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