Kevin Spacey’s President Frank Underwood from the Netflix show House of Cards is one of the most despicable fictional characters ever seen on TV. He lies, he cheats, he manipulates. He’s also a murderer and, perhaps worst of all, a politician. However, in spite of all these, viewers are in love with him and tune in every season to binge-watch the latest chapter of the Netflix hit series, House of Cards.
That’s the power good storytelling has over people.
In season three, Underwood hires a novelist to write a book to help sell a jobs program. When we hire copywriters to do this work for us, that is a marketing tactic. However, the author suggests that the book should not mention the program at all. Instead, the book should tell a story that hooks and engages the audience. That is content marketing at its finest – producing high-quality audience-based content instead of product-oriented content.
Even though no one should ever want to be like Frank Underwood, there are some valuable lessons you can learn about content marketing from the show.
Here are the most important ones.
Be Where Your Readers Are
“Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher the property value” says Frank Underwood in the first episode of the first installment of the TV series.
The lesson applies to content marketing, as well. If you want to engage with your readers and move them down the funnel, you need to be where they are. You can’t just sit back and expect them to find your content. You need to figure out where your readers spend most of their time online and go there. Are you readers more active on Twitter than on Facebook? Then focus on that social media platform.
Become a Magician in Using Online Marketing Tools to Deliver Accurate Content
Netflix didn’t just throw darts in the dark with “House of Cards.” The show was bound to be a big hit even before Underwood ate his first pork rib. That’s because Netflix had data on the type of content people want.
After analyzing its huge database of + 45 million subscribers, Netflix knew that:
- Viewers liked Kevin Spacey
- They are fans of Davin Fincher’s work
- The original UK version of House of Cards was already a mini hit.
“House of Cards” has become a mirror of the society we live in and the audience is seeing what they want to see, as a confirmation of their personal beliefs regarding politics and the corrupted aura that is around it.
You Must Gain Your Audience’s Trust
Frank Underwood is a savvy politician. He knows how to appeal to people’s emotions and how to speak to them in a manner that seems both genuine and relatable.
The point for content marketers is that trust plays a vital role. If you want your readers to wait for your content eagerly, they have to perceive you as reliable and as a helpful and genuine voice in the industry. You need to provide value to your audience instead of just sending generic sales messages.
Engage Your Audience in an Intellectual Challenge
People want valuable content written in an engaging style. They won’t waste their times reading articles that look like a giant block of text or are hard to understand. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t like to be challenged.
House of Cards has taken sensitive topics, such as the corrupt American political system, and turned it into a compelling story that gives people a chance to debate and share their opinions.
Don’t dumb down your content. Write in an arresting style, but cover important topics with an analytical eye and from a fresh perspective.
Be Savvy about Content Distribution
Leave it to President Frank Underwood to highjack Donald Trump’s big day. Netflix has released a teaser for House of Cards’ fifth seasons on Inauguration Day. Netflix knew how to select the proper timeline to deliver bull’s eye content.
Your job as a content writer isn’t done the second you hit the publish button. Once you’ve built it, you have to get it in front of the right audience at the right time (a concept known as content advertising.) You must create unique social media posts for each channel, reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them to share your content and come up with an optimized timing and frequency strategy.
House of Cards is, without a doubt, one of the best TV series ever created. It’s also a great source of inspiration for content creators. From exquisite storytelling to creative content distribution techniques, there are a lot of lessons you can learn by watching the show.