When YouTubers talk, people listen. And they don’t have to carry a big stick.
Over 2 billion users log in to consume content on the Google-owned online video platform every month.
In the United States alone, 74% of adults use YouTube. It reaches audiences across all age groups, with about 80% of parents saying that their kids under 11 years old watch YouTube.
Did you dream of becoming an astronaut someday when you were a kid?
That seems to be a random question, but the popularity of vloggers has reached the level where they can influence younger generations today on what they want to be when they grow up.
About 29% of kids aged eight to 12 want to be YouTubers. 54% of Americans between 13 and 38 years old want to be influencers of some sort.
It’s perhaps not surprising for people to aspire to become a YouTuber with the fortunes they make and the popularity they enjoy.
Looking at the bigger picture, there are valuable content marketing lessons we can learn from the highest-paid YouTubers shaping how the world consumes online content.
What Top-Earning YouTube Stars can Teach Us About Content Marketing
In the most recent Forbes’ list of the highest-paid YouTube stars, the numbers are mind-blowing.
The major stars of YouTube have 76.77 billion combined views. They have more than 503 million subscribers who helped their combined bank accounts explode by around $211 million between June 2019 and June 2020.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the rest of the media world suffering ad revenue nosedive across the board, these top influencers were able to grow their earnings by 30%. This clearly shows how they can find ways to thrive even during the most challenging situations.
Below are some of the most valuable lessons we can learn as content marketers from the biggest YouTube stars:
1. Find a Void and Fill That Void for the Right Reasons
Kids who don't know how to spell yet are already familiar with YouTube’s biggest clown-like version of Mr. Rogers.
The brightly-dressed character who earned $17 million on YouTube last year is Stevin John in real life.
He launched his YouTube channel in 2014 after realizing that there was a lack of educational content for kids on YouTube.
Just like the other top earners, Blippi’s success did not come overnight. It was a product of careful planning and hard work. He used his experience as a film industry worker, marketing professional, and real estate investor. John engineered his success by studying how to properly name the character, wearing the blue and orange attire, and creating videos kids would love.
Blippi teaches his 27.4 million subscribers about colors, shapes, excavators and other construction equipment, and a multitude of children's songs.
Because of his success on YouTube, other streaming services such as Amazon and Hulu now offer his videos.
During interviews, he often shares that he’s not focused on earning money for what he does — he concentrates on creating great content for kids. ❤
2. Pick a Niche and Dominate
When you search for the term “trickshots” on YouTube, you will see how Dude Perfect dominates the results.
Dude Perfect is a team of five brothers Coby Cotton, Corry Cotton, Cody Jones, Garret Hilber, and Tyler Toney. Don’t think too deeply about the purpose and meaning of their videos because they’re just meant to make your jaws drop and make you click that share button.
The Dude Perfect team has given the internet every possible creative trickshot you can think of. And they have 2.77 billion views last year to prove that the world is happy with what they are doing. It’s for pure entertainment that now has celebrities, Guinness World Records, and a good dose of merchandise involved.
With the trickshots niche dominated, Dude Perfect started expanding their horizons but still focuses on how to be the ultimate dude.
Just like Dude Perfect, YouTuber Mark Fischbach, a.k.a. Markiplier, who garnered 3.1 billion views and earned $19.5 million last year, suggests that you should connect deeply with your audience. The video game-centric channel of Mark Fischbach stayed focused on his core genre. When you diversify, stay true to your identity and don’t deviate from what your followers are used to.
3. Create a World of New Experiences for Your Audience
Ryan Kaji of Ryan's World is nine years old and on top of the Forbes’ list of top earners on YouTube earned $29.5 last year.
Another kid at #7 is Nastya, Anastasia Radsinzkaya in real life, who raked in 39 billion views and $18.5 million in earnings.
Sidenote: my six-year-old girl loves Nastya. 😏
These young, successful YouTubers work with their families in dominating the charts. Both created their own universes for their audience where they show their genuine personalities.
Ryan started his unboxing and toy reviews channel in 2015 Ryan’s Toy Review, and it later evolved into Ryan’s World.
Kids are glued for videos about huge egg surprise toys, reviews of new toys hitting the market, different games, among others.
Nastya, meanwhile, uses the simplest of language that makes kids around the world love her channel.
Her videos feature Nastya and her dad doing household chores, explaining interesting topics to kids, and playing Legos.
4. Stand Out from the Crowd and Help Change Lives
More popularly known as Mr. Beast, Jimmy Donaldson has more than 60 million subscribers as of this writing. He earned $24 million and is considered the newest big YouTube star on the block.
With Mr. Beast, it’s all about spectacle. He is considered a pioneer. He sets challenges and splashes cash on fans, friends, and strangers.
Give away a house? Check.
Game of tag for $100,000? Check.
Spending 50 hours buried alive? Check.
He does unbelievable things, and his success is incredible.
Mr. Beast has perfected the challenges genre that every video he uploads fascinates viewers. Each of his videos uploaded in the last two years has earned at least 10 million hits. To produce these extreme videos, Mr. Beast reinvests his earnings into his YouTube channels.
Aside from the shock value, Mr. Beast offers, the viral content creator enjoys doing good things. He regularly donates to food banks, helps plant trees, and supports meaningful causes.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Controversial, While Remaining Relatable
Trying to earn the attention of viewers, followers, and potential customers?
You could benefit from a good dose of controversy.
This is perhaps the most significant lesson YouTuber and “makeup magician” Jeffree Star can teach us.
Jeffree bloomed into celebrity status during their MySpace days in the early 2000s. Concurrent with their popularity on MySpace, they also brought a larger-than-life personality to YouTube. By 2014, their YouTube channel contained a handful of music videos but switched it up to promote their own cosmetics line. Last year, they earned $15 million on the platform and reportedly sold a million eye shadow palettes in just half an hour.
Despite a beef with fellow cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner, falling out with their best friend of 10 years Kat Von D, and feuds with other artists, Jeffree was able to balance the controversies by being always relatable to the audience.
Controversial marketing can either be a potion for success or a poison that can lead to your downfall. Jeffree used a bold personality, posted high-quality videos that people can relate to, i.e. makeup tutorials, and took big moves like getting lip injections.
His collaborations with other artists gave his followers an insiders’ perspective of how they develop his cosmetics line, which has developed a cult following.
Is There a Formula in Building the Next Viral Empire?
Success requires a strategy and consistent steps to get there.
If you want to get a share of the would-be $600 billion worth content marketing industry, you need to be patient.
You have to work your way up and grow your authority along the road.
Planning to use videos to help build your brand? You have to figure out a strategy.
Planning to start a content business? Anything great in life requires a strategy.
Psst… talking of YouTube, I've got a YouTube video for you on that topic!
Learn from today's prominent YouTube earners. Some of them might have started on their own filming their videos and posting them online, but as they grew bigger, their brands evolved with production teams and strategic collaborations.
While you’re figuring out how you’ll get the views, I’ll leave you with a dose of advice that can motivate you through your journey:
Slow and steady wins in building a business, not fast nor flashy.— Julia McCoy (@JuliaEMcCoy) April 7, 2021
The tortoise 🐢 won simply because he never strayed off the beaten path.
If you’re ready to up your content marketing game to the next level, sign up for Content Hacker Academy today.