Lifestyle creator Maddie Borge on being a storyteller, not following trends and her viral videos

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Case studies

1 month ago

Lifestyle creator Maddie Borge (Macerly) is a storyteller. Across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, Borge takes her followers – she has a combined audience of more than 1.2 million – on a journey, from being kicked out of her flat to figuring out her finances. Speaking to CORQ, Borge said storytelling is “the basis of everything I do”.

Interestingly, Borge is not focused on creating trend-led videos. Instead, she makes evergreen content. Her most popular videos on YouTube Shorts are from five or six months ago and are still gaining thousands of views. Due to the platform’s search features and SEO, these don’t “go out of style”.

Take her first viral video as an example. It was part of her small living series from 2022, which documented life with her boyfriend in a 34 square metre flat in London. The video shared clever solutions for making the most of tiny spaces – it has more than 11.5 million views on Instagram, 9.8 million on YouTube Shorts and 3.3 million on TikTok. Following this, Borge gained approximately 20,000 followers on each platform.

Key takeaways

  • Maddie Borge is a Norwegian creator based in London who has more than 1.2 million followers across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
  • Borge isn’t focused on trends. Instead, she creates story-driven, evergreen content.
  • She started making longer-form videos on YouTube in 2013 but her main growth is now from TikTok, Instagram and YouTube Shorts.
  • When it comes to brand partnerships, she wants “creative freedom”. Her collaboration with BRITA drove 1,000 link clicks.

Borge’s ability to create compelling narratives keeps her audience invested. As she explained: “People really know me, they know who I am [and] they know what I do. They know all these things about me. And every day [is] a new part of that story.” Her aim is to be an inspirational source and offer a “big sister vibe”.

Brand partnerships 

Although Borge is most popular on YouTube (she has nearly 900,000 subscribers), brands mainly work with her on TikTok or Instagram. What she craves from brand partnerships is “full creative freedom”.

That said, Borge explained: “I don’t think it’s worth it to say ‘no’ to a dream brand of yours because the brief is quite strict. You just have to work around it and try to find a way that works for you.” Borge does just that – her sponsored posts are seamlessly integrated with her organic content and ongoing series.

One of her favourite campaigns was with BRITA, which offered her creative control. The water filter company was an ideal partner, as the water in her new flat tasted awful. She included the campaign in her four-part kitchen renovation series, just after her bathroom makeover storyline went viral. Her followers were engaged and she received 1,000 link clicks for BRITA on her Instagram Story. The campaign has more than 926,000 views on Instagram and 666,000 on TikTok.

Short-form videos reign supreme 

Like many creators, Borge has seen rapid growth on TikTok. Last year, she had approximately 10,000 followers – this has risen to more than 188,000. Through “trial and error” she was able to figure out what content continually performed well.

“I had one video [get] 11 million [views], the next video [was] 2,000. It’s finding ‘what is the best way to create videos that will guarantee a set amount of viewers?’” She seems to have nearly cracked the code.

Borge has been creating content for a decade. She launched her YouTube channel in 2013 while living in Norway and has nearly 900,000 subscribers. She still posts longer vlogs, but her main growth is from TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. She estimates she has gained between 100,000 and 200,000 followers on each platform thanks to short-form videos.

On YouTube, Borge’s audience is primarily based in the US, UK, Germany and India. Meanwhile, on TikTok, 40% of her followers are UK-based, which drops down to roughly 30% on Instagram.

Borge is in her second year of being a full-time content creator and she said the past year has been a highlight. “I went into [being full time] last year thinking I was just going to do it for a year and then I’d [get] my master’s or do something else.” A year on, she has really loved it.

Looking at the year ahead, Borge wants to push herself now she has a strong team behind her – both a manager and part-time assistant. “I feel like it’s the time to just double down on what I’ve already been doing.”

By Caroline Edwards, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: Maddie Borge