For fellow TV lovers, September is a wonderful month of the year…it’s premiere time! The start of the 2014-2015 TV season is upon us and if you’re anything like me, you may be getting your show schedule in order and setting your DVR so you don’t miss a minute of the action.
As the population gets savvier when it comes to marketing, social media and content, so too do the TV networks. With more competition than ever for viewers’ eyeballs and attention, the TV industry is putting on their marketing hats to implement new and exciting tactics to keep their audiences engaged.
Here are three content marketing strategies five popular TV shows are using to set themselves apart.
1. They’re focusing their efforts online- specifically, on YouTube. You’ve likely seen the headlines: “Millennials don’t watch live TV,” “Millennials watch TV shows- just not on TV” and so on. In a recent study, millennials (defined here as those ages 15-34) spend 34 percent of their time watching TV online- that’s three times more than non-millennials. What does that mean for TV marketers? They need to create other ways to engage with potential viewers…online. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon does a great job moving their already quality broadcast show online via a YouTube channel with more than four million subscribers and videos going viral seemingly every week. The Tonight Show also understands how to get their viewing community involved and creating content FOR them. In the weekly Hashtags feature, Fallon puts out a hashtag and encourages viewers to tweet using that specific hashtag- the funniest ones are read on the air and the hashtag almost always becomes a trending topic on Twitter.
Why it works: Instead of fearing the fact that a major target audience is moving away from traditional TV, smart shows are getting on board with the channels this specific audience loves and uses on a daily basis.
2. They’re using visuals. While the HBO show Girls doesn’t return until 2015, that doesn’t mean the network, show and cast aren’t staying active online to keep viewers engaged. Between mini-interviews with the cast on Instagram, a Tumblr devoted to funny Girls GIFS and even a presence on Snapchat, the show is finding a way to stay relevant until its return. Similarly, popular ABC show Dancing With The Stars is creating its own content… and using curated content from cast members to populate their social media channels, even going as far as offering an online All Access page where viewers can choose from six different camera angles to personal their viewing experience.
Why it works: We’re an extremely visual society, so using photography as a content marketing strategy helps keep people engaged and emotionally connected to the content.
3. They get the stars involved in marketing efforts. Ever seen The Bachelor (or any of its various spinoffs)? Then you definitely know who Chris Harrison is. With more than 220,000 followers on Instagram and more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, Harrison, the host of the shows, is super active on social media…even when his show is not currently airing. Behind-the-scenes photos, promotional images and selfies with cast members keep the show top of mind for those who follow him on social media. Harrison also creates content on a weekly basis with his blog on Entertainment Weekly’s site recapping episodes, helping him to reach an audience that isn’t already loyal to the show or network. Similarly on the non-reality side of TV, The Mindy Project star, director and co-executive producer Mindy Kaling is extremely active on Instagram posting a mix of personal snippets, images from filming, as well as promotional photos counting down to the show’s premiere.
Why it works: We’re part of a culture that idolizes celebrities, so using a TV show’s star to help promote the show is one of the best (and most genuine) marketing tactics a network can employ. Similarly, businesses can benefit in a big way if it gets its CEO and other prominent members of the organization involved in content marketing and social media.
Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. Her work has been published on Ragan’s PR Daily, Muck Rack, Brazen Careerist, Mediabistro, Business Insider and AOL Jobs. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy- stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. Connect with her on Twitter.
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