in 4K).

If you do not yet have professional lighting equipment like ring lights and softboxes, we recommend that you at least sit near a window and shoot during daylight hours. Make sure you can be seen and heard clearly.

Ensure that your images are stable

The modern vlog format often involves moving videos. It is great if you can shoot in a dynamic way without your hands shaking, but most professionals use gimbals and these can be quite expensive. Luckily, viewers often prefer static camera positions and this can make life much easier. 

It’s a good idea to use a tripod to ensure a stable image and they are easy to set up anywhere. If you are shooting with a smartphone, you can buy a special tripod (which are often also sold with lamps). You can even use a standard selfie stick for starters, as long as you get it in the right position. In fact, there are usually plenty of places in a room where you can put your camera or smartphone so they can just stand there and shoot video.

Prepare a script or outline of your video

YouTubers don’t read from autocues or scripts on screen but professionals always prepare what they are going to say before they shoot a video! To do this, you will need a brief outline of the topic you want to cover. Then think of a clear structure, so as not to bore the viewer. For example, dynamic transitions, accents, changing the picture and so on.

Many rely on their charisma and artistry, and this can bring in a lot of traffic. However, you can still find success if you have a decent plan. Without it, you’ll run the risk of stumbling, forgetting important things, and not mentioning what you really wanted to say. So, never underestimate the importance of a script.

Once you have a script, read it out loud, throw out what you don’t need and add in what you do. Make sure that everything you write sounds convincing. Practice speaking into the camera a few times before recording. 

Another bonus is that written scripts will help you add subtitles, which sometimes can be very useful (your video can be watched without sound, which many users like).

Allocate a location for shooting

Create a space in your home or office where you will shoot your videos. It should be comfortable and well-lit. Ideally, your home studio should also be well insulated from background noise.

For maximum picture quality, make sure you have a decent background (no scattered things or distracting objects). If you’re shooting with a good camera, you can blur a not-so-presentable background. Also work on getting enough light in the frame.

Work on the lighting

The amount and quality of light in the frame directly affects the quality of the video as a whole. No one likes videos that are dark or have too much contrast. Even if you deliver the most useful information possible, your videos will be impossible to watch.

Don’t be lazy and don’t skimp on choosing lamps to illuminate your scene. For starters, opt for lightweight, portable lamps on sturdy tripods that will help you around the house, on the road or when traveling. 

It is very important to pay attention to brightness and temperature control when choosing lamps. You will have to adjust these parameters depending on the time of day and the strength of the daylight. 

Use multiple angles

Professional filmmakers always use several cameras to make the video sequences more dynamic and less boring.

Understandably, you are unlikely to be able to arrange multiple cameras at first. However, you can insert the final version of the video in the montage finished footage shot with a single camera from different angles. It can even be snapshots, not necessarily video. 

For example, when doing a product review, take a few shots of the product in your hand, from below, from above and from the side. Insert them in the background as you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the product. You can also insert yourself talking in the corner of the screen in the background of the product video. Changing the picture always makes the video more appealing and holds the viewer’s attention.

Take care of the clarity of sound

Of course, it is unlikely that you will be able to create the sound quality that is achieved in specially equipped studios. But you still have to work hard to make sure that no unnecessary sounds and noise spoil the quality of your content.

The secret to improving the sound in your videos is to use a microphone! Any, even the most common and cheapest microphone will be better than nothing, and will help you create relatively clear and decent sound when recording videos.

If you’re always on the go and plan to move around with your camera, we recommend something like the lightweight Rode GO microphones.

If you’re creating content at home in front of your camera, you can try clip-on microphones (loops) - they’re cheap, but will definitely help make your videos that much better.

If you are sitting in front of your desk, you can use stationary microphones such as Blue Yeti, Blue Snowball, Rode.

Learn how to edit videos

After shooting, there always comes the next equally important moment, which is editing the video. 

To begin with, try to master some simple (e.g. built into your OS) video editor. Youtube has a native editor which is ok and might be enough for you to edit your first videos. That being said, it is very limited but you can do simple splices and add music.

However, it’s best to start editing with decent software right away so that you can learn faster and use all the cool tricks. The great news is that almost all expensive video editing programs have a trial period. Adobe, for example, offers 7-30 days free trial.

Our top tip for video editing platforms is Lightworks as it has both free and paid versions but the free version gives you more than you’ll probably ever need. If that’s not enough to make you choose Lightworks, then it’s also the system that Sally Menke used to edit Pulp Fiction. 

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How to get traffic, views and conversions

YouTube is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine on the web. However, the search algorithms here are significantly different. To get the traffic you want, you’ll need a strategy, just like with any other platform.

Below we’ve compiled a short but comprehensive list of strategies on how to increase your YouTube views.

Where to post affiliate links on YouTube

An important task in building effective affiliate marketing is to place affiliate links in a convenient and clickable place for viewers of your video content.

First, the link should always be placed in the description of the video. Place it in the first lines so that it’s visible above the separator line without additional clicks on the screen. Don’t forget to remind viewers in the video itself to “follow the link in the description.

