A YouTube influencer is someone who has cultivated a massive audience in their niche, industry, or field.
Due to their immense platforms and massive outreach, these YouTubers have the power to set trends and influence their audiences. This has led to the rise of YouTube influencer marketing because companies want these people to spotlight their products in front their ever-growing audience.
You’ve likely seen YouTube influencers at work for yourself, and many of them seem to be having the time of their lives. There are influencers in every niche and industry: from video games, travel guides and experts, or just sitting at their desk opening packages or reviewing products or books—and getting paid for it!
It seems to be an effortless way to amass a fortune, right?
However, the truth is, becoming a YouTube influencer will take time and commitment. You’ll need to create a plan early on, and then work consistently towards reaching those goals.
There’s a lot of money to be made in the world of YouTube influencers! In addition, you can have a blast doing it.
This special report will provide you with all the information you need to get started. So, without further delay, let’s begin!
Step 1: Learn from the Best
Let’s start by taking a close look at some of the top influencers on YouTube.
Number 1 is still PewDiePie, with 108 million subscribers. His name is Felix Kjellberg and he’s a Swede living in the United Kingdom.
PewDiePie is known for popular videos where he broadcasts a running commentary as he plays video games.
And people love watching him play. His coverage has expanded into commentary and coverage of popular internet memes and viral videos. In 2019, he made $13 million.
Coming in second place is the “Kids Diana Show,” featuring Russian-speaking Diana and her brother Roma as they unbox toys and go on fantastic adventures.
They have 73.2 million subscribers who love watching them open their packages.
Third is another children’s series: Like Nastya. This one features Russian-American Stacy who plays with toys and goes on adventures with her family. Stacy has 67.9 million followers.
Vlad and Niki, with 61.5 million subscribers, are in fourth place with their videos showing the brothers playing with toys and showing off their daily adventures.
And the fifth most popular influencers for 2021 are “Dude Perfect,” five American guys who perform trick sports shots and feature famous athletes playing along with them.
They’ve expanded into comedy recently, and the crew is often joined by their giant panda mascot. Their viewers love watching them set up their trick shots and perform with other athletes.
Other successful influencers include MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, who is known for two types of videos: viral challenges (like counting to 100,000 in one video) and attention-grabbing charity stunts (like donating thousands of dollars to small Twitch players or waitresses).
And then there’s Smosh, a comedy troop who performs skits and comedy series spinoffs, and Kimberly Loaiza, one of Mexico’s most popular social media stars who features videos on lifestyle and music.
The success of video creators like these has shifted the way traditional marketing works, as well as the ways that companies can reach their customers through social media.
There’s a lot of money in the marketing industry, especially with influencer marketing.
But how can you break into the industry and start making money yourself?
Let’s take a closer look!
Step 2: Becoming an Influencer
Becoming a YouTube influencer is not going to be a simple journey, but just as you’ve seen in the previous chapter, there are many people who have carved out a lucrative income by doing it, and so can you—it’ll just take perseverance and determination.
Start by creating a plan of action.
This is where you’ll lay out exactly what you’re hoping to get out of building a YouTube presence. So, focus on your objectives and overall goals.
This is going to help you figure out what sort of video content you should create, and help to determine who your target audience is.
What you’re looking for is clear direction and intent so you can lay down a strong foundation for your business. And that’s exactly what becoming a YouTube influencer involves: building a targeted, flexible and rock-solid business.
Here are some steps you can take to get your YouTube influencer career off the ground:
Step 1: Create a YouTube account and channel.
This is an obvious first step, but you’d be surprised how many people leave this until last.
It’s wise to start with this so that you can begin to visualize your channel’s overall brand, including your design as well as the type of graphics and thumbnails you’ll use, and of course, your content.
Set up an account and a channel name that is easy to remember and that reflects what you’re doing.
Use keywords that tell people exactly what your channel is about, or follow in the footsteps of influencers such as Marques Brownlee, who uses his initials plus the abbreviation for high definition to create his channel name: MKBHD.
It’s short handle that’s instantly recognizable across all his platforms and memorable, which is key.
Brownlee reviews tech, so the high definition refers to his content and gives you a hint of what’s to come.
Step 2: Choose Your Niche.
Next, you want to develop your channel’s goals and content which starts by defining your target audience and niche.
This isn’t always an easy task, especially if you are thinking about catering to multiple markets.
