Opinion

Lessons from billion dollar platform Netflix on building your own content gold mine

5 min read

29 June 2016

From binge-watching classic TV shows to sitting on the edge of our seats for the latest episode of Orange is the New Black, Netflix has us hooked. The platform is consistently at the top of its game when it comes to producing engaging content.

No matter the genre, actors or audience, the firm just keeps getting it right.

Think about this: 425bn hours of Netflix were streamed in 2015, with 75m worldwide users ensuring they didn’t miss out on some of the most captivating TV shows and films available. For a platform with such power, it’s surprising that branded content hasn’t crept its way in on larger scale.

However, through product placement and documentaries, brands are learning how to weave messaging into this high quality, widespread content. The key is to make brand messaging feel natural to the audience and add value to viewers’ daily lives.

I interviewed legendary Hollywood screenwriting coach Robert McKee for my podcast series “Getting Goosebumps” to gather his thoughts on modern storytelling. McKee’s focus was on the power of online streaming sites for long-form storytelling.

While traditional movies may always be popular, there’s something pretty remarkable about the impact of streaming websites. With the density of content available to us, sites like Netflix manage to rise above the noise and keep people hooked week after week.

Quality over quantity

So, what’s the secret to success? It may be a phrase you’ve heard time and time again, but in a busy world of diverse and sharable content, quality really is key for capturing the attention of your target audience and holding it over time.

From videos and infographics to blogs and leaflets, the quality of what you offer your audience is what will set you apart from competitors and help you rise to the top. Once people start to notice the quality of your content, they will begin to trust your brand and return for more.

It’s the same as being hooked on a great YouTube channel or a creative blog. When we experience consistently valuable content, we will return for more.

Read more about Netflix:

Connect with your audience

You can’t produce high quality content without knowing what your audience is looking for. This is something Netflix are undeniably great at. Yes, companies who split content into genres may offer us value by making our decisions easier, but personalising content for us takes this consideration to the next level.

We only have to log in to Netflix to see an array of “recommended” choices based on what we’ve picked before and what they know we’ve enjoyed. By taking a similar approach to content, you will be able to tap into the emotions of an audience in a much more authentic way.

The moment customers feel something about a brand on an emotional level, it becomes possible to cultivate a community of customers who are really invested in the content you’re producing.

While Netflix is great at offering us what we want, it’s also an expert at talking to us about it! From the millennial creation #NetflixandChill to their own hashtag #NetflixandBill to promote their Christmas special on Instagram, it knows how to reach its audience on each social media platform and generate an infectious buzz about its content, even if it’s something entirely new.

Sure, many brands may never achieve online buzz as famous as #NetflixandChill, but don’t let that put you off! By paying close attention to the language your audience use you’ll be equipped to create Netflix-worthy content that elevates audience engagement to the next level.

Bryan Adams is CEO and founder of Ph.Creative

Here’s why Netflix is among the five best and worst companies to work for.