Ready to learn how to promote your social media profiles and YouTube channels? Yes? Good, done deal. Here’s the fifth instalment in our Digital Academy for Young Content Creators.
Anyhow, we thought we’d get straight to the point, but here’s a quick and nicely placed intro for all those who are not appreciative for being thrown straight in the pit.
How’s it going, trailblazing young content creators? Bet you have a solid basis for starting your content engine and we hope that we contributed to your journey with our series of articles, at least a little bit.
And here is a handy table of contents to make finding the information you need easier:
- Basic of Promotion
- Promotion on Social Media
- Using Your Community For The Promotion
- Connecting With Other Content Creators
- Ways of Monetizing Your Content
- Influencer Marketing
- Affiliate Schemes
- YouTube Ads
- Final Thoughts on Promotion
Now it’s time to dive in an element of digital content that is as important as the content you are creating itself – promotion.
Basics of Promotion
Why is promotion so important? You invest so much in your creative work, the feedback you get is decent, so why would you need promotion then? Think about it. You have created amazing content, but only family friends and a really loyal handful of friends are actually seeing it. Let’s face it, you need to promote yourself and your content.
There are many talented individuals out there who bring value daily and share it across the web and live to see it reach broad audiences thanks to their communities, the very same people they are creating the content for. By promoting their content to the right audience, they have more chances of sharing their work with communities wider than they initially planned to reach.
How is that?
Let’s take a closer look.
Promotion on Social Media
We spoke about how important it is to have a niche and your target audience profile. You need to promote your content to the right group of people and the right promotional groups that will bring the conversation to you.
Sharing content with groups that are not interested in your work could bring extra traffic to your website, but ultimately it will have negative consequences for your Social Media profile or YouTube channel.
So, for anyone on YouTube who’s trying to make a name for themselves: if you attract the wrong audience – you won’t create any engagement. This is a signal for YouTube not to recommend your videos because they are not engaging enough.
This same reasoning can be applied to other social media as well.
How to attract the audience?
Join a Group Yourself
Also, you can join Facebook groups that belong to your niche, join the conversation, and share your insights. When people recognize you as a well-intentioned person who is bringing value to the conversation, you can start sharing your content naturally. People are more inclined to engage in a conversation with someone they can relate to and the content that speaks to them.
Using Your Community For The Promotion
For followers to start coming, you need to do two things:
- Provide value with your content and give them a reason to subscribe to your channel or follow you on Instagram;
- Zoom in on the people that are engaging with your content and show them how much you appreciate them.
You want to build a community of people, not numbers. When you treat your community with respect, they will gladly help you out with your promotion.
Sure, you always need to be nice and kindly ask them to share if they care about the content you are posting, but other times they will do it themselves. You’ve shown them respect and if they are truly there for what you bring to the table, they’ll want to share the good stuff with their friends and families so that they can enjoy it too.
So, focus your attention on the people that care for your content.
One more efficient way of letting your audience know that you have new content is through your email lists. We spoke about the importance of building an email list in our previous post of the series.
Send an email to your community letting them know that you have new things to share. We suggest you start with a MailChimp – it is easy to use and you’ll have a great insight into your email campaign analytics. After a while, check your analytics and see who opened the email. Then, send the broadcast again but only to the people that haven’t opened your first email.
The people who subscribed to your updates or weekly newsletter clearly want to stay in the loop, so this extra effort of reaching out to them again could serve as a reminder or help if your email got lost among their other updates.
Join a Q&A Community Platform
Again, you can try and reach the people who are not a part of YOUR community yet but belong to your niche community. Quora and Reddit are great places to connect with the people from your niche by joining the conversation and Q&A sections.
Start promoting your content only when you build a bit of reputation on the platform. Otherwise, you risk coming across as a spammer who is there only for promotion and not as a person who wants to give their two cents on the topic.
Connecting With Other Content Creators
Another great way of promoting your content is reaching out to your peers and leveraging their followers’ infrastructure.
Lesson number one – pitch other content creators for collaboration. More importantly, Lesson number two – do it right, and approach them in a respectful way.
When you’re a beginner content creator you can’t just show up in the inbox of large brands demanding to help you.
All big brands and content creators started somewhere and most of them remember how it all began for them. If they see the value you can bring to them as well, the chances of you nailing that collaboration will rise for sure.
So, be respectful.
Another important thing is to respect the process. That is to say, be patient. People are not able to respond immediately for a million reasons – they’re away, currently working on a huge project and can’t waste time on any distractions, or are simply having a bad day and mark you as a spammer in the spur of the moment (which is not nice, but we all did it once, and no shaming for that).
Be patient, send a follow-up after a reasonable amount of time, and if there is still no answer, move on. Who knows what are the reasons why that person doesn’t want to get back to you, but you shouldn’t waste time projecting scenarios and wasting your valuable energy.
