Posted to Volacci's blog on August 19th, 2013

5 Ways Breaking Bad is Killing the Competition with Content Marketing

AMC’s Breaking Bad marketing department doesn’t need a vial of ricin to kill the competition, they are dominating Sunday nights right now with a content marketing strategy more potent than a batch of Walter White’s finest product. Here are 5 content marketing techniques you can learn from Breaking Bad. 

1. Audience engagement and interaction 

Breaking Bad has a loyal audience, and they’re doing everything possible to hold that attention as long as possible. Immediately following each new episode is a new series starring one of the actors who used to be on Breaking Bad, David Costabile (aka Gale Boetticher). Viewers are compelled to watch the beginning of that show to see clips for the next episode of Breaking Bad aired during the first commercial break.

AMC’s website takes this to an extreme level with games, quizzes, a really cool interactive evidence board, and more. We’ll discuss that more in the cross-platform promotion section.

Application: Keeping user attention is a major goal for digital marketers. Increasing time on site, reducing bounce rates and, at least for bloggers, increasing the number of page views should all be important objectives. Keep detailed records of each of these metrics, set goals for where you want to be, and find innovative content marketing strategies to meet those goals.

2. Create paying customers

Traditionally, a television show’s value comes from attracting enough eyeballs to make a commercial more valuable. DVD sales and episode downloads have made that model a thing of the past, and AMC does a great job selling and promoting their revenue generators. Every piece of online content, and many of the commercials all point viewers towards DVD sales or episode downloads.

Application: Don’t lose focus of the business side of content marketing. AMC accompanies all of their content with clear calls to action for pre-ordering DVDs of the last season. Great content creates great traffic, but that traffic is largely worthless to your business if you aren’t seeing sales or conversions as a direct result.

3. Upsell/Product marketing

When you’ve got a customer, keep offering them something new. AMC has created an entire product store for Breaking Bad fans where you can buy anything from T-shirts and DVDs to posters, books, and a three-foot tall Los Pollos Hermanos sticker for your wall. Here is where AMC is truly brilliant: they create merchandising not just for the show, but for characters and businesses within the show. Viewers can buy anything from “Better Call Saul” business cards for a popular lawyer character, to A1A Car Wash air fresheners and take out bags from a fictional chicken restaurant.

Upselling isn’t limited to silly merchandising offers. AMC also upsells their own programming with a Breaking Bad themed talk show, as well as a series created with a popular actor from the show (Low Winter Sun), and by promoting and airing a movie featuring one of the characters. Even though the movie “The Last House on the Left” was made in 2009, AMC is billing its first showing of the movie as an AMC Premier Event, hoping that fans of Aaron Paul, the character who plays Jesse, will come back to the channel to see an actor they enjoy play a supporting role in a movie.

Application: Spend time considering new ways to add value to your customers. Content marketing is a particularly upselling tool, as you can highlight product values and identify interests or needs of your audience.

4. Drive traffic across platforms

AMC wasn’t content to simply let Breaking Bad exist as a television product. Breaking Bad has a vibrant presence across platforms including television, website, social media, podcasts, character perspective blogs, videos, iBooks, email marketing and more. Further, they use one of their most popular television programs to drive this traffic. This allows AMC to connect with users in more personal ways, and to learn which formats of content will work best with their audience for ongoing projects.

AMC is taking it way further with a multi-screen viewing experience (app available on tablets, laptops and smart phones) allowing viewers to watch the show as it airs, while taking snap polls, learning cool trivia facts, and seeing exclusive video.

AMC also has a vigorous email marketing campaign set up offering prizes, additional content pieces, news and highlights as the hook to getting your email address.

Application: Grow your digital presence through as many channels as effectively possible. Modern users will consume content in a number of different ways. A diverse set of platforms enables you to present new products or offerings to audiences, while growing your presence.

5. Spread through social media

Breaking Bad has a huge social media presence, especially on Twitter. Regular promotion of hashtags keeps the conversation vibrant and growing. Fans interact on a regular basis, and almost all of the digital content can be shared easily through social media. This style of content has become so popular that many user-generated pieces of content are also going viral.

Application: By having a diverse selection of content circulating through social media, fans and customers become a powerful promotional tool. Make all of your content easily sharable to attract new users and drive repeat engagement of known users.

Breaking Bad’s final season has transcended the bounds of ordinary television programs and become a season-long multimedia experience. Content marketing is at the essence of this success. If you’re ready to start seeing some Internet marketing success for your business or organization, check out our free Internet Marketing Template to help find the perfect strategy for success.