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3 Tips Smart Content Marketers Can Learn From Downton Abbey

by on January 8, 2014

If you haven’t heard of Downton Abbey by now I am not sure what you have been doing.  I dare say that each of us who work in content marketing would love to have the audience that Downton has achieved.  In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly the Season 4 premiere on PBS was up 22 percent over premier of Season 3.  So, what is it that makes this show so riveting?  And, are there lessons to be learned?  There are definite lessons that content marketers can learn from the success of Downton.  Here are 3:

Image courtesy of www.26.org.uk

Image courtesy of http://www.26.org.uk

 

 1.  Be a Good Storyteller

This is probably the most consistent message you will hear about content marketing.  Some marketers are better at it than others. I continue to work at this.  Sometimes I hit the mark.  Sometimes I do not.

We can all take some tips from Julian Fellowes.  Just watching the show has given me ideas.  It is enough of a break from the same-old-same-old that my mind can think about new and fresh ideas.

2.  Don’t Blend In

In a sea of so-called reality TV of Housewives, singing contests and storage/pawn-a-thons, Downton Abbey is clearly different.  The characters are actors being actors and not people pretending that they aren’t following some contrived storyline.  The characters have depth versus one-dimensional and predictable personalities.

When creating content we all follow the prescribed approach don’t we?  Create a list – just like I have done here.  Ensure that it relates to something timely and topical – just like I have done here.  However, we to stop there.  We don’t  think differently.  Fellowes really demonstrates that being completely different from the norm or the expected, resonates with the audience.

3.  Create Suspense

This might be the biggest challenge for content marketers.  We tend to write independent stand-alone pieces.  We only have your attention for a short time after all.  However, if done well, this might be a great opportunity.  This could be the best way to shake up your audience and you certainly won’t blend in with the rest.  This will be an area that I explore.  How can I create suspense?  And, will I be successful?

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 2.55.53 PM

These are just three areas that content marketers can look to Downton Abbey for inspiration and learnings.  What would you add to the mix?

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