Entrepreneur: Adrian Stewart

Biz: Coffeehouse Crime

Tilt: Solved and unsolved strange true crime

Scene: YouTube (1.71M), Patreon, Instagram (43.7K), Twitter (6.1K)

Snack Bites: 

  • Adrian turned a saturated topic – true crime – into a hit through unique production (original footage connected to the crime news) and storytelling.
  • Though he is most interested in missing-person cases, his audience isn’t, as he learned through community polls. So he programs Coffeehouse Crime for them, not him.
  • After two years operating the channel, he left his full-time mechanical engineering job.
  • Built on a third-party platform (YouTube), Adrian also has a Patreon page to attract paying subscribers with whom he can have direct content.

Why We Stan: Adrian knew he needed a way to stand out if he published content around a ubiquitous topic like true crime, and he did that. He also crafts one of the best business-focused formats for each video page that we’ve seen that also nicely serves viewers.

The Story of Adrian Stewart and Coffeehouse Crime

Adrian Stewart followed his interest and ignored the advice about finding an untapped niche for a content business.

Interested in missing person cases and publishing on YouTube, the London resident launched Coffeehouse Crime (a nod to his love for coffee and unsolved cases). In 2.5 years, he grew the channel to over 1.7M subscribers.

Though his content tilt revolves around the popular true crime topic, he tells those stories in a unique way. Adrian describes it as a “cinematic approach.” He combs the internet for footage original to the case (news coverage, police body cameras, surveillance footage) and incorporates stock video as appropriate to create the storytelling narrative. He says it takes about 30 to 40 hours to research and gather video for each case.

Adrian Stewart of @CoffeehCrime stands out in a sea of true crime podcasts with his cinematic approach. #Stan #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Going full time

Catching the attention and interest of the audience has led Adrian, a mechanical engineer by profession, to leave his full-time job last fall to be a full-time content entrepreneur. It’s also led him to operate his Coffeehouse Crime channel as a business, which means Adrian doesn’t always do the content he wants to do.

As he explains to Tube Filter: “It’s very important if your audience (is) loyal to you, then you have to be loyal to them. I do polls every three or four months on my community posts to see what kind of content people want from me. Missing persons cases or unsolved cases tend to be one of the least-selected options. Although I find missing persons cases quite interesting, I tend to stick to what my audience wants to see.”

Listen to your audience; create the content they want, not just what you want, says Adrian Stewart of @CoffeehCrime. #CreatorEconomy #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet

Building a business-focused YouTube channel

Adrian knows how to create and use a well-detailed video page on YouTube, as you can see in the example below. It includes:

  • An intriguing one-sentence description of the video
  • A list of Coffeehouse Crime’s related sites (Too many YouTubers just promote them on their header image and about page.)
  • Breakdown of the time of sources and subject appearances in the text followed by chapters illustrating those times and sources.

Gather through Patreon

YouTube is a third-party channel where Adrian has no direct connection to his subscribers. However, his Patreon account enables him to have that direct access to his most fervent followers.

He offers three monthly subscriptions with names connected to his coffeehouse concept – patron ($3), connoisseur ($5.50), and master ($13.50). Paying patrons get early access to his YouTube videos, content exclusive to Patreon (including topics outside the true crime realm), and access to his Discord server. The highest-paying subscriber also gets a vinyl sticker (after one month) and an engraved coaster (after three months).

Interestingly, Coffeehouse Crime fans are helping spread the word. One posted in a forum for senior citizens to share it with others: “I recently discovered this guy on YouTube. The host, Adrian, narrates different crime stories … I love this kind of stuff …” Armchair Prudence listed the podcast in its blog article, YouTube Channels like Nexpo, MrBallen: 13 of the Best. Now that’s a measure of true audience success.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.