Why Friends is the evergreen content every marketer needs to love
Talk about spotting a hole in your pipeline: Netflix recently paid $100m to extend its contract to show Friends for one more year on its service.
$100m. $2.74m per day. For Friends. Which ended 15 years ago. Which we watched for free at the time. Although they did warn us at the time that ‘content is king’.
Friends is something of a content anomaly: 236 episodes most of which are playing somewhere in the world as I write this. And yet this year, 15 years after the last show aired, Warner Bros will reportedly earn $1bn in revenues for reruns.
In turn, the cast will each earn around $22m this year for their reruns fees (they collectively negotiated for per episode and rerun rights in 2002). This year’s fees will match what they earned in the final years of the show (although, inflation…)
I should have known something was up when my fashion-forward teenager wanted a Friends top from Urban Outfitters last year and it cost £45.
The value of evergreen content
It’s amazing, really, to think that a show that was about friendship and relationships has aged quite so well. Most shows from 15 years ago have some awkward moments when watching them today – perhaps there are some nuggets in there that I’d wince at in Friends, but it certainly has proven pretty timeless.
And this is important for you as a professional or a professional services marketing individual because I think a lot of the content we produce is ephemeral. Timely content gets us immediate clicks and eyeball time, but does it pay the bills?
My experience tells me that that kind of content should have its place in your content marketing strategy (otherwise, why on earth am I writing this article?) but it’s the hare to the tortoise of evergreen content.
Evergreen content should be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Something that:
- Is timeless or updateable but shouldn’t need too much updating;
- Speaks to a need that your audience has;
- Answers their questions and concerns;
- Is loved by Google; and
- Keeps traffic tipping in day in, day out.
For each of my clients, I can think about one or two (or more) pieces of evergreen content that we have produced together that lead to instructions. People have an issue or a challenge or an opportunity, they look for corresponding content and then follow the call to action.
It may cost more to produce than the regular updates. And it will take longer than those articles. But I promise you, an evergreen content strategy is what you need.
Let me know if you’d like to find a time to work on yours. I can’t promise that it’ll last 15+ years, or that it’ll definitely make you a multimillionaire among the way. But who knows?