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The Ultimate Guide to Content Series Ideas in 2020 (Episodic Content)

By Kareem Mostafa

Once you're bought in to the idea of creating shows, or as we call it episodic content, your next question is likely:

How can you start creating your own content series, and what type of ideas exist out there?

First of all, if you're looking for inspiration, don't forget to check out our new original series Get Cultured, where we react to great episodic content series ideas from other brands and how they managed to see success with them.

Most importantly, we walk through how you can replicate those lessons learnt so you can also make it work for you.

Here's episode 1 of Get Cultured :)

 

Marketer Reacts to Spotify (The Game Plan)  Get Cultured Ep 1

 

Now back to the topic at hand. How can you go about coming up with a content series for your brand?

Find an interesting angle.

First of all, you want to make sure you familiarize yourself with the audience you are after, and the culture that is currently prevalent in that industry.

Rather than report on that industry (read: boring and predictable) it's all about finding a quirk, pet peeve, or unique angle that may not be understood by others, but will likely resonate deeply with the audience.

Your goal is definitely to be bold and forward thinking in your approach. Playing it safe is synonymous with being invisible. Your brand has to have a bias, a stance, a vision or position that it clearly supports, relative to another position or opinion that it does not support.

Going rogue with your content series

Make no mistake, I'm not asking you to go rogue on the industry with your brand (though I do like the sound of that in the figurative sense).

Rather, think of it as the one person who decided to speak up on what's really going on, and so on. Another way to think of this is to identify the elephant in the room, and make a whole show about it.

The other hot tip here is to think about how you may apply juxtaposition. What is your industry known for?

Formal?

Taboos?

Too boring?

How can you flip that on its head?

Will you get your guests to dress casually vs formally? Will you add props or pick a setting that's more relaxed or relatable? Will you discuss topics that people aren't used to hearing about, or from an angle that would reflect how your persona really feels?

Once you have an idea, and you have an audience selected (i.e decision makers and decision influencers), you can now begin to think about the format of the show or content series.

We have a few a few ideas you can check out here, complete with examples.

 

1. Talkshow Content Series

Yup. Oldie but goldie.

The appeal for podcasts is steadily growing, and you will do good to jump in on that trend. Make sure you capture it in video, so that you are able to turn one episode filming into a whole month of content.

Talkshows or podcasts are conversations between 2 people over a common topic.

While the word is often synonymous with an audio-only show, I wish to stress the benefits of leaving the camera on when you record your podcast to give you additional leverage from a distribution and repurposing perspective.

If the audience and angle you selected don't yet have a market leader podcast, you need to jump in on this if it makes sense to you. You can even get started with 2 smartphones as cameras, 2 tripod, and 2 lav mics.

The entire setup could cost less than $100, easily. Talk to us in the chat if you want more info on audio/video setup.

So many podcasts to choose from, here's one of ours, which we purposely shot on 2 smartphones:

 

 

 

2. Panel Discussions

A close cousin of the talkshow podcast, but deserves its own category as it presents a new dynamic.

Panel discussions are excellent for when you want to juxtapose (yup) different points of view to create for an interesting and valuable conversation for the audience.

Some variables you can play on include company size, domain knowledge (think old school vs new school), industry, or geography (if they're only in town for a conference, grab them! Here's how to do it).

 

3. Reaction Video Content Series

Reaction videos is not so new anymore, but it's still entertaining and engaging - especially if you can find a B2B angle to it.

Reaction videos started off as a hardcore B2C play (e.g: music heads listening to new hiphop songs getting released and critiquing the lyricism, or product reviewers unboxing and testing new cameras, etc).

However, not all your shows have to be conversations between you and your guests. You can create a show where by both of you (or you alone, or you and a team mate) can review or react to something together.

This can be something physical, but more likely it could be on a digital medium. Ideas here are virtually limitless.

But to give you some ideas:

I. Reacting to or discussing a company's website page (like Profitwell did reviewing company's pricing pages)

 

 

 

II. Reacting to a Netflix series with commentary of your own (like RealLawyerReacts did)

 

 

 

III. Reacting to hypothethical situations (like Sahouri did, reviewing common seasonal hazards from an insurance perspective in a funny way)

 

 

 

IV. Reacting to a company's processes (like Zaius did, reviewing other company's marketing campaigns)

 

 

 

4. Documentary-style Content Series

This may be one that requires a bit more professional video gear (though not necessarily now that I think of it) but I would still put this on the high on the "effort-required" scale, since the benefits are immense.

This is one of the most natural and potentially cinematic experiences you can offer your audience.

Documentary-style series take a burning question, a pain point, or a point of immense curiosity, and send their team to go searching for answers for it.

It may involve a medley of conversations with company employees, customers, prospects, partners, and other people that are relevant to participate.

One of my favorite examples of this is Wistia's One, Ten, One Hundred - which we also recently reviewed on our own show, Get Cultured.

In their show, they tackled the burning question of how much does video budget play in terms of the end result? They decided to shoot the same video for $1000, $10,000, and for $100,000. The results may surprise you!

I recommend you check it out to see how they did it and get inspiration on what a documentary style series done right looks like. Here's a quick trailer:

 

 

Moreover, it's a great example of an episodic content series that tells a cohesive, Netflix-style story where you get to know the characters behind the company over time and learn to love them.

 

5. Behind-the-Scenes Content Series

Ah, this one is a great one too - and somewhat similar to the one above, but different. Behind the scenes series are commonly company focused, and makes your audience feel like exclusives as you tell a video narrative of how your product, service, or other component of your offering is made.

Other ways to think of behind the scenes is to apply the same to for example how you helped one of your customers get from point A to point B in success, in high detail that the audience can relate to.

The key with behind the scenes is to film it like you are filming an adventure trip, or an exciting story.

This is not reporting the news, this is appealing to the emotions, and focusing on the people much more so than any product or service. I hope that's clear!

Here is an insane one from ErnestPackaging (packaging?!) which is not only brilliant, but has the added social proof of partnering up with Linkin Park (RIP Chester).

 

 

 

6. Fireside Chat Content Series

I love this one as a one-two punch for your company.

If you already have a periodical live event, or attending a conference, this is a great way to leverage creating your own fireside chats, which then become the episodes which you can repurpose and apply the episodic content methodology too. The added bonus (punch) is that it comes with a live audience.

Don't limit yourself to a highlights or promo video which can only be used once. Rather, use the opportunity of the monthly or quarterly events you run to setup fireside chats that help you create tons of microcontent pieces.

If you're attending or sponsoring an event, check this out instead.

 

There you have it guys. If you want to know more about how episodic content doesn't just show originality, but also shortens sales cycles, read this guide and don't share it with your competitors.

 

Ideas don't cost anything, it's all about execution. Hit us up in the chat or book a 15 min meeting if you want to bounce ideas on episodic content. This is all we do.

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Tags: content marketing, episodic content, get cultured