When it comes to social media, a loyal audience is arguably more important than a large one. Most often this is achieved by having an active presence on social networking sites, but the same level of detail should be applied to the media you’re sharing as well.

YouTube does a great job of helping small businesses and large brands create meaningful relationships with customers, and drive sales, through the use of video. Consistently creating compelling content can be a challenge, however.

The company’s Partner Program — which recently opened to all content creators — provides members with access to programs and resources that help ensure success on YouTube. This article will explain the benefits of its Partner Program and why you should consider enrolling.

Helps Increase Your Audience

Online videos aren’t limited to viral clips and branded commercials — there are several cost-effective ways you can make video work for you. As a YouTube Partner, you will have access to exclusive development programs, video equipment, and other tools that will help improve your production quality and distribution skills.

Partners also receive additional marketing tools — both on and off of YouTube — to help build a fan base. These include customized thumbnails and banners. Another advantage to being a YouTube partner is being able to add in-video links to external pages, such as your website, which can help to drive traffic.

It’s important to note that all of these custom features won’t be available right away; YouTube will make them available to new partners over time.

Helps Monetize Your Content

As a Partner, you’re also given the option to display ads on your videos and monetize your content. These ads include skippable and non-skippable pre-roll ads, display ads, and overlay in-video ads, which appear while individuals are watching your video.

If you choose to monetize your content, you’ll be eligible to earn money and receive payments. In order to do so, you must monetize at least one of your videos and associate AdSense — Google’s ad serving application — with your YouTube account. You’ll also need to reach your local AdSense payment threshold, which varies depending on your currency.

You will also have access to additional analytics about your earnings, including estimated earnings and ad performance based on playbacks and impressions. To monetize your videos, you will need to click the “$” icon or select “Monetize” from the Actions drop-down menu on each video.

How To Enroll

In most countries, YouTube no longer requires an application to become a Partner. Currently the program is available for members in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Getting started is quick and easy. All you have to do is enable your Channel for monetization by clicking the “Enable My Account” button under Account Settings. You’ll be asked to agree to YouTube’s Monetization Agreement before proceeding — which essentially states that you won’t click on your own ads or upload content that you don’t have the rights to.

If you prefer, you can also submit your information before enabling monetization by filling out an optional form. Or if you’re part of a nonprofit organization, you can learn more about YouTube’s Nonprofit Program.

If you’re serious about building up your YouTube presence, then it’s worth enabling this feature to see how the company’s resources can benefit your business.

[Image credits: YouTubeLeWeb11, NHS Confederation]