What Content Marketing Can Learn From the Law & Order Franchise

Law & Order is a household name when it comes to television drama. But I’ll bet you never thought to mine the franchise for content marketing wisdom, eh? Given its longevity, it’s developed a kind of content strategy of its own, and there are a handful of good lessons for you to take away and apply to your own content marketing efforts.

#1: Keep a steady stream of guest appearances

The Law & Order franchise has played host to a wealth of celebrity guest appearances over the years. This is a big draw for fans who will tune in to see what their favorite celebs are doing on the show. With any luck, they’ll be hooked and become regular viewers.

Content Marketing Takeaway: Invite others to guest post on your blog. This serves several purposes. First, it’s mutually beneficial: their audience will check out your blog and you could gain some new followers. Your audience will read their posts, so they stand to gain some new followers, as well.

Also keep in mind that your guest posters don’t all have to be high profile bloggers. Plenty of celebrities made appearances on Law & Order before they were stars. Give some promising bloggers a chance to shine on your site, and hopefully one day you can say that you knew them way back when!

#2: Keep the plot line present, but thin enough to not be overwhelming

Law & Order features subplots, but the individual episodes from one to the next are pretty fluid. In other words, the majority of the focus is on the episode at hand as opposed to the subplot itself. That much was kept pretty thin.

Content marketing takeaway: This is how you should think of self-promotion on your blog, as well. It’s okay to mention your product or company in passing, but keep it thin. When you get to be overwhelming with the self-promotion, you alienate your readers and risk them thinking that you’re on the self-obsessed side. Not good for business!

#3: Having different series in the franchise appeals to a wider audience

There have been five total series shows in the Law & Order franchise, many of them overlapping each other in terms of air dates. This allowed viewers to choose the series that best suited their interests, which ultimately led to a wider audience.

Content marketing takeaway: Content segmentation. Give your visitors some options and let them choose what best suits their needs and interests. Don’t lump everything together and make them search too hard to find the information, otherwise you risk them leaving your site and visiting another. Instead, offer them some segmentation options from the get-go and let them choose their own adventure, so to speak.

#4: Keep the stories relevant to what’s going on in the world

The Law & Order franchise uses real life events to inspire their shows, borrowing from headlines to build story lines.

Content marketing takeaway: Leverage trends. Make sure you know what’s going on in your field. If news breaks and you’ve been following it, try to be among the first to comment by posting something relevant to your blog. And even if you can’t be among the first, it’s always a good idea to keep timely posts in your content mix.

#5: Build a foundation for your message

Law & Order is a household franchise name when it comes to television, and they’ve done this by creating a long-term entity (as opposed to short-term campaigns, so to speak). SVU premiered in 1999 and is still on the air today. Criminal Intent ran for ten seasons (2001-2011), and the original Law & Order series ran for a whopping twenty years (1990-2010).

Content marketing takeaway: Think in the long term. How can you use your content to build a foundation for your overarching message? How can you make longterm content a part of your overall content marketing strategy?

Bonus: Crossover shows are a great way to repurpose content

There have been several crossover episodes through this franchise history in which two series come together.

Content marketing takeaway:Repurpose your content. How can you take what you’ve got and move it into a new realm? How can you mix and match it? There’s also something to be said for content syndication here, too, as that process takes your content and make it available to a much wider audience.

What other television shows have taught you about content marketing? Let us know in the comments!

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Renee is a writer currently living in Central Pennsylvania (whatever you've heard is probably true). In addition to writing for CEM, she serves as the Managing Editor for Business 2 Community and pursues her dream of once again renting her own apartment (preferably in Philadelphia), if only to house her ever-growing collection of books. She received a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MA in English from George Mason. She's still waiting for someone to write a song about her life so she can just quote the lyrics for her author bios. Catch up with her on Twitter , LinkedIn, or reneedecoskey.com.

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