Lots of people make videos. But far fewer are able to effectively monetize them and bring in any notable amount of money.
But you can.
It’s a crowded market out there. Billions of videos are available and more being released all the time. 300 hours of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. To make money, you need to stand out. And that starts with choosing the right monetization strategy.
There are many ways you can monetize your videos. We’ve chosen seven of the most effective methods for you here. You can probably guess what a few of them are—but some of them are bound to surprise you.
1. Create Your Own Netflix
Imagine having your own streaming service just for your videos.
Makes you feel pretty powerful, doesn’t it?
Having your own streaming video service adds some serious cool factor to your videos, but it also gives you needed flexibility for making the most of your monetization.
You could create multiple videos for entertainment or educational purpose. You can cover different topics so your service appeals to a wider audience, or you can cover niche topics to create an online community. You could sell single videos that cover individual topics. You could post videos once a month. Or every day. Or in big batches.
That flexibility extends to payment, as well. Have people pay for single videos. Or sets. Or as a subscription so they can watch as much video as possible.
You can implement the distribution and monetization options that work best for your audience. And that goes a long way toward generating a loyal group of followers that want to pay for your content.
2. Launch an OTT Video App
A streaming video on demand service is a great way to monetize your videos. But because it’s almost exclusively accessed through a browser, it can be a bit limiting. Many people prefer to watch videos on their TV.
That’s where an over-the-top (OTT) video app comes in. Any app or service that doesn’t come from a traditional telecommunications provider can be considered OTT. In this discussion, though, what’s important is that they come as apps, not as browser-based sites.
That means your videos can be served to anything that can download apps—like smart TVs, iPads, and phones. Getting video from a browser is always easy, but tapping an app icon is even easier, and viewers can watching in a few seconds.
Again, the pricing is very flexible; your viewers can pay by the video, by the course, by the month, or any other way you can think of.
And while it might sound like a significant technical endeavor to build an OTT app, you don’t have to worry—there are plenty of services that will do the heavy lifting. All you need to do is use their tools to create your own custom video app.
With how easy it is to get started, it’s tough to pass up OTT apps; they look very professional and let your viewers access your videos however they want. That flexibility, as I mentioned earlier, is key to building loyalty.
3. Sell stock videos online
You probably know about stock photos, but did you know that stock videos are also bought and sold online? They’re used for things like advertisements, web design, video production, and in news footage.
And if you’re into artistic filmmaking, it could be the best way to monetize your videos.
Selling stock footage isn’t like selling video via SVoD or OTT—much of the content delivered via those methods is educational or entertaining. Stock video covers common topics, like cityscapes or sports, and is specifically made to not be too specific.
(Check out Pexels to see what I mean.)
Of course, that makes it difficult to stand out. Especially if you want your videos to outshine the thousands of others that have already been made on the same topic. You can always branch out to a new area, but if there’s little demand there, you won’t make much money.
Your best bet is to create very high-quality videos in a niche that you know is going to be popular. Start by searching stock video sites like Shutterstock Video and Adobe Stock to see which types of videos show up often.
You can try to compete directly with those videos or identify a niche that’s related but hasn’t yet been covered. For example, if you see that videos of gardens are in high demand, but that most focus on summer gardens you could start making videos of gardens in the fall. Or a specific type of garden, like herb gardens or tea gardens.
While you can start filming as many different stock videos ideas as possible, it’s a good idea to start with a small niche so you can build up your content and your reputation, then expand from there.
It’s important to reiterate that your videos need to be of very high quality if you’re going to sell them for stock footage. You’ll be competing with very high-level videographers in this market.
Your video monetization strategy doesn’t have to involve directly selling videos. You can use your videos to support another money-making tactic, like blogging. Some bloggers earn money through ad networks, paid ad placements, sponsorships, or product sales . . . but they still need to get people to their website.
And what better way to get people to your website than with great videos? People love videos—in fact, studies have shown that just about every subgroup that you might be targeting, from executives to consumers, prefers video to text.
