The best way to make money on YouTube is to shoot your own videos and upload them to your channel.
That alone will not automatically make you money. No matter how many videos you’ve created and uploaded to YouTube, you’ll not make money if you are not enrolled in the YouTube Partner Program.
To enroll in the Program, you would need to have earned 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours within a year across your channel.
Even if you satisfy this requirement, YouTube will still review your channel to determine whether you can be accepted as a Partner. There are many channels that have the needed subscriber and watch hour requirements. Yet they aren’t monetized.
Most are found not to have satisfied YouTube’s policy requirements. So, if you’re going to make money on YouTube without making videos, you’ll have to keep an eye on these requirements, which we shall discuss below.
Why Some are Reluctant to Make Videos for YouTube
Before we look at how to make money on YouTube without making videos, let’s look at why some are reluctant to make videos for YouTube.
The No.1 reason is they’ve made themselves believe that they’ve to make only a certain kind of video. Of course, there are some channels set up like TV broadcast stations with expensive equipment and professional presentation.
But then if you don’t have these resources, you can use whatever resources you have. When it comes to YouTube, there isn’t only one way to skin a cat. Spend some time and take a look at the different kinds of videos posted there.
Don’t have an expensive camera or studio set up? Do screen recordings of software tutorials. You don’t need much to get started. You can use one of the many good free screen recorder programs out there.
Also, you can make simple educational videos without talking in the form of slideshows.
You can any of the free video editing programs to easily make slideshows with captions.
You can also find free non-copyrighted music which you can use as background music for the slideshows.
As long as you’re offering content of value, viewers don’t really care about what equipment you use or how professional your presentation is.
Really, you can make money on YouTube without shooting videos.
Now let’s take a look at how you can make money on YouTube without making videos?
Use Other People’s Videos
Well, if you can make your own videos, you’ll have to use other people’s videos. By now you should have known that you can’t simply use other people’s videos.
You’ll run into copyrighted issues. YouTube has a video fingerprinting system called Content ID, where it can match any new video posted with existing ones on their platform, provided the copyright owner had placed a Content ID on the original video.
The moment you post a video with a Content ID registration you’ll get a warning within minutes of posting it. This applies to audio as well.
There are videos you can use though that will not put you in trouble with copyright issues.
There are two types of videos you can use – public domain videos and Creative Commons Videos.
Public Domain Videos
Public domain videos are videos that have their copyrights expired. Anyone is free to use the content without the need for permission.
According to Stanford University, work is in the public domain if:
- its copyright protection has expired
- the copyright owner hasn’t renewed the work’s copyright
- the copyright owner willingly placed the work in the public domain
- existing copyright laws don’t protect such a work
Check out where you can find free public domain videos for commercial use.
Creative Commons Videos
You’re also allowed to use videos with Creative Commons licenses. Use of these videos will, mostly, need you to provide attribution for them.
There are many types of attributions. For example, CC0 ( Creative Commons Zero) means you can use the work freely without permission from the author.
A CC BY license will need you to credit the owner. Some content can only be used for non-commercial purposes and so on. You should read and fully understand the Creative Commons licenses before using any CC videos.
Some videos on YouTube are offered as Creative Commons videos and are marked CC.
YouTube allows CC BY videos to be uploaded. Anyone may reuse these videos but credit or attribution must be provided to the original creator.
You can find Creative Commons videos on YouTube by filtering your search as shown below.
You Can’t Always Make Money with Public Domain and Creative Commons Videos
Getting copyright cleared for other people’s videos is just the first step towards making money on YouTube without making videos.
There’s another, more important step you should take note of. You can’t just upload someone else’s full video and make money from it.
If you take a public domain or creative commons video and just upload it, YouTube will classify it as reused content.
YouTube says, “Reused content refers to channels that repurpose someone else’s content without adding significant original commentary or educational value. “
So, here’s the thing. If you use someone else’s work, you can’t just upload it wholesale without providing any additional value.
The video must have a commentary or ‘story’ attached to it. The original video must be transformed into something useful or educational.
Think about this before deciding to use other people’s videos.
Affiliate Program Income
From the above, you can see that it’s not easy to make money on YouTube using other people’s videos owing to YouTube’s strict program policies.
If you can’t provide useful commentary or add educational value to a public domain video or a CC video, you can still make money on YouTube.
In case, your application to join the YouTube Partner Program is rejected, you can still make money on YouTube without making videos.
You can use other people’s videos to make money through affiliate programs. A good example is by using product demo videos to earn affiliate income.
If you’re an Amazon affiliate you can make money by using product videos sellers post on Amazon.
Of course, the copyright belongs to them. But most wouldn’t mind if you’re using their video content to sell their products. They would welcome you with open arms.
Or if you can’t find videos, you can put together a series of images related to a product and provide an explanation or commentary about it.
Here’s an example of a video that does this.
You can probably make money on YouTube without making videos in the short term. YouTube is suspicious of those using other people’s videos and trying to monetize them.
Unless you’re really working to transform other people’s videos into something of value and educational as suggested by YouTube, there’s very little chance of you making money on YouTube without making videos through its Partner Program.
Otherwise, your only option is through affiliate earnings as discussed above.