I do not believe that I explained the process of how I became a YouTube Partner. Before I explain the process of becoming a Partner, I wanted to provide some insight as to why I think it is beneficial — especially to the gaming community, specifically those involved in competitive gaming. I have seen a number of my gaming friends starting to branch out into the YouTube scene, I would hope they are attempting to become YouTube Partners. I am not sure of the exact number of YouTube Partners, but it seems that the process is becoming less difficult than just a year ago.
Initially I was not looking to become a YouTube partner, instead I was tired of searching for video reviews on gaming peripherals (headsets specifically) that weren’t indicative of the actual performance of the headset. Basically I wanted to try my hand at reviews without giving every manufacturer a raving cover. Furthermore, most of the reviewers had never used headsets in an environment, like say Major League Gaming Pro Circuit events, that really qualified them to suggest to me which headset was better than the next. The last thing that really sealed the deal for me was the fact that very few of the major YouTube reviewers provide any type of detailed, written reviews. Their websites are simply rehashed content of their own embedded videos which I found to be absurdly lame. So enough of my ramblings, let’s get into the benefits of becoming a YouTube Partner and how you can make it possible.
As of today, I have 2827 subscribers, by no means have I hit the “bigtime” as a YouTube Partner and by my account I should probably have over 100,000 subscribers based on my join date — more on that later. What I have noticed however, is significant financial growth in my Google Adsense account, as well as more receptive responses when contacting various companies for whatever reason (reviews, sponsorships, advertising). The lifeline of many YouTube Partners, particularly those that rely heavily on reviews, is establishing relationships with various companies to secure review products.
I am sure a number of people want to know about the “financial growth” I mentioned. I will try my best to give a rough estimate of how much money you can make, but do not expect to give up trying to work a REAL job while growing your subscriber base. Based on what I have researched and experienced, you can earn anywhere from $1.00 USD – $1.50 USD per 1,000 views depending on which ads are clicked and served during a video. Those unfamiliar with Google Adsense and are planning on using or setting up an Adsense account should also know that payments are not issued until the account balance reaches $100. In addition to serving ads with videos through Adsense, Partners also have the option to “rent out” their videos along similar lines of Video on Demand services. In that scenario a video has to be purchased, for say $0.99 as an example price, before being able to view it.
- Read up on Google Adsense
Another great benefit is the in depth analytics associated to your videos. It is very easy to track what videos provide the most success from my video content, so that I can get an idea of what my viewers like or dislike. You also have the ability to protect your content, but I have not had any issues of someone trying to “steal” my videos and present them as their own.
The last major benefit of becoming a Partner is early access to new YouTube products (Partners may be able to Live Stream soon), better tools for uploading and viewing videos, and the ability to personalize your channel. I am not a fan of uploading long videos, but I have utilized that feature on a few of my Monday Night Combat Videos and early access to all the “potential” site features is awesome.
Becoming A Partner
As I previously stated, the barrier to entry seems to have greatly diminished over previous years. After submitting an application it can be months before you actually receive a response; it took my applications a few months to process. In order to become a Partner you must meet some preliminary qualifications created by YouTube:
- You create original online videos for online streaming
- You own or have express permission to use and monetize all audio and video content that you upload–no exceptions.
- You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users, or publish popular or commercially successful videos in other ways (such as DVDs online).
If you only upload commentary and gameplay from video games, odds are you will not be able to become a partner. Similarly, don’t expect anything if you are a music artist that only uploads cover songs instead of original music. In order to monetize content for video games, you either need written consent from gaming developers or to seek out becoming a Machinima Director. That small road bump seems to deter a number of gamers from making the next step necessary to become a Partner. Even if YouTube did accept applications for video games commentaries and gameplays, just think about how difficult it would be to establish original content. There are thousands upon thousands of Call of Duty videos, montages, gameplays, and commentaries very few of which are in any way original. It’s just not the route to go unless you completely change the style like a DrDisrespect.
If you have original content, don’t assume that having a low subscriber base will not result in an accepted application. I built my initial user base by simply uploading gameplay videos from Gears of War and other games that I played throughout my gaming career. It took me roughly 3 years to build a user base of about 1000 subscribers, most of whom subscribed only after my team won MLG Dallas in 2009. When I submitted my application to become a YouTube partner I had a little over 1000 subscribers.
I was not whole heartedly attempting to grow my YouTube account at the time, but if I had, my account would probably be substantially larger because I was one of the early adopters to the YouTube user base — yes I probably joined a year or two before you even used YouTube. Had I known what I know now, I would probably be where Freddie Wong or ChillaFrilla are, but that’s life — live and learn.
Originality Is Key
Having an original style or visual presentation is what ultimately builds subscribers and subscribers are the most important factor at becoming successful as a YouTube partner. I started providing short video blogs, giving many of my most dedicated subscribers updates on my team’s progress. After I saw some success from vlogs, I decided to try my hand at gaming peripheral reviews for the reasons I previously mentioned. Finding gaming peripherals in your house or reviewing whatever you can get your hands on is probably the easiest way to begin an attempt at establishing a YouTube Partner account. Again, it’s all about originality, so being just another reviewer probably will not cut it if you are trying to build your subscriber base.
The second factor, visual presentation can be a significant factor in whether your video resonates with other viewers. This is what typically separates the best reviewers from your everyday uploaders. For reviewers, presentation is based on your product knowledge, video editing capabilities, and the video quality. While I feel some don’t have much personality, they have been consistent at providing the best video content in their respective product category. Some basic reviewer equipment should be the following:
- HD Camera or Camcorder
- Video Editing Program (WLMM, Sony Vegas, iMovie)
- Review Items (Anything)
For those looking to really up your video presentation, I highly recommend purchasing a Mac, an HD camcorder and learning the ins and outs of iMovie.
Remember originality is key, if you have an established user base let them know you want to mix in some new content to become a YouTube Partner. As someone that is established in the MLG gaming community, it baffles me that more MLG Pro players are not YouTube Partners — I still may be the only former Pro Player that is a YouTube Partner. I believe MLGSteggy was just recently accepted as a Partner. The players that are clamoring for more revenue sources have easy access to huge fan bases through Major League Gaming and can quickly establish a large number of subscribers. Reinvent yourselves and become your own media moguls. It would be nice if MLG helped those players build their subscriber base with their own YouTube channel, providing one more alternative source of income for Pro Players but that has yet to come to fruition.
I hope this answers some of the questions you may have had about the YouTube Partner process. If not feel free to leave a comment with your question as well as checking the YouTube Partner FAQ. I am going to create a video on the topic as well.
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