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What you need to know about YouTube sponsorships

If you want to monetize your YouTube channel, here’s what you need to know about sponsorships and brand deals. Hint: they’re not your best bet.

Nurturing a YouTube audience is hard. No newsflash there.

And making money from it is even harder.

Today, we bring you guidance and tips on YouTube sponsorships and brand deals, as well as recommendations for monetizing your videos without YouTube.

Ready to expand your business and YouTube audience? 

Let’s get straight to it, starting with whether or not YouTube sponsorships and brand deals are a good idea for your business. 

Should I find YouTube sponsorships and brand deals?

If you already have a ton of action on YouTube and have been growing your viewership to an impressive level to afford a fat budget, then yes -- we recommend landing sponsorship and brand deals for your YouTube channel. 

In case you’re unfamiliar with how sponsorships and brand deals work, you basically partner up with an organization and promote their products and services to your YouTube viewers in exchange for a fee. 

Details, of course, vary across brands, but you typically mention your sponsor and brand offers in and around your YouTube videos, in the form of links, verbal mentions, and/or graphics.

ASMR sensation, Gibi, has a shining example of a sponsored YouTube video, where she includes her sponsor’s brand, NordVPN, in both her video footage and the description below her video.

So, just how big of a YouTuber do you need to be to comfortably snatch a sponsorship or brand deal?

According to Video Creators founder and pro YouTuber, Tim Schmoyer, you need at least 2,000 to 3,000 views per video over the span of 30 days to start scoring brand deals. 

And Joseph Hogue, who’s another successful entrepreneur and the founder of My Work From Home Money, surveyed 15+ YouTubers who were getting sponsored regularly and found the median channel size to be 16,000 subscribers with a median of 3,600 views per video.

There’s a direct correlation between how much you earn and how many views per video you gain, with the average payout landing near $0.09 per view. 

So, if you’re someone like fitness superstar Chloe Ting, who has over 14 million subscribers on her YouTube channel as of this writing . . . 

Sponsors are likely so eager to partner up with you that you can simply publish a “sponsor this channel” link in your video description, just like Chloe does, to attract brands and sponsors.

With a crazy big following like that, a simple description link may be all the chasing you need to do to land you some pretty big sponsor and brand deals.

As for the rest of us, the story is a little different -- for now.

It takes a lot more time and energy to chase, court, and (maybe) land those big sponsorships. And those brand deals aren’t even guaranteed.

For a better, more solid return on your effort, we recommend monetizing your YouTube channel using alternate methods -- three key methods, in fact.

Read on for the juicy details.  

3 key ways to monetize your YouTube channel

#1. Create and sell an online course

First, try monetizing your YouTube channel by creating and selling an info product, like an online course. 

These days, especially in our post-pandemic world, the market is primed and ready to partake in online education, which makes it a promising avenue to explore. 

In fact, the eLearning industry has grown by a staggering 900% over the last couple of decades, and it’s anticipated that the global eLearning market will hit a valuation of $406 billion by 2024

On top of that, the beauty in creating an online course is you put in the work of creating your digital product upfront. Then, after that, you can scale your business and sell to as many people as you’d like with mainly promotion to maintain.

To figure out what topic to base your online course, nothing beats conducting customer research. That’s if you want to offer specifically what your customers want, anyway. 

Since you’ve already established a presence on YouTube, you can start by combing through your video analytics to find out which videos have the most views. 

It’s also worth reading through your video comments to find out what issues your audience is interested in and narrow in on topics that resonate with them.

Another great way is to ask your contacts directly what they want to learn more about. To do this, create a simple survey using free tools like Google Forms, Typeform, and SurveyMonkey and send the links to your contacts in emails and social postings.

When creating your survey, consider asking questions like:

  • What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to [topic]?

  • What do you want to learn more about?

  • What’s a big obstacle you’d like to overcome as it relates to [topic]?

  • If you had one thing that would make your life easier, what would that be?

Hunt for common themes in their answers and let that inform the direction of your online course topic.

