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Episodic Content Marketing: Why episodes outperform content in 2020

By Eric Halsey

Face it, content is cheap. There’s an ocean of it out there and getting it to stand out is daunting. Worse, most content is fleeting. You might scan it or watch it but there’s not much reason to stick around for what’s coming next. If you want to get real results from content, you need to do something different.

That’s where episodes come in.

By creating episodic content, you’re able to stand out with more ambitious projects that build on themselves to make important points. Going episodic takes you from acting like any old company blogging to an online innovator. Let’s break down how this works and why you need to be making episodic content now.

 

Episodic content saves time where it counts

Creating quality episodic content takes time. But, before you say you don't have that kind of time, remember that it actually saves you time in some crucial areas.

Never run out of content ideas again (think shows and seasons) 

One of the biggest challenges for a content creator is deciding what comes next. It can be exhausting to constantly try and come up with new content ideas to delight and engage your audience. But when you create seasons of episodic content, you’re able to focus more on developing core ideas over many episodes.

It’s about not just saving time but shifting your perspective. If you’re engaging your audience with a series, you have more time and space to build something worthwhile for them. That’s ultimately going to be a lot more effective than sporadic one-off interactions with your content.

Guest Collaboration

Most episodic content will involve some sort of guest. Another advantage to this kind of collaboration is sharing the burdens of creation. With each guest you bring on you’ll be co-creating the content with them. They’ll be contributing a lot to the content so the burden isn’t 100% on you.

Microcontent gives you more bang for your buck

You might be thinking that the effort required to create one larger episode could go to creating lots of smaller pieces of content that might outperform it. Even if that is true, it misses the larger point. You should be creating quality episodic content and then using that to create microcontent. For example, using long form video content and creating bite sized content pieces to maximize distribution. In this way, you get the best of both worlds.

Let me explain how it works.

Turning one piece of content into dozens

The idea is to turn a 30 minute or longer episode into lots of content pieces. These could be memes, charts, short videos, compilation videos, articles, email newsletters, etc. You then release all of this content after you’ve put out the main episode helping to reach more eyeballs and drive people back to that episode.

Microcontent gives you valuable insights into your audience

But beyond driving traffic, microcontent is also about giving you audience insights. You can create short videos about several topics covered in your episode and see who your audience responds to them. You can also ask your audience to let you know which parts they liked the best. 

GaryVee recommends creating two rounds of microcontent for each episode so you can further test and refine your hypotheses. This also helps ease the burden of creating great episodes because you don’t move on directly to the next one as soon as you’ve finished. Instead, you take some time to produce microcontent whose insights will help you create the next episode.

Episodic content helps you reinforce key messages

Sure, putting content from your business out on social media is in part about driving traffic. But to really succeed at it, you need to be reaching for more. Your content needs to be building your brand and cultivating an audience. Episodic content is ideal for those missions.

Building your brand

Creating a quality show built around interesting themes speaks volumes about your brand. You can stand out by being the first company in your industry to create this kind of content. Consider the commercial packaging company who’s episodic content gets over 100k views per video. That kind of innovation and, dare we say it, entertainment is hardly what one expects from that industry. But, Ernest Packaging is using it to build a powerful brand.

Cultivating your audience

People watch and even binge shows. They don’t tend to do the same with run-of-the-mill articles, videos, etc. But by creating episodic content that gets your audience to subscribe and engage over time, you can accomplish a lot more.

Consider the steps in your buyer’s journey. How do you cultivate customers? What kinds of ideas correspond to someone understanding your business’ value and becoming a customer? You can use episodic content to effectively take prospective clients down the buyer’s journey, turning them into the kind of customers that will form a foundation for your business’ success.

Entertainment builds trust and loyalty with your audience

Ultimately, customers have a different experience with brands that delight and entertain them. Consider the rampant criticism of companies like Disney (there’s enough to warrant a substantial Wikipedia page) and the fervent loyalty the brand enjoys none-the-less. 

All that is to say, when customers learn interesting things, are entertained, and consistently enjoy your content over time, you build the kind of loyalty your competition only dreams of. Better brand loyalty translates into improvements elsewhere: online ads perform better due to brand recognition, your site gets more branded searches, customers stick with you for longer, etc. It's all about the way viewers interact with your content!

Another secret to episodic content success: bring in the experts

If all of this has piqued your interest, you might be wondering what kind of episodic content would be right for your industry. Fortunately, as the commercial packing company mentioned above showed, even industries without any obvious entertainment element can source amazing episodic content and video series. Let’s have a chat about what kind of episodic content could be perfect for you. We’re always open to brainstorming!

Tags: content repurposing, video series