9 Content Marketing Truths Inspired by Arrested Development

9 Content Marketing Truths Inspired by Arrested Development
May 24, 2013

It took over seven years, but the Bluths are finally back! Starting this weekend, Netflix will stream 15 brand-new episodes of Arrested Development, one of the most critically-acclaimed and beloved comedies of all time.

Netflix has done a great job of building buzz for the new season (just check out this Facebook page), and as a die-hard fan, I naturally had to re-watch past episodes from the show’s original run in preparation for Season 4. As it turns out, over the course of 53 episodes, I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels from the Bluth family’s misadventures to my own professional life in content marketing. Before long, I realized that not putting those ideas into a post would be – to quote a certain bumbling magician – “a huge mistake.”

So fire up the Cornballer, cover yourself in blue paint, and get ready to taste the happy – here are nine content marketing facts, tips and ideas inspired by our favorite dysfunctional family.

Michael Bluth – “There has to be a better way to say that.”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentMichael may have had no choice but to keep the family all together, but content marketers have plenty of choices to make when it comes to finding the best way to deliver information. Blogging is a key component of any effective content strategy – but don’t limit yourself to one concept. Some messages work better as a long-form eBook or whitepaper, while others call for more visual formats like videos or infographics. It’s important to be creative and try new things so you won’t miss out on that “better way” to connect with your audience. (In fact, get a tape recorder and just record yourself for an entire day. You might be surprised by… what ideas you come up with.)

George Bluth, Sr. – “There’s always money in the banana stand!”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentThe banana stand may have burned down (along with over $200,000 that was lining its walls), but most B2B companies these days have better ideas for their money. Last year’s trends report from Content Marketing Institute revealed that 54% of B2B marketers expected to increase their overall content spending this year – proof that interest in content marketing is hardly going up in smoke.

Lucille Bluth – “I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentLucille may revel in ignoring others when it suits her, but content marketers don’t have that luxury. While quality content provides a great way to engage with your audience, it’s not a one-way street. By listening to customers and answering questions via social media, blog comments, etc., you’ll be able to create stronger relationships and identify new opportunities for content resources that are truly valuable to the people you are targeting. Also, never start your day with a glass of vodka and a piece of toast. It will just make you grouchy.

Gob Bluth – “Because we’re brothers, Mom. And we kind of like each other.”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentWhile Gob certainly has a complicated relationship with his siblings, it’s nothing compared to the disconnect between marketing and sales at some organizations. For a content strategy to be truly successful, sales and marketing alignment is key. After all, sales reps spend more time than anyone dealing directly with customers and prospects, and that insight is critical to creating content resources that resonate. Like Michael and Gob, content marketers and salespeople may be different, but they are still part of the same family – and family sticks together.

Lindsay Bluth Funke – “So now we don't have a car or a jet? Why don't we just take an ad out in I'm Poor Magazine?”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentDespite Lindsay’s protests, the Bluths did just fine without the excesses they were accustomed to (OK, so “fine” might be open for interpretation). Similarly, thoughtful content marketers do more with less every day. For small teams especially, repurposing existing resources into fresh new formats is a great way to expose your messages to new audiences and get more for your content marketing buck. Video in particular has opened up lots of new doors for marketers looking to get more out of their most valuable content and topics – and it won’t cost you a million diamonds, either.

George Michael Bluth – “Well, it says ‘Bluth Company’ on the side, they'll notice that. Plus it's a staircase, that's going to catch the eye.”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentThere’s no denying that the infamous stair car attracted its fair share of attention for the Bluth Company – but that’s not always a bad thing. While content marketers spend a lot of time creating non-promotional thought leadership resources, branding can’t be overlooked. This is still marketing after all, and if you’re content isn’t increasing awareness for your business and driving new opportunities, it’s seriously missing the mark. Boosting traffic is great, but don’t forget about compelling calls to action, company images, and other elements that can help effectively drive more business (just watch out for hop-ons… you’re going to get some hop-ons).

Maeby Funke – “This isn’t working.”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentOne of Maeby’s more ridiculous ploys to get out of school didn’t last long, and she was soon on to her next scheme. For content marketers, it’s equally important to evaluate the success of your strategy to see what’s working and what isn’t. Are some topics generating more traffic than others?  Is your new call to action not converting as well as the old one? By creating measurable assets that can be tracked with analytics, marketers will be more likely to invest their time on things that are truly adding value, and continue to fine-tune the areas that aren’t performing. Like an 80 million dollar movie without an ending, some things require adjustments as you go.

Tobias Funke – “This is ripe for parody! This is ripe!”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentTo be honest, it wasn’t easy finding a Tobias quote that was appropriate for this article – but that’s what makes him so great, isn’t it? Thankfully, his decision to help Lindsay make a parody of a popular video franchise falls very much in line with an often overlooked content marketing technique – humor! Video marketing especially creates a lot of opportunities for brands to loosen up and have some fun with their audience (and it also happens to be one of the best ways to create more viral, shareable content).  So don’t be afraid to bring the funny!

Buster Bluth – “Hey brother!”

content-marketing-truths-from-arrested-developmentOK, so I don’t have a content marketing parallel for this one, but really, could there be any other quote for Buster?

For more content marketing tips and ideas, check out the posts below, and don’t forget to check out the new season of Arrested Development starting May 26. Until then – “No touching!”

Image Credits: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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