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4 Content Marketing Lessons from the Launch of Disney Plus

Hilary Sutton is content marketing consultant at McKinley Marketing Partners. This blog post is based on her popular talk, “Captain Marvel, Disney+, and Star Wars: 8 Content Marketing Lessons from Walt Disney Studios.”

Today is a big day for Disney fans. Disney+, the Walt Disney Company’s much anticipated streaming service has arrived in North America. It’s a big deal for a company that has made billions in the traditional film and television industries. Bob Iger, Disney CEO calls it “hastening the disruption of our own business,” according to Iger’s new memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime

But Disney has been making smart and strategic moves as they enter the streaming services fray. And since no company quite encapsulates the gold star of storytelling-meets-business quite like Disney, there are multiple lessons marketers can learn from the mouse. Here are four content marketing lessons from the launch of Disney+.

4 Content Marketing Lessons from the Launch of Disney Plus

  1. When new technology disrupts, get in the game and do it better. Streaming services like Netflix have monumentally shifted how people take in film and television. It’s had a huge impact: from shuttering all but one Blockbuster video store to a decline in movie theater ticket sales. Instead of dwelling on the creativity of the past, Disney is innovating to stay relevant. Disney has strategically acquired Marvel, Lucas (Star Wars), National Geographic, Pixar, and 21st Century Fox and thus is able to compete with heavy hitters like Netflix and Amazon. Their secret weapon is characters that people feel strong emotional connections to, and they’re using that to their advantage.
  2. Repurpose content to connect with your audience. Repurposing content is critical to a savvy content marketing strategy. And with the launch of Disney+, Disney is doing exactly that. From Disney Channel original shows to animated classics that have been in the vault, Disney is aggregating all of their content and putting it in a new format to reach a larger audience. Some people who resonate with your content won’t read a white paper. But they will listen to a podcast. They might download an infographic. Repurpose strong content to reach your audience in new ways. Repurpose to stay relevant.
  3. Expand on content that resonates. Disney isn’t just bringing old stuff out of the archives. Yes, you can watch Darkwing Duck to your heart’s delight, but it’s also creating new content with characters that you already know and love. The first of its big budget franchise expansion shows is The Mandalorian, a Star Wars live-action television show directed by Job Favreau. Disney dropped a cool $100 million on the series. Disney has plans for at least four Marvel television shows as well–all with the original film stars. Disney is bringing new stories and new shows to beloved characters and franchises that people love. Content marketers should too. Dive into your analytics. Which pieces of content performed very well? How can you take a deeper dive? At McKinley Marketing Partners I wrote one article on ageism and saw that it got 4x the number of clicks than other articles published in that month. So we took a deep dive and wrote a four-part investigative series. Pay attention to what resonates with your audience and serve them by expanding on it. 
  4. Make the first “yes” easy. Disney is starting at a very low price point: $6.99 per month–$6 cheaper than Netflix’s standard package. Users can download content to ten devices with 7 different accounts. This is an easy entry point. So how can you make the first “yes” easy with your content? Create an experience for your audience that makes them think, “Well of course I’ll trade my email address for this download. That’s a no brainer.” 

Creativity and a commitment to excellence are what set Disney apart from its competitors decades ago. But it’s Disney’s innovation and commitment to embracing technology that continue to make them the top story-based business in the world. This applies to your content marketing program as well. Look at your analytics with fresh eyes. What story is it telling you? What should you repurpose or expand? What technology do you need to pay attention to in your vertical? At McKinley it’s important to us to listen to our audience. We want to know what matters to them and what is affecting the way they are taking in content, and pivot accordingly. What do you need to do differently to approach your content the Disney way?

by McKinley Marketing Partners