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Myths and Lies About How to Make Money on YouTube (and Secrets on How to Really Do It!)

Gary Bourgeault has owned and managed several businesses and has been a financial adviser. In his spare time, he loves writing about music.

YouTube Secrets

A lot of people have earned a significant amount of money from YouTube videos, but there is a lot of misinformation and outright nonsense out there concerning what it takes to be a successful YouTube filmmaker.

First we'll look at how not to make money from YouTube videos, and some of the ridiculous things put forth as a way to do so. Next I'll show you actual videos that have driven millions of YouTube hits, all of them not needing much in the way of video skills.

That's the first thing that needs to be understood in YouTube marketing success: you don't have to have significant filming and video editing skills to generate millions of YouTube views and make a lot of money. As a matter of fact, in many cases it's detrimental to your success.

I'm not saying there aren't times to improve the quality of YouTube videos to produce success. What I am saying is it isn't something that will hinder you from producing videos and quickly uploading them to the YouTube platform to get viewed and generate revenue.

Unless you're producing video for the professional market, few people care about the quality of the video as long as it isn't overly bad. I define overly bad as jumpy and too much quick moving. Even there, it depends upon the type of video it is and what the targeted audience is. Kids, for example, aren't going to be critics of a jumpy video unless the movement is so bad it can give them motion sickness, or interferes so much with the experience they give up on it.

The truth is, almost no one is that bad, and it only takes a steady hand or something to place the camera on to provide a good enough viewing experience for the majority of people.

And by the way, I publish under pseudonyms, so don't go looking for my videos, you're not going to find them.

Nonetheless, everything you learn here, if you do it yourself, can lead you to being very successful on YouTube. Many of you will even ask yourself why you didn't think of it yourself when you see the common sense of it.


Expertise Not Needed, and in Many Cases, Not Wanted

Some creative people are so enamored with what they perceive as their quality creations, they can be snobbish and elitist concerning other people's art. That can be true in YouTube videos, as at times there is the attempt to convince people they must have a certain level of quality in order to be successful.

Again, if you're producing a video for professional purposes, that can be true, but if for the general market, it's far from being a key to YouTube video success. In truth it's not needed at all beyond what I already mentioned earlier.

One of the attractions of YouTube is that people can view unscripted, unpolished video in its raw form, giving the impression of being a part of life as it happens. In this case nothing needs to be done to create the video, just do what you're going to do and see how it works out. That said, a creative person with a little thinking, can create a scripted video that appears to be organic and natural. People don't care as long as the content portrays what they're looking for.

Whatever you do, don't believe it when people assert you need to have quality video to make it on YouTube. Quality is measured by what people want to see, not primarily by production values. Make the desired content and you will get a lot of traffic and views.

Before I get into the specifics of what types of videos people are looking for, I want to deal with some of the dumbest ideas I hear when looking at what passes for success tips and advice for YouTube.

Terrible and Nonsensical YouTube Success "Advice"

The worst among YouTube success advice obviously comes from those that have never created or developed anything. They go to what they think is a success guru with experience, and simply regurgitate what they say, not knowing the person whose content they're copying are clueless as well.

That's the problem with inexperienced wannabee gurus. They don't really know what works or doesn't work, or what's legitimate and what's not legitimate.

As I'll show you in this article, it's those that dig down into the details and offer proof of success that know what they're doing, not those that write a bunch of general nonsense that could be written about any topic in the world.

Here's some of the things to completely avoid. When you read about things like love what you do, being authentic, follow your passion, being creative, sticking with it, and all sorts of similar things, you can be sure the person doesn't know what they're talking about. Again, those types of advice can be applied to almost any topic in the world as general success tips, but do nothing other than possibly provide some temporary inspiration.

Think of it for a moment. When wanting to produce YouTube videos that generate a low of views and produce decent revenue, does any of the above I listed do anything to show the way? Obviously not. These are just a bunch of words the amateurs use to produce some content of their own in hopes of getting a few hits and making a little money.

It's okay advice for the parameters of general success, but add nothing and show nothing concerning making money on YouTube.

