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Content Marketing – This Is How You Do It! The Netflix Way

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Are you a marketer, the owner or a business or a website? If you answer is yes, then I am sure you are already trying to get the most out of your marketing campaigns (or at least you are trying to do so).

What if I told you that you can build up a strategy with minimum investments but with high returns?

Yes, you can do it and maybe you have already done it without thinking about it through content marketing.

Everything you post on your website and on your social media pages may be considered as content marketing. It allows you to grow your business but only if you are willing to invest time in content creation and deliver valuable data to your customers and followers.

One of the best examples of a successful content marketing campaign comes from Netflix and through this article, I will try to explain why.

Also, I will try to give you some valuable advice about how to create your own successful campaign, based on their example.

Let’s start with the basics and move on step by step to our most important topics.

What is Netflix?

what is netflix

If you never heard of Netflix, you have probably lived off the grid for the last few years with no Internet connection whatsoever.

Otherwise, it would have been impossible not to hear about today’s world leading Internet video streaming and television network. They have no less than 104 million paying subscribers in over 190 countries. These people are reportedly enjoying every single day at least 125 million of hours of TV shows and movies streaming.

There are other platforms similar to Netflix, you will say and… “Why is this so popular?” you may ask.

Well, Netflix has valuable things to offer to its subscribers:

  • original content.
  • understand the audience behavior
  • be the trend, not in trend
  • create multiple tribes

Lots of original content comprised of series, feature films and documentaries. Moreover, there are no constraints, people are allowed to watch what they want when they want it as long as they have a device connected to the Internet.

There are no commercials like on traditional TV and viewers may pause and resume watching at any time.

How did they start?

netflix history

Netflix was founded in 1997 as a business specialized in DVD rental and selling. A decade later, they expanded their services to online video streaming, retaining their initial business as well.

They entered the content production industry in 2010 and since then, their popularity exploded.

This is one of the best examples of adaptability in an Internet dominated world. By introducing their own productions, however, they also entered a new era of content marketing.

How to use Netflix

Being an online streaming network, Netflix is available only to devices connected to the Internet (lately they launched the feature to watch offline too). This means that as long you have an Internet connection, you can watch their shows on any device, TV, computer, tablet or smartphone.

The broad availability of their services is also a great example of how adaptable companies survive our modern times and even thrive. People are now connected, they spend more time than ever traveling, they are more mobile and spend less time watching classic TV.

So, how do you use Netlifx?

  1. Choose a membership plan for your needs
  2. Enter your e-mail and create a password to create an account
  3. Choose a payment method
  4. Now you are ready to browse Netflix and watch your favorite show

Streaming services are the future of content video distribution due to the widespread of 3G and 4G Internet and the smartphones and tablets.

Why people love Netflix

There are many reasons why people love Netflix.

Here are some of the most important aces up the Netflix’ sleeve.

  • The price. If you want cable television at home, you will most probably pay more than for Netflix. At the same time, you cannot take the TV with you when you leave your house.
  • No commercials. Nobody decides what you watch and when. Moreover, there are no interruptions due to commercial breaks.
  • No time hinges. You can watch your favorite TV series or movies whenever you want. You don’t need to run or hurry just to be there (home or Cinema) when your show starts. You can watch an episode during a bus ride to your office or during a train trip to a leisure location.
  • Content, content, content. This is the key. And Netflix found it even before knowing they own it. They started by delivering video content to their customers through DVDs and BluRay discs. They adapted and moved on to online media streaming. The biggest step, however, was to create their own shows and movies and deliver genuine, original quality content.

Netflix + Content + Marketing = L.O.V.E.

Thus, they will continue to create and deliver series and movies and create successful marketing campaigns, mainly by ensuring that they always have something of value to give their customers. Let’s move on, and see how their experience can also help us create similar campaigns.

Well, may be not similar in quantity but instead in the outcome. The dream of every marketer is to be successful at what they do and Netflix has proven that it can be done relatively easy.

