4 Strategies YouTube Influencers Use to Make Money and Captivate Their Audience
Full-time social media influencers are a relatively new phenomenon. While people and brands have been using social media platforms to influence others for a while, the title has become an actual full-time paying job for many.
For YouTube star PewDiePie, being an influencer turned out to be a sweet deal. His content shows him playing video games, having fun, and making fun of random things. By August 2013, he became the most subscribed-to channel on YouTube. The Wall Street Journal estimates he made $4M in 2013; Money Nations’ estimates a year later, in 2014, PewDiePie’s net worth skyrocketed to $55M. By September 2015, his channel became the first ever to reach 10B video views. As of March 2019, he’s approaching 89M subscribers.
Jenna Marbles is another major YouTube influencer who posts all kinds of fun and creative videos with a sense of humor people thoroughly appreciate. Her three dogs are often the stars of the show. As of March 2019, she has more than 19M subscribers and more than 7M views per video.
Those stats are astounding. Who wouldn’t want that kind of success, not to mention the income? How do popular influencers like PewDiePie and Jenna Marbles captivate their audience so well, turning YouTube into a source of steady income?
1. They’re willing to be authentic
Jenna Marbles breaks the rules of marketing without consequence. She speaks freely and openly without a script most of the time. She doesn’t make perfectly Photoshopped thumbnails for her videos. She doesn’t title her videos creatively or optimize them for SEO. Her titles are basic and literal, for example: “Giving My Dogs A Bath While They Listen To Royalty Free Spa Music” and “Cooking Thanksgiving Food.”
With Jenna, what you see is what you get. That’s what people like most about her. She’s authentic, and in today’s world, there seems to be a shortage of people like her.
Being authentic makes people feel like they know you. It creates rapport with your audience. Often, being authentic can be as simple as saying what other people feel, but are afraid to say. When people come across that kind of content, they can’t get enough.
2. They have values that align with major brands
If you want to make money from ads as a YouTube influencer, you need to produce content expressing values that align with major brands. It’s not personal; it’s just the way YouTube advertising works. Brands pay for their ads to be displayed on videos. Most brands only want their ads to be associated with content that aligns with their values. Unfortunately, that means content with controversial views gets demonetized more often.
Video demonetization isn’t necessarily an intentional effort to silence unpopular views. It’s that advertisers don’t want their ads to be displayed on videos that promote values they don’t align with. For influencers with unpopular opinions, this means more demonetized videos.
The most successful YouTube influencers publish content that doesn’t stir up controversy and arguments. Although, that doesn’t mean they don’t get caught up in controversy from time to time. But overall, while their content is niche, it’s also pretty basic.
You can be successful and controversial
Having controversial views doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful YouTube influencer. It just means you can’t rely on monetizing all of your videos to generate a large amount of income from YouTube alone. There are plenty of popular influencers whose entire channels are demonetized, but they’re still influential. They get financial support from selling merchandise, donations, and by publishing members-only content for their monthly contributors on Patreon.
3. They’re willing to create custom in-video ads for brands
Some brands pay influencers to create a 30-second ad for their product to place at the beginning of their videos. While nobody so far has disclosed what advertisers are paying, it’s not an opportunity to scoff at.
You will need to rise to a small amount of fame before this opportunity will arise, but keep it in the back of your mind to consider when the time comes.
4. They tailor content to what followers want to see
Successful YouTubers make content based on viewer feedback. Doing this makes their audience feel involved and appreciated like it’s a two-sided relationship. Plus, it’s fun. Many influencers even read out comments at the beginning of videos and ask for feedback on what their viewers want to see.
Continually generate subscribers and views
As of 2018, to join the YouTube Partner Program and monetize content, you need 4K hours of views in the past year and 1K subscribers. If you haven’t reached that level yet, actively build your subscriber base and market your videos. Build the momentum that will carry you to new levels of success as an influencer.