Step 3: Define Your Voice
Defining the voice of your brand and your channel is one of the most important things you’ll do, and it’s always best to start once you’ve nailed down who your average subscriber will be.
Many influencers have said that in order to figure out who their market is, they created what is called a subscriber snapshot, which includes example demographic information.
This would include gender, age, location, interests, passions, employment, hobbies of those who would likely be interested in your content.
The better you know your audience—and the more you drill down into your niche by creating a subscriber snapshot, the clearer your path will become because you’ll know exactly what kind of content you should create in order to maximize exposure.
Then, once you get your voice down pat, you’ll need to find content that matches that voice. The best way to develop your channel is just to be yourself.
Above all else, it’s your personality that will keep viewers subscribed (and tuning in!) to your channel, but you have to attract them there in the first place with solid content that they want to watch.
Step 4: Create Engaging Content.
Once you’re comfortable in front of the camera, it’s time to decide what sort of content you’ll create, or broadcast.
Some popular content styles include: how-to videos, product reviews, unboxing videos, and of course, gaming and makeup tutorials.
The possibilities are almost endless. Choose something that excites you so you will want to keep making more videos, and make sure it’s something other people will see as entertainment or a solution to one of their problems (educational).
You probably also want to give yourself some flexibility so you can cover trending topics in your niche.
That way you can jump on the bandwagon if a big news story breaks and other YouTubers with similar channels are talking about it. Put your unique spin on the topic even if “everyone” is covering it.
Brainstorm some ideas for your content before you jump right in. Make up a good, long list so you won’t run out of video ideas before you even get started gaining an audience.
Ask yourself what other YouTubers in your niche are doing and what content they are creating.
Now, what’s missing?
Can you put a new spin on old content or a fresh twist to something they’ve already done?
What do you have that some other (famous) YouTuber isn’t offering? Ask what problems your audience is facing in their day-to-day lives.
Aim to create content that solves those problems for them.
Step 5: Create your videos.
Often, what sets one influencer apart from the crowd is the quality of their videos. They’re not just putting out a lot of content—it’s good content.
Many professional YouTubers have a specific team for such tricks as makeup, special sets, and shooting from multiple angles. They use the best cameras and microphones, and they invest in the best editing software. Your videos don’t have to be professional quality at first, but you should make them the best you can. Your skills will grow with your experience, so expect your quality to improve over time.
You also don’t need a bunch of expensive equipment to get a professional look. If you’re just getting started, you can film on any decent mobile phone and edit the video using free apps.
Just remember little tricks like using a tripod (or camera dolly) to minimize shake and give your video a more professional feel.
You can also incorporate free footage into your videos. And remember the “rule of thirds” when framing yourself in the screen: mentally divide your image with a grid composed of two horizontal and two vertical lines, breaking each section into thirds (thus, the name).
Many cameras (even on cellphones) have a setting that will do this for you as you shoot.
The rule is to place your subject near or on top of one of the lines—or at an intersection—to create balance in the photograph.
Step 6: Use the algorithms.
In order for you to become successful at YouTube, obviously your content must be discovered by people who are interested in your topic.
And in order for that to happen, you must learn how videos get found and what you can do to optimize your own content.
This includes tricks like putting keywords into your titles and video descriptions, finding the best name for your videos, and directing your audience to keep following your channel by providing buttons at the end of each video (“Subscribe now” or “Follow me”).
Do a little research and see what keywords and phrases other YouTubers in your niche are using, then add those to your list.
Think of what questions your audience might be asking and be sure your keywords are the answers to those questions.
Also, remember to use compelling thumbnails, not just allow YouTube to select a random still frame from somewhere in the video. Select something eye-catching that will reflect your video’s content and entice the reader to watch.
Step 7: Post consistently.
When it comes to YouTube, consistency is the key.
Develop a content calendar and post regularly. Two to three times a week seems to be the magic number that results in the best growth.
Your viewers should come to expect—and count on—regular video content from your channel. Setting this expectation encourages them to pop in at specific times during the week.
It also creates accountability on your end so you won’t try to get away with skipping the video “just this once.”
A content calendar also keeps you from scrambling at the last minute to find something to post about.
And finally, the bigger your library, the more time viewers will spend on your channel watching your videos. And that will only improve your algorithms.
Step 8: Build a social presence.
