In this guide, I’m going to show you how to get 4,000 watch hours on YouTube.
Since I began my journey on YouTube, I’ve accumulated 200,000 watch hours.
And if I was able to do it with my cringe-worthy videos, then you can too.
So the first question is:
How Long Does It Take to Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube?
It takes one year to get 4,000 watch hours (240,000 minutes) if you maintain 20,000 minutes of watch time per month. Your watch time is divided across your entire YouTube channel. So you can achieve 4,000 watch hours with a few great videos.
But why is the 4,000 watch-hour mark so important for YouTubers?
According to YouTube, you need 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to access the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
Once you reach that threshold, you can apply for the YPP. Then you can start showing ads on your videos if you’re approved.
Now you’ll need lots of subscribers and views to make a full-time income from YouTube ad revenue. However, it’s an excellent supplementary source of revenue.
For example, I’ve made $35,649 from ads since getting monetized.
That equates to about $742 per month or $24 per day. The best part is that it’s a 100% passive form of revenue. You get paid every time someone watches one of your videos.
It’s not a massive amount of money.
It’s dead last as far as revenue sources in my company.
But it’s “passive,” which it’s pretty awesome.
Now the truth is: There is no such thing as passive income. You still need to produce quality videos consistently.
Otherwise, your audience will lose interest, your engagement will drop, your views will drop, and ultimately, your ad revenue will fall.
There’s nothing passive about the work you have to do to maintain and continue to grow on YouTube.
Now I want to let you in on a little secret:
The real reason why you should aim for 4,000 watch hours isn’t just for ad revenue. You should do it because you’re building an engaged audience.
As Grant Cardone often says, “money follows attention.”
So remember when I said YouTube ad revenue is a small part of my company’s revenue? That’s true.
However, YouTube traffic is now my third biggest source of revenue for my training course, Gotch SEO Academy.
So with that out of the way, here is a 7-step process to reach 4,000 watch hours on YouTube:
1. Find PROVEN topics
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead: you can find proven content ideas and then put your twist on them. Here’s how:
Go to YouTube and enter a keyword related to your industry. In this example, I’ll use “fashion.”
Take note of the topics that have produced lots of views. Now open a few of the channels.
If the channel has a lot of subscribers (> 30,000), then click on the “Videos” tab.
Then sort the videos by “Most Popular” to find topics that are proven to work:
Repeat this process for every channel in your industry until you’ve built a nice database of topics.
2. Qualify (and Prioritize) Your Topics
You need to be strategic with what types of videos you create if you have a new channel. If your channel is established, then you can target more competitive topics. There are a few ways to qualify topics, but VidIQ will do most of the work:
Step #1: Download VidIQ
Step #2: Go to YouTube and search for the topic you’re interested in.
VidIQ will show you a “Score” for the topic.
Ideally, you should only target topics with a high score. A high score is when the topic has a substantial search volume but low competition.
I recommend adding the score next to each keyword in your database. Then you prioritize your topics by score.
3. Develop Your Strategy
At this point, you should have selected a keyword target. Now you need to develop a video strategy.
Here are a few questions to ask when developing your strategy:
How long should your video be?
Examine the top 10 videos for your topic and create an average. You should then aim to exceed the average length.
What are some commonalities and differences among the top videos?
I recommend watching the top 5-10 videos and taking notes.
- What do you like?
- What do you dislike?
- What are some unique things they’re doing in their videos that you can incorporate into your videos?
This is the most critical part. Dedicate time to studying their videos because that’s the first step to beating them.
What’s your title?
Did you know that 80% of Internet users don’t read past the headline? That principle applies to YouTube as well.
If your headline (title) doesn’t drive any curiosity, it won’t do well on YouTube.
You need users to click through on your video. And your title is a big piece to that puzzle (along with your thumbnail).
I recommend writing out at least ten different headlines. Then, run each headline through the AMInstitute headline tool.