Now let's get into the specifics of YouTube success and the exact types of videos that need to be made to produce it. These aren't in any particular order as far as to the number of views a topic may get.

Animal Videos Always Work

Among the more popular topics you can video is of animals. As long as you have something interesting, you should generate a lot of hits. A key to follow in most cases is this: the smaller the better. There are exceptions, but that will give you the best chance to generate a lot of hits by having your video go viral.

If you don't have any animals yourself, don't despair—there are plenty of other places you can go to get them. As a matter of fact, these may be superior to home pets if they are active when you visit. I'm talking about animal shelters, farms, or petting zoos.

I've included popular videos of miniature goats, pigs and owls below. All of them have received millions of hits, and there are many more that exceed those.

To convince you that small is better, think about a large pig and the miniatures in the video. Which one would you rather watch? Again, there can be exceptions, but unless you know them and how to video them, why bother. Go with what has the highest percentage of success. Do be an artistic snob. If you want to produce better stuff, start with these and build a revenue base, and from there you can go to higher quality if that's your goal.

Remember, the vast majority of viewers prefer their videos raw and real. Don't think you have to have major editing skills or a $1,000 camera to make this work for you. No one cares as long as what you shoot is enjoyable to watch, and what they want to watch.

Don't forget cats and dogs, especially cats, they are extremely popular when you capture them in unique situations. Don't think they have to be active either. Sometimes two or more cats can be sitting around doing stuff that delight people. Don't make the mistake of thinking active is what attracts people with animals. It's not active, but "cute" that is the motivation behind those looking for these types of videos.

And here's a major tip on getting a lot of hits. Always include the words of the animal or animals in the video, along with keywords like cute and funny, among others. Think of how people talk about specific animals and include them in the video headline.

Look up some animal videos using these keywords and see how many hits they have. Many are in the multi-millions. That's a lot of money when you have your YouTube video monetized.

Here are popular animal videos with headlines used to attract viewers.

Babies Are a Guaranteed Hit

Another big hit among YouTube video content is baby videos. As long as you have something funny or cute, just like with animals, almost everyone wants to share it with others.

Don't think only in terms of cute here, in the sense of giving a big smile, which most people get a chuckle out of. Go beyond that to unique facial expressions. Sometimes it could be working up to a slow cry with a pouty little lip, or it could be look of anger if it doesn't get its way.

No matter what the expression, if you can capture it, it's going to attract a lot of views. Remember the cute and funny keywords in your video headline here. Be sure to add baby or other terms people would think of when searching for baby videos.

Another Secret

As we go through these various topics to generate a lot of YouTube video hits, a secret or tip to use that can significantly increase you hits is to combine some of the topics to create a differenting viewing experience.

For example, with babies and animals, capture both of them doing something together in order to get access to a larger base of potential viewers. Most people that like cute and funny animal videos will like cute and funny baby and animal videos.

I'm not going to mention that anymore in this article, but consider it with all the topics included in the article.

Below is one popular video and its exact headline.

Educational Videos

Educational videos are another hot topic on YouTube, and they can generate a lot of hits when targeting specific areas of learning.

With video content segment of the market, I think there is a need to have a portfolio of videos, as is the case with a number of these topics. By that I mean more than normal. For example, if you were to make 10 animal and baby videos, you could probably do very well if you capture some cute and fun moments.

Educational videos, when you hit it big they can explode in views, but there is more disparity between specific things being taught. One may get millions of views, like the one below, but others a very modest number of views.

The best thing to do is simply peruse YouTube and find out what attracts the attention of people.

One thing about educational videos and a couple of other categories, is even if they don't attract a lot of viewers, if it's targeting a compelling niche market advertisers are interested in reaching, it could generate more revenue for you.

Getting a lot of hits is fun and profitable, but with some topics you can do pretty good if they're reaching a desirable demographic.

Educational videos can be made for tens of thousands of interesting areas of life, with many of them being strong adherents of a particular discipline.

Gaming Videos

Another extremely popular YouTube video category is gaming. Most young people are aware of this, but those above 25 years old or so may not be as in the know as others.

