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How To Make Money as a Content Creator On The Top Social Platforms

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One of the biggest questions that digital creatives ask themselves is how to make money as a Content Creator. If you’re already creating quality content and building an engaged audience, then you’re ready to turn your passion into a source of income.  

Whether you’re a social media maven or a digital content newcomer, we’ve got you covered. We’ve broken down the best ways to get paid on the most popular social media platforms. Take note to bring your Creator career to the next level!

How Much Do Content Creators Make?

According to recent statistics, Content Creators earn an average of $62,000 a year. However, the key word there is “average,” which doesn’t account for whether Creators have another full-time job, or if content creation is a side hustle. In practice, the range for influencer pay varies widely, and the answer to “how much do Content Creators make” depends on factors like:

  • What industry you’re in
  • The size of your following
  • Level of engagement you garner
  • Your experience/skill set
  • What connections you have
  • What platforms you use
  • How you price yourself
  • If you’re relying on brand campaigns and affiliate programs
  • How much of your time you dedicate to content strategy and creation

That’s why it’s important to find a revenue stream tailored to what works best for you and your content.

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How To Make Money as a Content Creator: Tips for All Social Platforms

Each social media platform offers unique opportunities for Creators to monetize their content. Whether you have a YouTube channel or a blog, these strategies are surefire ways to rake in extra money. Here are four methods that deliver results on any desired channel:

How To Make Money as a Content Creator: Join an Affiliate Program

One of the best ways for influencers to make passive income online is by joining an affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertising strategy where a company rewards its affiliates for every sale they drive. For influencers, this means creating content that your followers can shop. Then, every time they make a purchase via your content, you earn a percentage of that sale.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, sign up for an affiliate platform. To pick the right platform for you, think about the products that best align with your audience and brand, and select an affiliate platform with a reliable system in place. That way they can guarantee that you’ll start earning money right away. Also, keep an eye out for a platform with accessible marketing tools to help scale your business and keep you on track to hit your goals.

Image of shopping cart and shopping bag to represent how to make money as a content creator using affiliate marketing

How To Make Money as a Content Creator: Partner with Brands

If you’re wondering how to make money as a Content Creator, working with brands is one of the best ways to go. 

Partners, sponsors, and big companies want to collaborate with influencers, and they’re investing more money every year into their influencer partnerships. They know that digital creatives are tastemakers with loyal followers, and brands benefit from partnering with trusted voices in specific communities. So how do you connect with a company that’ll pay you to post about their products and services?

  1. Make a list of brands you want to work with and that you think could attract. Research brands that align with your branding, and what your followers love to see from you. Look into what types of brands already perform well for you to identify which brands authentically fit in with your content strategy and audience.
  2. Once you have your list, join a Creator Marketing platform that already has relationships with top brands. They have the power to catch a brand’s attention and do the hard work of finding opportunities and negotiating for you. While joining an affiliate network helps your chances of getting on a brand’s radar, it will not guarantee immediate partnerships. It’s important to build a track record of successful affiliate performance to catch an affiliate platform’s attention.
  3. Make the right offer. Share your social media stats and your skillset with each company you connect with via a media kit. If you’ve got excellent community connections and outreach abilities, ask to host their next Creator event. Or offer your social media consulting services to help with the behind-the-scenes work of launching a new campaign.

There are many ways to make money as a Content Creator, and not all are in front of the camera. If you keep your options open, you’ll have more success.

How To Make Money as a Content Creator: Offer Online Courses

How to make money as a Content Creator doesn’t have to be all about posting trendy photos or viral videos. In fact, one of the most lucrative content monetization strategies is offering an online course. If you’re a Creator or influencer, you’re probably an expert in something. It could be fashion, sports, editing, social media, marketing—you name it. So why not turn that knowledge into a successful business? 

Online learning platforms are not only a great place to show off your know-how and earn service-based income, they’re also growing in popularity. Sites like Skillshare and Masterclass allow anyone to learn, or teach a new specialty from the comfort of home. Sign up for one of these platforms and build a curriculum around your passions and branding. Then, advertise these classes on your socials and watch your followers flock to your virtual classroom. 

Of course, this avenue requires more time, energy, and money than other methods, for you and your audience. You have to take the time to create a high-quality, enriching class that people will love, but they have to commit to buying your classes and spending more of their days with you. It’s hard work. But it can strengthen your relationship with your followers much more than a ten-second video.

Image of how to make money as a content creator by selling an online course

How To Make Money as a Content Creator: Sell Merch

Do you already have a big following but want to know other smart methods for how to make money as a Content Creator? Try selling merch. For established Creators with a strong brand, selling merchandise to fans is a great way to supplement your income.

If you’ve spent any time on social media, you know that influencers and celebrities usually have some form of merchandise. Whether it’s sweats, home goods, or stuffed animals, they’ve turned their brand into physical, buyable products.

