What Netflix Can Teach Us about Content Marketing

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.

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