If you’re having trouble settling in on one online course topic, try using our trusty Passion/Profit Matrix

Just plot your various topic ideas and choose the one that excites you the most from the top-right quadrant.

To figure out if a topic has a high (or low) profit potential, scope out your competition. See what they’re selling and how much they’re charging for it. Not that you have to follow suit, but generally, it’s a good way to gauge the market price for solving your audience’s problem.    

Once you have your topic clarified, it’s time to put your course together, which you can do by outlining your course ideas into modules and lessons.

If you want to follow a successful online course outline structure, consider renowned educator Rachel Reclam’s process, where she outlines modules using these sections:

  • On-camera intro

  • Getting to know your learner

  • Key point

  • In this module

  • Worksheet

As far as creating your course content, you can choose from a wide variety of formats -- like written, visual, and audio content -- but, since publishing video content is already in your wheelhouse, it’s a wise choice to include video lessons in your course. 

Plus, your YouTube viewers are already accustomed to digesting your content in video format anyway, which makes it a natural fit. 

Formats aside, the point is to guide your audience to their desired result. If you think of it in terms of laying out the steps to get there, your course modules and lessons should come together more effortlessly.  

The format for delivering your course content isn’t as important as helping them achieve a result, which means a variety of content formats can work well for guiding your students to reach their goals. 

WordPress guru and entrepreneur Andrew Martinez’s Ultimate WordPress Website online course, for instance, comes with a mix of content formats, including worksheets, checklists, videos, and action items.

Entrepreneur Justin Lee’s Magical Presentations mini online course, on the other hand, includes a 24-page PDF with nine chapters and a template. 

(P.S.: For more guidance on putting together your course, follow these straightforward steps to create and record your finished online course.)

In sum: 

Find out from your audience what topics they want to learn more about. Then, build your course content to fulfill that need. After that, selling an online course to your YouTube audience should be a natural progression.

If creating a full-fledged course sounds like too big of a lift, our next method may be right up your alley.

#2. Write and offer a paid ebook 

Another solid way to monetize your YouTube channel is to author and sell an ebook that -- like your online course -- fills a specific need for your audience. 

Why is an ebook a great option for monetizing?

In the same way that you frontload the bulk of your work in creating your course, you do the same when writing your ebook. After that, it’s about scaling your profits and keeping your marketing running.

If you’re wondering about the demand for ebooks, it’s pretty big. 

We’re talking ‘a projected revenue of nearly $20 billion by 2025 in the U.S. alone’ big.

What’s more, there was an influx of 39% more ebook readers as people hunkered down during COVID-19 months. 

You can leverage this market swell by creating an ebook that helps solve a problem among your YouTube viewers.

To make sure you write an ebook that’s relevant to your audience, it’s important to not skip the first step of validating your topic idea. 

Just as you vet your ideas when creating an online course, follow the same pattern for your ebook and zero in on a topic by gleaning insights from your audience.

This means analyzing your most popular video content and diving into the comments. You can also ask your audience through email and your social channels what they want to learn more about.

Another effective way to scope out your audience’s needs and wants is to peruse sites like Amazon to find out what topics are popular among your audience. 

For instance, let’s say you’re in the wedding industry and want to write an ebook about wedding photography. If you type “wedding photography” into the query bar, Amazon Books’ database turns up over 5,000 books on the subject. 

That’s plenty of ideas to inspect to pinpoint the best ideas and solutions for your audience. Look for themes -- is there a pattern in the best-sellers? That points to more competition, yes, but it also points to more opportunities.

Comb through competitor reviews, too, to dig deeper and better understand your audience’s problems. That way, you can tailor your ebook content to solving their specific problems.

Contrary to what you might think, if there’s a topic you want to write about, that’s already covered by another popular author, that’s not to say you should steer clear of publishing a similar ebook. 

In fact, quite the opposite -- the popularity is an indicator that there’s a need for more info on that topic. You can find ways to differentiate yourself from other competing authors by highlighting your unique take on the subject matter and publishing even better content.

