How To Start a YouTube Automation Channel: Step by Step Guide

Hey, have you heard all the hype about YouTube automation channels and how these "cash cow channels" are making people rich?

In this article I am going to break down for you how to set up a YouTube automation channel step by step, what the pros and cons are, and the different ways to monetize your channel.

How do I know how YouTube Automation channels are set up and why should you listen to me?

Well, not only have I created one of these channels myself but I did so by purchasing courses that teach YouTube Automation. I've applied what I learned to make my channel a success so I will pass that information on to you.

If you're not clear on what YouTube Automation is, check out my article here: YouTube Automation Explained – Everything You Need to Know

Let's dive right in...

5 Steps to Start a YouTube Automation Channel

Step #1 - Find a Niche

Your first step is to decide on a niche for your channel. You don't want to post a bunch of random videos on different topics.

There are two reasons for this. One, you don't want to confuse your viewers on what your channel is about and two, you want YouTube to understand what your channel is about so it can help rank you better in YouTube.

Here are some examples of the best niches for Automated channels:

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Happiness
  • Relationships
  • Travel
  • Technology

The reason why these niches are great for YouTube automated channels is because these niches consistently have videos being uploaded on a regular basis with hundreds of thousands of views. This is going to make it easier for you to create a thriving business because of this demand.

Another reason is due to the high CPM. CPM stands for "cost per mille" or "cost per impressions." This is the amount of money an advertiser will spend per 1000 impressions. You will get paid 55% of this.

For the niches I mentioned, it is typically higher. This means you're going to get paid more money compared to low CPM niches.

Even if you don't get a lot of views on your channel, you'll still make good money because of the high CPM.

On top of this, these niches have great alternative monetization opportunities as well. Even though you can create a thriving business on ad revenue alone, you could also incorporate affiliate marketing (selling other people's products) or sell your own products. If you do that successfully in these niches you could potentially make 10 times more!

Now, one thing you need to understand is that the categories I mentioned are very broad. I would recommend you start with a subcategory in one of the niches mentioned. 

For example, if you choose the health niche, you could make an automated channel in subcategories such as nutrition and healthy eating, fitness and exercise, mental health and wellness and so on.

Body Hub is an example of a sub-category within the health niche. 

This channel has over a million subscribers and the creator does not go on camera. They just use stock footage and some video editing. You could easily do the same.

How much money does this channel make? According to SocialBlade, they make a max of $8700 a month.

When a channel like this also incorporates an affiliate marketing strategy, it could easily be making $50,000 a month. 

Imagine making that kind of money each month, every month.

You don't need to be a fitness expert either. Just do some research, get inspiration from other similar channels and make your own.

What if none of these niches appeals to you? Can you do something else? Absolutely!

If you find a niche you are interested in, find some channels in that niche and see if there are at least 100,000 views per month on that channel. You can do this by checking the channel is SocialBlade and seeing what the total views for the last 30 days are.

Remember that finding a niche with a high CPM is a bonus, but it doesn't have to be your only choice. You can virtually do any niche as long as it is currently getting at least 100K views a month.

Now you know how to find a niche!

Step #2 - Generate Content For Your YouTube Automation Channel

There are 8 different ways you can generate content for your automated YouTube channel. Choose one of these that works best for you. I can guarantee that at least one of these methods is gonna get you excited. You can do this!

Method 1 - Using Stock Videos

You can find many free stock videos you can use on sites like Pixabay, Pexels, Videvo and more. You simply add these in your video, add some audio or text overlay and you're done!

If you run out of videos to use on the free sites, you can get a ton more with a subscription from sites like Storyblocks. For $30 a month, you can get access to unlimited video downloads which you can use on your channel.

I will talk about how to edit these videos later on in this tutorial.

Method 2 - Tutorials

Method 2 is doing online tutorials. Maybe you have a certain skill like you are great at Photoshop or maybe you know how to code. 

You can use free software like OBS to record your screen while you show how to do something on your computer which you can use in your videos.

Another great way to do tutorials without showing your face is to record your hands doing something like art, how-to videos on auto repair, etc. This YouTube channel is a great example of an art how-to channel. While this creator also shows his face, you don't have to.

Method 3 - Text on Screen

The third method you can use to create a YouTube automated channel is with simple text on a screen with quotes. I am sure you have seen these before where you're basically just watching a video that is simply a bunch of quotes - mostly for inspiration.

Now, I'm no legal expert, but let's unravel this a bit. Fair use is like a magical key when it comes to copyright. It says that if you transform something significantly from its original form, you're in the clear to use it.

