Thanks to Netflix — and now other platforms such as Disney+, Apple TV+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Max— the popularity of the phrase “binge watching” is mainstream.
Binge consumption describes the habit of watching consecutive episodes of a television (TV) show in one sitting, and not waiting to watch it on a regular weekly cadence.
How many times have you said?
“This is so good, just one more episode and I’ll go to bed.”
Many episodes later you realize its super late at night and its almost morning. But you don’t care, the TV series was so addictive. You had to binge.
Binge consumption in our society
In addition to TV watching, binge consumption can occur with eating, drinking, and shopping. There are some staggering statistics about the power of the binge today:
- Binge eating occurs in 1 in 35 adults.
- Binge drinking occurs in 1 in 6 adults who consume 7 drinks per binge.
- Binge shopping occurs with about 6% of the U.S. population with 80% of compulsive buyers being women.
Based on this statistics, you can see we live in a “binge society” — for better or worse. This compulsive behavior happens with repetition despite the adverse consequences. For some reason, some people can’t stop. A binge becomes an obsession.
We are all now media companies
If you think about it, we are all now in the content business. Therefore, we should be asking ourselves: How can we leverage the binge so our audience binges on our content?
In today’s instant gratification society, we don’t have to wait. We can watch the next episode right away, eat the next doughnut, drink the next drink, and gamble on the next game.
The same thing can happen with your content. Your audience can consume tons of your content in one setting.
Do you have enough content for this binge consumption?
To make sure you do, you should think like a media company such as Progressive Insurance does.
Progressive’s marketing machine
You probably have heard of Progressive Insurance. They are one of the biggest car insurance companies. They are known for its name-your-price tool and its witty commercials featuring Flo, Jamie, and other fictional customer-service personas.
Jeff Charney, the chief marketing officer, has designed his unconventional marketing organization the way marketing departments will most likely be organized in the future. He told News Cred Insights, he has a “network strategy” approach.
“We’re a combination of all three of those: The breadth of ESPN, the innovation of Netflix, and the original content programming of HBO.”— Jeff Charney
Jeff says that companies today should run like a TV network with content, characters, and context. He says his employees are programmers. Jeff doesn’t use traditional marketing speak but talks like an entertainment company.
He believes the mindset of marketers should change and you should think like you are part of a fast-paced TV network within a company.
How to become binge worthy
Now that you are thinking like a media company, you should ask yourself.
- Do I have enough great content to become binge worthy?
- How do I become that “go to” place for my audience to obsess over our content?
- Does our audience want to consume our content so much that they lose track of time?
There are five main areas you should concentrate on to make sure you have enough content for binge consumption.
1. Get to know your targeted audience
The first step is to really understand your audience. You can’t grow your audience until you know who they are.
- What type of person are they?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they work?
- How much money do they make?
- How much education do they have?
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- What types of other content do they consume?
When you know your audience, you can create content that really resonates with them. You are more likely to have them consume a lot of your content if it’s made for them.
You have to really get to know them. When you concentrate on a smaller core audience, you’ll be more likely to really connect with them.
2. Produce great content
This speaks for itself. As I mentioned earlier, you have to get your audience invested in your content that they lose track of time and want to keep consuming your content.
Good is not good enough. It has to be great.
You can expect average results from average content and excellent results from fantastic content. It’s important to have quality and quantity.
3. Create predictable and consistent content
Do you publish your content when you are ready to publish it or when your audience wants it. It’s important to create content that becomes predictable.
Your audience expects that it will come out on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The set times will help you grow your audience because it’s consistent and predictable.
The old model of airing new TV episodes on a certain day and time works to some degree. The consumption model has changed and it has been “time shifted” so your audience can catch up and binge all at once.
The key is to have enough quality content for this binge. An editorial calendar can help you keep your content creators and your content organized.
It will help you produce great content on time and on budget. It provides a roadmap for your predictable and consistent content.
4. Integrate your content
To integrate your content, you should create a topic cluster. A topic cluster is where you create one large-scale piece of content on a broad topic.
The pillar page — the foundation of the topic cluster — covers all the topic on a single page with room for more in-depth reporting in more detailed cluster pages that hyperlink back to the pillar page.
Those separate pages go deeper in a specific sub-topic and can be promoted independently or collectively.
Think of it like a TV episode. It’s a standalone but it’s part of the overall TV series.
There are different seasons for each of the episodes. The topic clustering creates a knowledge hub that addresses an entire topic and becomes a helpful resource rather than putting everything into one page.
Each page attracts traffic, social shares, and backlinks. You can amplify each piece and the cluster as a whole. Search engines can search for each individual piece of the main hub. You get the best of both worlds.
5. Personalize your content
You have to think like Netlfix and Amazon. They have tremendous recommendation engines that are personalized for you. It is their pillar because it allows each of their users to adapt content to their interests.
Companies are all shifting toward the Netflix and Amazon recommendation systems.
Netflix explains it this way:
Whenever you access the Netflix service, our recommendations system strives to help you find a show or movie to enjoy with minimal effort. We estimate the likelihood that you will watch a particular title in our catalog based on a number of factors including: your interactions with our service (such as your viewing history and how you rated other titles), other members with similar tastes and preferences on our service, and information about the titles, such as their genre, categories, actors, release year … we also look at things like: the time of day you watch, the devices you are watching Netflix on, and how long you watch.–Netflix
Bringing it all together
We live in a binge society so it’s important that you develop a group of raving fans about your content so they partake in binge consumption. The more passionate they are about your content, they more likely they will pass the word to the family, friends, and colleagues.
If you treat your fans like gold and have enough content for binge consumption, you’ll supercharge your growth. They are the keys to your success — whether you like the binge phenomenon or not.