Ways of Monetizing Your Content
Before you even start thinking about monetizing your channel you need to… (drumroll)… build an audience!
Sure, we keep on saying the same thing over and over again, but what do you expect? It’s the humble truth – you need to put in the work for the right audience, once you do, it will pay off.
Thing about it, if you’re creating content for people to engage with, share experiences, help them and/or make them laugh, they will keep on coming back for more. This will boost your audience engagement, and as a result, increase your chances of monetizing your content.
So to sum up what we’ve learned from the previous posts from our Digital Academy for Young Content Creators series of articles, to build an audience you need to make consistent content that the viewers really enjoy watching/listening/consuming, and engage and connect with your community.
When it comes to actual ways you can earn an income from your passion, let us focus on the four following things: influencer marketing, affiliate schemes, YouTube ads, and Patreon.
For brands, influencer marketing is one of the most effective advertising strategies. Many companies are looking for individuals – influencers, who can help them achieve their marketing goals. The goals usually revolve around connecting with their target audiences, increasing brand awareness, generating leads, and boosting conversions.
And that’s your cue – it is where you as an influencer, come in.
Nowadays, consumers tend to rely on word-of-mouth advice and social proof more than on direct advertising. An influencer is essentially a person who can inspire or prompt others to actions like purchasing a product by creating and publishing digital content.
There are several categories of influencers which are defined by the number of followers or subscribers and the level of engagement and interaction with their fans. Those are:
- Micro-influencers – have thousands or dozens of thousands of followers in their niche.
- Celebrity influencers – have a following quite often measured in millions.
- Blog influencers – have from thousands to millions of subscribers and readers.
- Social media influencers – have thousands to millions of followers on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat.
- Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) – experts in a usually highly specialized niche/topic.
Remember this: The numbers are not what defines the status of a successful influencer account because sometimes channels with millions of followers and little to no engagement are worth nothing, while a profile with a couple of thousand followers that gets hundreds of likes and comments per post can be categorized as an influencer. Their audience engagement means that they respect (and maybe share) the opinion of the content creators and are likely to support their future work.
The ideal partnership between a brand and an influencer is when the brand’s vision and the influencer’s values are in alignment. Followers easily recognize passionate people from the ones who are doing it just for the dollar. They will call you out in a heartbeat as soon as they notice you’re not playing nice.
Don’t be afraid to turn down a brand offer if it doesn’t align with your values.
Don’t do it, period.
There are thousands of good opportunities out there, you just have to be patient and look for the right partnerships with brands that will create a seamless and organic connection.
Pep talk done.
Influencers can make money through:
- Sponsored social media posts. Companies use this approach when they want to increase brand awareness. They make an agreement with an influencer to create content – a post or a series of posts, featuring the brand, and share it with their followers. The content creator tags the company, uses their social handles in their post, ads hashtags. Sometimes the content can even be created by the company itself. The compensation an influencer can get from this collaboration can be money, free products, swag or other. It’s very important though, to create and sign an official contract and stay aligned with your territory’s disclosure regulations and guidelines that determine how you need to be transparent about the content being sponsored. The money you can earn goes from a few dollars to a few hundred of thousands of dollars. Selena Gomez earns around $550,000 per Instagram post. You might not be a celebrity but who says you can’t push those numbers as a social media influencer with thousands and thousands of followers.
- Sponsored blog posts. Great for a more detailed review of a brand’s product or service. The influencers use their creativity, content writing skills, and platforms and promote brands by, for example, implementing click-through links into their posts that take the potential buyers directly to the product or service promoted. The keyword here is balance – the content mustn’t be overly promotional and has to sell the product organically. Blog posts have to represent a genuine match between the influencer and the brand. Otherwise, they both risk their credibility, authenticity, and relationship with their followers and customers.
- E-products. Creating things like downloadable e-books, meal plans, organizational sheet, travel guides, and even apps. Influencers earn money from their expertise and knowledge and get paid to create or co-create the product with brands or sell the advertising and editorial space to the brand. You earn additional money when users buy the e-product directly from you.
- Podcasts and webinars. You create content in collaboration with a brand and charge users to access the content. Companies turn to this strategy for lead generation specifically.
Affiliate marketing is something content creators can leverage to earn an extra income. In this scheme you, as a referral partner, receive a percentage of a sale which is a result of your shared content. The most common models/agreements brands make with influential content creators are pay-per-click, pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale. If you earn the brand money or generate leads or traffic, they pay you. It’s actually a great way of earning money from brands and products you like and support.
All the affiliate links on your website use a cookie to follow the users on your website and then a piece of code added to your checkout page stores the value of any sales from users who have the cookie.
Typically, you would ask your audience to use a specific discount or coupon code when they buy the product/service and in that way, you earn them a discount and they earn you money from the brand.