So, when you play with quotes, make sure you're not just repeating them but reinventing them in your own style. Remember, in the realm of fair use, it's not just what you use, but how you use it that counts!

Below is a screenshot from a video from the "Quotes" YouTube channel which currently has over 1.2 million subscribers. People really do like this stuff as the numbers prove it!

Method 4 - Using Stock Photos Only

Imagine creating a successful automated YouTube channel just by using a few free stock images throughout the video. 

These channels are basically "story" channels where the main focus isn't imagery, but captivating the audience with real life stories. You can invite your audience to send you stories that can be read out, make up your own, (heck maybe even use ChatGPT to create stories for you) or find existing stories and get permission to use in your content.

Here is an example of a story channel using stock photos:

You can read these out yourself, hire someone else to do it for you or use an AI generated voice. The jury is still out on whether you can monetize a YouTube channel with AI generated voice, but I have found many channels that had no problems getting monetization with it.

Method 5 - Slide Shows

You can use Google Slides which is free to create video slide shows. 

A slide show video is a video that combines a series of still images in a sequential order to create a video-like experience. This format is particularly popular for various purposes such as personal, educational, or business type videos.

They are easy to make and you can do this for free. Just add a voice-over or use a text overlay.

Here is an example of a channel that uses slide shows only:

It focuses on biology and with a ton of information online in this subject you could easily create a channel like this yourself. Google Slides makes it pretty easy to make your own slides which is what the creator of this channel used. The video example above has just under 600,000 views as of this writing.  

Method 6 - Whiteboard Videos

Using software like Doodly or Videoscribe can help you create pretty awesome whiteboard videos. Whiteboard videos are animated videos where viewers watch drawn illustrations being created on a whiteboard in real time.

Typically, these videos are educational in nature but can also be used for marketing. I would suggest if you are going to create a channel like this make "how-to" type educational videos.

There are many examples of these and 2 Minute Classroom is an instructional animated YouTube channel that uses whiteboard animation to educate on biology, chemistry and math. You could choose your own topics of course. One of their videos has amassed an amazing 621,000 views.

Method 7 - MindMap Automated Videos

This strategy is similar to using whiteboard videos but here, you'll use a mindmap to explain something.

Here is an example:

The above image is a screenshot from this video.

A mindmap is a creative and effective way to organize and visualize ideas, concepts or information on a particular subject which can be put in a video. 

You'll need software to do this and you can get it from Xmind and it's just $5.99 a month.

Method 8 - Animation Videos

The final method to making automated YouTube videos is with animation. You can use a tool like Animaker to make animated videos starting at just $12.50 a month.

An example channel that uses this animation is Pencilimation which has a staggering 20 million subscribers. There are no "humans" in this channel, just some really great animation created by software which anyone can do.

If you're a creative individual, this could be a great option for your automated channel.

So there you have it - 8 different video content methods on how you can create an automated YouTube channel just like other successful channels. Choose which method appeals to you the most. For most of these, you can create videos for free, while others may require a paid subscription for software.

I left you the links to that software but you are free to choose others that might work for you. The good news is that the software is very affordable.

Step #3 - Getting Your Videos to go Viral on Your YouTube Automation Channel

In this next step I am going to teach you how to help your videos go viral. Having just one video go viral can really help your channel grow exponentially.

I've learned quite a few strategies from the many YouTube courses I bought so I will pass that info on to you here.

1. Group Similar Metadata in Each Video

Metadata is a grouping of keywords that tells YouTube what your videos are all about. This will include your video's title, description, and tags.

When you first upload a bunch of videos to YouTube, they will be shown to a sample of random people to basically test how it is performing. 

This is something that you don't want because it could be shown to the wrong people and it could take months if not years for your channel to take off.

To get around this, you should be using similar tags in EVERY video you upload. What this does is that when someone watches one of your videos, another one of your videos should also pop up in suggested videos. 

If after they watch one of your videos and then watch another one that popped up in the suggested feed, this is actually one of the most powerful things in the YouTube algorithm which is great for your channel. This is what is referred to as "Session Time".

YouTube wants people to stay on YouTube and if people stay on YouTube by watching MORE of your videos, that's a very good signal and you'll be rewarded by having more people watch your videos.

2. Use YouTube Keyword Tools

Another strategy to help you go viral is by using keyword tools like VidIQ or TubeBuddy. I personally prefer VIDIQ as I had more success with it but don't let that stop you from experimenting with both. These automation tools are quite cheap just starting at $5 and $6 a month respectively.

So now that you have the tools (future you) how do you use them? You use them by finding keywords that have a high search volume but low competition. 

When you use these keywords in combination with the metadata I told you about above, this can truly be a recipe for going viral.

