On a typical junior content writer’s first day, she’ll usually hear something from her boss, like, “Remember, your audience’s attention span is about as long as a goldfish’s.” The point being: create engaging blog content that will grab their attention long enough to turn them into a regular reader – and, down the line, a customer.
But if the goldfish comparison is true, why then do people all over the world spend a little more than 3 hours per day bingeing on Netflix? Looks like we content marketers could learn a bit from the video streaming giant.
Image Source: Backlinko
Let’s take a look at Netflix’s content strategy and methods to see if we can borrow from them to create binge-worthy content for our audience.
Start with a Story
Whether you binge-watch the latest Netflix rage, Maid, or prefer to geek out on old Stargate SG-1 or Star Trek episodes, there’s always a compelling story with Netflix’s offerings. So compelling that it actually triggers the blues if they pull a series before you’ve finished the storyline.
At least it does for me. And be honest, it’s probably true for you, too. That’s how that 3-hour figure got on the books. Netflix watchers just can’t stop.
But neither do people who read an equally intriguing book. So don’t tell me that your content writers can’t come up with a blog post that holds their readers’ attention for 10 minutes.
Even if you’re in a non-sexy industry, like manufacturing or law, you don’t need to fill your copy with technical jargon, joined by the requisite droning on, usually in the passive voice. Instead, focus on your customers and tell their stories. When you focus on the customer and tell the story about how your company helped them solve problems, you’ll grab (and keep) the attention of others in similar situations.
In fact, if you’re an avid Netflix viewer, that same storyline runs through some of their best offerings. Whether it’s the lovable Scotty’s engineering expertise or Matlock’s legal legerdemain that sweeps in at the last minute to save the day, there’s one common thread. Some writer has turned a boring, highly technical jobholder into a hero.
You can do the same with your company. Engage your subject matter experts, sales teams, and customer support staff in content collaboration to dig out some of these customer success stories. Then tell those stories as if you were a screenwriter, trying to earn your next Oscar.
Use Visuals to Inspire and Inform
Statistics show that visuals work much better than either written or spoken text to inform audiences. For example, 80 percent of people remember something they see, as opposed to only 10 percent of something they hear and 20 percent of a story they’ve only read.
While that’s true, there’s an emotional component to visual media that makes Netflix so addictive. It’s not only Netflix that turns the visual sense into emotional pop. You only need to surf through your YouTube feed’s funny cat videos or inspiring photo diaries to get a healthy dose of human emotion.
Although we wouldn’t recommend cat videos (unless you manufacture cat food or kitty litter), you can – and should – use the emotional component that imagery evokes to move your audience to action.
Use the Episode Format to Hold Their Attention over Time
As content experience guru Robert Rose points out, when you create your customer success stories, write them in book form, but release them in “chapters” to provide your audience with a more cohesive experience. Stories that hang together, episode after episode, are what the best Netflix producers deliver for their audiences.
Your content should be no different. Not only does this strategy produce better content flow, but it also gives your audience the thrill of a cliffhanger ending. They have to return to your next episode to find out what happens next.
That’s the magic of a Netflix series – and you can leverage that consuming sense of curiosity to bring your audience back to your blog posts and videos, time after time.
Integrate Video into Your Blog Content
Blogs as a form of communication erupted in the early 2000s and went mainstream in the middle of that decade. In fact, several of today’s most respected digital magazines, such as the Huffington Post, began as blogs.
But if you keep your business on that trajectory, you run the risk of losing the segment of your target audience that prefers visual presentations to written ones. What’s so magic about videos is that they engage two of your five senses – seeing and hearing.
And, for that portion of your blog audience that prefers reading, you can include optional captioning to reinforce your message. I’m not saying that you should drop your written blog posts. There’s still a portion of your audience that likes to chew on a text, reading and re-reading to digest it more deeply.
However, by all means, make video a part of your overall content management plan. So, when you’re scheduling blog content for publication, make room in your content calendar for engaging, binge-worthy videos.
Use Interactive Blog Content to Put Your Audience in the Driver’s Seat
If you’ve ever played Solitaire or filled out online quizzes and surveys while you were supposed to be working on your upcoming content planning (guilty!), you know the power of interactive content. Whether they’re games, clickable maps, or polls, there’s no doubt about one thing: they’re addictive.
Instead of passively consuming content, interactive content puts your audience in the driver’s seat. They have a sense of control over what happens.
When your audience can participate in their own research through clickable links and quiz answers, they invest in the outcome, whether it’s virtual or real. They can imagine themselves solving their problem (with the help of your product) – and they become the hero they always imagined they could be.
Your marketing teams, too, can take on the role of hero for your company when you make creating binge-worthy content your top priority. Having a content marketing platform that can coordinate all the steps involved in content production in a central hub can help.
With DivvyHQ, you can automate all your routine tasks, collaborate in real-time, schedule and publish your content, and analyze the results once you’re done. And, you can try it free with no obligation for 14 days. Start your free trial today!