Take photographer and entrepreneur Gary Friedman, for example, who sells ebooks on how to use specific digital camera models, like his Complete Guide to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Rather than teaching his readers how to shoot generally, he teaches them how to navigate distinct photography gear -- pretty unique, no?

Either way, conducting market research first is a vital way to inform how you shape your ebook content. It’ll make the outline, writing, and creating process go a lot smoother, too.

Speaking of creating, for a fleshed-out tutorial on how to produce and sell your ebook, you might find this ebook guide helpful.

The point here is straightforward:

Tap into what your YouTube audience wants to learn more about and create an ebook to fill that need. There’s a higher demand for ebooks in the current market, which makes selling an ebook a solid option for earning some revenue.

If the written format isn’t your favorite, our third option is a great way to leverage your video presentation skills.

#3. Host and charge a fee to a webinar

Our final tip today for monetizing your YouTube channel is to sell access to a webinar. 

An educational workshop webinar that teaches your audience how to do something is a natural fit for your YouTube viewers. Over 50% of YouTube users use the site to figure out how to do things they haven’t done before.

Plus, training makes up 46% of webinar use cases, which makes it the most common use case, so turning your educational video content into a formalized workshop webinar makes sense. 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, to make sure there’s a need for your webinar topic, do your due diligence and find out from your audience what they want to learn about most. 

As we’ve recommended in our first two monetization methods, you can scrutinize your YouTube analytics, read through comments, and ask your contacts what they want help with to decide on a webinar topic.

If you’re wondering how long your webinar should be, people can stand a longer presentation, so don’t shy away from lengthier lessons. In fact, 60-minute webinars attract more attendees than 30-minute ones do. 

As far as pricing your workshop webinar, fees run the gamut -- ranging from $5 to as much as $1,000 for a series of weekly sessions. 

It goes without saying that pricing is something worth testing and researching within your niche. But, if you’re just starting out, try starting lower -- say, under $20 per webinar -- and working your way up to premier pricing as you gain experience and traction. 

Check out how Anna, founder of Shiny Happy Art, offers access to her Watercolor Paint Along webinars for $11 and $16 per class. 

Seems super reasonable and beginner-friendly, right?

If you’re using Podia, you can easily sell your YouTube Live (or Zoom) webinar on your site by heading over to the “Products” menu on your dashboard and clicking the “Create product” button. 

From there, you select “Webinar” and then fill out details, like name, date, registration instructions, and price. 

There’s even a spot to include your YouTube Live or Zoom webinar links, so there’s no need to wrestle between platforms. 

(If this streamlined approach looks attractive to you, sign up for a 14-day no-obligation trial and follow along with our straightforward steps.)

Needless to say, what’s great about this video monetization method is that not only can you earn income by charging a fee to attend your webinar, but you can also upsell your other profitable digital products

Upselling and bundling aside, you can also offer your audience free access to your webinar and use your webinar as a lead magnet to build a list of prospective customers. 

After all, 20-40% of webinar attendees become qualified leads, so it’s an ideal format for feeding into your other paid offers.

All in all:

With the majority of YouTube viewers already using the platform to learn how to do something, hosting a paid workshop webinar is an ideal fit for your audience. 

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Make a deal with your own brand

While it may be tempting to chase after big YouTube sponsorships and brand deals, you’re better off trying your hand at winning the lottery without a gargantuan channel audience. 

But don’t worry, there are more reliable ways to monetize your YouTube channel. 

Let’s recap our three monetization methods:

  • #1. Create and sell an online course that walks your audience step-by-step to their desired goal.

  • #2. Author and charge for an ebook that helps your audience solve a big problem, and do it in a unique way that differentiates your brand.

  • #3. Charge a fee for access to an educational workshop webinar, and consider upselling and/or bundling with other info products.

Here’s to growing your YouTube channel, and business, steadily over the long-run.

About the author

Cyn Meyer is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites – alongside their creators – thrive. Cyn also enjoys playing music, helping retirees live active, healthy, engaged lifestyles, and hopping into the ocean.