Mar 05

What Hollywood Can Teach about Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Universal Pictures was founded in 1912 and Walt Disney Studios in 1923. That’s 195 years of combined longevity in one of the most competitive and volatile industries. I recently read a great article from Innovation Excellence called “Lessons in Innovation and Longevity in Hollywood”. They mentioned 4 lessons from Hollywood that are particularly applicable to content marketing strategy for all kinds of small businesses.

Hollywood and content marketing

The 4 Lessons in Innovation and Longevity

Universal and Disney must be doing something right so what lessons can businesses looking to improve their content marketing strategy learn from them?

Lesson 1: Pivot and Restructure

Hollywood has had to deal with the rise of the Internet, digital piracy, video-on-demand and even North Korea. They innovated and adjusted by understanding their customers, restructuring and making the necessary changes.

Businesses trying to market themselves online have had to deal with similar issues (perhaps even more). The pace of change with online marketing increases every day. When you figure out one tactic that works, something else takes its place or it stops working completely. Look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Websites in general – successfully marketing on these platforms changes almost weekly. Now with mobile devices, the whole game has changed…again! So how can you learn from Hollywood?

In my last blog, I spoke about changing your thinking to focus on the relationship. You can’t control the changes that Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. make. Nor can you keep pace with all the new apps entering the marketplace like Snapchat, Vine, etc.

Take a deep breath because you’re going to see how you will be able to control everything by focusing on one thing – the relationship! You can still control the relationship with your prospects and clients. That’s where content marketing strategy comes into the game.

I recommend that you pivot and restructure to focus on building a relationship with your audience. You can do this by consistently providing useful content that they need. For example, an insurance agency could put out a blog like this: “How Much Insurance do You Really Need?”

Lesson 2: Experiment, Fail Often and Learn Fast

Tim Ferriss interviewed Ed Catmull, President of Pixar, on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, and Ed said that all Pixar movies suck at the early stages. I couldn’t believe my ears!!! ALL Pixar movies suck at the early stages. He even said that they first few versions are “unwatchable”. Pixar has created 14 movies over the past 20 years and every single one has been a massive hit. Why? Because they experiment, fail often and learn fast.

How does this apply to you?

Let’s focus on content marketing for now. If you ask anyone who has been blogging for a long period of time, most would probably laugh out loud if they read their first 5-10 blogs. My blog count is in the mid-50s now and while my first few blogs weren’t terrible, the blogs I publish now are:

1) Better written

2) Concise and understandable

3) Getting better results – the view count is actually down, but that’s because I focus on my niche instead of trying to please everyone.

The point is to take action and experiment. You will probably fail at first, but you will learn fast and improve even faster.

Remember to focus on the relationship and that this is about continuous performance, not seeking short-term end results.

Lesson 3: Empower Talent

Going back to Ed Catmull and Pixar, he mentions in the Tim Ferriss interview the importance of his team and empowering talent. Because all the Pixar movies suck at the early stages, they have to work as a team to put the pieces together. They even switch directors in and out of movies if they’re not going in the right direction (and the directors don’t mind because it’s part of the Pixar playbook).

How can you empower the talent on your team?

This is one of the most overlooked and easiest ways to gear up your content marketing strategy. Coming up with new content every week and every day is time-consuming and can be a brain drain. But guess what?! You have massive talent sitting all around you! They are willing and able to contribute.

You could be sitting by an amazing designer in the sales department that could create infographics for you. Rachel in the customer service department might be able to write a blog about Insurance Open Enrollment and relate it to Game of Thrones so it’s more readable. (That actually happened – click here to check out the content marketing strategy case study)

Empower the talent around you and the challenging task of creating content will become immensely easier.

Lesson 4: Global Ambition and Content Marketing

Expand your reach. The #1 market for Hollywood movies is still the United States, but look at the box office results for the movie Pacific Rim – They movie earned $101.8 million in domestic revenue, which isn’t that bad, but that’s minimal compared to the $309.2 they brought in worldwide.

There might be a huge untapped market just waiting for your product or service. Maybe it’s in a different geographical market, or maybe it’s sitting right in front of you in a LinkedIn group or a forum where your exact target market spends their time.

Quick Tip: Post your valuable blogs into these groups and forums (please don’t just froth at the mouth and start hard selling in these groups – it won’t work). Providing valuable content that your target wants and needs will help you engage in conversations and build powerful relationships.

Next Steps

Is your content marketing strategy working? Or does it need improvement? Sometimes it helps to have an unbiased opinion. Get your free Website Analysis to get that unbiased opinion. Our team of experienced professionals will “look under the hood” and provide you with 3 recommendations to make immediate improvements.

To your continued success,

Hendrik