How to Make Money from Online Videos as You Travel
Even when you travel on a budget, if you want to travel long term you are going to need some way of making money on the road.
There are so many ways to do this, one really cool way to generate income while you’re off on the adventure of a lifetime is to record videos and sell them online. Video-streaming is becoming more and more critical to businesses and visionary entrepreneurs today, with major brands like Netflix, Amazon, and (of course) YouTube providing anyone with something to say a worldwide platform to do so.
However, countless smaller, more independent sites are also using video to operate in smaller niches, including travel. One such site, Wanderlust TV, is dedicated to helping viewers see more of the world, develop a greater understanding of different cultures, and learn about specific practices from across the globe (including yoga). It also provides a wealth of culinary guidance, featuring numerous different recipes which showcase a world’s worth of diversity. This has proven incredibly popular, acquiring more than 100k subscribers in only four months – there’s clearly a market, and this brand has tapped into it beautifully.
As you explore this beautiful planet, distributing your own videos online is a terrific way to chronicle your experiences and generate revenue – but how?
Find Your Value
First and foremost, you need to consider an overall aim for your videos. Simply expecting people to pay to watch you wander streets, eat in restaurants, and talk to your camera in your hotel room is… well, not the best place to start.
Instead, think about where you plan to visit, and what this can offer viewers. Consider the educational or inspirational benefits of your wanderings. For example, if you’re in India, why not record yourself taking expert yoga or meditation classes, providing in-depth information and guidance from an experienced master who’s been immersed in the practice their entire lives?
This would give viewers a deeper insight than an amateur on YouTube can, without their having to seek out someone with the same level of expertise for themselves.
To stay with the India theme, you could investigate taking a guided tour of both iconic and hidden gems, allowing viewers a close-up exploration of sites unique to the country. Video, especially with such high-quality but lightweight cameras available today, allows you to really put viewers in the moment with you. Again, you have to offer them more than just random shots of a location – really try to share something substantial with them.
If you were to visit the Taj Mahal, for instance, you could invite locals, or experts in the site’s history and architecture, to explore it with you. Their input would add true value, and grant viewers an exclusive insight into such a well-known place.
Pick a Payment Model
Okay, so you’ve decided on an overall aim and figured out how you’ll provide viewers with a valuable insight into the world. Perhaps you’ll focus on the diversity of foods and cooking styles in various countries. Perhaps you’ll be exploring hidden natural wonders, or discovering new exercise-techniques mainstream media doesn’t usually cover.
Whatever your goal, you need to think about how you’re going to monetize your videos. There are various payment models on today’s market:
- One-off subscription fees, usually annual
- Individual / Pay-Per-View
Subscription models are obviously huge today, with brands like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Graze, Loot Crate, and others provide subscribers with ongoing services for a fixed price. This is incredibly convenient for consumers, as it requires no ongoing action on their part, and often allows them unlimited access to products for a one-off payment.
You might want to offer this one-off, all-access model to your viewers, but you should also provide others to appeal to the broadest range of people. Choice is essential in such a competitive market.
Pay-per-view remains popular today, with viewers picking and choosing where their money goes rather than a blanket fee. You can also consider monthly or quarterly payments A free trial period, for two weeks or a month, is an effective way to introduce potential subscribers to your catalogue of videos and additional content, and (hopefully) providing such high-value material you’ll hook them enough to ensure they pay for more.
You might also want to set-up your own online store as part of your site, offering a range of products related to your content. This could be souvenirs from places you’ve visited, workout clothes, certain utensils or tools – pretty much anything you feel your followers will be interested in.
Think Beyond Videos
While sites like YouTube do allow anyone to upload videos of themselves, no supporting material can be published alongside them. If you had a PDF or a selection of documents that provided deeper information, you’d have to add a link into your description, requiring viewers to leave the site – something they might not like to do, especially if they have security concerns.
Certain video-distribution platforms empower you with the ability to create a comprehensive hub for your viewers. Rather than simply having a list of videos on a generic channel, your site can become a complete range of content. If you produce a series of videos on Japanese cooking, for example, you could produce downloadable recipes from local chefs, eBooks on finding the best Japanese ingredients in other countries, and even a podcast interview with an expert on Japanese cuisine.
All of this helps to engage your viewers even more, bringing them deeper into the travelling experience at their own leisure. They can stream one of your videos in the morning before work, follow this up with a related podcast as they ride the train to work, and then browse through one of your eBooks on their lunch break.
Develop Your Unique Branding
Branding is key in a crowded market. You have to make yourself stand out and appear irresistible to anyone with even the most remote interest in the type of content you’ll cover.
- Take a look at Wanderlust TV and other travel-focused video sites, and explore their branding. What’s their logo like? How do they engage readers?
- Think about brands that you’re a fan of, or those inspire you. What can you learn from their tone of voice or choice of colours? Can you emulate either of these things, or anything else?
- Set up a dedicated social-media account on the major platforms – this is a must to reach new prospects, engage with followers, and spread the word of your brand.
- Study the social accounts for brands you want to emulate: how do they interact with followers, and are they making any mistakes you can avoid with your social account?
Not all video-distribution platforms will allow you to reinforce your own branding as well as they should. On YouTube, for example, while you can create your own page and add your own branding, you’re still part of that site, operating under its own iconic aesthetic. A white-label site allows you to personalize your presentation, and create a unique domain.
For example, Uscreen is a video-distribution platform that allows individuals, businesses, and organisations to set-up monetized videos and content with their own distinctive branding. Founded by PJ Taei in 2012, the platform powers more than 1,000 clients around the world, allowing anyone with a vision to carve a unique niche with a minimum of fuss.
Video is consistently growing, accounting for more and more video traffic, so it’s an ideal solution for travellers looking to connect with others and monetize their adventures. Again, focus on these areas:
- Establish your overall goal, and which aspects of the travel-world you want to explore
- Consider how you’ll add value to your videos and what viewers will get in exchange for their money
- Figure out which payment model works best for you and your target demographic, or whether you might be best simply offering as many as possible
- Look at the potential of setting-up an e-store: what products can you sell to customers beside your content, and are these likely to sell?
- Embrace social media and study the social behaviour of brands you want to emulate: what techniques do they use to engage with followers and encourage shares?
- Brainstorm ideas for a brand name, for a unique logo, and other aspects of branding. How can you attract newcomers and stand out? Again, look to the biggest names in travel-related sites for inspiration.
With enough brainstorming, research, and hard work, you can finance your travels and discoveries by sharing your experiences, helping to educate and inspire other people from around the world.