4 Fundamental Content Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from a Young YouTube Superstar

Success on YouTube

I have recently gotten more actively involved in retirement planning and investing for my family’s future. In my research, I recently stumbled upon the YouTube channel of a real estate entrepreneur and investor named Graham Stephan. Graham is a young guy—he’s only 26 years old—but he’s absolutely killing it with his YouTube channel where he offers advice on finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and more. He has over 1 million subscribers, and for good reason.

Usually I am skeptical of internet gurus. We’ve all seen these shady “get rich quick” schemes and people promising to teach you how to make lots of money online. Graham Stephan is something different and better than all that. He’s knowledgeable, credible, and fun to watch, and anyone who’s an entrepreneur or who wants to get better at marketing themselves can learn something from him. 

Here a few reasons why I believe Graham Stephan is successful on YouTube.

1. He understands content 

Graham Stephan’s video content is unique, and he actually delivers substantive commentary and compelling insights; you can tell that he’s put time and effort into every video and he’s really trying to give you something “real.” Most marketers out there rehash the same stuff they have heard elsewhere. The world of content marketing is getting overrun and polluted by too much mediocre content—spammy, insincere, and recycled content that doesn’t really help improve your life. I’ve read and seen way too much content, where afterwards I’ve felt like I wish I could have that time back.

2. He is transparent 

In each of his videos, Graham starts by asking viewers to “like” the video if we like what we see. And he flat out tells us why: the YouTube algorithm rewards interactive content, so if we want to support his videos, “like” them. The thumbnails in his videos have silly faces, and he is upfront and says that he does the silly faces for clicks—he’s actively trying to engage a bigger audience, even before they click the thumbnail on his video.

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He lets you know why he does everything. This is a refreshing change from other online “gurus,” who often act like they have secret superpowers or a mysterious black box of manipulative marketing techniques. Graham is more low-key: “Hey, if you enjoyed my video, why not help me out with a like?” 

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3. He’s professional 

While most “finance gurus” out there record themselves talking into a laptop camera in their plain home office, Graham Stephan’s videos have high-end production value. He started creating YouTube videos for fun because he enjoyed camera work and video editing, and he was spending 40 to 50 hours per week making videos, even though they weren’t making any money.

You can tell that Stephan puts a lot of thought into the creative side of YouTube video making. His videos have slick editing and clever cuts, and even if he is just recording a video of himself at a laptop in his kitchen or home office, he uses intriguing camera angles and soundtracks to make the videos entertaining. 

4. He demonstrates credibility

You know how so many financial and business gurus are slick talkers who pepper their speeches with weasel words and BS? Graham is not like that. When he makes factual statements, he will show the supporting evidence. And with opinions, he provides his logic behind them. He’s really quite self-effacing and open about his own mistakes, struggles, and learning experiences. He’s open about his vulnerabilities—he has a video where he talks about his struggle with social anxiety. Perhaps most importantly, he shows the math behind his successes. 

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