If you haven't heard of PewDiePie - real name Felix Kjellberg - then you probably don't spend a whole lot of time on the Internet.
He's a new breed of celebrity, a YouTube millionaire who runs the most subscribed channel in the world.
And he got here simply by playing video games and recording the experience.
Well, sort of. Whether intentional or not, Kjellberg is an absolute master of content marketing. He's got a great attitude, an incredible degree of candor, and a sort of natural charisma - all of which help him connect with his audience in a way most professional marketers can only dream of. So what's his secret?
"I just want to entertain; that is my main objective and what comes before everything else," he explained to Swedish magazine Icon in an interview last May.
Though his videos certainly aren't to everyone's taste, he's inarguably met with success where that's concerned. He has no need for social media experts or search engine optimization, nor does he spend a whole lot of time on marketing. He simply gets online and does what he loves on camera.
People come in droves to see it - and few of them leave after watching just one video. The thing that's most powerful about Kjellberg's videos isn't the games he plays, nor his trademark quirky sense of humor. It's the fact that he simply gets his audience.
"The thing that has made YouTube so successful is that you can relate to the people you're watching to a much higher degree than the people you see on TV," he explained in the same interview.
And he's managed to tap into that relatability to a huge degree. He regularly talks to his users, calling out comments he finds interesting. He goes out of his way to make himself approachable - to him, his users are more like friends than sales leads.
That attitude has paid off.
"PewDiePie has built an army of loyal viewers, commenters, and general supporters," explains Matthew of RGB Social. "He nurtures this behaviour by listening to his audience, addressing them in his videos, taking their recommendations into consideration, regularly thanking them for their loyalty, giving them opportunity to interact and engage more deeply through his store and other social media accounts, and much more."
Of course, there's a fair bit of luck involved in PewDiePie's success as well - but the same can be said of any marketing venture. The truth is, a lot of what got him where he is today is luck. Of course, that luck wouldn't have carried him anywhere if he didn't know how to connect with his audience; it would be meaningless if he didn't love what he was doing.
At the end of the day, that's what you should take away from all of this: you can optimize your content until you go gray, market it to everyone who'll listen and be active on every social network in the world...but if you don't care about what you're doing; if you don't care about your audience and their enjoyment, then it'll all ring hollow. Kjellberg understands this - and that, more than anything, is why he runs the most subscribed YouTube channel in the world.
Image credit: PewDiePie YouTube Channel