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Second, place the link on your additional resource - website, social media. Direct viewers there as additional preparation for the sale, remember to provide fresh arguments and incentives to buy.

What you shouldn’t do is overload visitors to your channel with links. It is enough to place one or two links under one video (for example, to the product and your other resources). Additional links should be placed on other resources. A lot of links can be confusing and put people off.

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SEO tips for affiliate marketing on YouTube

YouTube Search Engine Optimization: Just like any other search engine, you can optimize your content for YouTube queries according to your keywords. 

Where do you get the keywords?

  • Use the suggested responses to your topic query on YouTube and Google - they will reveal more specific aspects that people are interested in.
  • The free Google Keyword Planner tool can also be useful and a bit more advanced than just search cues.

Your options for YouTube optimization are limited: video title, video description and tags. Since you don’t have much text for SEO, try to focus on one keyword to maximize your chances of appearing in search results. 

Tips for optimizing the title, description, tags:

  • Although your headline can contain up to 100 characters, only 70 will show up in search results (the rest are cropped), so be careful with your text length and word placement.
  • Your video description can contain up to 5,000 characters, but, again, most of it is truncated when you view YouTube by default. Only 100-150 characters are displayed as a snippet in search results. After a viewer clicks on your video, only the first three lines will be visible, you need to click “show more” to see the full description. So make sure you have the most important information (and affiliate link!) in those first few lines. 
  • You can choose related tags; the total number of tags is not technically limited, but in general you can only add up to 400 characters there. Use tags efficiently by focusing on the main keyword, and include general keywords as well as more specific long-tail keywords.

Ranking in Google search results. Since Google owns YouTube, they often display their videos at the top of certain search results. Obviously, this represents another platform to attract traffic. Make sure that the keyword you are targeting in your video is also displaying YouTube videos in Google search results - if not, you can rephrase the title and change the wording in the description.

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Where users will find your video

Users can find your video on the home page, in suggested videos, or in search query results.

The algorithm works to offer videos to users according to their viewing history and interests. It’s unlikely that you’ll get to the home page from the very beginning when a user logs in until your videos gain popularity and get into the trends tab. However, your video can always end up in the suggested ones - when a viewer finds a video of their interest, they will automatically be shown videos of a similar format. 

To get people to choose your video to watch, pay special attention to your splash page and title. The more intriguing your splash screen (you can put a catchy photo or image with a clickable title on it), the more likely it will be clicked.

Alternative ways of receiving traffic 

Encourage any interaction with your content! 

What we mean is:

  • communicate with your commenters - comments raise your video in search rankings;
  • Collaborate with other bloggers - collaborations with successful youtubers will attract the attention of their audience to you;
  • remind viewers to remember to like, subscribe and comment on your videos and share them on their social networks;
  • place the call to action in the video itself - tell viewers which button to click, show them the arrows, write in text.

Post links to your new videos in all possible sources - your website, your Telegram channel, social networks, various chats and groups. Connect all possible resources to make your video known to as many people as possible. To do this, increase your presence in social networks and on all the sites available for promotion all the time. Don’t forget to track traffic with the help of a tracker in order to analyze its sources in time and make appropriate conclusions.

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Pros and cons of affiliate marketing on YouTube

Still not sure if you should start an affiliate marketing channel on YouTube to make money from affiliate marketing? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons: 

Pros:

  • YouTube is a free channel with the technology already set up to be successful.
  • You already have pretty much all the resources you need to get started.
  • For aspiring creators, there’s a whole YouTube Creator Academy with free tips and courses, which opens up a lot of opportunities to improve.
  • Video blogging opens limitless possibilities for unleashing your creativity - experiment with formats and niches, use new effects, improve the quality of your videos and your creativity will pay off.
  • You can choose any vertical to promote so you can tell your audience about it and make a profit.
  • YouTube does have a lot of free traffic and not as much competition as other social networks.
  • It’s easy enough to gather a really loyal audience here. And the more loyal your audience, the more conversions and profits you will have!

Cons:

  • Assuming that you are not a professional director and editor, it might be a bit difficult at first. You will have to learn an experience that is new to you and learn the technical aspects, but it shouldn’t take too long and should be an enjoyable experience. 
  • Your channel can be banned - you have to learn the rules of the site and follow them to earn the trust of the site. In the beginning we advise to work on reputation and not to try to cheat the algorithms.
  • Possibilities to beautifully present the offerer are limited - you only have a small description, in which you can place a few links with accompanying text. The possibility to place links in the video itself is also available, but it’s more about internal linking (links to past videos).

YouTube video blog: is it worth trying to build a successful affiliate marketing in 2021?

Regardless if you already have other promoted traffic sources, YouTube is a great platform to promote different affiliate offers and can be very useful for affiliate marketing.

Yes, this platform will take a lot of your time. Constantly creating and promoting content on YouTube requires a lot of time, effort and resources, but the results can pay off in the long run. 

Assess your real strength and motivation, make sure you are able to give your viewers something interesting to organically embed advertising in your videos. If you are used to working with adult or betting, your efforts might be in vain, as YouTube is still better used for white hat affiliates.

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