7

min read

How To Build Love For Your Brand: Episodic Content

Success can seem like a moving goal post with content marketing. It's time to ditch the churn & burn approach, and embrace a content strategy that builds love for your brand, and works for your content marketing team.

KNOW HOW

How To Build Love For Your Brand: Episodic Content

Success can seem like a moving goal post with content marketing. It's time to ditch the churn & burn approach, and embrace a content strategy that builds love for your brand, and works for your content marketing team.

7

min read

Published:

August 26, 2020

The internet is a noisy place.

So, how do you break through with your brand's message?

A solid strategy for your marketing is a must. Having great content helps even more. But, what is great content? As a marketing term it’s used to describe everything from long form blog posts to infectious TikTok dances. And, while there are innumerable ways to create content, a major goal with every piece being shared, posted, and binged is to capture and keep an audience's attention.

Attention spans are shrinking.

The steady stream of attention-hungry content available online can become disorienting for consumers. Messages bombard us from every direction. Our browsing preferences become data used to serve us an endless firehose of entertainment and distractions. And with our collective attentions evolving and shrinking, most of what we see online is forgotten in a matter of seconds. Pretty scary stuff for a brand trying to compete, and reach the right audience.

Developing an effective content marketing strategy involves finding your own balance of three major factors: relevancy, consistency, and quality. Most content teams can excel at one or two of these factors, but juggling all three is extremely difficult.

Even with the best developed plan and expert execution, keeping the attention of your community isn’t a guarantee. So, how do you build content experiences that sticks with people?

Our Answer: Develop high quality video Episodic Content.

We think about Episodic Content as storytelling told across multiple pieces of content that make up one whole series or a show. This episode-style content can take many engaging forms (podcasts, blogs, social posts) but the medium that has the greatest ability to capture prolonged attention is video.

We think about Episodic Content as storytelling told across multiple pieces of content that make up one whole series or a show.

We know that video has the power to inform our decisions–84% of consumers say that they’ve been influenced by a brand video to buy a product or service. We also know how addictive video content can be (How many shows did you binge-watch during quarantine?) If brands can get in on the binge, there’s an opportunity to build love for the brand and grow a large and loyal audience. Compelling and entertaining content keeps attention longer, and gives your brand a fighting chance to influence your audience's next purchase.

Tub of popcorn with video clips mixed in to represent the snackable and binge-worthy nature of episodic content, while also drawing on the nostalgia of going to the movies.

How Episodic Content works

Episodic Content works by attracting viewers to episodes that are part of a larger show or series experience. Stringing content and stories together over multiple episodes that all share a specific show theme gives your audience a clear watching path. As the viewer, one episode seamlessly leads to the next, and before you know it you’ve consumed a whole series in a weekend.

Stories transport us and ease us into a place of psychological comfort. Whenever we invest our time in a story, we inevitably empathize with the characters (even if they don't resemble us). We root for their successes, and empathize with them whenever they fail. When brands launch an episodic content series, their audience is able to form meaningful connections that pull viewers in emotionally, enthrall them, and give them a visceral idea of the brand’s personality.

When presented in a series format, stories can change the way a viewer thinks and perceives your brand. You see, our brains are highly developed at recognizing and attaching value to patterns. It’s this pattern detection ability that helps us when we’re making decisions and trying to learn something new. Episodic Content rewards viewers with a pattern of storytelling, and sets them down a path of discovery.

Episodic content allows you to attract visitors to connected experiences, resulting in more time spent with your brand.

Traditional vs Episodic

Traditional content marketing teaches us that we should be creating content based on what we know our audience is interested in (and hopefully searching for). While this approach is effective for building searchable Evergreen content, it doesn’t account for all the people who would be attracted to our brands but aren’t currently searching for the keywords we’re hoping they plug into the search bar. If a customer does happen to search for a targeted keyword and click through to your content, you run the risk of them getting the info they need, and bouncing from your site without learning anything substantial about your brand and product.

Episodic Content is designed to build a more inviting and immersive experience for your audience.

Episodic Content is designed to build a more inviting and immersive experience for your audience. One that presents many different pathways to investigate, all while keeping visitors on your site. You’re still creating content you feel is relevant to your audience’s interests, but you’re essentially taking the guess work out of what they should do and watch next.

Hand drawn animation influenced by the Netflix "Next Episode" button.


Why Episodic Content:

More bang for your buck.

Every content marketing manager has struggled with the churn & burn of the internet. What may have taken you and your team weeks to create is seemingly zapped from the feeds (and minds) of audience within 24 hours of posting. While we can’t change the lust for endless new content, we can be more efficient with our time and energy.

While we can’t change the lust for endless new content, we can be more efficient with our time and energy.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of Episodic Content is that it allows you to take 1 piece of content and easily turn it into multiple supporting content experiences that can be distributed across all your marketing channels. In the case of an episode based show, each episode can be edited into a wealth of promotional content: trailers, social clips, digital ads, still images, gifs, memes, etc. The most successful content creators are already applying this method when they set out to create content. [Gary Vaynerchuk's Content Model is essential reading.]

Being able to multiply consumer touch-points in this way gives your work a longer life expectancy than a click-bait blog post or stand alone video. You don’t have to just bet all your fortune on red, give it a spin, and hope you come up lucky.

Build affinity (love) for your brand.

Have you ever fallen in love with a brand? It seems ridiculous to think this could happen, yet consumers are constantly falling head over heels in love with the brands they feel really speak to them. Not only do these brands understand the consumer’s needs, they also actively share and champion the same values their community supports. This type of brand storytelling is essential for building a loyal audience of people equally attracted to your product and what your brand believes in and stands for.  

Understanding how your brand’s story and values overlap with your audience’s values is the first step in building a brand people will care about. The next step is keeping their attention. Episodic Content is the best way to deliver consistent storytelling that celebrates and reinforces your brand. From one episode to the next, your customers can experience what your brand stands for, and engage with entertaining content that doesn’t just talk about how great your product is.

Our friends over at Wistia have created an amazing resource with their Brand Affinity Marketing Playbook, and have adeptly pointed out that "the number of impressions is not the number of people impressed." Focusing on effective brand storytelling is the best way to build an engaged community. The end result is stronger affinity and loyalty for your brand from a cohort of customers more willing to regular buy and share your brand’s story with their friends and family.

Quality matters now more than ever.

When it comes to video storytelling, quality plays a large role in how consumer’s perceive and trust your brand. When we think about producing quality video content, we focus on two main factors: storytelling and production value.

Brands that place an emphasis on these two factors have the best chance at winning attention away from the endless flood of original content coming from streaming services. Mailchimp Presents is a great example of a brand doing just this. They’ve created an immersive experience where you can binge on a collection of podcasts, documentaries, and shows – all celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit. Each series grabs your attention with top-notch storytelling, and keeps it with beautiful production value. All the while proving that there’s no excuse for boring brand content.

Following the red thread.  

Consistency in your marketing efforts doesn’t just apply to the cadence of your posts–it’s also extremely important to be consistent with your messaging. Creating a “red thread” that your customers can follow, linking every aspect of your brand, gives your brand a sense of authority and permanence.

Episodic Content creates an umbrella that all your marketing efforts can fall under. Rather than having siloed and segmented themes, you can ensure that there is a consistent storyline your audience can follow across email, social media, blog posts, ads, and every branded experience.


Ready to build a killer content strategy?

Heck Yeah!