Keep in mind your videos need to be good too, as there really isn't a single factor that makes a viral video, it encompasses a number of things as I mentioned.

3. Use Your Competition For Your Benefit

If you think that going viral on YouTube means making a video that no one has ever done before, you'd be dead wrong.

You might not know this, but having a healthy amount of competition (with you) is actually a good thing.

This is because if there are tons of videos within a certain category, this means a lot of opportunity for your videos to get in those feeds as suggested videos. This means you are going to siphon off a lot of views from other videos because they are helping your videos to get suggested.

Makes sense right?

You can use your competitors' video ideas to come up with something similar but never copy. Recreate what's worked before in a better way using your own spin. 

A good strategy is to have half of your video ideas from popular videos and half from keyword research.

Step #4 - How to Monetize Your YouTube Automation Channel

For a YouTube automation channel, you should stick to these 4 different ways to monetize it. 

  • Ad Revenue (YouTube Partner Program)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Sell your own digital products
  • Sponsorships

Let's break this down...

1. Ad Revenue (YouTube Partner Program)

This will be the most common way to monetize your channel but it is something you will need to work towards.

The way YouTubers make money through ad revenue is that once they get 4000 hours of watch time and 1000 subscribers, they can join the YouTube Partner Program. 

You get paid per 1000 views. I touched upon this earlier where some niches will have a higher CPM than others. Some channels can make just a few dollars per 1000 views while others can make up to $50 per thousand views.

This is why it's good to choose a high CPM niche because you'll make more money, faster. But as I also mentioned, if you can't find a high CPM niche you like, you can still make money in other niches so don't let that stop you.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is my favorite way to make money online. If you're not using this strategy on your automation channel you are leaving money on the table.

Affiliate marketing is where you promote other people's products and if you generate a sale, you'll earn a commission. 

There's usually an affiliate product available for almost any niche. When you start planning your channel and looking for a niche, it might be a good idea to also see what products you can find. If you are looking for info-products, a good place to start is Clickbank or Digistore24

You can even promote physical products if it's better suited for your niche. Amazon Associates is a good option for that.

It doesn't cost anything to join an affiliate program, you'll likely just need a Paypal account but some can pay you with bank wire or other means.

To promote affiliate products, you simply mention it in your video and put the link in the description box below. Many YouTubers make a LOT more money with affiliate products over ads so don't ignore this!

3. Sell Your Own Digital Products

Digital products would be things like an online course, an ebook or even software. You can sell them on platforms like Clickbank or Kajabi.

Creating a course isn't as hard as you think. Platforms like Thrive Suite allow you to easily build one in Wordpress. 

All you need to do is make a bunch of instructional videos teaching people in a step-by-step manner and upload them to the platform. 

People pay a lot of money for these courses because it's valuable to them. Free information isn't always the best and if you've got something to offer, it can be very valuable and make you a lot of money.

4. Sponsorships

When your channel gets big enough, you might get approached from companies offering you a sponsorship deal. This is where they will pay you money to mention one of their products in your videos.

Most likely you have seen this before in videos you have watched. Personally, I find sponsorships annoying and I just fast forward through them. But, as a creator, this can be very lucrative and it's something that you should consider ONLY if it's a good fit.

Things to Avoid on Your Automated Channel

Merchandise and memberships don't really do well with Automated YouTube channels. This is because merch and memberships are usually bought from channels that are branded, meaning there is a "face" to the channel that viewers form a sort of personal connection with.

Since you are creating a channel that's faceless, you can't brand yourself. Selling merch and memberships will be difficult without a personal connection so I would stay away from these and don't waste your time. Stick with the monetization strategies I mentioned above.

Step #5 - Keep Producing Content

This last step is an obvious one, but in order for your channel to thrive you have to keep producing high-quality videos for your target audience. Having a stagnant channel isn't good for both your audience and YouTube. YouTube will reward you if you keep producing content. Try for at least 2 videos a week, the more the better.

Focus on quality though, don't just throw up half-assed videos to meet some kind of quota. Mediocre videos won't do well.

Video Editors - Free and Paid Software

Automated channels rely heavily on video editing because you are not going to be filming anything with your camera.

Video editing is a skill that might take some time to develop, but there is so much help out there on YouTube how to use almost any video editor whether it's free or paid.

You can choose between a free video editor or a paid one. Note that most free video editors will include a watermark which is kinda cheesy, but heck, it's a great option for those that don't want to spend ANY money at all.

Free Video Editors:


HitFilm is a great option for editing your automated videos. It has a bit of a learning curve but has a lot more options than the next one I am going to mention. If you don't mind learning, just get HitFilm.


