Youtube has been used by countless people as a source of income, both big and small. Find out the different types of ideas people have used to create financial independence.

5 Profitable Ideas for Youtube Channels

Written by Martin Douglas.

In the final part of our How to Make Money on Youtube series we'll discuss various ways people have used Youtube to get viewers. Not all of these examples are of people who are making big bucks on Youtube, but they are people who have used different techniques to get people to their channel. It'll be up to you to come up with ways to use these ideas along with other ideas we've discussed in our 4 part series to make your Youtube channel successful. While some of these channels may not be making big dollars at the moment, in most cases it's because they haven't thought of creative ways to turn their viewers into a profit center.


Tutorials are a great way to gain viewers while also doing something you enjoy. Not only can you teach others the ins and outs about what you do and how to go about it, but it's also a way to share your own work and pick up work in your industry. By doing tutorials you show others that you really do know what you're doing, and as long as your work is good, in the eyes of your viewers you'll be seen as something of an expert in the industry. For instance, Video Copilot's Andrew Kramer started off doing tutorial videos for special effects in films. Through his work he was noticed by J.J. Abrams and had the honor of doing some of the special effects for the Star Trek movies. He supplements this income by also selling various movie effects packages that him and his teammates create. While he uses videos from another service on his website, he also posts them to his Youtube channel, including advertisements for the packages he's created.

Phlearn is another great example of someone who has taken his love for photography and photoshop and used tutorials to build a gigantic viewership along with job opportunities by using Youtube. These aren't the only two ways of doing it either. There are tons of people finding success on Youtube doing tutorials that include computer programming, arts and crafts, makeup, and a whole list that's too long to mention. If you have a talent for something and can teach others the process then there's no end to what is possible.

Media Commentary

This is an odd one, and we haven't come across any stories of people making big bucks doing it although it's likely because it doesn't sound as interesting as many other aspects of Youtube fame such as viral videos or people achieving amazing things or having odd talents. What we have noticed though are people achieving large viewerships with videos by using this method.

In many ways the strategy isn't much different than news media where everyone rushes to get the first scoop on a story. You may remember a story of a bus monitor being brought to tears by kids on the bus. While the video did go viral and likely made the uploader a nice profit, there was another oddity we noticed when it happened. Searching for bus driver crying on Youtube during that time brought up a whole bunch of videos, some topping hundreds of thousands of views that weren't even the actual video!

Instead, some savvy people decided to title their video and description based on the bus monitor crying video, which as we mentioned in a previous article, gets google to index it so when searches are made their video pops up in the search results. The videos themselves were just commentaries on the bus monitor video, some taking small cuts of footage from the original, while others just had people talking about it on a webcam and giving their opinion on the original video.

The catch with going about things this way is you have to be fast and do videos as soon as a subject starts getting popular. Like the media, the first to report or comment on it gets the views. The more views you receive, the higher your video will rank when people search for that subject. If you're into the news, and catch the trends early enough, this is a great way to build a large viewership. It's just a matter of beating competitors to the punch, again similar to being an actual news agency.

Do a Web Series

This one is a bit tough to do, but has paid off for people on several occasions. If you're into filmmaking, acting, or even writing stories this might be something to try. Write your own show, do the acting, and film it yourself. It doesn't have to be shot great as long as it's an interesting storyline that people enjoy watching.

LonelyGirl15 was one of the earlier examples that we first heard of doing this, although there were others before then that did well too. They were a bit interesting in the way they got viewers, using a strategy similar to the Blair Witch that made it appear as if it wasn't staged. To be clear, the Blair Witch marketed their film as if it was real footage based on actual myths in the area. While LonelyGirl15 wasn't a scary movie, it started and appeared to be just a video blog of two people that became popular that was actually a web series done with a bunch of preplanned marketing. At one point it was the most subscribed channel on Youtube, and a few of the people from the show went on to get parts in various films.

Another example of a nice Youtube series is The Guild. The star already had somewhat of a name for herself in the film business with supporting roles in some television shows and movies, and was somewhat known in certain circles. Obviously better name recognition makes it easier to get viewers to your channel.