It may seem obvious, but you need to create social media pages and profiles for your video channel on every platform where your audience hangs out. Sure, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram are the biggest platforms, but depending on who your viewers are, you may also need to target others as well: Snapchat, Twitch, or even Pinterest.
Do your homework and find out which networks are popular with your audience, and which networks your competitors are using to advertise.
Once you have the social media platforms, fill out each form as completely as you can. Your channel’s profile page should have links to your playlist, your “highlight” reel, and your blog and/or website.
The more descriptive and informative you are in your bios, the more potential viewers will see you as an expert and want to follow you to YouTube and watch your videos.
And don’t just create a bunch of profile pages and forget about them. Social media is meant to be…social. Create content that encourages viewers to comment. Start conversations with your followers by asking for their opinions or their help. And always try to respond to any comments you may get.
Show your audience you value their input and are trying to create the best channel possible—for their benefit. The more you interact with your viewers, the more they’ll respond. And that’s the key to becoming a true influencer.
Step 9: Evaluate (and know your metrics).
Once you get a few videos under your belt, it’s time to evaluate how well you’re doing. YouTube’s analytics software will tell you the number of watch views and comments, and the audience demographics.
This information will help you create more targeted videos that appeal directly to your audience members.
Use the Audience Retention Graphs to show your viewers’ habits and see how much of your videos they’re watching.
- Which videos did your followers engage with the most?
- What could have encouraged that engagement?
- When are they clicking away from your channel?
- What sort of content can you create next that is similar to your most popular content?
Also, check your feedback.
Are there any comments or responses you can use to help you improve your channel?
Always take note when a follower comments or mentions you on their own page. Their response is a direct reflection of your audience’s sentiments for your content, and that can help you create better content that more accurately engages them.
Tools of the Trade
In order to create high quality videos for your channel, you’re going to need some equipment.
Five pieces of equipment, to be precise: a camera, a microphone, a tripod (or gimbal), lights, and editing software.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, but try to get the best you can afford.
Camera: this is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you’ll purchase, but fortunately there are many affordable options on the market.
Filmmaker Jenn Shadd recommends getting a camera that shoots in 1080p at least. Her suggestions include a decent DSLR camera like the Nikon D5600 or Canon EOS 70D.
Microphone: when you’re just starting out, your cellphone or computer microphone should do just fine, but Shadd recommends getting a quality microphone as soon as you can.
She explains that investing in a decent mic will “increase the quality of your videos by ensuring crisp audio and room for more editing possibilities.”
She suggests a lavalier microphone for dialogue-heavy videos, such as the Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier.
And if you’re doing handheld work, Shadd recommends a shotgun microphone that can plug directly into your camera, like the Rode Compact On-Camera Microphone.
Tripods: you’ll need a tripod or gimbal to stabilize your camera and give you a steady, high quality shot.
If you’re planning a mostly stationary shot, like a view of you unboxing products or interviewing people, a tripod is your best option.
If you’re going to be doing more handheld shooting, though, Shadd recommends something along the lines of the FeiyuTech G6max Camera Gimbal or the iPhone Gimbal Stabilizer.
Lights: Shadd suggests you utilize two softboxes, one on either side of your camera, to produce “a clean, well-produced look.”
If you’re looking to save a little money, check out right lights. They’ll give a soft “glow” to a single subject.
On the other hand, if you want a bit more control, Shadd recommends you invest in an LED kit, which will give you color warmth and dimming options.
Editing software: editing tools are essential for a YouTuber. Shadd’s pick is Adobe Premiere Pro because it’s “straight-forward enough for novices to learn on, yet capable of satisfying the complex technical needs of professional projects.”
Adobe is also the industry standard, so if you can possibly afford it, invest the money.
If you’re brand new to editing and want to learn the basics before spending that much, Shadd says that iMovie is “the perfect, free resource for creators just starting out.”
“If you’re overwhelmed by the countless (and usually expensive) gear options,” Shadd says, “just grab your phone and get to work. The content part of your work will be the foundation of your success.”
Promoting Your Channel
Once you’ve found your niche and set up your channel, social media expert Heidi Dean suggests some ways you can promote your channel and videos.
Create a trailer that will auto-play for viewers not already subscribing to your channel. According to Dean, trailers that are “short, exciting, and [that] end with a call to action to subscribe” are the ones that work out best.