What this entails is taking video of what is happening in various video games and posting them to YouTube. Surprisingly, there are a lot of different ways to do this that attracts people.

Some provide a running commentary when playing their game, and that has ended up turning some of these gamers into celebrity superstars. Many of them, like PewDiePie, are more well known among a lot of young people than TV and film stars.

A surprising hit among youngsters that parents approve of because of the educational and creative elements in it, is Minecraft. It has been around a long time, and continues to be wildly popular to this day, even though is isn't quite as popular as in the past.

The video below gives an illustration of this, while also reinforcing the strategy I mentioned earlier of using various combinations to create new entertainment or ideas.

This one includes the current popular theme of zombies, along with Minecraft animation.

Vlogs, Memes, and Q&A videos

While there are some differences between the two, I consider vlogs and meme videos as being similar enough to lump them together. If a person attracts some attention, this can lead to Q&A videos, which a core fan base really likes.

Memes videos can include a wide array of things like various things about you as an individual. Usually it's connected to something cultural that lines up with who a person is. It of course goes beyond the individual to cultural ideas themselves.

Video memes tend to focus on individual as a part of culture, in the sense of expressing who they are. It can include things like giving advice on a variety of things like where to go for a vacation or what to buy, among numerous other things.

Vlogs on the other hand are basically a video diary of a person's life. If the life of a person grabs the attention of people and creates a fan base, they can generate a fairly consistent number of views on every video.

The vlogs tend to not generate as many hits of the big topics here, but still can garner from 100,000 to 900,000 hits per video, with the more popular vlogs getting several million on average. There are exceptions to these, but that's what a person could reasonably expect.

What is good about these is you can brand yourself, and when including memes and vlogs together, can provide a nice revenue base by talking about products and services you enjoy, and attracting the right types of ads that generate a good profit.

These categories do better when a decent number of videos are made.

A last note on the Q&A videos, is they can be used in almost any category or topic mentioned in this article. People will start to consider you an expert or at minimum, an inspiration or celebrity, and they will look forward to you answering their questions. Just have a mechanism in place for them to send you questions. You could leave an e-mail address to contact you, or even encourage them to talk to you in the comments section.

Take their questions and comments and make a video about them.

The Q&A videos don't make a lot of sense if you don't have at least a small YouTube following.

Collection, Haul, and Unboxing Videos

All of these videos are different, but as with the above section, are similar enough to talk about together as a group.

All of them usually involve showing off a variety of stuff you either just bought or already own. The key to me is to continue to have the element of surprise with them, even with existing collections. That can be done by not panning the camera to a part of what you're going to show until you reveal other things.

It can work without that, but creating the sense of expectation is part of the fun and attraction of these types of videos.

Collections are things that normally relate to one another, such as clothing and accessories, or a variety of makeup tools. Other collections can be tech gadgets, tools, etc.

Unboxing videos are just what it says. You buy some stuff, and video yourself or someone else opening them up in order to people to see how you respond. Think of watching how people respond to birthday, anniversary or Christmas gifts. We all enjoy the delight we see on their faces when they first see the things they acquired as they take them out of the box.

Haul videos are similar to the above. The difference here is there is usually commentary to accompany the purchases. Another difference is with haul videos they normally represent more items than an unboxing video will.

Also of importance with haul videos is a person that knows the product can provide not only commentary, but thoughts and ideas associated with what they bought.

One of these topical categories is so popular I'm going to include it in its own section.

"Toy Egg" Videos

It may surprise a lot of people that are unaware of it that one of the more popular unboxing videos is opening toy eggs and allowing viewers to see what is inside of them. What's amazing is some people that have been wildly popular with this video topic speak in broken english. People don't care. Or should I say, little people don't care.

One thing I wanted to mention here is like a number of gaming videos, it contradicts the assertions of some that videos should be short. Many of these toy egg videos are an hour or longer, as are some of the gaming videos.

Even though they're popular, there still are things that should be done to attract many more visitors. Among them is the use of brand names and specific characters or objects hidden in the eggs in the video description.

