Content Marketing Lessons from Netflix


Content Marketing

It’s not unusual for the conversation around our office to turn to TV series that have caught our attention. At the top of the list: always Netflix.

I can easily name off a few of the favorites of my coworkers. As they are captured in the storylines day after day, they have somehow intrigued me enough to sell me on the shows too:

  • Stranger Things
  • House of Cards
  • Orange is the New Black
  • The Crown
  • Peaky Blinders

Netflix has achieved content marketing success as they focus their efforts on “content first” and grab one of our most precious assets: our time. Here are a few lessons to apply and strengthen your own content marketing efforts:

1- Give them something to talk about.

The week Stranger Things hit Netflix, my digital and in-person conversations consisted of Eleven and the Upside Down. I was hooked and so were many others. Social news feeds soon filled with memes of Winona and the Christmas lights and a sudden bond for Barbara (#SaveBarbara).

The content is contagious and it creates conversation simply because it is GOOD. It’s a common mistake among marketers to create content from a quantity standpoint and miss the mark on providing value to readers (or viewers).

Netflix doesn’t skimp on making sure the content is creating an emotional connection either. This year, they have plans to test interactive content that will let viewers have a say in how the story of their favorite original shows end with a click of their remote.

2 – Be the place where they want to spend time.

The binge. The marathon. The I-couldn’t-stop-watching-four-hours-later. The first Crown episode I watched was on a Saturday night and I spent three hours of my Sunday watching more. I couldn’t stop.

It’s quite clever the way Netflix gives access to their TV seasons all at once. Hook and line. In a time where attention spans are short and time has become invaluable, we certainly don’t mind spending both consuming Netflix.  On average, 116 million hours are spent consuming content on Netflix a day. In 2015, the average subscriber spent at least 1 hour and 33 minutes a day on Netflix.

Continuing to think of what’s next, the content king is planning on releasing 1000 hours of original streaming content this year.

You cannot create great content just once. It’s a must to do it over and over again. Keep your audience intrigued and a build desire for them to consume content from your brand.

3 – Build your audience.

After finding the right recipe for original content, Netflix has succeeded at creating conversation through native advertising + creating experiences.

Just before the Gilmore Girls four-episode release, my news feeds were full of local coffee shops that transformed into Luke’s Diner. It was a stunt that would not let me forget the one-time special release.

In 2014, Netflix released an ad on the New York Times website using video, charts, and audio about female incarceration to promote the Orange is the New Black season. After the debate of Netflix releasing viewership data that same year, in 2016 for the OITNB season 4 premiere, Nielsen released that 6.7 million viewers watched the first episode in the first 72 hours online.

Building awareness is a key first step to creating new content, but Netflix proves keeping the momentum going can easily be achieved by constantly building quality content and conversation.

What lessons have you learned from Netflix’s content marketing tactics? Comment below.

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