Add a subscribe link – an automated pop-up that lets viewers simply click to subscribe.
Create branded watermarks for all your videos and link them so your viewers can subscribe by clicking them.
Create “bright, high-resolution, compelling thumbnails overlaid with the title of your video” to make your videos stand out from the crowd.
Your title should be short enough so the viewer will type it into the search bar. “Pro tip,” says Dean, “only the first 45 characters of your title are viewable in search.”
Using Your Influence
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to have millions of followers to monetize your YouTube channel.
There are many brands out there who are looking for “micro-influencers” —YouTubers who have a smaller, but very loyal, audience base.
Start by becoming familiar with things like your engagement rate, conversion rate, demographic information, and any other analytics you think might be relevant.
Keep records of these statistics so you have some evidence to show prospective brand partners.
Then, you’ll need to identify those brands you want to work with.
Which companies have values and goals that are aligned with your own?
Who reflects your work ethic or mission statement?
Run a Google search for brands that relate to your niche—and don’t just target the large companies, either. Start a list of possibilities and run with it.
You can make money either through advertising or sponsorship. Advertising is still one of the main ways of monetizing your channel.
Once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers and have 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months, you’ll qualify for YouTube’s partner program, which allows you to monetize your channel with advertisements that play during the video.
But one of the most effective strategies is sponsorship, where you are paid by a brand to advertise their products on your videos.
You can either create entire videos devoted to the products or feature those products during your regular videos.
In effect, you’ll become a spokesperson for their brand. And when you’re partnered with a brand, you can also make money through affiliate links, where you get a commission when your
viewers click on a link to the brand and make a purchase there.
You can convince these brands to partner with you by using two different methods: direct or indirect contact.
Direct contact should be self-explanatory. You reach out to the company yourself, giving your evidence to prove they should be working with you.
This is your best move if you want to be proactive. Be sure that your reasons make sense to the brand.
For example, if you’re reviewing tech products, it doesn’t make much sense to try to ally yourself with a dressmaker.
However, if you’re planning on advertising their products by modeling the outfits in your videos, they might go along with it.
You’ll want to have some statistics about the number of followers you have, both on your channel and your social media platform, and on things like average video views, so you have hard facts to convince the brand to work with you.
Indirect methods include linking to their products in your videos or social media posts or giving a shout-out to their brand.
You’ll still need to convince the brand to work with you, but your method of contact will be a little different. Instead of emailing the brand, you want to build rapport by tagging them in your content or giving the brand a shout-out, then contacting the company via direct messaging.
If you’re not having much luck reaching out on your own, you might try reaching out to local companies that might be more likely to partner up.
You can also consider contacting an influencer agency that can handle marketing for you. YouTube Influencer agencies are advertising and marketing companies that match YouTubers with companies looking for social media influencers.
The agency will get a cut of the payments from the brand, but you wouldn’t need to worry about logistics like administrative tasks or client contracts.
YouTube can be quite lucrative for people who understand how their platform works and how to utilize their own skills to their best advantage. If you pay attention to some of the top YouTube influencers, you’ll see that they make influencing their job, working nearly round-the-clock to network and gain more exposure for themselves and their channels.
You’ll see them attending exclusive events and hobnobbing with celebrities. Many of them have six-figure yearly earnings.
The question is: how can you join them?
Once you’ve figured out your niche and started creating quality videos, you’re on the way.
Now, you just have to put in the work hours and advertise yourself as an expert, so you’ll attract that loyal audience. That audience is the key to growing your business and making money on YouTube.
Think of it this way: the more followers you have, the more potential customers.
And if you’re partnered with a larger brand, you might be able to attract some of their customers as well. The key is to keep them satisfied with your channel and continue to engage with as many as possible.
Continue to produce those quality videos as often as you can—at least two to three times a week.
Attract your followers to your brand by solving their problems and offering them entertainment along with your educational material.
The more you can build your audience, the more chances you have to convert those followers into loyal customers.
If you convince them that your products or services offer the solutions to their problems, you’ll have those customers, and they’ll stay with you so long as you continue to offer what they need.
Once you reach around 10,000 views on your channel, you’ve got a good potential to get paid—and that potential will rise with every 10,000 views you garner.
So, you’re not only gaining potential customers, but earning money through advertisements and sponsorships. It’s truly a “win-win” situation.
To your success!