The more descriptive the video headline is, the more apt it is to be found in the search engines. That is obvious, but I wanted to say that before seeing the long headlines used in these wildly popular YouTube toy egg videos.

Notice in the top one, not only is it very descriptive, but it includes some Spanish keywords at the end of th title as well. I'm not sure if that is a factor, but it's worth experimenting with.

Along with the general description of what's in the eggs, there is also the importance, in these cases, of using the Disney brand, as well as the branded characters that are so popular.

Not only are these in the collection, haul and unboxing video category, but they could also be considered part of product reviews. It points to continuing to think in terms of the popular categories and blending them together to create new and compelling videos with a very desirable product.

Product Reviews

Product reviews are a very profitable niche to make videos in, and there are an innumerable possibilities one can choose from.

One secret here that can generate more interest is to take one product in a specific area and compare it against a competitive product. That not only provides a better experience for the consumer, but also a couple of keywords that can be used in the video headline.

That doesn't mean standalone product YouTube video reviews aren't effective, only that including a couple of products at times can extend the reach of the video.

Both options should be used to see how each one does.

This is another category I would have a larger portfolio of videos in. They do very well in some cases, but it can be hit or miss at times. You want a solid average with these types of videos. Some do go viral and generate a lot of income, but they are more difficult to come by.

How-to Videos

One great thing about how-to videos is if they address a topic of interest - whether big or small - it can generate consistent web traffic for a long time. That's especially true if it's something that has a lot of interest and appeals to a strong core of people.

You don't have to necessarily produce a ton of these videos because if you hit the right target they can produce a higher average income than other video categories. That said, I still prefer to offer a wide variety of how-to videos in order to have a nice average viewership over time.

One thing to take into account is you can either go wider and shallower with certain topics, or you can go narrower and deep, covering numerous aspects of a specific category people are very interested in learning about.

That's the one thing about fans of do-it-yourself projects. They not only want to learn to do one or two things, they in many cases, want to learn every part of the process in numerous parts of the thing they're trying to learn.

My thought is those who go wide and shallow and narrow and deep in their respective how-to videos, will outperform those that only partake in one of the strategies.

If you have a web site or blog, this is a place you may make more money by sending them there if you are selling associated products and services mentioned in the videos.

Prank Videos

The last of the YouTube video categories I'm covering in this article is prank videos. If you enjoy humor and are michievous and creative, putting together some prank videos on YouTube will drive a lot of viewers to your video content.

People love to watch how the victims of pranks respond, and also what the creativity of the prank that was designed to surprise the recipient of it. That is usually measured by how the person, or in some cases, animal, responds to it.

Shock is probably the most anticipated response from prank videos. The better response the more likely it is to go viral. That means you either have a good person acting to a script, or you choose a person that is prone to extreme exageration to a surprise event that takes them off guard.

Below are several different types of pranks to give you some ideas on the range of popular mischief that attracts the attention of, and delights viewers.


You can make a lot of money with YouTube, and if you simply take some of the ideas mentioned in this article, you will do very well if you don't give up. If you patiently build up a portfolio of videos across a number of these categories, you should be able to enjoy a nice, steady income.

There is no guarantee you'll do as good as those making these videos, but it's a surety you'll be surprised at how much traffic you can generate.

I hope you've enjoyed this article on the types of YouTube videos, topics and categories that produce a lot of views.

Believe the numbers presented by these video views, and consider starting a YouTube video business and channel of your own. Once you get comfortable with putting your work on the video platform, you can work at whatever pace you want to build up your views and business.

There aren't a lot of real passive income businesses you can build that have longevity associated with them. But if you build a nice portfolio of YouTube videos, it can be produce the lifestyle you've wanted for a long time.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


kaymay on June 27, 2020:

Super helpful! Thanks!

bob on May 25, 2020:

memes are no that you retard.... memes are short clips and compilations of them ar a set of meme videos compiled together OFTEN OF A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT CONTENT CREATORS , VIDEO COLLECTIONS, VINES, TIKTOKS, ETC....