By releasing great video content that gets people to your site, you’ll be capturing an audience for your actual monetization pitch. You don’t need to be selling something extremely popular or have millions of viewers. Even very niche websites can use video to generate traffic.
When people think about monetizing videos, they’re likely to think of YouTube first. And with good cause—YouTube has made internet sensations out of content creators, and 30 million people watch videos there every day.
Who doesn’t want to see their name next to the likes of Daniel Middleton, Lily Singh, and Evan Fong?
YouTube’s monetization system is simple: ads are displayed in or near your video, and if they generate revenue, you get part of it. How much? It’s hard to tell. You might get a couple cents for an ad click, or you could get a dollar or two per thousand views. There are a lot of factors involved: the type of ads, the type of monetization you’re using, your product/service niche, and others.
But one thing remains true no matter what your videos are about: you’re going to need a huge number of views. YouTube won’t enable monetization until you have 4,000 hours of video watched in the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. That’s not easy.
And even if you do cross that threshold, you’ll still need thousands, if not millions, of views to score you any appreciable payout (if you want to make a million dollars, you might need somewhere around a billion views).
Can it work? Yes.
Is it easy? No.
While SmugMug is generally thought of as a place to host and sell photos, you can also use it for videos. Most of what you’ll find there is stock footage, though you could likely host many types of video.
What makes SmugMug stand out from other options is the bevy of useful tools integrated into the platform. You can use it to build your own site where people can buy your videos, and there are built-in commerce tools to help you sell your content. You can even sell physical products with their tools.
And when you sell via SmugMug, you get to keep 85% of the profits. That’s a solid margin.
There are lots of great promotion options, like coupons, package deals, SEO-friendly tools. You can use your own custom domain. In short, you can create a full-featured site that helps you market and sell your videos.
This is likely a good option for professionals—you’ll want a very large catalog to take advantage of these tools. And if you also sell photography, you’re even better suited for this platform.
You might be surprised to find Twitch on a list of the best ways to monetize your videos. Most people think that Twitch is all about streaming video games. That’s certainly a big part of it, but there are plenty of other things it’s used for, too.
You can find shows about cooking, board gaming, positivity, cats, anime, drawing, painting, glass blowing, and anything else you can think of. Whatever it is that you’re thinking about making videos about, there’s probably a community on Twitch that would love to have you.
Of course, there’s one major difference here: Twitch is all about live streaming (with one exception, which we’ll talk about in a moment). That means you won’t be recording and then posting. You’ll be doing it all live.
Live streaming, while related to recorded video distribution, is notably different. You won’t have to edit and go through post-production. You won’t have to worry about pricing out each individual video or a course. There’s no e-commerce to deal with. All of the monetization is done through Twitch, where people can subscribe to your channel.
Of course, that means you’ll need to get subscribers. Getting Twitch subscribers isn’t like getting more people to your stock video site. Your content will need to be useful and entertaining, and you’ll need to create a lot of it to get people interested.
There are unique considerations on Twitch, like hosting, emotes, and extensions. Don’t know what those are? You’ll have to find out if you’re going to make money on Twitch.
It’s also worth noting that Twitch does support some video-on-demand. You’ll be able to save full episodes of your stream for up to 60 days (depending on how well your channel is doing), and highlights can be saved indefinitely. That doesn’t compare to your own SVoD channel, but it’s something.
Monetize Your Videos – Choose the Monetization Strategy That’s Right for You
These seven ways to monetize your videos cover a wide spectrum of strategies, from creating your own Netflix to streaming on Twitch (and everything in between). But there are plenty of other monetization strategies out there.
Think about the type of content that you’re creating and what you want to do with it. Who is your audience? Where do they look for content online? What will make your videos stand out to them?
Let your goals and interests guide your monetization.
No matter what you decide to do, stick with it. All of these strategies take time to really start earning money—you might actually be losing money when you start. But with perseverance, they’ll pay off.