By: Ryan Prussky
YouTube has given more opportunities for content creators to make money but it is still not the type of platform that will make you rich overnight. In fact, the real money comes from partnering with brands and merchandising. I will be discussing the latter. The first thing you must do is become a YouTube partner, which allows monetisation of your channel. A new source of income, free publicity for your channel, and engaging with your followers beyond the initial video platform are just a few benefits to merchandising your brand. Before you begin to think about merchandising you must first be successful on YouTube. Now what does success mean? It is not clearly defined, but it can expand from someone like Pewdiepie, who has millions of followers, to someone who may have only a couple of thousand subscribers. An important element, however, would be how devoted and connected to the channel the followers where. Any content creator that has 1000 true, dedicated fans, could consider themselves successful.
Now that you have gained some success, it is time to ensure that your brand is as awesome as it can be. To do this, it would be beneficial to take a look at a few of the popular YouTube channels; Smosh, Rhett & Link, Tyler Oakley, just to name a few. Examine their channels, their logos, slogans, and even color schemes. While these elements seem futile, they play a significant role in each YouTuber’s success. Before you start to create merchandise, use Google Trends and Google Analytics to see the potential your brand has. If you don’t have many views, it may be advantageous for you to wait a bit and work on your brand before jumping into merch.
In today’s age, almost anything can be turned into merchandise. Sure, the basics are still around, with YouTuber’s selling T-shirts, Posters, Mugs, Badges. However, now with the back and forth communication between creator and viewer, the viewer can get involved in the creation process. Letting them choose what merch they want, rather than having to choose from a predetermined list. It is a good idea to check the competition and be creative. If someone is already selling something than try and think of something else that is uniquely you. Using your popular content can be a easy way to getting started with merchandise. For example, read your comments and look for favorite moments or repetitive quotes and use those as a jumping off point. Do not cheap out on your quality of merchandising, no one wants to receive an item only to have it break a week later. Most importantly, once you have created a merch store, it is time to start promoting. It is okay to promote yourself through a video when you first get the store up and running, but you don’t want to ruin your brand by becoming repetitive. Instead of making a video every week advertising your store, use social media to promote, collaborate with other YouTubers to promote each other, leave a link but do not mention it, wear your merch but again, don’t mention it.
Creating your own merchandise was a huge investment not long ago. You would be forced to order a minimum number of products and hope all of them would sell. Luckily, platforms have evolved and no longer require a minimum order. Instead, the website will only print as it sells. Some of the platforms that work like this include Shopify, CafePress, District-Lines, Spreadshirt, Zazzle, and TeeSpring. Each of them have different revenue splits, while all provide very similar functions. In the end, merchandising is reliant on two things; your ability to build a brand, and how you promote your merch.
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