There are many frameworks for producing curiosity-driven headlines. However, the ones that tend to do the best include numbers.
What will you need to produce the video?
Not all videos are created equal. Some require big budgets, while others will only need your phone.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you use to produce your videos. What matters is the quality of the content you’re providing in your video.
Ensure the audio and video are at least at the level of your competitors, and you’ll do just fine.
What’s your deadline?
Deadlines make projects real. Set a deadline and stick to it.
4. Create the Video
I have a simple process for creating videos that you can steal:
Script out the entire video
I know. Some people hate this idea because they’re afraid of being robotic.
However, most people go off the rails if they don’t follow a script.
Scripts keep your videos efficient and easy to consume. The goal isn’t to waste the viewer’s time.
You want to give them the information they need in the fastest time possible. A script is that solution.
I recommend including some of these key elements in your script:
- Mention your target keyword in the first line and last line of the video.
- Use open loops at the beginning of the video. An example of an “open-loop” is when I say, “Make sure you read this entire guide because tip #6 is fundamental to your success on YouTube.”
- Insert pattern interrupts (like I did above).
Did you know that video editing experts recommend changing shots every 3-10 seconds?
Watch any TV commercial. Notice how frequently the shots change. You should do the same.
It’s super hard to keep people’s attention, so you need to use every tool at your disposal.
Watch this video under tip #6 to see pattern interrupts in action.
Record your video
If you’re doing a talking-head video, you’ll need a teleprompter. Now just turn the camera on and record.
If it’s your first time, it’s going to feel like hell. That’s okay. It gets easier.
Just remember that no one is watching you.
That camera is no different than speaking to a wall. It has no emotions and no judgment.
So that means you have permission to be yourself without any consequences. The cool part is that YouTube users like people who are themselves.
So, hit record, be yourself, and add value.
Edit your video
You can do it for free with iMovie or a paid editing software like Premiere Pro. You can also hire a video editor on Upwork.
5. Optimize Your Video
Before you upload your video, you need to optimize it. I recommend including your target keyword in the filename. Now upload your video, and it’s time to optimize it for YouTube’s organic search.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Include the keyword in the title and first sentence of your description.
- Write an in-depth description. Aim for > 100 words for your description. Make sure to include variations of your primary keyword as well.
- Include your keyword in your tags. VidIQ will give you tag recommendations based on the topic.
I also recommend looking through the top videos for your keywords. Copy the tags they’re using.
Add an end screen. You should always try to get users to watch more of your videos.
This will quickly grow your watch time.
6. Promote Your Video
What I just showed you is about 50% of the process. The other 50% of the process is to promote your video.
Here are a few quick tips:
Leverage your email list.
Your email list is the most valuable asset for growing ANY channel—especially YouTube. If you don’t have an email list, I HIGHLY recommend you start building one. It is the most crucial marketing channel online (in my opinion).
Leave thoughtful comments on other channels in your industry.
Take note of when popular channels publish in your industry. Then, be there to drop an intelligent comment on every new video.
This will help you build a relationship with the creator. And it will also help drive users to your channel.
I showed you a simple process for creating an awesome YouTube video.
But here’s the deal: creating one video isn’t enough.
There’s a high probability that your first video won’t do well. That’s why you need to stay the course and keep publishing.
You will get to 4,000 watch hours as long as you keep producing.
The key to reaching 4,000 watch hours on YouTube is to GET STARTED. Then, it’s to keep producing valuable content.
P.S. One way to accelerate your growth is to use a tool like Tubebuddy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Using a “watch time booster” for YouTube videos is not advisable. YouTube’s algorithm heavily relies on engagement, watch time, and the overall user experience. Therefore, any attempts to artificially boost a video’s watch time, such as using bots or click farms, is against YouTube’s terms of service and can result in penalties or even the termination of your account. Additionally, these tactics may give you a low view retention rate and may not benefit your channel’s growth.