YouTube started very small; in the beginning, it was not a big audience who visited YouTube and shared videos. Today, you can find everything on YouTube, from superstar music videos and celebrity gossip to videos showing you exactly how to set up your new stereo system.
Related: Here's How You Can Actually Make Money With YouTube
Creative people of all types -- soon to be dubbed influencers -- found YouTube to be a new medium to reach a worldwide audience. YouTube continues to be a booming media mecca where everyone, including influencers, can share ideas, create art of all kinds and, of course, make money.
While the number of viewers fluctuates and each influencer has his or her own widely varied story, it is possible to make serious money on YouTube. Of course, there are also bigger opportunities, such as being an influencer of a specific brand and recommending its product.
To get his take on how you can become a YouTube influencer, I spoke to Bart Baker: entertainer, web-based comedian, video producer, singer and parody artist. Best known for making parody videos of notable songs for his 9.6 million subscribers, Baker's channel is the perfect example of what is possible on YouTube.
How did you become famous and build a brand on YouTube?
I started my channel in my backyard with a simple green screen. I went to film school, so I knew how and what I was doing, and wrote and filmed everything by myself. I was wearing latex bodysuits in my backyard, and my parents thought that I was crazy. Surprisingly, it started to work. I got views of my videos and found out that parody videos are a great way to garner a crazy amount of views through SEO.
People already love music and comedy videos -- they are the two biggest things on YouTube -- and my videos are a combination of both. Put that together with SEO, and when you are searching for the new Taylor Swift video, you find mine, and that was the winning combination.
I started off doing it differently: I dressed up 90-year-old men in the videos because I needed something that would stand out. Once that started to do well, I put myself in the videos and established my face as the brand, and it really took off. The videos turned into almost musicals with a beginning, middle and end, and they're twisty, so people stay.
How did you turn that from entertaining people to making money?
Well, obviously, the No. 1 thing on YouTube is that you make money from the ads; you need to have a crap load of views to make a good amount of money on YouTube, especially right now, with the new ad apocalypse thing still going on. But, AdSense is the first thing you're going to start making money from on YouTube. Brand deals are big, but that comes when you get more established, I'd say.
Also, there are a ton of revenue outlets I use, like Merch by Amazon, and I sell all of the songs on iTunes. There are so many ways you can go about it, so it just depends on how crazy you want to get.
If someone was starting out, what tips would you give them to get going?
First, figure out exactly what you want to do and stick to it. You have to be consistent with that or else people will not know what the channel is about.
Then, once you have that figured out, find every single website and blog that would feature your content, potentially. When you don't have any subscribers, It is near impossible for people to find you, especially now. Back then it was a little bit easier, but now every single person wants to be on YouTube.
When you email your content to the right people, and if they start featuring that content, you're going to get the views from the embeds, and the videos will start to show up more on YouTube as suggested and recommended. That will help you build your subscriber base up. So, the best thing you can do is to spend time and invest in finding the right people to email your websites.