Content Strategies to OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network

Oprah Winfrey

When it comes to content strategies, television queen Oprah Winfrey tends to kick “Content Is King” in the shins. Whether you’re an Oprah fan or not, it’s hard to deny that plenty can be learned from her latest, greatest venture.

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) launches at Noon (ET) on January 1, 2011. So, as an admirer of how Lady O does business, I can’t help but say in her deep-throated hype voice: “IT’S ALMOST HERRRRREEEE!!!” . . .

A joint venture with Discovery Communication, OWN will replace the Discovery Health Channel on cable and satellite. Oprah is chairwoman of the new network and also has editorial control.

As OWN unfolds, we’ll be witnessing a case study in content strategy and content development, as visioned by talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey. If we pay close attention, we just might learn how to score a content checkmate of our “OWN.”


Oprah: On Her OWN But Hardly Alone

“OWN will feature the kinds of shows I believe that people really want to watch — the kind of shows that lift you up,” Oprah said today on her long-running Oprah Winfrey Show. She also describes her new network as a continuation of what she’s done on TV for the past 25 years. So, here’s a look at some of the gems Oprah has polished within her content strategy for OWN:

  • Oprah Presents Master Class (motivational biographies featuring everyone from Simon Cowell and Lorne Michaels to Jay-Z to and Dr. Condoleeza Rice),
  • Health how-to with Dr. Oz; life how-to with Dr. Phil; and wisdom from money doctor Suzie Orman,
  • Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes (a making-of reality show of her historic show’s final season),
  • Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind (a look over the shoulders of creatives like Lady Gaga, fashion designer Tom Ford, film director James Cameron and many others),
  • In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman (how to — shut yo’ mouth!),
  • Wynona Judd and Naomi Judd star in what’s sure to be a tense, contentious mother-daughter reality show hit,
  • Inside Rehab (a docu-series about people suffering with compulsive eating disorders), and
  • Oprah’s Next Chapter (armchair traveling around the world with Oprah conducting interviews).


Make Oprah’s Content Strategy Your OWN

Really, Oprah is a how-to queen taking her problem-solving talent ’round the clock. And who better to show an audience how to conquer, evolve or heal than the complex, hard-working luminaries she’s befriended?

Oprah seems to have a winning content strategy, one that anyone publishing online would be smart to mimic. We may not have a Dr. Phil, Lady Gaga or a Judd on speed-dial, but we can reach out to more accessible stars in our on constellation.

Thus this content idea: Reach out to influencers in your industry or niche. Interview them. Package what you have whether as a video, report, blog exclusive, or podcast.

Market your nugget in whatever way will benefit your business or brand. You may not wind up launching your own cable network, but then again, this wasn’t Oprah’s goal with her first little interview, either.



If you didn’t notice the copy in the image accompanying this article, the OWN section of invites anyone to create your own video channel on the site. There’s even an assignment desk, allowing you to choose from an array of topics to give your views on, like a reporter.

Great way for OWN to: 1) get free content, 2) make the site / network interactive and fun for fans, 3) generate continual buzz, and 4) discover potential new talent! So it could be great for those who create a video channel on OWN, too . . .

As of this writing, there are only 1,000 videos uploaded. So, if you’re into video marketing, this could be quite an interesting content strategy to integrate into your marketing plan.

The video channel categories at OWN include: Books, Fashion & Beauty, World, Food, Entertainment, Family, Health, Home & Garden, Money, and Spirit. If any of these are related to your products or services, why not grab your video cam and go for the potentially nice publicity?