As I was recently re-watching “Friends” on Netflix, I was inspired by all the content marketing lessons you can learn from the show. Here are the top eight lessons I came up with while watching.
Content Marketing Lessons from “Friends”
1. Be Creative
This is one of the things I absolutely love about the show! They take everyday instances and give them a creative spin to make them hilarious. It’s done throughout the show using topics like chicken pox, building an entertainment center, playing with a dollhouse, etc.
Are you giving your company’s content marketing strategy a creative spin? How can you take what you’re already doing and give it a little twist to help spread your message further? Don’t be afraid to try something new!
Need some inspiration to come up with some new ideas? Check out these ways to add creativity to your marketing plan. The infographic offers a wide variety of suggestions, from brainstorming tips to actually implementing them into your strategy.
2. Timing Matters
Part of what makes Friends so great is the timing of the jokes, facial expressions, etc. One scene that always comes to mind for me is when Joey figures out Monica and Chandler are seeing each other; the timing of the dialogue and their reactions is absolutely perfect.
When it comes to your content marketing campaign, how is your timing? Are you sending pitches or email newsletters when recipients are likely to read them? Have you thought about when your social media updates go live on your company’s pages? This article from HubSpot provides some helpful advice for finding the best time to post your social media updates across various platforms:
- Facebook: 12pm-1pm on weekends, 3pm-4pm on Wednesdays and/or 1pm-4pm on Thursdays & Fridays.
- Twitter: 12pm-3pm Monday-Friday and/or 5pm-6pm on Wednesdays.
- LinkedIn: 7:30am-8:30am, 12pm and/or 5pm-6pm on Tuesdays-Thursdays.
- Pinterest: 5pm on Fridays, 8pm-11pm on Saturdays and/or 2am-4am and evening hours every day.
- Instagram: Anytime Mondays-Thursdays except 3pm-4pm.
Another important aspect of timing is your blog. Although you can pick whatever day and time you like for your posts to go live, it’s really important that they are posted on your blog at the same time of day and same day of the week. Posting consistently like this can really help with your online visibility and search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s a helpful hint: See if your blogging platform will allow you to schedule your posts for a particular day/time so you don’t need to commit to sitting in front of your computer at the same time every week.
3. Repeat Your Message
I don’t know about you, there are a few phrases that always come to mind when I think about this show:
- “We were on a break!”
- “How you doin?”
- “Smelly cat, smelly cat”
- “Could I BE more ____?”
- Anything that uses the word “phalange”
Those five phrases (plus many more) are used throughout the series and repeated in a variety of ways, yet every time they come up, it fits the context of the situation in an amusing and/or useful way.
Are you repeating your message over and over? You don’t want to sound like a broken record, but consumers won’t remember your message if they only hear it once. Take the time to come up with what your key message is, and incorporate it into all facets of your content marketing strategy:
- Electronic press kits and website copy
- Press releases and pitches
- Email newsletters
- Blog posts
- Social media updates
- Other marketing materials like business cards, brochures and flyers
The more ways you repeat your message, the more likely it is to stick in the minds of your current and potential customers!
4. Re-Use Content
There are a few ways they re-use content on “Friends”:
- Every once in a while, they compile scenes from previous episodes, such as when Ross thinks about inviting Rachel to his wedding and then Rachel considers whether or not she should go.
- Through a few running jokes throughout the entire series, such as Janice showing up everywhere (as a blind date with Chandler in season 1 and then as a potential neighbor in season 10).
How can you re-use content went it comes to your content marketing strategy? There are a lot of possibilities, but here are a few suggestions:
- Reference previous blog posts in new posts.
- Turn one of your compelling, newsworthy blog posts into a media pitch.
- Share older content or photos as a #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday social media post.
- Share blog posts from your archives in your e-newsletter.
- Turn something you’ve previously written (such as a press release or blog post) into a white paper or infographic. HubSpot has some great templates to make your own infographics.
Digital, content-based marketing tactics can require a lot of ideas and writing; there’s no reason for you to reinvent the wheel every time when you can pull from content you’ve already created!
5. Provide Backstory
Unlike the episodes that show previous scenes of the show, “Friends” also provides backstory to the characters’ lives by flashing back to when they were in high school or college. This was a way they provided history such as Ross’ crush on Rachel or the first time Chandler and Monica met each other.
Provide backstory in your content marketing campaign by making it easy for consumers and reporters to find out about the history of your business.
For the media, create an electronic press kit that lives on your website; make sure you include high-res images in addition to the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. See our client page for examples of electronic press kits.
For your consumers, make it easy for them to learn about your company. Have a clear “About” page that shares your history. You may also want to include biographies of your team so potential consumers can learn more about them.
Share notable dates and anniversaries with your social media followers or blog readers. Explain why the day is important to your business, and maybe even offer a special deal or promotion in honor of the event!
6. Make it Easy for New Followers to Jump In
Although the characters grow during the course of the show, it’s designed in a way that new viewers can come in at any time.
Think about that as you create your content. Are your media pitches dependent on a full back-story of your company? They need to be quick and easy for journalists to digest. What about your social media updates? Would everything you post make sense to new followers that haven’t seen your previous updates?
7. Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut
It’s important to keep your content marketing strategy flexible and make changes over time, just like the characters of Friends grow and relationships change through the years. All of their jobs change, some of them get married and a couple of them have babies!
As you look at your content marketing strategy, think about how you can continue to develop it over time. Are you investing in a marketing tactic that isn’t achieving your goal? Maybe it’s time to try something new.
Along this same vein, it’s important to keep up with new tools and research. There’s a vast amount of information out there about how long your blog posts should be, when you should post on your social media channels, the best times to email reporters, etc. Always keep learning so you can keep your business’ content marketing strategy from getting stuck in a rut.
8. Move Forward From Mistakes
Throughout the series, the characters all make mistakes. They consistently apologize to each other.
When you make a mistake (and you will), how will you handle it? From a marketing perspective, it’s best to accept responsibility, apologize and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This strategy applies to missteps of every size. From a social media update you probably shouldn’t have posted to a problem with your product, most people recognize we’re all human, and if they see you taking steps to rectify the situation they’ll usually understand.
Do You Still Have Content Marketing Questions?
As you can tell, there are a lot of content marketing lessons you can learn from the show ‘Friends.’ If you would like to learn more about creating a content marketing strategy or marketing in general, feel free to contact us! We’re happy to work with you to ensure all of your marketing and business needs are met.
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