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How startups can start a YouTube channel and add an income stream through it in 2021

YouTube could be used as an additional income stream for startups!


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Chintan Zalani

3 years ago | 2 min read

Many smart online businesses and entrepreneurs don’t treat their content marketing programs as mere lead generation sources. They rather manage an additional line of revenue through them.

A great example is BuzzFeed who started their Tasty brand as a Facebook page, and in 2019 were slated to sell $260M worth of branded products through it. Even WPBeginner, which started as a resource for WordPress beginners, built a few of their SaaS products. But besides selling them, they monetize their blog through affiliate marketing.

For startups, YouTube presents an opportunity to not just build a video presence for branding — but even for directly increasing their bottom lines.

YouTube has grown to become the default video destination of the internet. During the pandemic induced lockdowns, the platform saw even more people watch videos, as well as more creators, try to build an audience.

As the viewership on the platform continues to grow, startups can leverage it to build their audience and build an additional line of revenue. First, follow these two steps you’ll need to get your channel in order:

1. Choose a niche: Define a specific theme around which you’ll create your videos and the audience you’ll serve. This should of course be related to your main business, but you’ll need to experiment to find out the exact “narrow” niche around which viewers like to watch videos from you.

Noah Kagan, for instance runs a few SaaS companies related to email marketing. But he has started to narrow down his channel’s focus towards videos on “case studies” of growing a business:

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2. Get your YouTube workflow in order: The production value of your videos won’t be as important as its content. You still need to streamline the process from ideation to publishing of your videos. If you don’t have in-house talent for editing or YouTube marketing, consider hiring from freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork.

Once your YouTube house is in order, here are a couple of scalable monetization opportunities that might be relevant for most kinds of startups:

1. Affiliate marketing: This involves reviewing a product, or integrating it in some manner organically in your videos, and sharing your unique link to purchasing it in your video description. Depending on your niche, you’ll find many companies who will let you sign up for their affiliate programs, get your unique affiliate link, and start promoting their products.

Of course, don’t recommend your competitor’s products here — consider software in other categories that your customers might be interested in. And review them.

2. Paid community: This could be a great way to build a defensible moat against your competition. Through your YouTube channel, you can funnel your new viewers and subscribers into a paid community where you share exclusive content and educational resources with them. This lets you earn direct revenue from the get-go from your channel.

Start at an affordable rate to get your “seed” members, and keep notching it up depending on the value it provides to your audience.

Additionally, if you want to consider other ways to make money on YouTube, here’s an infographic by The Creatives Hour discussing more ways to monetize your video skills. There are strategies relevant for channels of all sizes and types — whether you like to entertain, inform, or educate your audience.

How are you going to monetize your YouTube channel? Let me know in the comments below.

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