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YouTube For Bloggers: How To Grow Your YouTube Channel & Make Money [Ep. 73]

Interested in learning a YouTube for bloggers strategy that can help you grow and monetize your blog?

Well, you’re in luck, as in this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast, we’ll be focusing on all things YouTube, from increasing your following to monetization and more.

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand:

  • Why bloggers should consider creating a YouTube strategy
  • How to set up your YouTube channel for success
  • Tips for growing your YouTube channel
  • How to use YouTube to grow and monetize your blog
  • YouTube mistakes to avoid
  • And more!

Our special guest for this episode is Ilana Schattauer of Life Well Cruised, who will be sharing all of the above and more so that you know exactly how to create a successful YouTube channel.

Note: This episode features affiliate links to trusted partners!

Table of Contents

A Powerful YouTube For Bloggers Strategy [Podcast Episode Audio]

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Free Travel Blogger Resource Library

To help you really jumpstart your blogging success, I’ve added 55+ blogging resources like printables, video tutorials, and workbooks into a FREE resource library for travel bloggers.

These resources are meant to help you grow your traffic, community, and income faster and with less overwhelm.

I’m all about implementation and I really want to make sure you don’t just listen to the episode and forget about it, but that you actually use what I share to make your blogging life easier!

Start A Successful YouTube Channel With These Helpful Tools:

Canva. This graphic design tool makes it easy to create captivating channel banners, video thumbnails, and other graphics.

TubeBuddy. This tool helps you optimize your channel and content to more easily grow on YouTube.

vidIQ. This tool helps you boost your views and subscribers on YouTube.

YouTube for bloggers strategy

YouTube For Bloggers Guide [Episode Transcript]

*Note: This is the edited down and paraphrased version of the episode on how to make a successful YouTube channel. For the full episode, listen to the audio version linked above.

As a blogger, there are many social media platforms you can choose to be active on.

That being said, if you’re looking to gain visibility, grow a community of fans, and monetize your blogging business, one you’ll want to get on your radar is YouTube.

Now, if you’re unsure of how to utilize the powers of YouTube, don’t worry, as our special guest, Ilana of Life Well Cruised — who has seen major success on the platform — is here with us today sharing tips for growing a YouTube channel, best practices for creating and uploading videos, mistakes to avoid, how to monetize on YouTube, and more.

1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips on how to build a successful YouTube channel! To start, can you tell us more about yourself, your blog, and how you got into YouTube?

My name is Ilana and I’m the creator of the Life Well Cruised YouTube channel and Life Well Cruised blog, which I originally started in order to share cruise travel tips.

I had success building an audience on my blog and a little bit on social media, so I thought I’d reach them and also more people on YouTube, as well.

Additionally, I know that people really enjoy watching cruise YouTube videos before a cruise, so I decided this could be a nice additional income stream.

2. Okay so let’s start with the basics. Why should a travel blogger get on YouTube? What are the benefits?

In addition to having a blog, it’s another income stream; but beyond that, it offers the ability to show people your expertise.

It really adds another element to our content — similar to social media, except it offers a larger potential income stream than many of the other social media platforms that we might be using.

Another benefit is building an audience and expanding the existing one.

Plus, YouTube helps you gain visibility and authority in your niche and become a bit more well-known in a sea of other bloggers.

If you’re looking to grow a true fanbase, YouTube is a great place to be. When people watch your videos, they really get to feel like they know you.

Even the way people comment creates such an interesting dynamic, as you’re really able to communicate with the people that are engaging with your content. It becomes a relationship where they truly can become fans and it’s a great way to grow a real community.

3. Now, of course, bloggers are always trying to figure out how to actually monetize their brands. How can YouTube help bloggers grow their revenue? Any advice for how to create a profitable YouTube channel?

YouTube is a really good way to grow your revenue as a blogger or a vlogger in several ways.

One of the most popular ways to monetize on YouTube is by running ads on your videos through the YouTube Partner Program. With this, your ad income increases with the more video views you get. Just note you’ll need to meet certain requirements to be eligible.

Additionally, you can make money through sponsorships — either by having brands sponsor a video or even your entire channel so that you’re in more of an ambassador role.

You can also work with brands through affiliate marketing for travel bloggers. With this, you can promote products and services you love in your videos and earn a commission for every person who makes a purchase.

4. Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to monetize a travel blog. Is there a style of YouTube video that you’ve seen convert well when promoting affiliate partners?

