Fire-breathing dragons. An army of the undead. Intricately crafted war strategies. Nail-biting winter. Incest. Seven distinct kingdoms. And deaths. Lots and lots of unexpected deaths. These are just some of the things that describe world-famous Emmy-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. The smash hit TV show not only enjoys high viewership numbers, it’s also the most-talked about series on social media. Its total social media audience on major platforms is a whooping 17.1 million, according to Insights.
According to Adweek, in the show’s sixth season, Game of Thrones, GOT and HBO were mentioned a staggering 829,000 times from Friday through Sunday on Twitter. Moreover, Thrones generates 1.5 million social media posts a week when it’s on air. Let’s face it: The show is a roaring success.
Content marketers can learn a lot from this series that has been adapted by George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy books called A Song of Ice and Fire. But wait, what can content creators learn from a popular TV show, you ask. Turns out, a lot. Content marketing and Game of Thrones have a lot in common.
Here are some content marketing tips we learned from Game of Thrones:
Tell a Good Story
What makes the show really interesting? It’s the story, of course. The show has multiple sub-plots that draws the audience. The two main stories, however, remain the same. The first story revolves around who will take over the Iron Throne. The second is the fight between the white walkers and the living, breathing people (not to mention dragons).
Tell your audience a good story, one they want to hear. Don’t hold back on emotions and always make appeal to the five senses. Make them smell the wet mud after a rain. Make them feel the pain of losing a loved one. Make them taste a lip-smacking pasta sauce. And don’t be afraid to use emojis, visuals and videos to emote.
Honestly, the Game of Thrones writers, including George R.R. Martin, never fail to create high quality stories and content for audiences. Content marketing tips almost always include the creation of high quality content that readers can use.
Be a Strategist Like Tyrion
Tyrion Lannister may be addicted to wine (much like his sister, Cersei), but he’s also an excellent strategist. Once the hand of the king, the dwarf-sized witty strategist always tries to find his enemies’ weakness and never fails to underestimate them. Plan your content in advance and always be aware of what your competitors are doing. Better yet, find their weakness – like something they aren’t good at – and be better than them at it.
Shock and Awe
Game of Thrones loves to shock its audiences. Think Jon Snow’s unexpected death and resurrection. The bloody Red Wedding. The beautifully shot Battle of the Bastards. These moments made audiences sit on the edge of their seat and bite their nails till the end.
Use the element of surprise in your content by providing information that your readers don’t expect. For example, if you’re a health and fitness site, provide information on bad habits that aren’t actually bad. Such surprising content will differentiate you from your rivals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Kill or Resurrect Old Content
Several content marketing tips touch upon the idea of killing off content that serves as fillers and isn’t actually revenant or useful to your target customers. Much like Thrones, in which characters die in (almost) every episode, content marketers urge businesses to remove inconsistent content such as fluff pieces or outdated blogs.
However, if you think some content can be salvaged then repurpose it. Make an old blog post a video. Club several similar articles and create an ebook. Make an infographic on some evergreen content. Much like resurrecting Jon Snow in the show, repurposing old content can do wonders for your business by generating some much needed traffic.
If a lot of characters in Thrones had adapted to their situation, they probably wouldn’t be dead (we’re looking at you, Eddard Stark!) Businesses that don’t adapt to an ever-changing digital landscape will put out content that never gets seen by anyone. Identify which social media platforms and types of content your target audience consumes. Do they prefer watching YouTube videos or browsing through Instagram? One you’ve done that, create content keeping in mind the most consumed social media platform and type of content they like to read or see.
Plan for the Winter
Winter is coming. The Northerners always plan for the winter by stocking up on food. Even in the digital space, you will find that there will be good days and bad days or good posts that get ample traffic and bad posts that aren’t seen by anyone.
One way to beat the winter blues is to plan content in advance. Another way is to go back to your research on your target customers. Are your posts not working because they now prefer reading infographics to long blog posts? What do your customers want to read about?
Give ‘Em What They Want
When Melisandre successfully resurrected Jon Snow, audiences all over the world let out a cheer. In season seven (spoiler alert!), when Jon touched one of Daenerys’s dragons, avid viewers were ecstatic to receive yet another clue confirming Snow’s parentage (the R+L=J theory). When you give people exactly what they want, they love it! Ensure that your content is what your readers are looking for.
No doubt Game of Thrones has become more than a mere book or TV show: It’s now a phenomenon. A phenomenon that has millions of fans, has sprouted countless funny memes on the internet and has become a part of our pop culture. It would bode well for businesses to take a page or two out of their marketing book and incorporate it into their content marketing strategy. Using the aforementioned content marketing tips will help you beat the competition. After all, winter is coming.
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Chief Content Officer
Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.
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