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The Talking Dead: Creating Supplemental Content to Support the Main Course

Much to the dismay of fans, another season of AMC hit The Walking Dead has recently concluded. Love it or hate it, the show is clearly revolutionizing digital marketing. The fact that the show that builds off of suspense and thrill is not what has been drawing the attention, it’s the after show called The Talking Dead is what does it all.

Every Hero Needs a Sidekick

For those that may be unfamiliar, The Talking Dead is a show that starts right after every new episode of The Walking Dead. This show does what we all have been waiting for; get us inside of the characters heads. Each episode brings on cast and crew from the show, celebrity fans, and great rapport from host Chris Hardwick (who is also a huge fan). The show has a live studio audience that gets to ask questions about what just happened in the episode, and they also take questions from Facebook and Twitter.

talkingdeadIt has been such a huge hit because we no longer have to wait to get the answers that we want. In a society where we can access information so quickly, we always want to know everything we can as soon as possible – which is what this show provides. The concept is so simple and basic that it is surprising that no other show has done this in a way that they have. TV shows are always trying to encourage fan involvement with voting and microsites, but there’s nothing quite like this. Fans stick around so they can learn more about the show over the course of an hour.

If you think about it, The Talking Dead serves as the company blog to The Walking Dead’s product page. Here are three similarities between them and how this television program fits into the content life cycle.

1. It Provides Exclusive Content — Immediately

Initially unpopular, the show has grown in popularity and now retains 50% of the audience from The Walking Dead. Involving fans in such a way makes the show more and more popular. Hearing from the actual characters just after you saw an emotional or action packed scene is really helpful in understanding the true feelings of the character.

The show grabs the most sought out demographic (ages 18-49), which is the key to digital marketing. This group is known as the “go getters” who  will go online and search through pages of info to get what they are looking for. This works perfectly for The Walking Dead: since Talking Dead started, there has been a huge increase of traffic to the main web page.

In short, this demographic will find the information no matter what. By offering it exclusively after, AMC makes sure fans are sticking around and not finding the info somewhere else.

2. The Content Drives Traffic to the Main Site

When you visit The Walking Dead main site, it really has much to offer, including trailers, blogs, episodes, apps, and the latest news on what is going on with the show. Until Talking Dead, the site was not getting this amount of visits. The content was there, but it wasn’t getting views.

drivetrafficexampleMore than likely, people aren’t directly visiting your product pages. Instead you create engaging blog content which exposes users to your brand and drives them to your site. Yes, the blog is the back-up content to the main site, but without it, traffic decreases.

3. Social Media Works as a Tertiary Supporter

While these shows are taking place, Facebook and Twitter feeds are on edge with fans waiting to post what is on their mind as the show unfolds. The show has creative hashtags displayed throughout the episode to keep conversation going throughout the week and drive it to one place. By using this tool effectively, they are not limiting themselves to just one or two days of traffic and are bringing people to their site all week.

We’ve often talked about how social media isn’t a strategy, it’s a tool. You share your content on social media and use the platforms to facilitate discussion. This is also what the Talking Dead does. It uses social media to bring the conversation to the show and to The Walking Dead main site.

For marketers, this means we’re no longer are satisfied with just getting viewers (or traffic to your site), you also have to have an engaged audience. The example that AMC has provided is a great example of adding content marketing tools to support your main event: your products.

About the author

Daniel Morahan