Blood, Motorcycles, Vampires, Chemistry and Content Marketing

Recently, television networks have really stepped up their content marketing and there is a lot we can learn from them. Social Media has allowed marketing to become very interactive. Here are four lessons in content marketing based on four of my favorite TV shows:

1. Use incentives to promote social media interaction

Sons of Anarchy’s (SOA) social media strategy is simple but very effective: they reward their followers with stickers, discounts on merchandise and exclusive content for engaging with them on a variety of social networks. The FX show is about a motorcycle gang in CA who is known for moving and selling weapons and all of the drama that comes with being in that line of work. SOA primarily uses Facebook, Twitter and GetGlue but they also have a Production Blog and a community forum where users can interact with each other and the show.

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The above Facebook post is a great example of how to offer exclusive rewards to Facebook followers. Did you notice it received over 2,000 shares and over 17,000 likes? Imagine how many additional followers this post brought them.The bottom line is that SOA provides several ways to engage with their audience and keeping that conversation going has helped make this show the success that it is.

2. Find ways to generate content from your followers

True Blood, a show based on the Sookie Stackhouse aka Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris where vampires and other super natural creatures co-exist with humans, has managed to create an entire Tumblr blog with content from Truebies (True Blood Fans). True Blood used the song from the opening credits, Bad Things by Jace Everett as the theme for their fan-generated Tumblr blog. Truebies can confess their sins and share their bad things through a form on the blog.

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The True Blood team will then select which bad things to publish and their fans can follow along and read other Truebies’ confessions. Simply brilliant! In addition, True Blood also promotes the #mybadthing hashtag where people can share their confessions on Twitter.

Generating engaging content is really challenging and the marketing team for True Blood figured out an innovative way to get their fans to create content for them! True Blood also has an Inside True Blood blog that offers a behind the scenes look at each episode and an up-close-and-personal blog by baby vamp, Jessica. All three blogs offer insider information that makes the viewer feel more attached to the show. You can use these same ideas to get people more involved in your product, service, etc.

3. Leverage exclusive content to build your email database

If you haven’t heard of Breaking Bad at this point, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Not only is the show phenomenal, but their email marketing is fantastic too. Even with the growth of social media, email marketing still provides one of the highest returns on your marketing investment. However, building your email list organically is not an easy task and Breaking Bad shows us one of the best ways to do it: they offer exclusive and premium content in return for your email address and some other information that helps build their database. When you first arrive on the Breaking Bad webpage, you are immediately prompted to sign up for their email newsletter titled “Breaking News”.

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The newsletter is a weekly offering with videos and interviews of the cast and creators. For die-hard fans, there is nothing more exciting than getting an inside view of your favorite show. In addition, subscribers are eligible for weekly giveaways. Think about what exclusive content you can offer to build your own database.

4. Use challenges and rewards to drive engagement

Showtime’s Dexter is not only an incredibly unique show but the network’s ability to keep its viewers coming back for more is simply unmatched. Dexter’s Red Rewards program allows users to earn points, badges and other rewards for simply looking at content on their website.

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The best part about Red Rewards is that you need to create an account in order to participate. To create an account, you must use one of your social media accounts to login (Facebook, Google+ or Twitter) or, create an account where they ask for a lot of valuable marketing information. Either way, the network is gathering an incredible amount of information before you get to play. Every time you watch a video, view a photo gallery, post a comment or share content you earn points and the network gets even more information because they can track which content you are viewing, allowing Showtime to fine tune their content marketing strategy. Showtime has turned this into a challenge where people compete and earn spots on a leaderboard along with real prizes. Having people compete to view your content….what could be better than that?

Television networks are leveraging these great content marketing strategies to keep their viewers engaged in between seasons. Your content marketing challenges may be different but these lessons can be applied to almost any industry. What other marketing lessons have you learned from TV?

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