Openshot is a very simple and easy to understand video editor. And of course, it's free. It's a lot simpler to use than Hitfilm so if you don't want to spend much time learning the software, get this one.

Paid Video Editors

I personally use both Camtasia and Power Director. Power Director is cheaper at $139.99 a year and Camtasia at $179.88 a year.

Both of these are quite similar with minimal differences and are the great choices for your automated vided editing.

Other paid options include Sony Vegas, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro.

The Pros and Cons of Starting a YouTube Automation Channel

he pros vastly outweigh the cons of starting an automated YouTube channel so let's start with the pros:

You Don't Need to Show Your Face

This is the biggest and most obvious benefit of an automated channel. You don't need to go on camera. Although depending on your content you may need to narrate your videos, but you could even get someone else to do this if you don't want to.

Passive Income Potential

Automated videos can make you money while you sleep. Through ads, affiliate marketing, course sales or selling your own products, the income wheel never stops as long as you keep adding fresh videos to your channel. Even older videos keep making money as people discover them.

Low Overhead

Starting an automated YouTube channel is one of the best businesses anyone can do - especially if you are on a tight budget. You really don't need to invest any money at all except for a keyword too, and I suggested a couple of them above.

Your only other expense should be a course, which will get into a LOT more detail and also provide you with support through a community. 

Unlimited Scalability

The amount of videos and channels you can create is endless. If you have success in a great niche, why not start another channel in that niche? Or, maybe experiment with other niches. All of this can be done for free.

Work Remotely

You can work anywhere in the world with your YouTube automated channel business. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. 

Age Doesn't Matter

Whether you are young or old - that's not going to matter. You aren't revealing your identity so no one is going to know the creator of the channel. Many teens are having success as well as much older people. 

Now for some cons. I had to think hard about this one.

It Can Take Time to Reach Success

You aren't going to have success overnight. I think if you stick to it, I believe that within 3 months you could already start generating an income whether you have been able to get your channel monetized or sold an affiliate product.

I know of some people who make money with affiliate marketing in their first week of starting an automated YouTube channel.

Risk of Violating Platform Guidelines

Because you will be using existing content whether it's in the form of videos, photos, quotes, etc., you need to ensure that you aren't violating any guidelines on the YouTube platform. You will need to have a good understanding of "fair use" and how you can apply it to your channel. I mentioned this earlier so scroll up if you missed it.

Key Terms to Know

I mentioned a few key terms like CPM and session time but what are the other key terms you need to know and understand for your YouTube automated channel?

  • CPM - As mentioned already, this is the cost per 1000 impressions that an advertiser will pay when ads are viewed on your channel. You get paid 55% of what the advertiser spends.
  • RPM - Revenue per Mille - This is the amount of money you will make from advertisers when they pay per 1,000 ad impressions on your video.
  • Watch Time - The total duration that viewers have spent watching your videos. It's a critical factor in YouTube's recommendation algorithm.
  • Engagement Rate - Measures how viewers interact with your videos through likes, comments, shares, and dislikes. High engagement can positively influence your video's reach.
  • Tags: Keywords or phrases added to your video that help YouTube understand the content and context, affecting its visibility in search results.
  • Algorithm: The system YouTube uses to recommend videos to viewers, based on factors like relevance, popularity, viewer behavior, and more.

Although there are other YouTube terms to know, these are the most important ones to know for an automated channel. 

Should You Outsource or Do The Work Yourself?

YouTube Automation channels can either be outsourced or created 100% by you.

This will depend on two factors such as time and budget.

  • If you have the time and a low budget - do it yourself.
  • If you have no time and a good budget - you can 100% outsource
  • If you have time and a budget, you can outsource part of the work

Outsourcing would include things such as video editing, keyword research, voice narration, etc.

In my opinion, it's best to start by doing everything yourself so you really understand the business. You can outsource later after you start making money if that's what you desire. Everyone will be different.

Wrapping This Up

So there you have it. You should now be well on your way to creating your own YouTube automated channel. You have been armed with enough information to have a better chance of succeeding than anyone else who has not read this article.

Need some ideas? Check out my article on faceless copy and paste YouTube channel ideas.

What I suggest as a next step is to watch this free training from a YouTuber who runs 9 different automation channels. He makes over 30K a month with these and never has to show his face - pretty impressive. 

I bought his course and you can read my Tube Mastery and Monetization review here.

This is one of the best courses out there for building an automated channel and if belonging to an active community of other "automation YouTubers" interests you, then it would be the next great step for you.

Whether you get further training or not, bear in mind that you can do this. The key is persistence which will pay off in the end.

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Drew Mann

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