That’s not just an excuse to avoid the daunting task of building a strategy from scratch. In the past decade, films from the Marvel universe have not only raked in over $10 billion worldwide, but have also become an incredibly effective blueprint that can help anyone who works in media. Part of Marvel’s success comes down to two concepts that are becoming prevalent in content marketing: additive and divisible content.
For those unfamiliar with the concepts: Additive content combines previously published stories into larger content assets. Think of four blog posts about a similar topic coming together in an e-book. Divisible content is the reverse, when someone takes a big piece of content and breaks it down into multiple posts. The goals are similar. Both additive and divisible content save money by taking advantage of creative work you’ve already done. There’s a more nuanced benefit as well—setting up a storytelling arc that can rapidly build an audience.
Let’s take a closer look by starting with the fun part: the first films in Marvel’s cinematic universe. Marvel introduced the characters of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America between 2008 and 2011, with standalone films that explore the superheroes’ origin stories. These films existed separately until the heroes joined forces on screen in 2012’s The Avengers. It was a gamble, trusting that the audience’s investment in each individual character would carry over into the ensemble story. Saying it worked is an understatement.