I do not think this is how most people use YouTube. YouTube videos are more like blog posts, and fit more effectively into the niche of content marketing. Sure, people will comment—but they do so in a manner similar to how they comment on blog posts. They come to view and digest videos, not necessarily share their thoughts about the day. Because of this, you should approach YouTube as content marketing instead of social media marketing.
Where eyeballs go, money follows. “People giving up TV and getting video content through mobile devices is a huge trend, and brands are spending huge amounts to reach those audiences,” says Evan Asano, the CEO of MediaKix, an influencer marketing agency. “It’s a similar, if not bigger market for influencers than Instagram.” Another reason brands love YouTube is that its numbers are harder to fake. “You can buy views on YouTube, but it’s much more expensive than buying followers and likes on Instagram,” Asano says. “It’s pretty cost-prohibitive to drastically inflate a channel’s views on a consistent basis.”
In order to truly succeed on YouTube, you need to approach it differently than other social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter revolve around both creating and sharing great content with the goal of creating awareness, engagement, and conversation. (That’s a simple definition, but for the purpose of this argument, it will work for now). It’s about actually socializing.
Typically only offered to large YouTube channels with a wide audience (although not exclusively), another big way to earn cash through YouTube is to get sponsored deals with companies that will pay you to promote or mention their products in your videos. You can earn money this way either as a lump sum of cash the company will pay you for the deal, clicks on the company's link, or on a per-view basis.
Michael did a great job for us and provided a very thorough SEO audit of our website. We had already done some SEO optimization, and Michael did not try to sell us extra "snake oil" as I have had others do. We had an almost two-hour call to go over his findings, and he was very willing to discuss particular aspects/questions in depth. His pricing was very reasonable. He was the only person who submitted actionable feedback in his original proposal, and he very much impressed me versus other larger digital agencies that have pitched for our business.
18. Find the right influencers. “It is the age of digital celebrities; or as they are called – Influencers. These are the people who get people to not just think about your brand, but also buy from you! Unlike the traditional celebrities, these digital stars still work their regular jobs and do regular stuff that their followers can relate to. They have a dedicated audience unlike movie stars or celebs who have a large but detached fan base. Also, brand endorsements seem like a natural fit in their content because the sole purpose of their online presence is to share their life with their fans. Measurement of the ROI for such influencer campaigns is also easier when compared to a celebrity endorsement.” – Aravinda Holla, How Brands Can Easily Analyze the YouTube Stats of Any Video Creator, Vidooly; Twitter: @vidoolydotcom
The fact that YouTube is such a hugely popular platform also means that there is a lot of competition. According to Statista, as of July 2015, 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. So, if you want to be successful on YouTube, you need to make sure that you have the time and the resources to publish quality content on a consistent basis. In other words, you’ll need a good YouTube marketing plan.
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In re: your second point, getting users to pay for content is absolutely part of the equation, but not the entire equation. The whole other half of it is creating ways to minimize the cut a middleman takes such that even if it’s zero sum game, more of the sum is going to the content creators, as well as developing new revenue streams that don’t require a direct cost from users to give direct profit to content creators.
Your video thumbnail will be the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results, and it can have a large impact of the amount of clicks to and views your video receives. YouTube will auto-generate a few thumbnail options for your video, but we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. YouTube reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.” When filming, think of high-quality shots that accurately represent your video. YouTube recommends using a 1280 x 720 px image to ensure that your thumbnail looks great on all screen sizes.