Seven Steps to Creating an Effective OTT Content Strategy

By Chris Smith on March 21, 2018

Your content strategy is the roadmap to your video businesses’ long-term success. It’s your game plan for growing your business and outlines how you’ll reach, engage and build your audience. OTT and the streaming video marketplace continues to grow, which means more opportunity…. and more competition.

It doesn’t matter if you are a broadcaster, independent producer, multi-media brand, content network, or a youtube creator -- a content strategy is critical to the success of every OTT video business.

The Formula for OTT Success

The streaming video market is growing more competitive with every passing day, so it’s going to take more than great content to be successful. How are you going to rise to the top?

The secret to your long-term success is developing an airtight content strategy, that aligns your unique content and audience with how and where you distribute, promote and monetize your video.

In order to be effective, you have to design your content strategy to...

Be flexible - Change is inevitable. Your audience, technology, and the digital landscape will continue to evolve. Just look at the evolution of Hulu’s content strategy — they’ve pivoted from free ad-supported content to subscriptions to the “skinny bundle” it is today.  If you don’t adapt, you’ll get left behind. To have longevity, you must have the ability and mindset to make necessary changes to keep pace.

Be customer centric - Building and retaining your audience is key to any video businesses long-term success. Your audience and their needs should be the central focus of your content strategy. What content is most popular? Which devices and platforms do your viewers prefer?

Keep your audience happy and deliver ongoing value by focusing on the viewer’s needs and developing long-term relationships. Happy customers are loyal customers. Not only do those loyal, happy customers continue to use and pay for your service, they also go tell their friends they should sign up too. This means more customers and more revenue, over a longer period of time.

Seven Steps to Creating an Effective OTT Content Strategy

Step one: Define the mission statement for your brand and content

This comes down to answering one simple question: What sets your video business apart from others? Figure out what makes your content unique and a worthy investment of a consumer’s time and money.

Is your content focused on a specialized genre? Or perhaps you have a collection of content across a particular decade. What attracts viewers to your content?


It’s okay if your content doesn’t appeal to everyone, in fact, it’s an advantage to have content that appeals to a very narrow, specific audience. You may not be into the cult 80’s variety show, Night Flight, but when it was relaunched as an SVOD service, there was a community of long-time, passionate fans that now pay to subscribe to immerse themselves in nostalgic content. The best way to stand out is to curate a focused library, with unique content that your audience can’t find anywhere else.

Learn more: Get a case study to find more about NightFlight's content strategy, download here.

Step Two: What are your objectives?

What’s the purpose of your content strategy? What are the goals you hope to achieve? Making more money is pretty obvious objective, especially if video is your entire business. Even if you aren’t a video business, many companies are using video as a value-added service to drive e-commerce or ticket sales. Other objectives could include:

Expanding your reach to new platforms and new audience segments

Building your audience

Spreading your message

Driving engagement with viewers

Step Three: Define your target audience

The better you know your audience, the better and more effective your content strategy will be. The key to finding more viewers and driving better engagement is understanding who your audience is, where they are watching, and why. Here are a few things that you should consider:

Who is your target audience? Where do they watch your content? And Why?

What are they passionate about?

What’s the total addressable market?

Where does your audience currently live (broadcast, youtube, social)?

Why do they watch? Is it to be entertained, to learn something new or be inspired?

Do you have audience segments that are more engaged than others?

Step Four: Choose your distribution channels

The buzz is all about “video everywhere”. But sometimes it isn’t feasible to distribute your content across every single platform and device. So, where are the best places to distribute your content? The simple answer is, wherever your audience is. The goal is to get your content, to the right audience, at the right time.

Here are a few things to consider as you decide how and where you’ll distribute your content:

How do you drive viewers to content now?

How will you drive viewers to new platforms?

How will you program your content? Will it be linear, on-demand, or live?

How do viewers want to consume your content? Do they want to binge while hanging on the couch or watch short clips on their morning train commute?

At the very least, your audience must be able to watch on ALL screens. Stream content directly on your website, push content onto YouTube and Facebook, and publish content to your own branded app on major OTT marketplaces such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV.

Recommended Reading: Challenges of Launching an SVOD Service – What Devices Should I Support?

Step Five: Decide how to monetize your video

How are you going to make money? OTT provides flexible options for monetizing your content including:

Free to watch

AVOD - ad-supported

SVOD - subscription based

TVOD - transactional

The best strategy depends on your unique content and audience.Don’t limit yourself to a single method. The most prosperous video businesses use a mixture of free to watch, ad-supported, subscription, transactional and other monetization methods to maximize their revenue and help scale their business.

Learn more: Choose the best monetization method for your unique audience, download the guide here.

Step Six: Determine the tactics you'll use to market and promote content

Marketing is the most critical component of your content strategy. You can create and publish amazing, compelling content, but it doesn’t matter unless you’ve got the eyeballs to watch it. That’s why you need to leverage available promotion channels to cultivate your audience, drive brand awareness, promote new content and consistently engage with viewers. Here are a few good channels to start with:

Email Newsletters: Email is an effective and easy promotional tool. Seize every opportunity to encourage viewers to opt-in to your email newsletter. Then be sure to keep subscribers up to date on a consistent basis.

Native advertising : Promote new and upcoming content on the header of your website, throughout your social profiles and directly in your videos.

Social media: Engage with the viewers that follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a daily basis. You’ll naturally become a central part of your target audience’s community and viewers will feel more connected to your brand and content.

Recommended Reading: Zype U's Marketing & Promotion course.

Step Seven: Execute, measure and evaluate

You’ve got an awesome library of content, you’ve got your content strategy in place and you’ve got a video platform like Zype that makes it easy to execute. Now it’s time to put your content strategy to the test. This is an ongoing process of experimenting and learning from your success and failures so you can continue to optimize your content strategy.

Measure your success with the key metrics that align with the objectives you set out to achieve. Look at what is working and what fell flat. Did you reach the goals you set out to achieve? How can you do better? Use those insights to make tweaks to your content strategy and the evaluate and iterate again.

Connect your video with viewers, everywhere.