The obvious advantage of selling merch is that it’s a clear way to make money, and your followers get something they enjoy using while feeling like they’re supporting you. But here’s the sneaky, bigger benefit: it’s excellent marketing. If someone’s walking around with your name, logo, or catchphrase on their shirt, they’re a walking billboard for your content. You’re increasing your reach with every product sold.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to be hand-crafting these products if that’s not your thing. (Although for our crafty Creators out there, Etsy can be a great way to make extra cash.) Companies like Printify, Killer Merch, and DFTBA make it easy to monetize your brand. Apply to become a partner, send in your design ideas, and they’ll create a merch shop just for you.

There you have it, four versatile ways to bring in an income. Now it’s time to shift to platform-specific strategies.

How To Make Money as a Content Creator on Instagram

Curious about how to make money as a Content Creator on Instagram? On top of the methods listed above, there are plenty of ways to turn your ideas into a career. Before we get into the nitty gritty, be sure to pull up your Instagram insights to track your metrics. Dive in to see what posts are the most successful and which are growth opportunities.

Why? Because you want to optimize your content to perform before you try to add more to your plate. If you’re producing top-quality posts with solid engagement rates, then you’re more likely to succeed with these monetization strategies.

Image of a man making money as a content creator using Instagram live

How To Make Money as a Content Creator on Instagram: Enable Live Badges

Livestreams are a fun, instant way to get your engagement rates up and really connect with your followers. They get to see you be as authentic and as “uncut” as possible. With its chat features, it’s almost like you’re texting or FaceTiming with them one-on-one. But there’s another benefit to live streaming on Instagram: live badges.

Live badges are a new tool in your kit when planning how to make money as a Content Creator. Badges allow viewers to send you money during your stream. They can purchase them in increments of $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99. When they do so, hearts appear by their name per the amount they’ve purchased. Then you can easily tell who’s sent money and shout them out and thank them live.

So how do you enable live badges? Well first, you have to qualify. As of right now, the Badge option is only available to:

If you check all those boxes, go to your “Professional” dashboard and check your status.

How To Make Money as a Content Creator on Instagram: Set Up Instagram Subscriptions

Subscriptions aren’t just for YouTube anymore—Instagram has entered the chat. The app now offers a “subscribe” feature where users can access exclusive, paid content by subscribing to your page. This could include anything from extra Stories, streams, posts, channels, Reels, and badges. By paying just a few dollars a month, your subscribers score more content and membership to a special club. 

Similar to Live Badges, you’ll see the option to enable Subscriptions on your Professional Dashboard if you’re eligible. You’re eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • Meet the app’s Partner Monetization Policies
  • Stay in good standing with all monetization policies and community guidelines
  • Have a professional account with 10,000 followers or more.
  • Are 18 years or older and live in the US.
  • Agree to and sign the Instagram Subscriptions Terms of Use

Check all those boxes and you can start crafting exclusive content for your most dedicated fans.

Image of person researching how to make money as a content creator on Instagram

How To Get Paid for Reels: Whitelist for an extra fee 

So many creatives wonder about how to make money as a Content Creator on Instagram, specifically, how to get paid for Reels. 

First, you’ll want to make sure you’re using Instagram Reels effectively, and consistently churning out quality videos. Once you’ve established a solid Reels viewership, you can use them to drive affiliate sales through your stories or link in bio tool. They’re also an ideal format for hosting your branded content, and you can offer up your content for brands to whitelist for an extra fee

Even though the Reels Play Bonus Program has been terminated by Instagram, you can still use the other methods previously mentioned to boost your Instagram Creator paycheck.

How Do Content Creators Make Money on TikTok?

By now, there’s no denying that TikTok is the largest, fastest-growing, most popular social media app out there. But did you know it’s one of the hardest platforms to make money on, solely through the app itself? Much like Instagram, most Creators rely on brand deals, partnerships, and marketing products they sell as ways to make money.  So how do Content Creators make money on TikTok?

Content creator filming TikTok video

One option is content syndication. This just means taking your most popular, best-performing TikTok videos and reposting them on another app that’s easier to monetize. (Or on a platform where you have more followers.) For example, you could create a compilation of your best posts and put them on your YouTube channel. 

Another option is the TikTok Creator Fund. This fund gives selected, qualified users the chance to receive payments to grow their channels and careers. Here’s what you’ll need to apply:

  • Live in the US or certain European countries
  • Be 18+
  • Have a minimum of 10,000 followers
  • Have 100,000 authentic video views in the last 30 days.
  • Agree and abide by TikTok Community Guidelines and Terms.

