Despite the internet being both literally and figuratively made out of free stuff, many of the people who produce that free stuff can and often do manage to make some money out of it. Speaking of which, nowadays as access to faster internet increases across the world, so does the amount of video traffic on the web. However, the content creators who produce all these videos must find ways to monetise their material to make it worth their while. Fortunately, while making money out of video content online has its challenges, strategies already exist which have been successfully used by others. Hopefully, you can find one or two which will work for you from the following.
Many video-sharing platforms have advertising programs which are meant to earn revenue for both the platforms and the creators who use them. Such programs can be very lucrative for creators but unfortunately, the requirements for one to be able to earn from their content are getting more stringent with each day. For instance, there is a minimum number of subscriptions and views which your Youtube channel must have to qualify for monetisation programs. In such cases, the platform itself deals with advertisers and receives the payments. This advertising revenue is then subsequently shared with the creators of any of the videos on which the advertisements were displayed. This is already being used by hundreds of content creators from all over the world to earn money.
Product placements are both a profitable and somewhat underhanded way of advertising through entertainment. It can take the form of simply placing the product onscreen, were subtle or no reference is made to it. In more aggressive strategies, the advertised product is incorporated into the script itself or, in the case of nonfictional productions, the benefits and features are repeatedly touted. An example is a popular maker of online hairstyling tutorials being paid to feature a specific brand of hair product by its manufacturer.
As a content creator who has an engaged audience, you can also join affiliate programs which give you a commission from each purchase made by someone referred by you. To preserve the trust of your audience, always disclose if you are getting paid to refer them to any product or service. If they discover this on their own they will stop trusting any of your recommendations, even sincere ones (I am not saying affiliate referrals are insincere though).
Sometimes brands are happy to sponsor content creators just for the benefit of increasing awareness of their brand name. Most of this awareness is supposed to come from the onscreen acknowledgement of the sponsor and any additional branding that may accompany this. If you want to make money through sponsorships you will first have to grow a sizeable audience e.g. Youtube channel subscribers, likes on your Facebook page or Twitter followers. Once you have the audience, you can then approach brands; the information that will (or really should) matter the most to any company which wants to promote its products and services is the size of your audience and its interests and demographics. For instance, if you produce video tutorials which teach primary and high school teachers how to utilize a certain e-learning platform, it would be easier to, say, get a microfinance company which offers loans to civil servants to sponsor you because your audience contains their target market.
Depending on your content, you can also try to get people to pay to view your video content. In many cases, instead of demanding that potential viewers take your word for it that your videos are worth what you are charging, you can offer the “freemium” versions. The purpose of these would be to give potential viewers a taste with the hope that it will be enough to influence them to fork out money for the premium content. However, be warned; people have become accustomed to free online content and many will resist paying unless they are given a very compelling reason to do so. You must therefore try to ensure that you are not charging for information and material which is already available elsewhere free of charge.
If the content you produce manages to gain enough popularity or if you have managed to build a brand around it, you can also sell merchandise to earn revenue. Your content will also serve as a marketing channel for its merchandise. Examples of products that you can sale include branded laptop stickers, backpacks, mugs, t-shirts and hats. If there is a real risk of someone else also producing merchandise based on your material, consider trademarking it.
You can also use your videos to sell other (non-merchandise) products. These should ideally be related to the content of your videos. For instance, you can announce that you sell soap making ingredients alongside your soap making video tutorial.