10 Lessons you can learn as a marketer and use right now:

As a content marketer I believe that you are in a continue looking for new ideas that inspire your next content marketing campaign. This is why I put together these 10 lessons that can help you get some fresh look on your work.

1. Content is gold but it also matters how you deliver

Let me tell you a true story!

Reed Hastings netflix

As New Yorker reported, in 2000 Netflix was a small company that was almost losing money with their DVD rental services over the Internet. At the dawn of the century, Reed Hastings, C.E.O at Netflix, reportedly traveled to a summit meeting with Blockbuster, in Dallas, Texas. His proposal was that Netflix would become the Internet delivery service for Blockbuster, the greatest US network of DVD stores at that time.

He was refused.

By the time Blockbuster focused on the online sales, it was already too late.

Reed saw what was coming; he adapted his company’s services to the growing demand of the online phenomenon and made Netflix one of the biggest companies in today’s business environment.

What can we learn from this example?

It’s important to deliver to your customers what they want but it is also important to adapt to their habits and try to deliver in the way they want it.

Knowledge is power

…no matter what century you have lived in and when you want to sell you need to know your market.

Here are some of my recommendations regarding content delivery:

a. Think outside the box.

You have a business or a website that has activity in a specific industry or domain. There are nevertheless many other companies that do the same thing. In order to be successful, you don’t need to copy their success but to think past it. Find new ways to deliver your valuable products. Think about tomorrow rather than today. When you say “today”, you already talk about the past. The past is already gone, you cannot change anything.

b. Think about the needs of your customers.

Netflix was aware that the Internet is bigger than other companies imagined at the time it started its business. Therefore, it focused on what their customers needed: a global online service of media distribution. If you want to apply this to your business, think also about what your readers, customers or followers want from you and start building from there.

Adapt your content marketing strategy to their needs and you will not fail.

c. Be consistent. Deliver frequently.

Netflix has a wide range of series and movies and this is how they are able to satisfy all their customers’ needs and attract more customers every day. However, they didn’t have all this diversity from the start. They did not even have all this content at their disposal.

What is their secret?

Well, they constantly updated their repository by adding more and more content. You can adapt this strategy to a blog by writing good and valuable posts more frequently, even daily if you have the time and enough topics to write about.

Consistency is also important.

This means that when you are making your schedule, you should schedule your post to be delivered regularly so that your customers will be able to know when to search your website and come back on a regular basis for new posts or products.

d. Be original.

Originality sells. Every business who manages to come up with something original gets to be known and mentioned by a wider range of people than businesses that just copy what others do.

Take, for example, Netflix’ decision to create and stream original content. There are still many viewers that register accounts on Netflix for their movies and classic TV series but as time passes, more and more are coming to them because they are aware of the genuine original series and movies that are not available on other platforms.

How can you apply this strategy to a website?

Research more and come up with topics that are not discussed by other peers or by your competitors. It will take more time and maybe you will spend more money but in the end, you will gain through originality and novelty.

e. Target individuality.

Starting from their business strategy and up the content delivery systems or the marketing campaigns they conduct, Netflix is always oriented on their users.

The customer is the central focal point of their business and this is one of the most important things you should think about when trying to market your business traditionally or through content delivery services.

Take for example their trailers for House of Cards, one of the most popular series they have created and distributed online.

house of cards content marketing netflix

Netflix has created seven different trailers to the new season, each of them focused on a different topic. Some of these trailers are focused on politics while others on history or gender. Then, based on the user’s preferences and personal history, a different trailer is delivered; a great content marketing strategy that focuses on the user and gives them exactly what they are expecting.

If you are a fan of the series, maybe you will not be influenced.

However, if you are new to the platform and in search for new series to watch, by giving you a trailer focused on your preferences, might convince you to at least try to watch their series.

2. Content is the king because of quality

Quality is another thing that matters when you are conducting a content marketing campaign.

Your readers will not come for quantity but for quality.

They need valuable information and if you are able to deliver quality content to them, they will come back for more.

Here are some of my recommendations regarding quality:

a. Brainstorm for great topics.

