The advent of video sharing sites like YouTube has opened up a world of possibilities that seemed impossible even a decade ago. Today, creative and technical people alike can create original content for YouTube and make money off of it.

You’ve probably heard of a number of YouTube celebrities by now: people who made their mark on the Internet, if not on the “offline” world. Beyond them, there have been huge stars who broke out from YouTube, such as the pop sensation Justin Bieber. Recently, a Korean pop star named Psy used YouTube to break out well beyond the Internet with his hit song, “Gangnam Style.” He was featured on Ellen, the Today Show, and much more. What this proves is that YouTube isn’t just a novelty. It can legitimately launch careers.
You may or may not be setting your sights on worldwide pop star fame, but one thing is clear: YouTube can get you noticed, and it can get you paid. If you’re interested in either of those outcomes, then what you need is a strategy for monetizing YouTube videos and getting lots of views.
So, how do you get lots of views? Well, there are some key strategies, but before you think about that, you have a few hurdles to jump through first. Sites like YouTube have some strict guidelines to meet before you can start earning money from them. Of these, the most important are never to post copyrighted or pornographic material.
Copyright is a complex issue centered around intellectual property rights. Boiled down to its essence, what copyright does is dictate who is allowed to reproduce or “copy” an artistic expression like an image, video, piece of writing, or audio composition. Simply put, if you didn’t make it, and you didn’t get permission to use it, then you’d better not post it on your YouTube channel.
YouTube has a three-strike rule when it comes to copyright violations. If you are caught posting copyrighted materials on your YouTube account three times, your account is suspended. It may seem like a harsh policy, but just remember that regardless of YouTube’s policies, distributing copyrighted materials is illegal, and you put yourself at risk of a lawsuit by the copyright holders when you do it.
As for pornographic materials, you have to use your best judgment, but a good rule of thumb is to keep your content at about a PG-13 rating.
The most popular YouTube video topics tend to be comedy and music. You’ll notice that the viral videos that get passed around are usually funny. If comedy isn’t your thing, music is another huge draw for views. Lots of artists and bands reach a wider audience online than they could ever hope to reach by touring.
Not sure what to create? Your goal should be to make something that you would want to see. After all, if you wouldn’t want to take the time to see it, why would you expect anyone else to?
It helps to view your endeavor as a business. Someone out there is the ideal viewer for your videos. Picture that person in your mind. What do they look like? What do they like to do? What are their interests? Eventually, you’ll settle on a target audience for your content. Tailor your video titles to appeal to that ideal viewer, and the views will follow.
What else can you do? Keep making content and posting it. Never stop improving the quality of your original content, and try advertising it via social media sites, forums, and even PPC ads! If you’re committed and passionate, you’ll be getting lots of views in no time.
About the Author
Susan Anderson writes on everything from technology, social media, and insurance. She recommends folks find the best possible insurance quotes for free at Kanetix .