Too much content: What marketers can learn from streaming services

Netflix screen

How many new high-profile shows launched on streaming services in the past 12 weeks?

Five? 10? 25? Try 50.

From fresh episodes of popular series (Ozark, Russian Doll, The Flight Attendant) to star-studded newcomers (The First Lady, Gaslit), Vulture described this period as an avalanche of TV; an audio-visual onslaught that isn’t sustainable.

Whether it’s indeed sustainable or not, Wired took a different view. They saw this as streaming being too big for its own good. I don’t agree, but it does hold an interesting lesson for content marketing.

A lesson in content marketing from streaming services

Streaming is an ongoing battle to push people to content they’re interested in. In part, this means launching more stuff each month so there’s always something new. But it’s also important to help people find older shows they’d like but missed out on the first time. And this comes down to content discovery.

The same applies to content marketing. You need to give your target audience what they want. But you also need to recognise they are being hit with a firehose of content from every direction.

In other words, content itself is only half the battle when it comes to a successful marketing campaign. The other half is content discovery (i.e. promoting it in the right way).

The problem with hero content

Let’s put this in the context of a piece of hero content underpinning a marketing campaign for a B2B tech brand.

Every piece of hero content that sparks conversation is a herculean effort. The brand creating it needs a hook that no-one else in the market has jumped on yet. Data needs to be pulled from their systems. Customers and prospects need to be prodded for their inputs. Research conducted. Surveys run. Then it all needs to be crunched, condensed, and turned into a great story.

It takes a lot of time and energy. So why doesn’t distribution get a big enough share? And why doesn’t the plan for hero content include atomisation from the get-go?

Getting better results from your content investment

A friend of mine who works in B2B marketing for a large tech vendor recently had a lead come through – that led to a big piece of business – from a podcast episode they published almost two years ago. Like the comparison to streaming, you can’t assume your target audience will find a piece of content as soon as it goes live. You need to keep promoting it.

But you can’t take the same piece of hero content and blast it out across your target channels until the end of time. Promotion needs to be tailored to each platform where your audience hangs out, which is where atomisation comes in.

Everyone discovers things in their own way. Even among the same decisionmaker audience group, there will be different preferences for discovering and engaging with content. Atomisation lets you repeat the main theme of your hero content for the greatest chance of ongoing success without sounding like a broken record – adding something new each time.

Ways you can atomise a data-driven report:

  • Create an interactive micro site to package up your research in a more visual way.
  • Turn your hero content into a blog series that can support your SEO strategy.
  • Spin it out in a new format, like my friend did with the podcast I mentioned earlier.
  • Condense it into bite-sized content for a social advocacy campaign.

Atomising content to increase its reach

Bringing us back to the world of streaming, the issue isn’t that there’s too much to watch. That’s just a reflection on consumer demand for entertainment. Instead, the issue is helping subscribers find the content that serves their needs in a content library that, by design, is broad enough to do the same thing for every other subscriber on the books. And that’s the lesson the content marketing industry should take from this.

None of this is to say B2B companies can spend their way to victory. Creating atomised content to reach people on different platforms won’t guarantee success if the base material isn’t good enough. But, if the right investment has been made in the source material, and targeted atomisation has taken place to increase your chances of reaching the right people with the right content on the channels that are right for them, a piece of hero content can help populate your editorial calendar for months to come.

Need help deciding on the right strategy for your next piece of hero content? Or looking to atomise existing hero content you’ve created? Drop us a line at