YouTube has established itself as a great platform for the audience to find entertaining content, content creators to promote their work, and advertisers to target specific audiences.
To start making money from your YouTube content, you need to apply for the YouTube Partner Program or YPP. Before applying for it, there are several things you need to do and thresholds you need to pass.
First of all, you need to create consistent video content that your audience like and gladly engage with. Yes – building an audience comes first. Also, metadata like titles, thumbnails, tags, and description are very important as they will improve your presence in search and suggested videos. We have spoken about this in detail in our guide on How to Start Your First YouTube Channel, so check out the specifics there!
Then, the content you create needs to be in alignment with the YouTube Community Guidelines.
Finally, when you reach at least 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and have at least 1,000 subscribers, you can apply for the YPP.
While making the content which promotes you as a good YouTube citizen by following the Community Guidelines, it might be a good idea to also go through the YouTube Advertiser guidelines.
Look at it this way – if you put yourself in the advertiser’s place, you’ll know what kind of content is safe to monetize and what it says about you and your values. In that way, you’ll avoid possible deletions of your content. Also, you’ll ensure that your content gets paired up with ads that are in alignment with it. So, make videos that resonate with your audience and are suitable for advertisers.
The process of approval lasts for about a month and you can always check your status in the YouTube Studio.
Once you get approved, you can turn on ads in the YouTube Studio and choose the ad format you want to appear with your content. The ads are selected based on many factors: your audience, metadata, and whether your content is advertiser-friendly.
There are several types of ads such as display ads, overlay ads, non-skippable bumper ads, skippable ads, sponsored cards, and mid-roll ads for longer-format videos.
Also, when you get approved you get the chance to use other sources of revenue like Channel Membership, where users pay a monthly fee to see your content, or Super Chat, where you can, for instance, host a fundraiser and users give a contribution for chatting with you.
If you don’t get accepted straight away, don’t worry. Go through the guidelines and feedback you receive from YouTube and see if there is any content that you need to edit or delete, and reapply again in 30 days.
By the way, you don’t have to reapply for the YPP if your threshold numbers fall. You do, however, have to remain active and continue to upload content and community posts. If you’re inactive for six months AND you fall under the threshold, YouTube might discontinue your YPP.
Patreon is a platform for content creators of all kinds where they can receive a direct form of contribution from their audience in the form of a pledge. A pledge is a monetary contribution anywhere from $1 to $100 and more where the patron backs up a creator and their work by making regular monthly contributions or pay them per project.
In return, artists, painters, musicians, podcasters, filmmakers, graphic designers, coders, and educators thank their patrons by giving them credits in their work and projects, offering special behind-the-scenes content, or, since recently, Merch for Membership in the form of merchandise such as customized posters, mugs, and stickers.
Each time a patron gives a contribution, the Patreon platform takes a fee for payment processing. As of May 7, 2019, their content creators are split into founding creators and new creators and what is different are the fees a Patreon creator needs to pay.
Brace yourself for a little bit of math:
The standard rate is 2.9% + 30¢ per every successful payment over $3, and the new micropayment rate of 5% + 10¢ per successful payment $3 or less. Patreon wants to keep evolving its services and meet the requirements of both the content creators and patreons, and, as they say, money is necessary for this kind of changes.
There are several plans a creator can choose from:
- Lite – the creator pays 5% of the monthly income they earn on Patreon plus payment processing.
- Pro – the creator pays 8% of the monthly income they earn on Patreon plus payment processing. All founding creators have automatically been allocated to this plan but they continue to pay the previous 5% and have the same pricing perks and benefits like membership tiers, analytics and insights, special offers promo tool, creator-led workshops, unlimited app integrations, priority customer support.
- Premium – the creator pays 9% for the processing of payments to Patreon. This plan is limited to a certain number of users and is best for creators who have a following over 100k followers on any of the social platforms. Includes all the Pro benefits and additional advanced features like having a:
- Dedicated Partner Manager who is an industry expert that helps you grow your membership, creates strategies for your business and works your engagement with your patreons and audience.
- Merch for Membership so that they customize quality products and reward their patreons. This option is currently available for US-based creators and patreons.
- Team Accounts so that they can collaborate with other creators on Patreon and share the pledges.
A great thing that you can do with your Patreon account is to link it with your Google Analytics account which can help you keep track of important statistics like page visits, referrals, demographics of your page visitors and patreons and their behaviour.
Final Thoughts on Promotion
Okay, young content creators, we hope that you now realize the power and the reach, a good promotion can bring to your brand and content. Also, you now know how you can monetize your content and get the money necessary for you to continue to work on what you’re passionate about.
Good luck with your content creation journey, we hope we helped you understand how this complex machinery works at least a bit, and remember – be authentic, kind, and persistent and success will come.
Until next time our friends! Cheers!