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How to Make Money on YouTube Without Making Videos

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Have you thought about starting a YouTube channel but assumed you need acting skills and a fancy video camera? If so, we have good news. There are thousands of creators making money without ever shooting video footage themselves. You don’t even need to appear on screen. 

The secret behind this method is to use existing footage and edit it in an interesting way. Through Creative Commons licensing, you can use other creators’ content to make new videos. Then, you can monetize your videos and begin earning. Keep reading to learn how. 

How to Make Money on YouTube Without Making Videos

Here, we’ll explain the steps to earn cash from YouTube by editing and republishing existing content. You’ll also learn how to be sure you’re following YouTube’s rules and avoiding copyright issues. 

Step 1: Select a Niche

Choosing the right niche for your channel will help you stick with it and earn more money. The key is to find a topic you’re passionate about that will also be lucrative. 

If you choose a niche that bores you, you won’t be motivated to create new videos for your channel. However, if you pick a niche you enjoy, finding content won’t be a chore. 

Some niches are more likely to make money than others. Channels for kids are tough to monetize effectively, for example. Children are less likely to sit through an ad to keep watching your content. They also don’t have money to spend on things like affiliate products. 

Some profitable niches include finance, technology, and compilations such as top ten or top five lists. Scary videos, true crime, and conspiracies tend to encourage audience retention, so they’re good options. Other niches you might consider are luxury products, meditation or yoga, and pranks.  

As you pick a niche, do some research into metrics, such as CPM and CPC. CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is the amount advertisers pay per 1,000 ad views. CPC is cost per click, or the amount an advertiser pays each time someone clicks an ad. 

According to vloggerpro.com, some high-CPM niches include e-commerce, software, and fitness. One fitness channel, POPSUGAR Fitness, earns between $2,300 and $37,200 each month. 

You can always use tools like socialblade.com to check out different channels’ estimated earnings.

POPSUGARFitness YouTube Channel
Source: YouTube / POPSUGARFitness Channel

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Step 2: Create a YouTube Channel

Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to create a channel. The only thing you need to get started is a Google account. 

First, sign in to YouTube using your Google login. Click on your profile picture in the upper right, then click “Create a channel.” You’ll be prompted to upload a picture and enter your channel name. 

If you want to build multiple channels for different niches, you only need one Gmail account. Go to your channel settings and click “See all my channels or create a new channel.”

Once you create your channel, you can begin customizing it. Looks are crucial here. You want your channel to appear both exciting and professional. So, spend some time on your logo and banner. You can design them yourself using free software like Canva or GIMP or hire someone from Fiverr

In addition to attracting viewers, an appealing logo and banner will help YouTube recognize that you’re not a bot.  

Don’t forget your About section. Help viewers understand what they’ll find on your channel. This is also a chance to use keywords to improve your channel’s SEO. 

Practical Wisdom Channel
Source: YouTube / Practical Wisdom Channel

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Step 3: Start Publishing Content

You’ve selected a niche and created your channel. Now, you can start publishing content. 

Remember, we’re talking about videos that don’t require you to show your face. Instead, you’ll use content that other users provide for free. There are just a couple of rules to follow to ensure your videos are legal, ethical, and follow YouTube’s rules.

First, make sure the content you use is licensed under Creative Commons. People who choose this license agree that others can use their content. 

To find Creative Commons videos on Youtube, search for something related to your niche. On the results page, click Filters, then click Creative Commons. 

If your videos fall under categories like news reporting, education, or parody, you might not need Creative Commons material. These categories allow you to use people’s content under fair use

The second rule you should follow is to edit the content to make it your own. You might edit a video clip into a compilation, for example. One great way to add your personal touch to a video is to add narration. If you don’t want to use your voice, you can hire a voice actor from Upwork or Fiverr.

You can download videos from YouTube using a tool like Y2mate. You can also find content on free sites like Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels. If you’re willing to spend $10 to $30 per month, Storyblocks has a ton of high-quality video.

To put together your videos, try free software like iMovie or HitFilm Express. There are plenty of online tutorials and forums for each software to help you get started. 

Creative Commons
Source: Creative Commons

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Step 4: Optimize Videos for Views

You can put together the best video in the world, but it won’t earn any money unless people see it. That’s why it’s essential to optimize each video to get views. 

Optimizing your videos will help them end up on viewers’ homepage and sidebar. It will also improve these performance indicators:

  • Clickthrough Rate: The number of people who click your video’s thumbnail from their homepage or recommended videos
  • Audience Retention: How long viewers watch a video before clicking away 
  • Watch Time: The total time viewers spend watching your videos 

By improving these indicators, you encourage YouTube’s algorithm to recommend your videos more. A good goal to aim for is a clickthrough rate of 6% and a retention rate of 60%. 

TubeBuddy and VidIQ are some online tools that make it easy to optimize your videos. 

Pay attention to your video’s title, description, tags, subtitles, and thumbnail. 

An eye-catching thumbnail is the best way to improve your clickthrough rate. Try including a red circle or an arrow pointing to something interesting in the image.

