Pamela Nordick has worked in advertising sales, marketing, PR and the trade show industry. She knows how to pitch and sell a product. Thankfully for the former A&E series Longmire, she also knows a thing or two about social media.
With nearly 6 million viewers weekly, fans were stunned when the show - based on Craig Johnson's best-selling novels - was cancelled. There was no disputing its popularity. The problem for the network was the age of the fans. They fell squarely outside the coveted 18-to-34-year-old demographic advertisers are still targeting - even though this group is the first generation to, in large numbers, "cut cords" with cable companies. Worse, says Nordick, "they have less than half the disposable income than the baby boomer generation has. And yet advertisers and their agencies stubbornly hold on to that faulty ideal. Truly, it defies understanding."
Nordick has a personal interest in Longmire. Her nephew, Adam Bartley, plays Deputy Ferguson. When the show was cancelled, she guaranteed Adam she was "on it" and that her strategy to save the show would work. Her first step was to position the effort in a positive rather than negative light. "Longmire didn't need saving, a new network needed Longmire," she explains. The Longmire Posse was born in season 2 - but it was about to go into overdrive.
Nordick knew it would take a lot of Facebook sharing and retweeting - and a catchy phrase to launch her social media campaign. She developed the hashtag "#LongLiveLongmire" and followers grew. But she needed large numbers to catch the attention of a new network, so she enlisted Craig Johnson and cast members. Each post or tweet was a call to action encouraging more shares and retweets. Even executive producers John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin got in on the action. The Posse multiplied, but Nordick still had more tricks up her sleeve.
"I created the concept of weekly Stampedes," she explains. "At a set time and for one hour each week, the Stampedes focused the energy of thousands of fans into one cohesive unit. Through the graphics I created for each Stampede, we were all speaking with one voice. It was astounding. We actually trended on Twitter for 23 consecutive weeks. That kind of fan engagement is what got the attention of the industry and ultimately was a big part of why Netflix picked it up."
Also not unnoticed was Nordick herself. "I have been approached by several cancelled show fan groups. Running the Longmire Posse is more than a full-time job, but I did offer a few [of them] advice as to how to best utilize social media in their effort."
Like most readers of Johnson's books and viewers of the series, Nordick believes the loyalty of the audience results primarily from an affection and respect for Walt Longmire himself. In a world of political correctness, this fictional sheriff "simply goes about doing what is right," she says. Of course, the lush cinematography, great ensemble cast, and Johnson's captivating storytelling are also keys to the show's success.
So what is Nordick's ultimate agenda for the Posse? "There is a need for the Longmire Posse as long as Longmire is produced," she says. "The moment that Netflix announced that they were picking up Longmire for a fourth season, I had cemented the strategy for making sure there was a season five and immediately implemented steps to achieve it. In addition, there is simply no other resource for the kind and depth of information I provide: behind the scene photos, reviews, interviews, etc. It is next to impossible to connect with any other show on such a personal level."
It is Nordick's goal that Longmire enjoys an 8 to 10 season run, followed by a spinoff or two. But, she is quick to point out she can't meet these lofty goals alone. "Yes, I had the strategy and knowledge of how to best utilize social media to achieve the goal of finding Longmire a more deserving network, but it took a Posse to make it a reality." But whatever the result and no matter how large the Netflix audience, one thing is certain: the Longmire Posse is ready to ride, whenever and wherever Walt needs it.