3 Things Netflix Can Teach You About B2B Content Marketing

3 Things Netflix Can Teach You About B2B Content Marketing

As the growing trend of on-demand content delivery is gradually becoming more dominant, it’s interesting to take note of how Netflix has brought about this rapid growth. We took a look at their tactics and wanted to see how these could be applied to the world of B2B content marketing.

Netflix have managed to provide a tailored digital content experience that stands out as one of the best in the market. It provides its subscribers with content before they even realise they need it. This is a key feature we can all aspire to with our content marketing. As B2B content marketers we still need to entertain and inspire our audience by giving them the information they want in an engaging way.

It doesn’t matter if the subject is optimising accounting procedures or compliant email archiving; the fact remains that if it’s relevant to the reader and fun to consume, they’ll desire more of it.

So let’s run through a few tips from the kings of on-demand content…

1. Know your content formula

If you watch enough detective mysteries or cop shows (especially back to back) you’ll notice that they have a predictable structure. This is normally called a procedural drama, and they follow narrative structures that have been developed over time to be as addictive as possible.

You don’t need to have seen an episode before or after, and they have a predictable format that efficiently engages the viewer. The crime is shown, the cast of unlikely culprits is introduced, and then through top deduction (or forensic science, or psychic powers) the villain is caught.

It’s easy to hijack this type of narrative storytelling for our B2B copywriting. In fact there are already a number of optimised copywriting formulas that can be used to structure your content. This blog post from Buffer has 27 you can use right away. When producing a Case Study or White Paper my favourite is the following:

  • Identify a problem
  • Agitate the problem
  • Solve the problem

This 3 shot combo lets you introduce a problem your audience faces with a quick overview.  You then clearly play out the impact that these problems have on the business’ bottom line, and why doing nothing about this is harmful to the business. Finally, you present the solution to this problem and resolve the struggle. If you can, always try to make the customer the hero of the story, not your product.

This content is good for prospects in the middle of your marketing funnel, pushing them towards seeking a solution, and ultimately making a purchasing decision. For more on this, check out Velocity’s blogs on how to use content to sell change.

2. Recommend content to your users

One of Netflix’s strengths is their ability to personalise the experience for their customers. As you consume various pieces of content around the site Netflix track you and remember your preferences. They’ll then suggest content for you to watch based on this data.

3 Things Netflix Can Teach You About B2B Content Marketing

Finding the right content for their users is a top priority for Netflix, and they take this part of their customer experience very seriously. The focus (as with all good content marketing) is to offer this service in a way that’s truly useful for their customer. According to their official tech blog:

We are not recommending it because it suits our business needs, but because it matches the information we have from you: your explicit taste preferences and ratings, your viewing history, or even your friends’ recommendations.”

Even without the dedicated technical resource and detailed analytics, there are a couple of ways we can quickly apply this tactic to our own B2B content marketing. The key is to always give your reader somewhere to click next.

When someone visits your website’s blog you can suggest content for them on similar subjects –potentially in the sidebar or at the foot of the page. Similarly, you should always have a prominent call to action at the end of the article offering more useful content .

Even after your prospect has submitted their details to download content on your resources section – you should still offer them more chances to engage with you.

3. Don’t be afraid to promote your best content

Netflix don’t hesitate to place their best new content front and centre. Although much of the appeal of their service is based on variety, they also place a great focus on creating quality content themselves – and then promoting this to grow brand awareness and market share. Fan favourites such as Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards are highly acclaimed by critics, and serve as pillars that prop up the Netflix brand offering.

As such Netflix aren’t shy about advertising that they are the only place you can watch these shows. They do this through a series of innovative ad campaigns, experimenting with new takes on both outdoor advertising, and native digital ads. In the past they’ve commissioned over 100 digital billboards across Europe showing quick clips of their best content. They’ve also partnered with the Atlantic to create interactive native adverts that introduce the rise of Frank and Claire Underwood, and the New York Times to examine real life female prisons. These campaigns are particularly effective as they make use of original, engaging content as well as piggybacking on the audience of the publisher.

So what can the world of B2B learn from this?

No matter how watchable or readable your content is, it’s still in competition with all the other options out there. Picking your best pieces of high value content and building a campaign around them help ensure they reach your ideal audience. By focusing your efforts into a few pieces of well researched and written thought leadership content you can offer unique insight into your industry. By placing this content behind a lead capture form you can turn this into a valuable lead generation campaign.

Once you have this market leading content don’t just post it to your resources section and forget about it. Use every distribution channel at your disposal to create a buzz around your new collateral:

  • Post it to social media, and actively reach out to influencers in your field to ask their opinion on it.
  • Create a visually engaging email campaign promoting the content and send it to your email database.
  • Follow Netflix’s example and partner with a specialist B2B publisher to access a wider audience of the most relevant prospects.


Amie Lovell

Meet Amie, Marketing Manager here at Inbox. She looks after everything from our content and blog articles to newsletters and social. Her passion is delivering engaging content that resonates with our target audience while promoting thought leadership, to drive brand awareness and trust in what we do.
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