PR & your Netflix watchlist

I know current events of grave import have impacted the United States this week. I’ve chosen to keep things light with an unrelated but useful lesson from pop culture that will help your PR work.

Because pretty much everyone subscribes to Netflix, you might think that the streaming giant’s programmers can air pretty much any show as long as it’s well produced.

You’d be wrong. These entertainment masterminds don’t aim for “everyone.” They carefully segment their giant audience into countless slivers. Then they identify content that will appeal to various demographics.

The easiest way to see this at work is how the success of Stranger Things led to the acquisition of The Karate Kid spinoff Cobra Kai. Both shows skillfully attract two different demographic groups – Gen Xers who came of age in the 80s (like me), and their kids.

The parents tune in because the 80s references and flashback scenes teleport us straight back to our impressionable teenage years. If you’re in your 40s, I dare you to not re-watch the final minute of The Karate Kid right now . . . Johnny’s head snaps back as the music crescendos . . . Mr. Miyagi’s OG smile and nod . . . go ahead, I’ve got it cued up for you. 🙂

And the teens watch because both series are actually about teenagers. Against the backdrop of supernatural Soviet-funded monsters or spoiled brat bullying, the issues the characters deal with play out just the same in our kids’ less dramatic but very real Zoom classes and text threads.

It’s pure genius cross-targeting. Netflix did the same thing with Fuller House, but Aunt Becky had to go and get arrested so that kinda taints that example. Also The Umbrella Academy, to an extent.

You can do the same thing with your audiences. Identify the one or two outlets or influencers who have crossover appeal to two or more of your most valuable demographics. The audiences could vary by generation, like the Netflix examples.

Or not. Let’s say you pitch media for a software company that does billing for professional service providers. You need to reach both accountants and attorneys. They follow different trades. But they have something else in common that relates to one of your key messages: balancing work and life. Yes, you keep pitching the separate trade outlets for each industry. But you also go all in on finding a columnist or blogger who covers “succeeding in professional services and getting your life back.”

And then you give that columnist or blogger exclusive access to a series of releases from your aggregate user data that reveal valuable takeaways. You make them more valuable to their audience, and they mention your software and link to your site. And both attorneys and accountants hear about you.

And then you have more time to catch up on Cobra Kai. 🙂

This article was originally published on January 20, 2021

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