“Content is king” goes the saying in the content marketing field. There’s no denying that this is – in almost all cases – very true. But just having good content isn’t the entire picture. Good content can do a lot on its own but how you deliver it to your consumers matters a great deal. One way to deliver good content which is gaining in popularity and ease is through the use of episodic and series-based content.
People Like to Know There’s More
Episodic and series-based content is a powerful tool that fits perfectly within an online marketing campaign. Social media usage for businesses is about keeping the consumer engaged with your brand and helping them identify with it. If you can provide something entertaining or informative on a regular basis that speaks to who they are and what they like, you build familiarity with them. Good content presented as episodes or as a series of broadly related content also encourages sharing and discussion of the content itself.
Chris Smith at the Fluidblog writes a convincing argument for the power of episodic content based on his experiences with a popular video game. The game was released in small chunks, rather than one package, and it managed to avoid the problem of a customer using up the content in a certain amount of time “and then never [thinking] about [it] again.” With episodic and series-based content, you create multiple instances of quality content which engages the consumer at a much deeper level and keeps them thinking about it.
But of course, your business or agency likely isn’t dealing in video game content so it’s not as simple as cutting up your product into chunks. Still, some big dogs are touting the power of episodic and series-based content for marketing’s sake. For example, PepsiCo’s marketing chief thinks that there is a “huge opportunity for episodic content online” according to Will Richmond on VideoNueze. Additionally, Jay Miletsky on Mediapost writes that “ongoing series are certainly primed to take center stage versus single, one-off videos.”
There are plenty of ways to take advantage of series-based and episodic content though. Let’s take a look at a few of them. Probably the first thought you and many others have is YouTube.
YouTube the Frontrunner in Episodic Content
Every business online dreams of creating that special video that will go viral. But trying to make a viral video is like trying to win one of those rigged carnival games where you knock over milk bottles or try to land a ring on a bottle. You can’t force viral videos to happen. You can make attempts and hope the content catches, but there’s no way to guarantee you’ll have success like Psy’s Gangnam Style. He certainly wasn’t expecting all the attention he got.
But there are steps you can take to increase the time content is out there for consumers to view. Turning your content into series-based or episodic-based content is the way to do this. At the very least you will get increased views and more involvement from the consumer versus using content that is a one-shot-and-done deal.
A few years ago, Old Spice used their creative and entertaining minds to create a great series of hilarious videos that caught on quite well. They created quality content and were smart enough to involve social media users and drew out ideas for additional content from them. This kept people focused on the Old Spice brand for weeks and over 11 million people saw the videos in just three days once it caught on.
Another company is hoping to have the same success with a series of content based on how to eat their product. Oreo wants to “ramp up its YouTube subscriber base” and encourage more engagement. There’s room for every brand to do the same on YouTube; the good thing about the platform is you can make your content scalable to your resources.
Using Vine for Episodic Content
A cheap and new way to create short bits of interrelated content is Twitter’s new Vine app. With vine you can create a long drawn out story and tweet it throughout a set time frame. This will keep users engaged in your Twitter feed which is always good.
Vine is the reason you can now use Twitter to create more engaging content. As Lara O’Reilly writes on MarketingWeek, “Vine adds an extra layer of storytelling to Twitter” and users of Twitter and your followers “would likely welcome something from a brand that spoke to their interests.” Don’t just show parts of a commercial, make all new content that connects with your consumers, entertains them, or makes them laugh. Take advantage of this new storytelling side of Twitter. All you need is a cell phone and a little creativity every day or week and you’ve got content that is easily sharable!
Other Ways to Create Episodic Content
There are a handful of other mediums out there on the web that you can create episodic content with. You can structure certain engagement with consumers in a series. For example, you could use Google Hangout to utilize your knowledge in an industry or about your product to feature certain aspects every week. You can pull content from your followers and friends to know exactly what to focus on every week. Provide useful information to them and you can bet they will be talking about it and sharing the info with their friends.
Even the good old internet media known as .gifs can be a way to share episodic content. You can do a lot with a .gif since you aren’t limited by time like a Twitter Vine video is. Make sure your content is funny or quirky however, as entertainment seems to the best way to utilize .gifs all over the web.
Creative Planning Work Can Go a Long Way
What unifies all of these options is creativity and planning. Sure it takes more work than just tweeting here and there or putting up a random YouTube video, but it’s also much more effective. The time you put into the content will be reflected in its quality. And we all now know that quality content delivered creatively is the real king.
What do you think about episodic and series-based content for your business?