Utahns making millions on YouTube

Published: Wednesday, March 13 2013 4:55 p.m. MDT

"I realized with YouTube that it made it so you became your own boss and you had your own studio so you didn't have a lot of pressure. The only person you have to report back to is your fans," Graham said. "I think it's definitely like the best of every world."

Inspiration for a video is not a problem for Graham, who grew up making snowboarding and extreme sports videos with his friends.

"I just film things that I would just absolutely love to film anyway," Graham said. "If you are doing something on YouTube, you are working non-stop, so it definitely has to be something you're passionate about."

Since Graham took to YouTube, he's been financially stable. He said there are three major ways by which he makes income. The most obvious is the Google ads on each video — the more they’re watched, the more he's paid. Graham said companies contact him to either purchase his video footage for commercials, or for their product to be featured in his videos, such as the Rocky Mountain Fly boards that were used in his water jet pack video.

Graham recently worked on a Red Bull commercial, and Dr Pepper purchased some of his content for commercial use.

Orabrush: Harmon didn't look into YouTube until Orabrush inventor Robert Wagstaff turned to some marketing students at BYU as a last resort. Harmon produced the first YouTube video for the company, and it went viral.

"Viral is good," Harmon said. "We like videos to go viral, but that's not where we focus."

Successful YouTubers learn quickly that establishing a fan base is one of the most important elements. Then, if you are an advertising company on YouTube, your pursuits change slightly.

"Our goal is to go for conversion," Harmon said. "We want to be relevant and we want to convert. So if somebody sees our video, it may not be the video that they picked to watch, but it's interesting enough that they keep watching and by the time they finish watching they are sold."

Harmon has learned that providing engaging content is most important for a video, especially if your video is a type of advertisement.

"As soon as you are a brand, you have a huge disadvantage," Harmon said. "People don't like to be a free advertiser for a company; you have to earn it."

Once you've earned it, however, you're in. Since the YouTube videos launched, Orabrush has grown exponentially, while also inspiring students who have worked for the company.

Stuart Edgington is now known in the YouTube world for having created several kissing videos, such as the Mistletoe and Spider-man videos. Edgington's channel, Stuart Edge, also created a video about bad breath, which was sponsored by Orabrush.

LindseyStomp: Lindsey Stirling was a BYU student who wanted to be on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show." She was a classic violinist who also loved to dance. Her talent was so unique that she performed on "America's Got Talent" and was a quarterfinalist.

But things didn't fall into place until she teamed up with Graham and turned to YouTube.

"I tried many different things to have my ‘break’ but I just started putting videos on YouTube and that was actually what made all the difference in the world for me was slowly gaining my own fan base after I'd been told 'no' by everybody else," Stirling said on "Larry King Now."

Graham was the filmmaker behind the beginning of Stirling's artistic viral videos. When discussing Stirling's and Graham's success, Harmon offered some numbers.

"For these guys, it's really like they own their own cable television shows," Harmon said. "A good cable TV show normally has around 400,000 subscribers — they have so many viewers per day and that's exactly what YouTubers are doing."

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