With everyone stuck inside due to stay-at-home restrictions, there has never been a better time to catch up on your favorite TV shows. For me, it’s been The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, an Amazon original and perennial favorite about a housewife-turned-comedienne in the late 1950s. Throughout its three seasons, the show delivers valuable content marketing and branding lessons, as its protagonist learns the ropes of the comedy world and how to conduct herself in unexpected situations.
Lesson #1: Don’t Expect Overnight Content Marketing Success
Midge Maisel begins the show not as a comedienne, but as a housewife blindsided by her husband’s infidelity. Her first comedy set is completely improvised, and phenomenal. Unfortunately, the next time she steps up to the microphone, she all but bombs. Even though she’s naturally talented, she doesn’t have the foundation of rehearsed timing or written material to fall back on. In order to find success, Midge has to rehearse, write and struggle.
In terms of marketing lessons, content marketing success won’t last without a strong foundation in place. You might find amazing success with a single tweet, ad or article, but that’s not the kind of success that continues to drive traffic to your website for months and years. Building your website’s SEO, cultivating relationships with your client base and putting out strong content takes time.
Make sure to pay attention to your audience and analytics (see lessons #3 and 4), edit your work thoroughly, choose appropriate keywords and maintain a consistent posting schedule. This hard, and sometimes difficult work, is the backbone of your business’s content marketing success, and it pays dividends more than a single viral post.
Lesson #2: Use Content Marketing to Brand Yourself
Midge spends quite a bit of time brainstorming a stage name before settling on “Mrs. Maisel.” This is both a white lie (she’s divorced) and a bold move (as it’s the opposite of the anonymity she originally desired). Still, when she’s “Mrs. Maisel,” Midge is able to step outside herself into a bold, bright character. No longer is she a flat-broke mother-of-two who lives in her childhood bedroom; she’s a star. And anyway, the name looks great on a marquee.
When it comes to marketing your business, it’s important to decide who you are, as a brand, and what it is you’re selling. Create a brand that doesn’t just look good, but one that you can truly embody. Market research and similar businesses are great places to look for inspiration, but make sure that your end result is one that you can truly make your own. A fun, conversational brand voice can bring a food product’s Twitter to life, while business leaders prefer to hear a professional tone in their monthly newsletter. Whatever the best option for your business, brand yourself and make sure your content marketing reflects it.
Lesson #3: Keep An Eye On Your Analytics
Before she tries her hand at stand-up, Midge half-jokingly “manages” her husband’s open mic sets. She is seen in the back of a taxi, reviewing how many laughs each punchline received that night in her journal, editing his jokes for maximum effect. When the time comes to build her own career, she continues this habit of journaling her wins and losses.
In Midge’s story, as in content marketing, it’s crucial to track your results. Your audience will tell you what’s working by way of their activity. Your audience’s clicks, pageviews and unique visits show you what they are enjoying, as well as what isn’t working for them. Check your audience engagement, analytics and accounts on a regular basis– accounts should be checked daily, social media peak visit times can be reviewed weekly and analytics only need to be viewed month-to-month.
Midge’s analytics showed her when a joke wasn’t working and was in need of a rewrite. Your analytics will tell you if your content isn’t connecting with your audience, and when it’s time to change it. Altogether, this attention to detail will keep your content marketing fresh, and keep your audience interested.
Lesson #4: Know Your Audience
In the third season of the show, Midge’s job as an opening act for a Harlem-born singer lands her onstage at the legendary Apollo Theater. Already concerned about her humor not relating well to the audience, Midge is horrified to learn that one of the highest-earning African-American stand-ups has been bumped to accommodate her set, and members of the audience don’t love that. So, she decides to build a bridge. Midge steps out with handfuls of the homemade goodies that locals dropped off backstage, and compliments them on their cooking. She spends the first half of her set drawing parallels between the two communities in question, and endears herself. Of course, she makes a major mistake shortly after… but I won’t spoil that.
Much like Mrs. Maisel, it is important to tailor your content marketing to your audience.
The content marketing tip is this: Midge’s original material would not have been relatable, entertaining or enjoyable for the audience at the Apollo that night. If she hadn’t known her audience, those jokes would have performed terribly. Instead, she grabbed whatever information she could about the audience that night and found a way to compliment them, making them feel welcome and involved while still being a funny and enjoyable performer.
Getting to know your audience is one of the most important aspects of your content marketing strategy. Likes, shares, page visits and comments will teach you about who they are and what they want, and it’s up to you to adapt so you can reach people who will relate to your brand, use your product and tell their friends. Whether it’s through surveys, open-ended questions on social media posts or market research analysis, learn as much as you can about your audience. You need to find a way to engage them, or your content marketing strategy will fall flat on its face.
Lesson #5: End The Show (And Your Content Marketing Pieces) With A Call To Action
“I’m Mrs. Maisel, good night!”
Midge ends every show by reminding the audience who she is, and so should you. A call to action should appear at the end of your newsletters, blog posts, in about 20% of your social media postings and in any and all advertisements. It’s fairly simple: tell the audience who you are, what you do and what you can do for them. This is a great way to get people to keep coming back, to continue engaging and to start building future relationships with your audience. Whether it’s a code for an exclusive offer, encouragement to tag your brand on social media or a request to contact you for more information, no content marketing strategy is complete without a rock-solid call to action.