Episodic Marketing (or Episodic Content Marketing) is a powerful way to build brand awareness, thought leadership, and sales pipeline by creating sequential episodes that are delivered as part of an engaging video series or show.
In a time where there’s more content produced than ever before, episodic content helps brands stand out more effectively and efficiently by creating entertainment-first B2B content that keeps your new and existing audience binge-watching and wanting more. Just like it was a Netflix series.
The episodic content marketing strategy
Episodic Content Marketing is all about creating content that’s focused on your audience’s dreams, interests, and ponderings. So how do you get started?
First, you have to get into the right mindset. Imagine Netflix invited you to create an original series for your industry, how would you think about it? What would the goal of the show be? Who would be the guests or characters? What topics will you discuss, and how will you promote it? Building an original series for your business starts by putting your show producer hat on.
To guide you through the process, we’ve developed the episodic marketing framework.
The four pillars of the episodic marketing framework are Plan, Produce, Repurpose, and Distribute. We talk about these pillars a lot. It’s how we see the content world.
Why episodic content?
People love entertainment. In B2B, we often forget that buyers are human too who make decisions based on emotion. Entertainment can mean different things for different companies and industries.
It could be a talk show on the state of the industry and where it’s going. It could be a documentary covering a burning question that’s on many people’s minds. It could be a series of panel discussions your company hosts at events, packaged as a series. The list goes on.
You can use the episodic content framework to build an original video series for your business:
In marketing, to build brand awareness
In sales, to generate sales pipeline
In customer success, Retain and grow existing customers
In recruitment, to attract top talent
Why episodic content now?
We live in interesting times. On the one hand, we have attention spans that are getting shorter and shorter, with goldfish having a memory retention of 9 seconds, and humans down to 8 seconds, and on the other hand, we’ve never been binge-watching shows as we are today due to the accessibility of them. While businesses scramble to create as much content as they can, they experience burnout, and report that their results feel fragmented and siloed.
By creating episodic content to meet your business goal, you create something that is attractive to your audience and helps build brand recognition and preference. Best of all, you can always start with the resources you have to maximize its impact - whether that’s for company brands or personal brands at those companies.
Episodic marketing framework: Plan
To create a show that engages your audience and drives measurable business results, you need to begin with the end in mind.
In the Plan stage of the Episodic Marketing Framework, you determine your Show strategy, which in turn informs the topics and guests that you will cover.
In the Show Strategy, you decide with your team on what the business goals are, what the target persona is, as well as the genre and show positioning statement. It’s also where you determine the format of your show, location, go-live date, and of course, the host(s).
With your Show Strategy completed, you can now begin to determine the topics that you will be targeting, and your stance on them. There are plenty of tools to help you qualitatively and quantitatively validate that will resonate the most with your audience, not unlike researching what to blog about.
Finally, you can then reach out to guests - both internally and externally - who are best suited to participate in episodes of your show based on the Show Strategy and the topics selected.
Episodic marketing framework: Produce
To bring your show to life, you need to think about production. This involves your audio and video (AV) setup, logistics around recording, and ofcourse, publishing the full-length episodes (what we call the “pillars).
Production can be as easy or as sophisticated as you need it to be - from using your smartphones, to DSLRs, to getting dedicated video production. Determine where you want to film your show and how it will be filmed to meet your goals.
When it comes to recording, decide the location and schedule of where you want to film your show. You may decide to batch record your episodes in the nicest room in your office, or you may decide to take it on the road and capture footage in different venues and locations.
It’s worth spending time figuring out the best place to film your show, as it will be instrumental in conveying the culture and vibe you hope to build a connection with your audience through. Maybe it’s a reference to a famous show that everyone knows, or maybe it’s a minimalist set up designed to place focus on the humans in the show and their conversations.
Post-producing each episode footage before publishing ensures that it carries a coherent, consistent look and feel when it finally debuts. This includes things like adding an intro and outro sequence, adding lower thirds to introduce the guests, color-correcting the footage, and adding your logo as well to build recognition.
Episodic marketing framework: Repurpose
Personas matter, but even then, people are different. Personas aren’t one vague group of people, but rather a collection of individuals with varying lifestyles. By repurposing your content you make it more accessible for more of your target audience to discover and engage with your brand based on what they enjoy the most, and in the context of what they most need.
When repurposing your video episodes, consider the formats, channels, and use cases that are most important to attaining your goal. You can repurpose your episodes into smaller variations of video, audio, written, and image content.
For video, you can create subtitled videos that improve accessibility in square, horizontal, and even vertical formats.