It’s probably different for everybody; however, what I have seen success with in my niche is to share cruising tips and hacks, and to promote travel items through this type of content.

These are usually items found on Amazon as I’m an Amazon affiliate, though there are many other options for affiliate programs.

For example, many people don’t realize cruise ship cabins have metal walls. So what people can do to help make additional space in their tiny cruiseship cabin is bring magnetic hooks to attach to the walls and use these as additional storage.

When I create videos like this, I see my affiliate sales for that product increase.

5. Let’s backtrack for a bit. For someone who is brand new to YouTube, what are some best practices for setting up your channel? Any tips for how to successfully start a YouTube channel?

To start with the basics, it’s really smart to create a channel banner. You can do right in Canva, which has templates you can work with. Here you might include a call to action or let people know what and how often you post.

From there, set up your profile, choose your channel name, grab your handle (make it your blog name), write a channel description, and include links to your other platforms.

You can also upload your branding and customize the layout — including adding featured sections and featured videos for new and/or returning subscribers. The video you choose for new subscribers should give people a good idea of what your channel is about and what they can expect.

For mine, I highlight my 50 Genuis Cruise Hacks: Save Money, Pack Better & Get Organized For Your Cruise video in order to appeal to as many people as possible.

From there, decide on what type of videos you think you’d like to create and, if needed, experiment. That being said, I do think it’s helpful to stay within a niche and to regularly create videos on specific topics once you know what you want to put out there so that you can be seen as an authority in that niche.

6. You have such an engaging YouTube, so I’m really curious how you come up with your content ideas and if you have a set YouTube content plan?

I do have a content plan for YouTube, and it’s actually really simple.

Similar to my blog content calendar, I have a few specific themes I regularly cover on my channel, like:

  • cruise port destinations
  • packing tips and hacks
  • mistakes to avoid when cruising

From there, I go through my YouTube content plan for the month ahead and divide the upcoming videos up by those themes so that I’m not covering the same theme back-to-back. This way, I create different types of videos that different people might be interested in.

This also helps me streamline my workflow and save time.

To help keep myself organized, I use a big paper calendar from the dollar store and I place mini Post-it notes showcasing my video ideas on the days I plan to publish that particular video. This also makes it easy for me to move my video ideas around as needed.

7. Okay, so you have your idea for a new YouTube video. What does your workflow look like for actually taking that idea and turning it into a finished video?

Before I film a YouTube video, I actually think about my idea and try to come up with a compelling title and thumbnail.

If I can’t, I may skip that video or save it for later when I’m feeling more inspired. This is important because I need to be relatively sure that the video will get clicked on YouTube.

Once I have my video, title, and thumbnail idea, I create an outline for my video, starting with a hook to grab peoples’ attention and keep them watching. I do not script my videos, but instead I film in sections. So if I’m sharing 10 tips, I’ll film 10 short sections and then combine them to create the YouTube video.

8. So once you have that finished video, do you have any tips for uploading?

Keyword-rich titles & descriptions

Once my video is uploaded, I create my title and description. When I was first starting out I created longer descriptions to try to get as many keywords in there as possible and really let the YouTube algorithm know what my video was about.

Today, since I already have an audience and YouTube has gotten to know my channel, my descriptions are a bit shorter — though I do still include keywords.

In terms of YouTube keyword research tools, I use TubeBuddy and vidIQ. I find vidIQ to be particularly interesting, as if you have a paid plan it gives you 50 different video ideas — including title ideas — that are usually in your niche. And you can also see what is already coming up in YouTube for those titles to be able to do some research and really create the best video possible.

I will say that when I first got started with YouTube I was very intentional with my keywords, though now I’m a bit more lax since I have an audience and YouTube has gotten to know my channel. I definitely still include them, but I’m first thinking about how to create a really enticing title.

Video tags

I also utilize relevant tags. YouTube has said they’re not as important as they once were, but I believe they do still have some importance when it comes to getting found in the search results for your intended topics.

YouTube thumbnail

Another important piece of uploading your video is creating an enticing thumbnail. Personally, I like to create a thumbnail that works in conjunction with the title because I think it’s human nature to look at the thumbnail image before reading the title.

I like to include bright colors, visuals that are appealing to cruise travelers, and text that evokes curiosity.

For example, there is a type of balcony cabin called the Infinite Veranda that many vloggers in the cruise space said they hated — which caused a lot of anxiety in people who had booked this type of cabin.

