It was Monday when the famed YouTuber Philip DeFranco made his video at the frustration with YouTube; how they hide videos from the trending page, how YouTube inconsistently inform subscribers that new content is out, etc.
On Tuesday Mundane Matt (a.k.a. Matt Jarbo) made a video about “Philly D’s” video. At the end of the video Matt Jarbo made a call to action to inquire if they had any solutions that might help. I posted at first a passive “yes I do but I’m weary of sharing it” post, but then my testicles retracted and I posted a brief point-by-point of how I think YouTubers (especially animators) can be able to thrive on YouTube’s changing landscape. I’m going to do it in a list form because I didn’t write a rough draft and I also have a lot of tasks to do (apologies in advance).
1. Forget AdSense
While this may seem like blasphemy, I think this is the first thing to do in order to thrive. YouTube’s community guidelines (Terms of Service, TOS) are vague this is fact. While any YouTuber (even hobbyist) need to study that thick, veiny, piece of word-slop, it doesn’t detract that the TOS can change abruptly and that it’s nebulous. How can you make sure you have compliant content when you don’t know what constitutes a violation? That’s like playing D&D and not know the rules; you’re set up for failure!
With that said, we need to not even bother with it. De-monetize it, let YouTube collect any monies ads from your video can generate. Aforementioned paragraph said that you should study the TOS and I wholeheartedly believe that, you need to know so that at the very least you know what will get you booted off.
If you’re worrying about your subscriber count, or views then you’re being myopic. As the saying goes “content is king” and if you want to get yourself out there then you need to make sure you best out the best work you can do.
2. Use YouTube to Shill Your Goods and/or Services
You maybe asking yourself how will I make money on YouTube (that is if you haven’t read the headline first)? You have to suck it up, and be a shill. Roberto Blake rents out his services as a consultant. Some vloggers bill themselves as a motivational speaker. Draw with Jazza does freelance art from his videos. My point is, you need to look at YouTube 2 ways: as a way to showcase your content and as a way to network.
To steal from business lingo you as a YouTuber are a brand. Just like how Coca-Cola has it’s own font and shade of red, you got to be a brand too. Think about it: when you are able to make being a YouTuber your career, you are (more likely than not) going to be self-employed, meaning you are a company of one, YOU. Therefore, you have to set yourself up as a artist, entertainer, whatever.
There is a stigma at being a salesman I get that. That is criticism you must ignore. Without AdSense how are you going to make money? With websites that find you sponsor deals you have to have 1,000 subs or more. Those are things called revenue streams, or ways you make money. I’ve seen videos by Roberto Blake and Tim Shomeyer from Video Creators talk about the different ways you can make money on YouTube. Study it.
3. Form a Co-Op
So, this is aimed more towards animators and people who make scripted web series than anyone else. While, truth be told, I don’t know how well this would work, I’m going to try and test it out.
A Co-Op is a type of company where a group people, let’s say animators, pool their resources together to form a business; they’re all partners of a sort, kind of like the Justice League.
Animation takes time, and YouTube’s algorithm last I heard was that you have to upload once a week, or on the weekends in order for YouTube to notice you like Senpai. Now, let’s say you ignore my advice and go the AdSense route, to get the most out of your video it has to be at least 10 minutes long. On top of that in order to even earn money you have about 100 (I could be wrong on the number) hours of watch time, which is how many hours worth of content you have. For an animator this is ludicrous, which is why animated content has been on the decline since 2015. While this is a theory, I believe that if you have longer videos you’d be more likely to get promoted. If that is true then it compounds the need to form an Avengers of Animation.
In having a group of people put up their animated content on one channel you have a higher chance of meeting that. Look at Channel Frederator for example, they post almost everyday because they have multiple people post animated content. However they are an MCN (Multi-Channel Network) and they have problems of their own.
By forming a co-op you not only have a steady stream of content, but you have a network of collaborators. Now, what if each member sold their own merchandise and you promoted each other’s stuff on social media, and videos, you could not only have a clear way of allocating money, you also cast a wider net to expand your audience. Now, as I said this is a theory, so the mechanics of how it would work exactly, let alone how you would find this group is uncertain.
4. Study Business!
While this may have been in any of the previous slots it doesn’t negate it’s importance. If you want being a YouTuber to be your job, you got to treat it like a business. Look at it this way, according to the US tax code (if you’re reading this in the US) you would be considered self-employed, meaning you are your own boss. You got to think like a boss, make decisions like a boss (I considered putting in a joke about wearing people’s skin, and it felt a little off to do it.).
There is a metric f*ck ton of tutorials online from marketing to forming your brand. You have to put in the work.
I hope this advice helps. I really hope that this is the way to make it on YouTube and that you dear reader can use it. If you find better advice, feel free to post it in the comments. I love learning and it could only improve the discussion. Being business savvy, or following the rest of my advice will only get you so far, the quality of your content is what will propel you.
Stay hustling, my friends!