How to Become a YouTube Partner

After posting my previous column, Partha Bhattacharya commented, "Greg, I appreciate your insights on YouTube, but let me complain that you more often than not seem to write the story of biggies. Please help by sharing your ideas on the ways to qualify as a YouTube partner. Thanks."

I hear you, Partha. How can small YouTubers become Partners, so they've got a shot at becoming biggies, too? That's a great question.

So, in this column, I'll tackle things that a small YouTube channel can do to meet the requirements to become a YouTube Partner. Hopefully, this will be of interest to lots of YouTubers.

To become a YouTube Partner, you must meet three minimum requirements:

  1. You create original videos suitable for online streaming.
  2. You own or have express permission to use and monetize all audio and video content that you upload -- no exceptions.
  3. You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users, or you publish popular or commercially successful videos in other ways (such as DVDs sold online).

To meet the first requirement, all of your uploaded videos must meet the YouTube Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. In other words, you need to pass the "grandmother test." What's that? Think twice before uploading a video that you wouldn't want your grandmother to see.

To meet the second requirement, be sure that all components of your video are your original creation -- even the audio portion. The best way to make sure that your video doesn't infringe someone else's copyright is to use your skills and imagination to create something completely original.

To meet the third requirement, you need thousands of people to discover, watch and share your originally-created videos that pass the grandmother test. In evaluating applications, YouTube looks at a variety of factors, including:

  1. The popularity of your videos.
  2. The number of subscribers to your channel.
  3. Your involvement with the YouTube community.

If you want to become a YouTube partner, then you should also study the moves of partners who are making money. As Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by watching."

Here's what Betty from bettyskitchen says about how she uses metadata to increase her discoverability, choose her tags wisely, and come up with the perfect title:

Here's what Zack from ZackScott says about creating playlists and using annotations to call out interesting things in his videos, or to ask for subscribers and comments:

Here's what Linus from LinusTechTips says about how he found his niche with videos on unboxing tech products and how he uses YouTube Insight to track the performance of his videos:

By the way, since posting his comment, Partha's channel, 2WebVideo, has received "approval" from YouTube for the partnership program. So, I asked him if he had any tips for other YouTubers on how to become a YouTube partner.

He said he believes four things are important:

  1. "One has to choose a niche, and keep on adding videos. It seems the frequency of uploading does matter because YouTube asked me how often do I make videos when I applied for partnership. I said I do once a week but if you notice my channel you'll see that on many occasions I did just one or maybe two in a whole month.
  2. "It looks like one has to build up sufficient number of videos before YouTube considers the channel worthy of partnership. What that number is I don't know, but I have a feeling that this is important.
  3. "The videos need to be original. After partnering, YouTube asks five questions for each uploaded video as to whether there are components like images, music, video clips, etc., lifted from elsewhere, and wants me to make a declaration.
  4. "A few factors seem important. They are about the quality of the videos in the eyes of YouTube. By that I mean whether (a) a video is informative and helpful, (b) it is optimized with proper title, description, and tags, and (c) there is consistency in the niche-ness of the videos. It is almost like identifying a channel for a particular topic just as Search Engine Watch is mainly about SEO. I feel too many disparate videos may not help."

Partha adds, "Lastly, I want to make another point. I do not think very high views matter much for becoming a partner. A majority of my videos do not have large views."

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.