It is not enough to deliver your content regularly. However, it will be great if you manage to deliver valuable and quality content to your readers or customers, something they want to read and they consider of interest to them.

It will not be easy as long as there are other competitors on the market but at the same time, it is imperative to try and succeed at this point.

b. Find new ways to please your customers.

We’re once again going to look at Netflix and their successful campaigns. They are not limited to what they have done in the past; they are constantly trying to improve their offer.

narcos netflix marketing

For instance, there were recent talks about interactive content on their part. This means that their customers will be able to choose how their movies/series will develop.

Do you like it? I am sure you do. How can you adapt this strategy to your business and/or website? Find your own ways to please your customers, talk to them, pay attention to their request and try to comply with their needs.

c. Check and recheck your articles (content).

Do it over and over again, until you are certain that your content is without errors, especially if you are specialized in texts. Misspells and errors can destroy your reputation and chase away your readers.

Therefore, pay attention to the quality of your writing and proofread your posts several times before sharing them to the public.

d. Take your time.

Don’t be hasty. Spend as much time as you need in order to create the perfect content for your customers.

I’m reading Ryan Holiday’s book called “The Perennial Seller” and this is what he wrote about taking your time to create great content:

A timeless creation will not simply appear

If you want to have great content, start to invest time, resources and a lot of energy.

You will sometimes feel the pressure of time but if you are scheduling your content correctly, you will have enough time to create valuable and good quality posts for your fans or followers.

3. Invest in content

Netflix creates their own series and movies and this is one of the reasons they are successful in their business. As a content marketer, you should also think about investing time or money in your own original content.

Here are some of my recommendations regarding investment:

  • First, invest in time. Allocate as much time as you can to your creative process.
  • Then, invest in research. Regardless of how good you are as a professional in your industry, there will always be something to learn. At the same time, when you write about a specific topic, it’s better to know as much as you can about it before drafting your article.
  • Invest in hiring professional writers, who are specialized in the topic you want to write about.
  • Invest in hardware and software. Creative content should not be limited to one channel of communication. If you want to be successful on social media channels, you need visuals, videos, and images.
  • Invest in yourself. Go to specific courses, conferences, and conventions. Meet new people; listen to other professionals from your industry and the complementary industries. Read all the latest news about your topics of interest and books written by bestselling authors.

4. Don’t forget about marketing

Netflix is great for their content and I am sure that they will continue to be number one on their niche for a long time. However, sometimes, a content marketing strategy needs to reach a broader audience and expand further than your own channels of distribution.

Here comes your external marketing strategy, which focuses on content shared on other websites.

You can see how Netflix invested in a similar campaign on Wired and NY Times.

sponsored content netflix wired

You can do the same thing, by finding websites who allow you to guest post or by paying for these guest posts on really popular websites such as the above examples.

Here are some of my recommendations regarding guest posts:

  • Research for suitable websites or blogs where you can write as a guest poster.
  • If your budget is limited, find reliable websites that can offer you guest posts for free.
  • If you have a budget for paid posts, find the websites where your audience is.
  • Write really good guest posts that are informative and easy to read.
  • Promote your website, services or products through these articles but do it so that the reader wouldn’t notice.

5. Be where your audience is

Maybe you know about Netflix’ series named Narcos. It’s about Columbian drugs cartel, focused on Pablo Escobar’s life.

escobar actor narcos facebook

What is of interest to this article is their Facebook page dedicated to promoting this series. On this page, they share several materials regarding Escobar’s life, interviews with the main actors of the series and much other interesting stuff, valuable data for the fans of the series and to everybody interested in similar topics.

Another great example on how to focus on your audience is to go where it is, even if this means that you do a partnership with an influencer. For example, Netlflix launched a short video with the Cali Cartel actors and the one and only, Salt Bae.

The community reaction is amazing!

This is a great example of content marketing strategy that is focused on people and partnership.

Also, the information was distributed on a social media platform, which is the exact place where Netflix’ audience is.

6. Create a brand of your name: “Netflix and …”

Your brand is one of the most important things you can use in a marketing campaign.

