The question of do YouTubers charge for collabs is one that be answered very simply or in great detail. In the interests of getting to the point; do YouTubers charge for collabs? Yes. It definitely happens. In the interests of answering the question more accurately, however, it should be noted that not all YouTubers charge for collabs, and the true answer to the question is “it depends”.
Like a good deal of behaviour on YouTube, paying for collabs happens. It even happens with enough regularity that there are services dedicated to helping small YouTubers find relevant larger YouTubers who, for a little cash, will do a collab with them.
Like some kind of dating website only with a much stronger scent of capitalism. That being said, it does not automatically follow that if you want to do a collab with a YouTuber, you will have to pay them.
Every YouTuber is different, and you may find that the YouTuber you are considering approaching will not do collabs under any circumstances (or will not do a collab with you under any circumstances), or that they will happily do a collab for free, or anything in between. The spectrum of expectation is broad enough that we can confidently say for any expected response, there is a YouTuber out there who will respond that way.
So, if you’re interested in learning more, let’s dive a little deeper!
What are “Collabs”?
Short for collaboration, a collab is the name given to the process when multiple YouTubers team up to make a video—or series of videos—together. This can be for no other reason than content creators liking each other and wanting to work together, but it often has more practical connotations. We’ll get into some of the more common reasons why collabs happen in the next section, but first…
Examples of Collab Videos
Let’s take a look at some types of collab videos you might encounter on YouTube, or that you might look to create yourself.
General Team Up
This is the most common type of collab you might come across, and it is one that spans many different genres and niches. In this type of collab, two or more come together to do something all at once.
It could be play a multiplayer video game, play a musical number, take on a DIY project, or really anything where all the participants can come together to make the video with each other.
In this type of collab, two channels with the same or similar niches will team partner up, but each make their own videos. The idea here is that each participant of the collab will tackle a different part of the subject of matter, and all the videos that are part of the collab will be plugged by the other videos.
This could be educational content where two YouTubers each tackle different but complimentary topics, or a construction project where each participant handles a different part of the job.
Another popular type of collab is the challenge collab, where the participants face off against each other to do a specific thing. For game development YouTube, this could be something like “make a game in 24 hours”. For music YouTube, it might be something similar like “make a song in 2 hours”.
Why Do YouTubers Collab?
There are several reasons why a YouTuber might choose to do a collab, and, surprisingly, they do not have anything to with money most of the time. It is often the case that the reasons for doing the collab are different for each participant, so let’s take a look at those reasons.
The single biggest reasons a smaller YouTuber would want to collab with a larger YouTuber is the exposure they will gain. Having their channel put in front of the eyes of a much bigger audience can provide a significant boost to their channel’s growth, as long their content is good, of course.
Naturally, this reason for collabing is a one way street in that the bigger YouTuber will not gain much—if any—exposure from appearing with the smaller YouTuber. That does not mean there is nothing in it at all for the larger YouTuber, however.
The biggest benefit a bigger YouTuber will get out of doing a collab with a smaller YouTuber is the positive PR from being seen helping out smaller YouTubers. YouTubers who are happy to help the little guys, so to speak, are often more liked among viewers, and YouTubers with loyal audiences have a much better chance of being around for a long time to come.
It’s worth noting that just because there is the potential for good PR from a collab, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s why the bigger YouTuber is doing it. Some big YouTubers are genuinely just nice people, and are happy to help out the little guys regardless of whether there is anything in it for them.
You often see YouTubers collabing with other YouTubers of a similar stature to themselves, but there is no rule that says YouTubers can only fraternise with similarly-sized YouTubers.
If YouTubers are friends, they might decide to collab just for the opportunity to work together, regardless of whether any or all of them get anything out of it.
A Good Cause
It has been known for YouTubers to come together to collab on something just because they believe in the thing they are collabing about.
This might be something noble, like planting trees, or something like preventing a faceless corporation from taking the top spot on YouTubers most-subscribed list.
And finally we get to the reason that spawned this post in the first places. We don’t have any numbers on the amount of YouTube collabs that go on where money exchanges hands, but anecdotally, it doesn’t appear to be anywhere near a majority.
Still, it happens enough that entire services have appeared to facilitate these transactions, helping smaller YouTubers find a suitable larger YouTuber to propose a collab with, and enabling that larger YouTuber to get paid for it.
The Ethics of Paid Collaborations
The ethical side of this topic is very much a grey area due to the subjective nature of whether you think it is acceptable. We’re not going to pass judgement here, because this blog is about growing and succeeding on YouTube, and paying for collabs is one tool you can use to achieve those goals.
What we will say is that, even the general consensus was that paid collabs are morally questionable, they do not break any of YouTube’s terms of service, and they do not negatively affect other channels, so any argument against them would be one of preference.
Tips for Collabing
To finish off the post, we thought we’d cover a few tips to help you on your way to your next collab video.
Try to be Realistic
There is an argument to be made that you should aim high, and that is certainly one strategy to achieve success. This piece of advice is more for your own mental well-being than it is to do with any external factors.
Sure, if you have a channel with 2,000 subscribers and you propose a collab with a channel that has 12 million subscribers, you’ll probably get ignored—or at least turned down. But this rejection in and of itself is not damaging (unless you keep trying with the same YouTuber but more on that shortly), it is the effect on your state of mind from being repeatedly told no that we are warning against.
No Means No
If you do decide to reach for the stars when looking for a collab—or for any collab, for that matter—don’t be the person that refuses to take no for an answer.
You may not agree with another YouTuber’s reason for not collabing with you. Maybe you were ignored or brushed off without a reason.
The important thing to remember is that no matter how rude or mistaken you think they might have been, it’s their channel, and they get to decide what they do with it.
Work on Your Tone
There is a balance to strike when approaching a YouTuber for a collab, and it is somewhere between being too desperate and being too cocky. If you sound overly needy, you could put the YouTuber off before they even get started. Similarly, if you come off very cocky and full of yourself—especially if you’re the smaller YouTuber—you won’t make a very good impression on them.
When it comes to finding a YouTuber to collab with, size isn’t everything. The idea of collabing with a bigger YouTuber is to get exposure, but if the people you are being exposed to are not interested in the type of content you make, you are not likely to pick up many new viewers from the collab. For the most part, the bigger channel will likely moderate this themselves, since they will probably be more experienced with this kind of thing. But it doesn’t hurt to make sure you get experienced as well!
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
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