For audio, you can think about how your episode can double as an audio podcast episode. For written, consider the different ways you can summarize and highlight the conversations that were discussed.
For image, consider the different nuggets available for you to commemorate - from golden one-liners to eye-opening statistics to be used to start conversations with your community.
Once you’ve identified your formats, determine which are the best social media channels for you to promote your content. Consider that while your audience may be on all the social networks under the sun, they may be looking for different things on different platforms. Understanding how to repurpose for specific channels based on your customers’ intent is a powerful asset.
There is no such thing as too much brand awareness, so think about the social channels you have at your disposal - YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Spotify, iTunes and others.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when repurposing content from your original series is use case. You can chop up your content to suit sales, marketing, product, and even HR goals.
If you’re polishing up your employer brand, how can we repurpose content that features our employees and their quirkiness? If you’re seeking brand awareness, how can you prioritize the content snippets that involve other thought leaders in our show, so that they can share it too?
If you’re repurposing content to help your sales team improve their results from social selling, how can you identify the snippets that will act as conversation starters with discerning prospects?
Episodic marketing framework: Distribute
Your show is live and your episodes are repurposed to maximize distribution and results, so how do we make sure the right people actually see this content? Having a robust distribution strategy helps ensure that your episodes get the attention they deserve and land in front of the people who most need this content.
Your teammates are a collection of personal brands. Help turn them into mini-celebrities at the company and in your industry by empowering them with social advocacy programs that enable them to share this content on their relevant channels to build up their own thought leadership. After all, people love engaging with other people like them, and social channels reward engagement on personal channels.
People notice consistency. Ensuring your episodic content series is regularly available across all of your company brand channels keep things highly engaging for your existing followers and keeps your name top of mind where it matters most.
Last but not least, a core tenet of distribution are the very people who participated in the co-creation of your content - namely the guests on your show. Help enable them to share the content on their own personal and even company channels where relevant. Beyond that, identify others in your greater community who can further champion the ideas and conversations had in your episodes to take them further.
Episodic content framework for marketing
As a marketer, your objective is to craft original series for your company that helps grow brand awareness in an entertaining and novel fashion to start conversations with the right audience for your business. This can be anything from a riveting podcast talk show, to an offbeat documentary series, or simply filming a series of talks at an upcoming event your company is hosting. Success can often be measured through:
Growth in social reach or followership
Growth in conversations started on social
Growth in traffic back to your website/social channels
Growth in leads on your website
Plan and produce
You’re planning a video series with the goal of building reach and awareness with the people you serve.
When designing your Show Strategy, consider their interests and the culture that they subscribe to, and how best to create an entertaining production for them that speaks to what they care about as individuals not as a vague demographic.
Pick topics and guests that are relevant to your industry and have popular appeal and are likely to start conversations on social.
Repurpose and distribute
When repurposing episodes from your show, focus on the highlights and snippets that have the most potential to drive the most conversations on social media. This includes mentions of your guests, as well as mentions of particular topics that you know your audience are currently interested in.
Episodic content framework for Sales
As a sales leader, your goal is to enable your sales team to achieve trusted advisor status in the minds of your target buyers. Episodic content allows sales teams to give value upfront to target accounts and key prospects by crafting an original series where they can invite their target accounts on to as guests to co-create value together and warm up that initial outreach, while standing out from the masses.
Success can often be measured through the number of new opportunities created, and sales pipeline value generated.
Plan and produce
You’re planning a video series with the goal of finding a commonality between a set of your target accounts that plays to their strengths and experience, such as a topic they deeply care about, or lessons they’ve recently learnt overcoming common industry challenges.
When it comes to your Show Strategy, think about what your show will stand for and the stance it will take, as your target accounts will want to see that this is aligned with their values and interests.
The goal should be to create a natural environment to co-create value with your prospects while granting them a platform to voice their thoughts on sought after industry topics.
Repurpose and distribute
When repurposing episodes to improve sales efforts, keep in mind your end goal is to create content that fuels your teams social selling efforts. Not unlike dropping conversation starters amongst a group at a networking event, find the snippets that are thought-provoking and value-adding to your new prospective customers.
By giving something of value first, you can use the repurposed content and episodes to invite productive discussions with them to begin building a relationship, in turn warming them up to have a sales discussion with you.
Get started with an original series today
Creating an original series for your brand is easier than you think. Check out our show, Build a Video Series 101. Want to talk about building original series and repurposing episodes? Talk to us and let us help you brainstorm for free.