How to Make Money Streaming
Lately, how to make money streaming has been a popular question. Back when YouTube was still a baby, people were posting videos for fun as the platform was a shiny new toy. Today, YouTube is one of the biggest ‘marketing’ platforms. YouTubers have created brands using their streamed content – Videos and Live Streams. While many YouTubers started with no intention of going viral or becoming famous, they still found themselves at the center of attention. Nowadays, many streamers wish to become famous on YouTube. The problem? Most YouTubers are looking towards the same goal.
In order to stand out, video content and streaming needs to offer viewers something that others are simply lacking. You need to be unique and put yourself out there in a flamboyant manner. The more alien, the better. What I mean to say by this is that your content needs to be out of this world but still related to the niche you are targeting. If this is a hobby for you, it would be great if you can start earning money by doing what you love. The more consistent you are, the more likely you are to grow and earn more money. Enough money that you can actually quit your day job!
But let’s start by considering our options…
let’s consider all the ways that you can make money streaming- and not just through YouTube or Twitch.
Believe it or not, you do not need to get monetized by YouTube to start earning money. There are so many platforms out there for entrepreneurs, fitness enthusiasts, artists, musicians, etc. Think Patreon, OnlyFans, or GoFundMe and Kickstarter. These are all platforms where your viewers can donate or pay you directly for your work. Of course, you will need to have reputation already established.
In this article, you will find 8 ways in which you can monetize your live streams
1. Getting Donations from fans
Donations/tips are a great way to show love and appreciation. We always see the glass jars marked ‘tips’ at supermarkets and we often tip our kind waiters and waitresses at restaurants. While it is not a requirement for your fans to tip or donate, offering the option will encourage your fans. Pair this with your best shout out and make your thanks be known. If it is an ‘Ask me anything’ type of live stream or if the fan also sends you a message, make sure you prioritize them. The appreciation should always be mutual and your fan will be more likely to come back and tip again.
Here’s how tipping works on different platforms:
- YouTube has Super Chat. Your fans tip you which allows them to pin their message to the top of the chat so that the live streamer (You!) sees it immediately. They can even purchase chat animations called Super Stickers. You get a cut from their purchase too.
- Twitch has the option for your fans to ‘Cheer’ using Bits which happens to be the platforms currency.
- Facebook’s tipping revolves around Stars which viewers purchase and then send you. A Star is worth $0.01. However, you need to be part of the ‘Level Up Program‘ to enable Stars.
- WpStream allows you to live stream on your own WordPress website and you can get one of the donations/tipping plugins such as Donation for WooCommerce or GiveWP. You can set up a minimum amount for fans to donate and even a ‘custom’ field so that your viewers can donate how much they would like. You do not need to be part of any program or to get monetized by a platform. Since you are live streaming on your website, you control 100% your content AND revenue.
Whichever you choose, don’t forget to shout out your fans!
2. Subscription options
Getting tips once in a while from your most loyal fans is great. But what if you had the option of receiving regular payments from your fans? This is referred to as having a ‘subscription plan’ or ‘program’- depending on the platform you are live streaming on. Unfortunately, most of the popular platforms out there need to you to have certain requirements to offer recurring plans to your fans – such as a minimum subscriber count and viewer hours.
Here’s an overview of recurring payment features on some of the major platforms:
- YouTube offers a Channel membership program. Viewers can pay monthly to have access to your exclusive content. In order to have this, you will need to be part of the YouTube Partner Program.
- If you’re an affiliate or partner at Twitch, you can earn through the paid subscription program. Your viewers will have access to one free channel through Twitch Prime and they can subscribe to other channels (including yours) with PayPal, Amazon Pay, or Credit/Debit cards.
- Facebook Gaming also offers subscriptions but once again, you need to be part of the Level Up Program and have a certain number of returning viewers. It is also limited to a few regions so you will need to check if your country is included in the list.
- Unlike the above three platforms, WpStream allows you to set up Subscription plans without any other requirements on your website. You can set up Netflix-like subscription plan and choose how you wish to organize your On-Demand videos and Live streams. Offer certain live streams for free and then set up a subscription plan for exclusive content and behind the scenes access.
You may be an up and coming streamer with plenty of followers- but not enough to satisfy certain platforms requirement. Go live on your website and link your live stream to other socials to reach as many viewers as possible. Find out how you can live stream to multiple platforms. With WpStream, every streamer can start earning money right away! There is no “affiliate” or “partner” status, keeping every streamer on the same playing field right from the beginning.
3. In Stream Ads
Businesses are investing plenty of $$$ into promoting their products and services on different platforms. Google Ads, for instance, can reach you on your Search page, websites you visit, Apps, Email, and YouTube. But what do you as a streamer have to do with this? Essentially, if you are monetized by a platform like YouTube, you start making money streaming by having those ads on your videos. Every time a viewer watches an ad on your video, you earn revenue. The business owner also gains exposure by having their ad on your page. It’s serious business and it would be a shame to neglect this revenue stream.
Here are some platforms that offer revenue from ads:
- YouTube, of course, is probably one of the most popular places and most people have come in contact with these in stream ads and pop ups while enjoying their videos. There a pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads, display, and overlay. Of course you need to meet certain requirements to start making money off these ads.
