What Netflix Can Teach Us About Original Content

November 8, 2016 Victoria Stacey


Ask anyone to name three TV shows that they’re eagerly anticipating in the next year, and all three of those shows will be Netflix Originals. From the heavy-hitters of House of Cards to the budding talent in Stranger Things, Netflix is creating original content that keeps us coming back for more.

In our own content strategy, isn’t that exactly what we’re hoping for? It’s one thing to direct our audience to a key piece of content, but how can we continue to bring them back for more? How can we utilize that content to drive conversions?

Create Over Curate

If one thing is for sure, Netflix is certainly doing something right with content creation strategy. Its goal is to reach 50% original content in their platform offerings within the next couple of years. The company is already ⅓ of the way there.

While Netflix will continue to offer non-original content, its focus remains on creating quality television that their audience comes only to them to consume. By going this route, Netflix is able to control the quality of the work that is produced, and own the content under its brand.

What your brand can do:

Rather than curating content from outside sources, your brand can own the content that is being created, giving you control over the quality of the content that sits directly under your brand.

Brands that rely on influencers to create content to live outside their channels, can own the content created by using influencers on their own platforms. An Instagram takeover is a popular way of having outside parties like influencers create original content for your brand, on your brand’s channel.


Use Data to Drive Content

According to The New Yorker, Netflix was keen to pick up House of Cards because the data suggested that the show would do well with its audience. Netflix had no desire to see a pilot or test-screening, the company was ready to dive right in, because they used data to inform its content decisions.

What your brand can do:

Creation gives you more control over quality than curation, but it also allows you to use your own data to inform the content you create. You can use data to find information about the demographic and interests of your audience, making it easier to decide what kind of content they would interact with.

Create with a purpose. Know your audience and their interests, understand what people are searching. Think about how you can use keywords to bring them to your site, look at what has done well in the past and incorporate that into the future of your content strategy.


Build Relationships Beyond Your Main Platform

Netflix doesn’t just produce content for Netflix. The brand creates content that lives off its platform and on a variety of other online and offline channels. Whether it’s ‘uncovering’ archival footage from Hawkins, Indiana to promote Stranger Things around Halloween on YouTube, or providing the Luke Cage soundtrack on Spotify, Netflix is ensuring its content is consumed across all possible venues.

What your brand can do:

Make sure you have a great social strategy to help promote your original content. It’s one thing to share your original content across all social platforms, it’s another to create channel-specific content to bring your audience back to your main platform, driving conversions.

Sharing teasers on Facebook, a photo to Instagram, or hosting an event to go deeper into the content you shared, are all possible ways to drive traffic to your main platform, without seeming redundant or repetitive.

Create an Experience

Netflix has done an amazing job at creating an experience for each of its viewers. By allowing original content to be released all at once rather than on a weekly basis, it has built a relationship with its audience that lasts throughout the entire viewing journey. We’ve all had the humiliating moment when Netflix asks “Are You Still Watching?” after bingeing 7 episodes in a row.

It also offers personalized content based on the past interactions and experiences of its audience. Netflix pushes recommended content, keeps your spot in the show or movie where you left off, and even uses your name on the screen to create small, but meaningful moments that add to your experience on the platform.

What your brand can do:

Creating a personalized experience for your audience can be as simple as using their first name, or more intensive such as product suggestions based on a personalized profile. Personalization is more important than ever with consumers being inundated with a variety of different options and content to choose from. Using data that you’ve collected, you can create a unique experience for your users that will have them returning for more.


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