Your title, description, and tags are opportunities to improve your video’s SEO. Use relevant keywords and be descriptive but not too wordy.  

Subtitles are helpful for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and they can also improve your video’s searchability. 

Source: vidIQ

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Step 5: Get Monetized

To begin earning money, you want to monetize your videos. This means applying for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). 

There are a few steps to qualify for YPP. First, make sure your content follows the guidelines, such as avoiding violent and adult content. Next, enable two-step verification on your Google account and create an AdSense account. 

The most difficult step is reaching the subscriber and watch hours requirements. You’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours within 12 months. Following this guide and posting consistently will help you hit these milestones much faster.

Most experts recommend posting at least once per day and up to seven times. Some YouTubers only post once each day, so multiple videos aren’t competing for clicks. You can try different posting schedules and adjust based on your results.

The final step is to apply for YPP and have your account reviewed. The review process can take about a month. If you make sure to follow the guidelines, you’ll avoid issues that prolong your review.

YouTube Partnership Program
Source: YouTube

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Step 6: Put Ads on Your YouTube Videos

Once you’ve been approved for the YouTube Partner Program, you have the option to use ads in your videos. 

It’s simple to turn on ads within YouTube Studio. Select Content from the menu and then choose a video. Select Monetization, pick the type of ads you want and click Save.

Ad options include skippable and non-skippable ads, overlays, and more. YouTube also lets you choose how often ads appear. 

To get the most bang for your buck, try including ads at the beginning, middle, and end of each video. Ads that play during your video are called mid-rolls. Your video needs to be at least eight minutes long to take advantage of mid-rolls. 

Popular YouTubers recommend placing videos every two to four minutes. This schedule will optimize your earnings without distracting viewers too much from your content. 

Along with ad revenue, YPP lets you earn money through a merch shelf, channel memberships, and other features. 

YouTube Ads
Source: YouTube

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Step 7: Maximize Earnings with Affiliate Offers

If your videos include recommendations for products or services, you can make money through affiliate links. 

Post a link to a relevant product or service in your description or in the video itself. If a viewer clicks and makes a purchase, you’ll get a commission. 

Affiliate programs like ClickBank, CJ, and Amazon Associates are an easy way to get started.

FAQs About How to Make Money on YouTube Without Making Videos

Here are our answers to common questions about making money on YouTube without making videos. 

How Do You Make Money on YouTube Without Video?

Use Creative Commons content to post on YouTube without making videos from scratch. You can edit together video clips and add voice overs or simple animations, all without appearing on camera.

To make money, monetize your channel and include ads in your videos. We outline the exact steps to follow above. 

In addition to ads, you can post affiliate links or sell products to earn cash. 

Can You Make Money on YouTube by Posting Other People’s Videos?

There are tons of creators who make money by posting other people’s videos. The key is to use Creative Commons-licensed content and to edit it in some way, such as adding narration.

The YouTube channel Tiger Productions posts video compilations with titles like “CATS vs. DOGS competition; Who is FUNNIER?” They have 3.3 million subscribers and some of their videos have hundreds of millions of views. SocialBlade estimates that the channel earns between $1,200 and $18,900 each month.

How Many YouTube Views Do You Need to Make $1,000?

The answer to this question depends on your CPM (cost per 1,000 views). Your CPM will vary depending on your niche, location, and channel performance. 

Let’s say your CPM is $2. You would need 500,000 views to earn $1,000 from AdSense. 

It’s important to understand that when you display ads using AdSense, you get 68% of the revenue share. That means that if the ads on a video earn $100, you get to keep $68. 

How Many Views Do You Need to Get Paid on YouTube?

If your goal is to be monetized through the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll need 4,000 watch hours to qualify. 

YouTube lets you withdraw funds once you reach a balance of $100. If your CPM (cost per 1,000 views) is $5, you’ll need 20,000 views to reach that amount. The CPM you receive for ads depends on your niche and a few other factors. 

Remember, there are other ways to earn money without joining the Partner Program. You can use affiliate links or sell merchandise, for example. 

Can You Make Money on YouTube Without Ads?

Ad revenue is one of the most effective ways to make money on YouTube. But if you don’t want to use ads, there are still some methods you can try. 

If you provide services such as consulting or online courses, you can advertise them using videos. Sunny Lenarduzzi, a consultant and coach for entrepreneurs, uses YouTube to sell her services. Her videos currently have more than 28 million views. 

If you sell merchandise or other products, YouTube is a great way to reach potential buyers.

As described above, affiliate marketing is another option. Simply link to products or services you recommend and earn a commission when a viewer buys something. 

Final Thoughts

With nearly five billion views each day, YouTube is a goldmine for advertising dollars. All you have to do to earn some of those dollars yourself is to post videos made from existing content. 

The amount you earn depends on the time and energy you put into creating, optimizing, and posting videos. If you stick with it, you can make thousands of dollars every month. Most importantly, you’ll be making viewers happy by sharing fun and interesting content.

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