Create it, develop it and maintain it through continuous work and of course, through consistency.

7. Sharable/Snackable content

The attention span of people reduces by the year. You have just a few second at your disposal to raise your followers’ interest and this should be one of the key points of your content marketing strategy.

What do I mean by shareable and snackable content?

  • Create videos, Instagram stories, and Snapchats.
  • Make these posts count by integrating as much valuable content you can in just a few seconds of video clips or by sharing engaging images on social media platforms.
  • Encourage your followers to share their experiences with you. User Generated Content (UGC) is a great source of content marketing for any business or website regardless of the industry they are focused on.
  • Optimize your visual content for mobile use. Why? People are mobile. They use their smart phones to access media when they are traveling and even at home.

8. Website user experience

Netflix ui/ux design

Netflix is a powerful platform with millions of subscribers but at the same time, it is a platform created for the people. It is easy to use and understand and it doesn’t ask you to spend your valuable time in order to get used to it.

They even have a Behance account where you can get your inspiration if you are a UI/UX designer.

This is also an important thing you should think about when starting a marketing campaign. Here are some questions you should ask and answer immediately:

  • How are people interacting with your content?
  • How easy to navigate is your website?
  • How easy is for people to interact with your content?
  • Do you understand their needs?
  • How did you apply everything you know about your users when creating your content, the website or the campaign?

9. Don’t forget about mobile

I am once again returning to Netflix and give them as a great example in this case. They are an online based service and they know how important the mobile world is.

Therefore, they have created apps for all the major mobile operating systems available today, thus giving access to their platform to all their customers wherever they may be and regardless of the device they choose to use when logging on Netflix.

Check out their showcase on how they designed their player on mobile.

What can you do?

Even if you are performing content marketing for just a website, make sure it is mobile friendly and easily readable from smart phone and tablets. If you are offering other services or products as well, make sure you can reach your mobile audience.

10. Attract a global audience

As you probably already know, Netflix started as an American service but at some point in time, they went global. They tried to reach not only a diversified audience but also a global audience and they succeeded in their endeavor.

How?

Well, you need to create evergreen content and sometimes, to adapt it to different audiences, languages and time zones. For some websites and services, this will mean creating content in other languages while for others it will suffice to translate their content.

Of course, some businesses may as well adapt their products or services to different countries and languages and promote them according to those geographical areas and the local customs.

Here are some of my recommendations regarding going global:

  • Research your audience. Find what is relevant to each geographical area you want to move on to or expand your business to.
  • Hire professional writers and content providers for each specific language you want to include in your services.
  • If you start a local business in a non-English country, try providing content in English from now on. It’s universally accepted as a global language.

Conclusion

Netflix is probably one of the most popular media streaming services of today’s online world. You’d think that at this point, content marketing is building itself for Netflix but things are not as they seem at a first glance.

They work hard to keep their customers’ interest alive and they are doing a great job. I have tried to point some of their best practices with this article and hopefully, I have managed to adapt them to every business or website that needs to market their services through content marketing.

However, I am sure that if you follow the aforementioned steps, you will be successful as well.

What do you think about Netflix and their marketing strategies? What about the steps mentioned in this article? Did you try similar strategies? Were you successful? Please tell me about your own experiences in the comments section available below.

I will be more than happy to read your inputs on this specific subject.

Your turn to comment:

  • Danny Gallo

    Think about the needs of your customers?
    One reason i hate using Netflix is because sometimes i just want to watch a film, you know, like it’s quite late and you don’t want to start watching the first episode of a series – and NF doesn’t allow a filter to see JUST films (and not series), so you have to go to New Releases and flick through series and films… not great and that’s not thinking about the needs of its customers

  • I like your points in the article and agree that Netflix are doing stuff really really well. It is a massive company and it’s “on trend” with everything that’s happening online so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. I love their Facebook pages for individual shows because of exactly what you listed – content they share is interesting and very wide.

    I’m curious to see what their latest jumbo billboards mean – very out-of-the-ox advertising 😀

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Robert Katai

Visual Marketer and Content Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

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