For a lesser known Youtube series there's We Need Girlfriends. From what the media story reported on it, they came up with the idea after all three guys were dumped around the same time in real life. They thought it would make an interesting story, wrote a script, and got some actor friends. Their Youtube show caught the attention of TV executives who paid for rights to turn it into a television show. It didn't last long but things are changing. In the past, accomplishing such a feat was difficult, although in recent years it has been happening more and more which opens up a whole new way to getting your work as a creative artist noticed by those who control the airwaves.

Be a Brand

A few months ago I came across a short marketing article on Facebook titled How to be a Rockstar Programmer. Being curious, I clicked the link and skimmed through some of its contents. One particular piece caught my eye, and instantly I saw the connection between it and what I've seen with some Youtube channels. As Youtube became popular, we also saw a huge increase of people trying to replicate everyone else to make some cash. While the ideas above are great starts, there's also a ton of people doing them. So how do you separate yourself from the pack?

Be a brand! The interesting thing about that article that caught my attention was their mention of Gordon Ramsay, the outspoken Scottish born British chef. Ramsay's a great cook, something I don't think many can deny, but as the article mentioned he's likely not the best. There are tons of people out there just as talented, and in some cases more so than Ramsay himself. Yet, even the best cooks usually see an average pay of around 50k a year. So how does Ramsay earn what many of them can only dream of? The answer is he's branded himself. He is the product. A product with a great talent for cooking, but people tune in because of his personality.

We've all experienced that in jobs too. Most of us get paid the same based on job title, but then there's this small range of people who get paid quite a bit more even in cases where their talent for the job leaves us questioning how. Sometimes it's because of who they know, or how they come across to the hiring manager during interviews as some studies have shown. It can also be because of the name they've created for themselves in their local area, or nationwide.

I remember taking theatre classes with actors from Juilliard, and being on set within earshot of some big name actors. I sometimes found myself wondering how someone who I considered amazingly talented in my classes wasn't where this star was who I found less than impressive while listening to them act out scenes on camera. It had to do with name recognition more so than talent. Personalities, or in some cases doing stupid things that make the tabloids, helps build that name recognition as long as it doesn't cross certain societal lines in terms of offensiveness.

PewDiePie's an example of this on Youtube. He uploads videos of himself playing games and sometimes gives tips on getting through difficult parts. He's also one of the most subscribed channels currently on Youtube and making six figures a month. There are tons of people creating similar videos with video games and giving tips yet they're not as popular as PewDiePie. So how does PewDiePie have so much more success? He's got a distinct personality that makes watching his channel interesting. He's the Gordon Ramsay of video games and a brand. Ramsay's a brand. The lesson here? You should brand yourself too!

Viral Videos

The few times we brought this up in previous articles we mentioned that it can be a difficult thing to achieve. It's hard to know what will take off with the public, and what will linger in the deep abyss. On the flip side there are companies that specialize in viral videos. Companies such as Jukin Media offer to pay for videos they think are viral quality for their channel. For those with the funds, purchasing and sharing the revenue of videos you think have a viral possibility might be an option.

For a cheaper alternative, if you've got some talent for editing or creating effects with programs like After Effects, or you're good with makeup, you might want to create the viral videos yourself. One company has created a whole business out of such practices, even getting paid big bucks to make viral videos for films and products. You may not recognize the name Thinkmodo but chances are you've seen at least one of their videos on the web. Coming up with crazy and creative ideas is what they do.

As a final example of viral video people, you can take a look at Action Movie Kid. While he likely didn't start off trying to make a viral video, when the first few did go viral, he knew that he was on to something. As a result he continued doing them, knowing that each one would go big as a result. While at some point he'll have to switch his strategy to other areas to continue the viral trend he's created, if you've got something that works then use it but always be thinking ahead.

In wrapping up with our 4 part series on How to Make Money on Youtube, realize that these are just some of the ways people have turned Youtube into a source of income. There are many more possibilities out there for those who want to be a bit creative, including mixing and matching aspects from the ideas above. Do you have a PewDiePie or Ramsay type personality, but enjoy travel instead of cooking or games? That might catch on as a Youtube channel! The ideas are endless. It's up to you to figure out how to make them work for what you'd like to achieve, and to not give up before you've given your idea a real chance to prosper.

Martin Douglas

About Martin Douglas

The author of The Bewitching novels. Besides writing, Martin Douglas also spends his time acting, making films, and working on graphic design and video FX. When he's not working on the creative and fun stuff he can often be found in a Coffee house. His other talents include web design and several programming and scripting languages.

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