Several months ago, I had the realization that I had made more from YouTube in the last year than I made in my third year in corporate America. And now, I’ve made an even newer revelation. I have three videos on YouTube that have collectively made me over $30,000! And they’re all relatively newer videos.
I need to add an asterisk here: I very well could have videos that have made me more than that. But on these specific three videos, I can track the sales on my site and ad revenue from YouTube directly. They made me over $30,000 since they’ve been published, and the first one was published in January 2019.
I’m going to show you all the behind the scenes details and how you can do it too. Let’s go!
How Three YouTube Videos Made Me $30,000
Want to watch a video version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
First thing’s first: let me reiterate that the 3 YouTube videos that made me $30,000 are all relatively new videos (from January 2019) and they’re all about the same thing. You can absolutely duplicate this process on your channel.
Get the Digital Product Blueprint
The videos that I’m talking about today are my digital planning videos. The best way I can show you is through my YouTube analytics. I pulled up all of the videos containing the words “digital planning.”
Four videos come up when I look up those words. One that I made in January 2019, another one with the same topic and title that I made in December and repositioned for 2020. In April 2020, I did another video that is basically the same topic.
I was approached by a company that makes paper-like screen protectors for iPads when I decided to make the third video. With digital planning, you need a good writing surface, so the two go hand-in-hand.
Three videos that I created all within about 15 months of each other, have collectively made me over $30,000.
So how did they make me the money?
There are a few different ways. One is from ad revenue that comes from YouTube. They have a decent number of views, so this adds up – but it isn’t as much as you would think. They have also made me money through sales of my personal digital planner and affiliate income.
My strategy behind the three YouTube videos that made me $30,000
I first discovered digital planning in December 2018, right before I made that first video in January 2019. I thought it was so cool, and I knew I wanted to figure out how to use the technology for myself.
Once I figured out how to use them, I also figured out that there was absolutely nobody at the time on YouTube talking about digital planning. While it was a little far-fetched for my usual channel content and my ideal customer, it was still a video I knew I should do. I knew the digital planning video was going to blow up! I got excited when I discovered it and no one else on YouTube was talking about it at the time.
This is the same thing that happened when I created my Trello videos way back in the day. I loved Trello and I knew other people would, too. Since no one on YouTube was talking about Trello, I jumped on it. That video stayed as one of my top videos for YEARS. It came out four years ago and it is still one of my top performing videos.
The Magic Formula
Essentially, there’s a magic formula here. If you stumble upon something cool, innovative, and easy to understand, and you find that no one is talking about it online, you should DEFINITELY be the one to do that.
I have to think about one of my best friends in this scenario. He tends to discover things that he thinks are really cool, but nobody else in the world is going to think they’re really cool… You have to use your best judgement here! Think about past experiences and examples to see if you’re actually on the right track.
In the case of digital planning, have you seen as much hysteria, fandom, and excitement that paper planner communities have? People on YouTube have entire channels dedicated to planning. I knew that if a paper planner could create a cult following, a digital planner could do the same.
Based on a very similar market, I knew that the digital planner market would take off going into it. The same thing happened with Trello. As someone in the business space, I see people all the time talking about their project management system. Trello works for visual thinkers like me who don't like Asana (and I know I’m not alone there).
Let me be clear – the virality of these videos was intentional.
It’s almost impossible to repeat this process over and over and over again with different subject matter. There’s very few “new” things in the world. BUT, there’s definitely something you can do it with right now that you have discovered that no one on YouTube is talking about yet. Now, there is no way to know for sure that a video will go viral – but if you stumble on that perfect formula, you can have a pretty good idea.
When you have the magic formula, you should double-dip.
Because I knew that the first digital planning video would go viral, I knew that I would be dumb if I didn’t double dip on the video. That's how three YouTube videos made me $30,000!
YouTube strategy tip here: YouTube absolutely does NOT want you to send people off the platform. They want you to keep people on the platform for as long as you can because that’s their goal. If you are sending people off the platform, you get negative points from YouTube.
BUT, you can take advantage of this with a video that follows the magic formula. If you know a video is going to do well just because of the subject matter, putting a link that sends people off YouTube in those videos is smarter. YouTube is still going to serve the video up because it knows that it’s good content, and more people will actually watch it who will click off to your links.
I knew I wanted the digital planning video to be more than just a YouTube video. I used the same strategy with my Trello videos. With Trello, I created free Trello Boards that you could access by signing up for my email list – which would hopefully get them to buy something in the future. With digital planning, I went for a more direct-to-sales approach. I created my own digital planner.
