So you finally reached that brass ring and went "full-time" YouTube, only have to have the rug pulled out from under you just because "advertisers" don't want to associate their "product" with your "videos." (Is that how you do ironic quotation marks)? Too bad. So sad. It's your right to make the videos you want to make, and it's their right to choose where they advertise. It happens to the best and worst of us. Even if you think you've got a good setup now, every few years YouTube changes something about their website and everybody LOSES THEIR MINDS!!! It's happened before and it will happen again. So, how can you develop and protect your source of revenue and keep the lights on so you can keep making sweet sweet vlogs of your cat playing goat simulator?
Sponsorships and endorsements. If YouTube is being paid by advertisers to put ads on your videos in order to sell their products, then why not cut out the middle-man? If you have a large enough audience, brands will partner directly with you. If you work with a multi-channel network, they'll often offer list sponsorships that you can participate in through their partner website. If you're adventurous, you might even contact a business directly and offer to make a video for them in exchange for products or cold hard cash. YouTube can't take a cut of what they never see, can they?
Merchandise and services. Your videos have been working so hard for YouTube, getting people's attention so advertisers can sell their products. Why not use that same attention to sell your own stuff? T-Shirts, eBooks, paintings, there's nothing stopping YouTubers from advertising their own products in their videos (at least for now). If you can make it and it creates value to the purchaser, you can sell it. Sites like Teespring will run a t-shirt campaign for you that costs you nothing (as long as you bring in the customers). Anybody can list (almost) anything on eBay and talk about it in their videos. You could start your own Etsy shop. If you can sell it online, it could be an extra revenue stream from your hard-earned online presence. Think you've got nothing to sell? You could sell that too, and many people have.
In addition, if there's something you're an expert on, let people know that you'd love to offer your expertise on how to edit videos, how to make an awesome YouTube thumbnail, or how to write an article on methods for making money on YouTube for a small fee. This can be facilitated through sites like Fiverr or you could even be paid directly through sites like PayPal. Again, If you can make it and it creates value to the purchaser, you can sell it. Just make sure you are clear about what you are offering and both parties should leave happy.
Stock Footage. Sites like Pond5, Shutterstock, and Videoblocks allows users to purchase from gigantic libraries of video content available on their website for use in commercials, presentations, and (gasp) online video. Guess what? Those videos have to come from somebody! In the words of Aaliyah, are you that somebody? Big YouTubers like Devin Supertramp and Corridor Digital sell their well-shot footage of extraordinary things, but so do medium-sized family vloggers, like Tim Schmoyer. If you've got a drone, a slow motion camera, or even an iPhone, people are looking for your footage. Payment methods vary by site, and you might not even have to sign over the exclusive rights to the footage. You've already shot it, why not give it a try?
Affiliate Links. Sites like Amazon, eBay, and more will pay good money for you to point people at their products. If a store paid you to get customers in the door of their market, or gave you a percentage based on what these customers purchased, you would tell people about that store all day long. This is the idea behind affiliate links. An affiliate link is a link provided to you by a retailer. Anybody that uses that link is tracked by the retailer and you get paid percentages based on the products purchased, and sometimes you get even get paid if they don't purchase anything until weeks later. Just do a web search for "affiliate links" and you'll get lots of results.
Fan Support. If you've been on YouTube very long, somebody has pointed you to their Patreon page, or maybe their Subbable (which has since merged with Patreon). If you're starting a project, you might use a one-time campaign site like Indiegogo, GoFundMe, or Kickstarter. These services connect fans with creators who need financial support in order to get a project off the ground, or even ongoing support for creators who have content that isn't compatible with the AdSense model. Some words of advice if you are pursuing this route: try to make sure you are creating value for your supporters, not just asking them for money. Stay classy! Also, patrons are more likely to fund creators that have already proven they are capable of creating content, so you might want to get a few videos (and an audience) behind you before putting your hand out.
So that's at least 5 ways to weather the AdPocalypse. Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below. Don't forget to SMASH the like button, if we had one. We don't. I think…
Keep it real.