When I booked it, I actually ended up loving it. And while I did end up making a positive review video of the cabin, in the thumbnail I showed myself looking nervous and had the text “Worst Balcony Cabin?” to evoke curiosity on topic I knew was on my audience’s mind.

9. Of course, visibility is important for seeing results with YouTube. What things can creators do to help their YouTube videos get seen by more people?

Leverage your existing audience

One way to get seen on YouTube that many creators aren’t doing is to promote your videos to your existing audience elsewhere. For instance, maybe you’ve grown an email list or have a TikTok following. Let those people know about your videos.

Not only that, but do it in a way that is enticing — such as by having the subject line of your email be something that your video is about so that you lead people into that video.

And try to this right after publishing your video, so that you get eyes and engagement on it quickly and then YouTube hopefully shares it with more people directly on the platform.

Embed your YouTube videos in blog posts

Another way to get your YouTube videos seen is to embed them into relevant blog posts — especially ones that drive a lot of traffic.

Create engaging videos

Beyond that, YouTube will share videos on the platform that are engaging that people are clicking on, so doing as much as possible to create videos with an enticing title and thumbnail that get people to click — as well as engaging content that people continue to watch — is going to help get your videos shown to more people.

Other ideas

A few other ideas include sharing your videos on Pinterest, cross-promoting videos with other creators, and growing through collaboration by co-creating videos with other creators — such as co-hosting a YouTube live.

10. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see new creators on YouTube make?

Vlogging without a purpose

I’ve seen many people vlog, simply with the idea of sharing what they’re doing in a day. The problem is if you don’t already have an audience that you know is interested in that style of content, it’s a hard way to grow an audience on YouTube.

If you do vlog, I recommend just making sure there is a point or a goal with the video. What will viewers really get out of it?

Being inconsistent

Even creating one video per week will help you get better. Automatically, there will be more videos that are out there on the platform for YouTube to share.

Additionally, when a video does get some traction, people will have other videos on the channel to watch.

As people watch more of your videos, you’ll also have more insights and analytics to work with in guiding your content plan and channel direction based on what people like.

Plus, as you create more and more videos, you’ll hone your craft and become a better YouTuber.

Copying other people

While I think it’s really smart to get inspiration from other people, it’s also important to develop your own style and personality on YouTube.

One of the best ways to stand out on YouTube and grow a community is really to be your authentic self and allow people to connect with you.

11. What are some of the top strategies you’ve used to grow on YouTube?

Create videos for your audience

One top YouTube strategy is to find topics that your audience is truly researching and that they want to know about. Personally, I’m always trying to think about things from a cruiser’s perspective and answer their questions.

Show your personality

Going back to being your authentic self, it’s also important to show off your personality. I even try to show off some of my quirky personality traits.

Also, in my case, I’m a woman of a certain age, so even talking from that perspective you do get more of a community that relates to you in that way.

Create engaging YouTube titles & thumbnails

I know we mentioned this already, but it’s really important. It’s something I’ve really focused on because I’ve seen how they’ve improved how many people click on my videos and the growth of my YouTube channel.

Just get started

Above all else, the most important thing is to just start. It’s okay if your videos aren’t perfect.

Just begin, and then improve little by little over time. That might mean improving your delivery a bit, capturing better b-roll, or fine-tuning the topics you cover to showcase your blog brand.

Over time, you’ll get better and better at YouTube.

12. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on how to run a successful YouTube channel! Before we sign off, can you let everyone know where they can find you?

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you feel inspired and empowered to start using YouTube as a tool to grow your blogging business.

Don’t forget to grab access to my free resource library for bloggers. There are a ton of social media resources in there.

And of course, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes sharing these bite-sized strategies for bloggers who want to turn their blogs into profitable full-time businesses.

Happy blogging!


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Grow Your YouTube Channel With These Helpful Past Episodes:

How To Start, Grow & Monetize A Successful Facebook Group

How To Use LinkedIn To Grow & Monetize Your Blog

How To Create An Effective Blogging Workflow In 7 Steps

Why You Need A Drone & How It Can Help You Grow Your Blog

How To Overcome Creative Block As A Blogger

7-Step Blog Post Promotion Checklist (Trello Board Included!)

12 Strategies That Can Help You Grow A Blog Fast

How To Enjoy Social Media – Growth Strategy Included

Responsible Blogging: How To Use Your Platform For Good

Click here for all profitable blogging podcast episodes.

What tips would you add to this YouTube for bloggers guide?