How To Make Money as a Content Creator on YouTube

Last but not least, let’s talk about how to make money as a Content Creator on YouTube. Compared to Instagram and TikTok, this app has the most robust built-in monetization options. On top of that, it is one of the most popular platforms for brand partnerships. Think of all the YouTube videos you’ve seen recently. Now think of the ones that didn’t have a sponsor. Not that many, right? That’s because YouTube is the new TV. 

Advertisers and brands know that Millennials and Gen Z spend way more time online than tuning into cable. That’s why the first thing you should do is create a press kit to help show yourself off to brands. Create a short trailer about yourself, your channel, and your goals to send to companies you want to work with. It should have your contact information, clips, and photos that show off your personality, and your most notable stats. 

But besides that, there are three actionable ways to cash in on the app that we’ll get into next. Plus, we’ll give you the scoop on earning income from YouTube shorts as well. 

Image of woman figuring out how to make money as a content creator by filming Youtube videos

How To Make Money as a Content Creator on YouTube: AdSense

If you already have a YouTube channel, then the term “AdSense” is likely part of your vocabulary. But if you’re just starting, here’s a quick rundown. AdSense is a Google program that pays out Creators based on ad spots that advertisers buy on their videos. In short, if your video meets YouTube’s terms of service, and community guidelines, and is “ad-friendly,” you can monetize it. That means that ads will run on your video, and every time someone watches your video, you earn money.

Sounds simple, right? Here’s the tricky part: YouTube’s guidelines for what’s “ad-friendly” aren’t always clear-cut. The algorithm that checks videos and decides if your video qualifies for monetization doesn’t always get it right. 

For example, in 2016 and 2017, YouTube shifted its AdSense model to focus on family-friendly content. Many Creators called this move “Adpocalypse” because thousands of channels lost advertisers because they talked about topics deemed too “adult.” Sometimes, the call was right, but other times it penalized users without reason.

TL;DR: AdSense is a useful, in-app way to make money, but it’s not always reliable. That’s why it’s good to have other options at your disposal.

How To Make Money as a Content Creator on YouTube: Set Up a Patreon

If you’re trying to figure out how to make money as a Content Creator without depending solely on ads, try Patreon. Patreon is another social webpage that has been a go-to way for YouTubers to supplement their income. It allows you to put bonus content behind a paywall. Similar to an Instagram Subscription, you can create different tier levels to personalize your offerings too. Depending on how much your “patrons” want to pay, that determines what exclusive extras they receive. 

Content creator planning Youtube content

For example, for the lowest tier, you could offer access to a written newsletter and outtakes of your last video. For the middle tier, patrons earn all that and an extra full-length piece of high-quality video content. Then for the top tier, you could offer all that plus a monthly live stream and a merch item.

Experiment to find what plan layout works best for you and ask your subscribers what they’d like to see.

How To Monetize YouTube: Create a Channel Membership

If you like the idea of a Patreon but don’t want to move outside of the app, no worries. You can create a channel membership instead. It’s basically the same thing as a Patreon, just on YouTube. Members can pay monthly or yearly to support your channel and access bonus videos, live streams, and posts. You can even add special badges and emoticons for your members. That way every time they post a comment on your videos, others can see their special status. 

Just like the other monetization programs, you need to meet certain minimum requirements for YouTube to consider your eligibility. Here’s how to make money as a Content Creator via channel memberships

  • You have more than 1,000 subscribers on the same channel.
  • You are a YouTube partner on that channel.
  • You’re 18 years old or older.
  • You live in one of the qualifying available regions.
  • You’ve enabled the community tab.
  • Your channel is not a YouTube Kids channel or designed for children.
  • You don’t have too many copyrights claimed or otherwise non-monetizable videos.
  • You agree to all terms, policies, and community guidelines.
Woman figuring out how to make money as a content creator on Youtube

How To Make Money From YouTube Shorts: Earn money off ads that run between videos 

To close us out, let’s talk about how to make money from YouTube Shorts. In case you don’t already know, Shorts are YouTube’s answer to TikTok and Reels. They’re 60-second or less vertical videos designed for quick scrolling and easy consumption. You can find them under the “Shorts” tab on your channel page. Or you’ll see a row of them when you visit the site. 

This is a great place to repurpose your TikTok videos or create bite-sized clips or teasers of full-length channel videos. But how do you make money as a Content Creator off of Shorts? Good news: as of February 2023, you can monetize them via YouTube’s short monetization policies. Allow your videos in the Shorts Feed, you can earn money off of the ads that run in between them. Once you accept the terms (similar to other YouTube policies) and join the monetization module, you can get to earning.

And just like that, you’re set. You have the top strategies for how to make money as a Content Creator, no matter your platform or content. But what if you want a partner in the world of content monetization? Then Collective Voice can lend you a helping hand. We have a team of Creators, Marketers, industry insiders, and business professionals dedicated to growing your influence.