- Facebook Live offers mid-roll ads if you meet the minimum viewership count
- Twitch offers in-stream ads, display, and native ads
- WpStream is ad-free. You control everything that goes in your video and on your website and there is no 3rd Party interference. Of course, you can always install a plugin that provides automated ads and customize your live streams
While ads are a good way to earn money, they should not be your only source of revenue. Many viewers that disable ads are not able to view them. This leads to you not earning anything. To add salt to the wound, ads are often annoying. They pop up in the middle of a video and viewers do not appreciate multiple ads in a short video. Furthermore, you cannot control the types of ads that show on your channel which can often be controversial. So, act wisely and consider other revenue streams coupled with ads.
4. Brand Deals & Sponsorships
Sponsorships are less controversial than ads. This is because unlike with ads, you do have control over who you choose as a sponsor. We hear the following phrase all the time,
“Know your Audience”
You need to know what your audience likes, wants, and needs. When you started gaining followers, you probably noticed it was for a particular niche. Maybe you are a gamer, an IT expert, a make up artist, or a comedian. The content related to your niche will often do best. No one says that you can’t be all four, but it is very difficult to gain a following by pushing content in all 4 spaces. However, if you are a gamer and most of your content is related to that, you can post your comedy skits once in a while. That may actually help drive traffic because your audience is learning more things about you.
When it comes to sponsorships, if you are a gamer and always post your gameplay, it would be very odd if your video will be sponsored by a brand that sells plants. You can love plants if you are a gamer, but consider the possibility that your followers may not be into plants like you are. Your safest bet is to have a brand deal with a company that sells games or gaming equipment.
Finally, it is important that you are transparent with your sponsorships. Make sure you let your viewers know that your stream is sponsored and you are earning a commission with every purchase. Studies by marketers over the years show that the more transparent that a transaction is between a brand and an influencer, the more trustworthy they are considered. This also leads to higher purchase intention in viewers/customers.
5. Affiliate Programs
Start researching your favorite companies and brands and see if they have affiliate programs that you can join. As an affiliate, you will be provided with a coupon code or a link that your followers can access which will take them to the brand’s website or store. Through your link or with your coupon code, they can get a discount on the brand’s products. This is a win-win-win situation! The brand gets more exposure, you make money with each viewer that makes a purchase using your link, and the viewer gets a discount on the product/service.
Once you have discussed the terms with the brand you wish to work with, you could go live on whichever platform you choose and talk about the brand. You can let your viewers know that they can follow your link to get a discount on their purchase and you can also add it above or below your live stream. If you have a longer live stream or video, you can bring up the link several times (but be careful that you do not start sounding like a broken record).
Once again, make sure the company or brand you are an affiliate for is relevant to the type of content you post. Otherwise, your viewers will question your purpose and integrity.
6. Sell your Merch or Products
If you aren’t in the live streaming E-Commerce industry, you may not have heard that by 2024, Retail E-Commerce sales worldwide will reach about 6400 billion dollars. That’s a 50% increase from 2020! Live streaming has become an essential tool in marketing products and services in E-Commerce and although it is still quite new in the West, it is a staple technique in the East, bringing in high revenues.
Essentially, what happens is that you set up your products on your website and make a list of your favorites, or of the seasonal trends. Once you have set up your products, you can then start announcing on socials that you will be going live to talk about these products. Hype your viewers up and give them a sneak peak of what’s coming. Next, you will have to set up your live stream on the page with all the products you will be talking about and simply go LIVE!
7. Pay-Per-View Streaming
Since we talked about Subscription Plans earlier, we must also discuss what Pay-Per-View streaming is. As the phrase reads, you pay to watch. However, many confuse this term with paying every time they watch which isn’t the case. If you wish to create a Pay-Per-View live stream, your viewers must pay before they can watch.
They can purchase an on-demand video as Pay-Per-View and have access to it for the duration of its life time. In other words, until the VOD is removed. They can also purchase your live stream with Pay-Per-View and have access to that ‘channel’ indefinitely. Viewers will choose to start off with Pay-Per-View before committing to subscriptions. So, keep that in mind when narrowing down your monetization options.
8. Teaching, coaching, & offering lessons
If you are a teacher, fitness trainer, investment expert, or even a life coach, you have the opportunity to share your skills and make money streaming. You can teach or train the next generation through live streaming. For the past two years, life has moved almost exclusively online in most countries. During this time, live streaming has been a consistent part of our lives at home, school, university, and at work. We have learned how to make use of technology to continue our daily routines a little differently.
For instance, Fitness Live Streaming has been on a record high. Since most gyms closed during the pandemic, they started offering online classes to their clients. It was more important than ever for people to live a healthy life style. Schools and Universities had to move to online teaching and they quickly (and successfully) managed to adjust to the new system.
Experts in certain fields have also started teaching their skills such as trade, make-up, and life coaching on their live streams. They are able to share everything they know about a field to those who are interested in a similar career. They can even make some money teaching what they love. Overall, live streaming is multidimensional and can be applied to any industry. All you need is a live streaming platform with monetization options, a camera/webcam, a mic, and a pinch of courage. Getting started is always the most difficult part!
A prediction is that although live streaming may seem like it is slowing down as the pandemic is reaching its end (hopefully), it will still continue with many schools, universities, and companies implementing hybrid environments. In simpler terms, although live streaming has decreased, it is still more popular than it was before the pandemic (and will continue to grow exponentially!). Consequently, you will continue to make money streaming for as long as live steaming is a thing. And I can assure you that it is looking pretty permanent.
So overall, we advise you to wisely choose your streaming platform, pick up your camera, dust off your mic, and start streaming right away. There is no better time to start doing something you love from the comfort of your home. Not only that, imagine doing something you love AND getting paid to do it from the get-go?
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