YouTube is the biggest media revolution since the invention of broadcast television. As any seasoned internet veteran – or 12 year old with a webcam – knows, the real beauty of YouTube is how it gives anyone with a camera and a little passion the potential to broadcast their own original content and share their creativity with the world. Some people have used that potential to realize a different potential: The potential to make money.
Believe it or not, there is a host of internet celebrities making a living – some a very good living – or just supplementing their income by doing things as varied as telling jokes, teaching you how to play music, or demonstrating pole dancing techniques. It’s not exactly American Idol, but then again, it’s not The Gong Show. YouTube provides a platform for anyone to educate, inform, or entertain, and you may be surprised at just what content finds a loving audience. I doubt anyone expected a music video about (and entitled) Milk And Cereal to become a worldwide phenomenon. Then again this is the internet, where humorously captioned cat pictures are a multimillion dollar industry.
Do you have an interest to share with the world? Willing to learn basic video editing? Check out these five niche YouTube markets that have made money for more than a few people, and get ready to click the monetize button on your own channel. You may not make your living, but the following video types are consistent winners in the YouTube money game.
5. Game Walkthroughs
Want to relive being a younger brother in the 1980s? Watch some video game walkthroughs. Walkthroughs are just what they sound like: It’s a video of someone playing a video game from start to finish. The idea is that the producer plays the part of a video game expert and the viewer is a gamer who needs a little help getting through the harder levels, finding all the secrets, solving the puzzles, or beating a boss. That’s how walkthroughs originated, and that’s the pretext that survives.
Often, the producer adds nothing to the game video but witty commentary (or nothing at all) and the viewer is a person who wants to see the game before, or instead of, purchasing it. Making money with game walkthroughs is slightly more complicated than recording with a webcam, but it’s pretty straightforward.
All you need is a game people want to watch, an interesting personality (optional), and the hardware / software combo to record your monitor and voice. That’s all it takes. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll make money, but if you check out the competition and think you can edit video as well as them, then isn’t this a good enough excuse to play video games four hours a day?
4. How-To Videos
Do you know how to do something other people might want to learn, or even just Google on a regular basis? How-tos are an internet staple, and how to videos are huge on YouTube.
As you may imagine, the basics are all popular: How to bake a cake, play stairway to heaven on guitar, or change your Honda’s oil, are all great examples of how-to videos that will garner some views. And, unsurprisingly, they’ve all been done a million times. But it’s not just the basics that get views (and the sweet, sweet YouTube partner money that comes with them).
How to blow glass, how to do card tricks, approach women, grow a garden – all can earn lots of views. You may be surprised what becomes really popular, like this 51 second video on how to make liquid smoke that’s gotten more than three million views in as many years.
Just think about that. Three million views. The producer doesn’t even say how he did it in the video, he wrote it in the ‘about’ tab and three million people watched it.
This brings us to the other way to make money with how to videos: Advertise yourself. Yes, there are three million views, but that’s also three million missed opportunities to advertise a stop-smoking guide or book of magic tricks. And that philosophy has precedent. Guitar instructors have long used free instructional videos as loss leaders to lure students to their websites or simply promote themselves. You can, too.
3. Product Reviews
Are you an expert on any particular type of product? People love to check the internet for the best deals and for comparisons between competing products. The closer the products are to one another and the bigger the difference in price, the more a review is needed. And the bigger the market is, the more views you’re likely to get.
A good example: The crafty young women who make videos comparing different types of makeup. There’s very little easily discernible difference between different brands of makeup, but the price difference is often anything but subtle, and the makeup market is enormous.
Makeup isn’t the only thing people want to learn more about before committing their money. Keyboards, software, power tools, and kitchen gadgets – virtually anything people buy. And the best part of making product reviews isn’t the money; it’s that when you become trusted by YouTube fans, the makers of the products you review will start sending you their products for free; sometimes to review, but often to keep.
2. Educational Shorts
No, not more How-to videos. These are “Why” videos. One of the most popular videos on YouTube in 2013 was a video explaining which actually came first, the chicken or the egg. AsapSCIENCE, an excellent educational channel, got more than fourteen million people to click to find out. I won’t spoil it.
AsapSCIENCE got to educate the equivalent of the population of Cambodia, and several advertisers got to reach that same group of curious viewers. As you probably already know, the internet has a strong, vocal, and unique subculture: Geek and proud. And what do geeks love? Video games! But we already covered that.
What else to they love? Learning. Why do we kiss? How is it that sounds become words and images can represent them? How exactly does a clock work? What the heck is a duodenum? If you want to know any of these things, or explain literally anything else, YouTube is the place to look or broadcast.
1. Celebrity Gossip
Gossip has been a YouTube staple since its inception. Some of YouTube’s earliest and biggest stars have been gossip video columnists like Perez Hilton. It makes perfect sense – People search for celebrity news all the time, and the people who do tend to like to watch videos. Of all the types of videos you can produce, celebrity videos might just be the easiest.
While the competition to have a cool intro and outro are high, the content is already made for you. You can show clips from TV and give them your own commentary, or simply make fun of the things celebrities have uploaded or posted to the internet during the previous few hours.
It seems that the internet has a voracious appetite for celebrity news, and feeding that appetite has made some people celebrities in their own right. The content is ready-made, so all you need is a face for video and a nose for news. Get cracking!