One of the biggest and most popular platforms on the Internet today is YouTube. The video sharing and streaming site is ripe with opportunities to make money online, but you have to know where to start, how to build your audience and how to maximize your earnings. If you’re new to YouTube, or even if you’ve been uploading cat videos to YouTube for years, you might not have any idea what you should be doing.
It’s in Google’s best interest for you to succeed on YouTube, because it means that you are effectively supplying them with loads of free content to monetize. To that end, YouTube for Creators was created as a benefit program for everyone who wants to produce great content for YouTube. So, what do you need to know?
1. Benefit Levels
The main appeal of the YouTube for Creators program are the benefits, which are unlocked and accessed at several levels. These benefit levels are not based on how long you’ve been on YouTube or how many views you’ve accumulated. Instead, it is based solely on the number of subscribers that you have.
Presumably, the rationale is that someone with just one video with a million views is getting traction from search volume or other means. Someone with tons of subscribers, though, is putting out great content on a consistent basis that real people want to watch. That’s the kind of creator the program is meant to reward.
The main highlights of each level, along with the necessary number of subscribers are:
- Graphite (0 subscribers): Creator Studio to manage your channel and support for your monetized channels.
- Opal (1000+ subscribers): Creator Day access, YouTube Space events and workshops, local meetups.
- Bronze (10K+ subscribers): Channel consultation program, YouTube NextUp content eligibility, YouTube Spaces production access, YouTube Ambassador.
- Silver (100K+ subscribers): Creator Hall of Fame, exclusive events, dedicated partner manager.
There are also gold and diamond “play button” awards when you hit 1 million and 10 million subscribers, respectively, but we’ll skip those over for now. Each level and the associated benefits are explained in more depth here.
2. Creator Academy
Unlocked from the get-go is the Creator Academy, a free training program for helping you get the most of your YouTube video-shooting experience. You can search the academy for topics of specific interest to you or you can browse through the available catalog.
You can go through individual lessons or follow through on complete courses if you’d like. Since this information is coming straight from Google and YouTube, you’ll know that you are getting all the advice that is fully compliant with the terms and conditions. You can learn about analytics, how to get viewers, why branding matters and so on.
3. Creator Monthly
The Creator Academy is where you’ll find a lot more of the in-depth training and lessons for improving your performance on YouTube, but there’s also a monthly newsletter that’s effectively formatted like a blog. This isn’t so much about teaching you how to use YouTube as much as it is to keep you in the loop with any important changes.
The June 2016 edition of Creator Monthly highlighted the creation of the YouTube for Creators program, for example. It also discusses improved comment controls (like allowing approved moderators to do it for you) and a change to the content ID system so that you can keep monetizing your videos while the claim is being disputed.
4. YouTube Spaces
The creation and opening of YouTube Spaces isn’t new, but access to these spaces has been a little more secretive up until now. From what I can gather, it has been essentially on an invitation basis.
As mentioned above, you can unlock access to YouTube Spaces to produce your own videos when you reach the bronze benefits level at 10,000 subscribers. As of this writing, there are a total of nine YouTube Spaces located around the world. Through these spaces, you get access to a wealth of resources (and sets), as well as the more valuable ability to connect with other high-performing YouTubers.
The Los Angeles location (pictured) is the flagship. Other locations are found in London, Tokyo, New York, Sao Paulo, Paris, Berlin, Mumbai and Toronto.
5. It’s Not Enough
As useful as some of the program’s benefits may be, YouTube for Creators isn’t going to be enough to guarantee your success. But you already knew that. The Creator Academy courses are going to be really valuable and having access to the Spaces will be hugely beneficial when you get to that level, joining the ranks of people like iJustine and Freddie Wong.
Until then, one of the best things you can do for your YouTube channel is to produce more content. Don’t worry if you lack the fanciest equipment or you’re still working out your format. Just start shooting, keep uploading, and see what sticks.