Like most self-respecting single people in America, I spent Valentine’s Day devouring the second season of House of Cards via Netflix streaming whilst refreshing my OkCupid smartphone app every few minutes. The possibility of such instant-gratification event television was unheard of until recently. In the course of one year, Netflix has changed the media landscape, turning the release of each new batch of episodes (whether it be House of Cards, Orange is the New Black or even Ricky Gervais’ Derek) into a streaming event. Rather than unspooling 13 episodes over the course of three months, the company drops entire seasons in one fell swoop, inciting editorial assessments on the nature of binge-watching and even a tweet from President Barack Obama himself, asking for ‘no spoilers’ after the release of House of Cards season 2.
A new study by Forrester Research shows that 67 percent of consumers use Web self-service knowledge to find answers to their questions. This information is very useful for those interested in getting involved with content marketing, which moves beyond the traditional ways that marketing has been used in the past, allowing businesses to create a wealth of great content that showcases not just what is new within their company, but what’s happening within their industry at large.
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has kept all eyes on just the U.S. government, but the healthcare industry as well. In addition to having trouble with the Affordable Care Act website, many be reaching out to the government and healthcare providers through social media. For the most part, healthcare providers are viewed as having a good presence across Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. One healthcare sector that has struggled to maintain a strong social media presence, however, has been the pharmaceutical industry.
One of the big stories of 2013 was the rise of Netflix. The media company took a big risk by unveiling two high-profile series, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black and it paid off with the media company rising to $306 per share by September 2013, up more than 219 percent in 2013. Both series became critical hits and drew devoted fan bases. Many viewers would “binge-watch” the 13-episode seasons, which were made available all at once by Netflix.
Kevin Spacey, the star and executive producer of House of Cards, spoke to the Edinburgh Television Festival last summer about the challenge in launching the show and his description mirrors many companies’ hesitancy to delve into content marketing.
“We wanted to start to tell a story that took a long time to tell,” Spacey said. “We were creating a sophisticated, multilayered story with complex characters who would reveal themselves over time.”
Businesses also have complex stories to tell. One of the great benefits of content marketing is that it allows brands to create relationships with their customers and consumers of all types. With each blog post, feature article, e-newsletters, infographic or video, your company shares the word about what’s happening in the world of your business and the industry at large.
Another aspect of content marketing that can sometimes be puzzling is wondering who is reading articles about your business and where they’re looking at them. As Spacey points out, it doesn’t matter where consumers are reading about you, and they’ll want as many options as possible.
“There’s no difference—watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV or watching Game of Thrones on a computer. It’s all content. It’s just story. And the audience has spoken,” Spacey said. “They want stories. They’re dying for them. They’re rooting for us to give them the right thing. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carrying it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs and God knows what else about it.”
The best possible outcome of content marketing is that it will turn consumers into customers and customers into fans. By providing consistent, on-demand content to your audience, you’ll empower them to champion your business. The walls are coming down, and it’s time for the conversation to get started.
Like most people, I am in love with my smartphone. When the battery dies, I feel betrayed. When I notice a new podcast has been downloaded, my heart swoons once again. And like most smartphone owners, I have a number of apps that I depend on each day. It is interesting, though, to consider exactly how and why each app has been downloaded.
Consider how app use is on the rise. In December 2012, Portio Research estimated that 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile apps. That figure is projected to grow at a CAGR of almost 30 percent to eventually reach 4.4 billion mobile app users by the end of 2017.
In the lead up to the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, actor Will Ferrell (appearing in-character as fictional news anchor Ron Burgundy) has gone on a marketing bonanza. In addition to showing up in nationwide commercials for Dodge trucks, Ferrell has appeared on a local news broadcasts out of North Dakota, a curling event in Canada and was even in-studio for a radio show in my hometown of Milford, CT.