Minnesota Farmer Turned Influencer to Earn 5X More from YouTube Than Farming

YouTube channel earns a millennial farmer Zach Johnson five times more than his farm.

The social media business is not all about beauty, travel, and cooking. A 34-year-old farmer from Minnesota, Zach Johnson, runs a popular YouTube channel with over 400,000 subscribers waiting for his stories about daily life on the farm.

He made his first video about the ups and downs of farming in Minnesota in April 2016. However, the success came only in the fall of 2017 when his “Gearing up for Harvest!” video went viral and gathered 100,000 views in a matter of three days.

“I think people were excited to see the combines and see what we were doing as we got close to harvest. Big machines always bring views,” Johnson said, explaining the success in the interview with CNBC’s Make It.

Having realized that people are interested in what he was doing, Johnson signed up his YouTube channel for a Google Adsense account, which allowed him to earn money from the advertisements displayed within his video clips.

His first viral video brought him $92, and it was like easy money for him

“At the time, I thought $92 was unbelievable just for filming myself on the farm and talking about what I was doing,” he confessed.

Now Johnson, his wife and business partner, Becky, make videos, participate in public events and farm tours, sell merchandise, and record “Off The Husk” podcast, sponsored by Farmers Business Network.

While Johnson refused to tell the exact amount he is making off his social media business but told ‘CNBC Make It’ that this year, the MN Millennial Farmer brand will bring him at least five times more than his actual farming activities.

The largest chunk of profits comes from YouTube ads and sponsored content or brand deals, including paid product endorsements within a video’s content.

Currently, Johnson’s channel has over 70 million views in total. He attracts brands and sponsors due to incredibly high engagement, explains Joe Gagliese, the co-founder of a global influencer marketing and talent agency, Viral Nation.

“There are some YouTubers who have three million followers who get fewer views than he does on his videos, which tells us this is someone who has an extremely engaged audience that’s super into his content,” the expert explained.

Also, unlike fitness or jokes channels, MN Millennial Farmer has little competition, which increases his value and attracts brands and sponsors.  Most advertisers come to the farmer directly, and he and his wife decide what they can do based on their time availability.

“He’s a beautiful example of what influencers should be. He’s super organic, people love his content,” Gagliese says. “I think any time you give people access to a world that they would never be partial to, I think it’s interesting and stimulating to people.”

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Written by Tanya


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