When I found the world of digital planning, I realized there wasn't a digital planner out in the world that I loved. So, I decided to create my own. I was an advertising major in college and I knew how to use all of the platforms I needed to make this product. I took Christmas break in 2018 to create the planner from scratch in InDesign, so that when I released this video in January, I could send people to my digital planner.
This video was not a big long sales pitch for this planner of mine. I legitimately showed people what they came to the video to learn about digital planners. I just mentioned a few times that I linked to mine in the description. Then, people would want to see the planners, click off to my website and purchase.
To this day, the shop page on my website is the #1 visited page on my site. That is coming DIRECTLY from these videos because I don’t advertise it anywhere else.
In the very beginning, I was just sending them to my website to purchase one planner. Later, I made a couple more because it wasn’t hard once I had created the first one, and I put those up for sale so they had more options.
At the beginning of 2020, I realized that I could increase the cart value of people who come to my website to shop for digital planners. I created something called the Digital Planning Starter Pack. It's essentially a bundle of everything you need to get started with digital planning, and I advertise it on the shop heavily. It’s $5 more than buying a single planner, but it includes double or triple the amount of things. It also has options to upsell on checkout.
I am intentionally using the traffic from these videos to go to my store and hopefully further increase the cart value once they get there. I knew these videos would be popular, but I didn’t realize to the full extent how popular they would be. It wasn’t until after the success that I decided to put that new thing up.
Let’s talk about money.
These videos are some of my top performing videos in the last few years. In reality, I make almost NO money from ad revenue on these videos considering the number of views that they have. The first video that has more than 180,000 views has made me a little over $1,000.
The one I did 11 months later has only made me $594. The one I released in April has made me about $500 as well. Even though they’re getting tons of views, they aren’t making me a lot of money. And there’s a reason for that!
Essentially, YouTube creators get paid when they allow ads on their videos. For each view, creators get paid a certain percentage of Google’s share of the ad cost. If someone paid $4.00 to put that ad on my video, I might make $2.00 every time somebody sees it. So, it really depends on how much money the advertiser spends to put ads on your video. I have noticed that some advertisers spend WAY more money for certain niches than they do for others.
The ideal client for digital planners must not be one where people are paying a large amount for ads on those videos. My affiliate marketing video that has done so well has made me WAY more money than this one because the cost for someone putting an ad on that video is higher, so I get more money for that.
Total on these three videos, I have made $2,285 on YouTube alone after almost two years.
Next, let’s talk about the Digital Planning Starter Pack. It has done really, really, really well. The number of people who purchase that after coming from a YouTube video is insane. If they watch my YouTube video and then come to my site, it’s heavily advertised there. People tend to buy the starter pack. The Digital Planner Starter Pack, which I did not release until 2020, has made me $14,583.
When someone comes to my site from one of these videos and just purchases a planner, those sales are calculated, measured and fulfilled on WooCommerce. The total there is right about $12,000 (the reporting on WooCommerce isn’t the best, so we’ll say “right about” to be safe).
Lastly, we have to talk about Etsy, where I made $3,598 from digital planners. Etsy is a little different because I literally don’t promote it anywhere or talk about it in the videos, so people aren’t coming straight from YouTube to Etsy, but my planners are there when people search for digital planners. Instead, Etsy is sending people to the videos. In my Etsy shop, I have links to the videos for people to learn more, and I have links to other videos about different parts of the planning process to learn after the purchase.
Collectively, these three videos have made me $32,466 since January of 2019. Three YouTube videos have made me $30,000! I don't want to be known as the planner girl, so this gets complicated. But, it would have been dumb of me not to create a planner to sell when I knew the video was going to go “viral.” So, as long as these videos continue to do well, I will continue to have planners for sale.
There are likely other videos on YouTube that have made me more money than these. These videos are just really easy to track directly AND really easy to duplicate.
Remember, the magic formula is finding something that is new, different and innovative, that there’s proof of an audience for, and that people aren’t talking about on YouTube yet. It could be that you’re so far ahead of the curve that you see the takeoff happen later. This happened with my ClickUp videos. When I went to do my keyword research for that video, nobody was searching for ClickUp. They didn’t take off at first, but now my ClickUp videos are catching up to my Trello videos because more and more people are searching for it.
So that's how three YouTube videos made me $30,000. Now it's your turn! Go find that new, innovative thing you get excited about, fit it into the magic formula, and make that money.