At a time when so much content is flooding the market, how do you stand out through the noise? Marketers are turning to episodic content marketing to stand out from the competition.
Episodic content marketing is long-form content divided into smaller chapters or “episodes”. The content takes the form of a story that follows a plot and slowly reveals more to the viewer with each episode. This method of storytelling is an effective way to connect with consumers and keep them coming back for more.
While forms of episodic content marketing include articles, infographics, and podcasts, video tends to be the most popular and effective medium, and it’s not hard to see why. Cisco predicts that by 2022, video traffic will account for 82% of consumer Internet traffic. As video becomes more prevalent, so does the need to elevate it in a way that connects consumers to a larger experience.
Episodic content marketing presents a huge opportunity for your brand to repeatedly connect with your target audience, which is important given the traditional marketing wisdom that it takes an average of seven touchpoints before consumers convert. There are many benefits to using episodic content marketing: it builds a returning audience, builds subscribers, and establishes credibility, positioning your brand as an expert in your industry.
Businesses of all sizes can leverage storytelling to connect with customers. Here’s how to use episodic content marketing to differentiate your content from your competition and build audience loyalty.
Develop a scenario.
The goal is to captivate your audience with an interesting storyline that looks nothing like an advertisement. Develop compelling characters and a plot that resonates with your target audience.
Once you’ve developed the storyline and characters, decide how many episodes you need to tell your story. Consider creating a storyboard to help you plan
how the story will unfold in each episode.
What makes TV shows so addicting? The suspense and cliffhangers are elements of anticipation that keep viewers tuned in, over and over again, to find out what happens next.
For example, my company creates “The Future of Real Estate” episodes we share on YouTube; we follow the journey of a real estate agent in Los Angeles. Viewers tune in to get a glimpse of the most expensive properties in Los Angeles and to see if the agent can make $30 billion in sales for the year. The content is entertaining and also has an element of suspense that leaves viewers wondering if it will achieve its goal.
An interesting study of Georgia Institute of Technology monitored the behavior of viewers of Alfred Hitchcock films during low and high suspense scenes. During moments of suspense, the brain narrows down what people see and focuses their attention on the story. When a story lacks suspense, people get distracted and focus their attention on their surroundings.
You can lose viewers in the narrative and keep them tuned in by creating the same level of suspense or excitement in your episodic content.
Engage your target audience.
When creating episodic content, it’s essential to consider your target audience. Are your characters relevant? Does the story make a connection? Rather than casting a wide net, you should intentionally align your content with the culture and personality of your target audience.
For example, Kate Spade’s “Miss Adventure” video series follows the unfortunate events of a character living in New York. The brand chose Anna Kendrick, an actress already popular with the brand’s target audience. Using a well-known actress and an entertaining storyline, Kate Spade won over viewers in her video series.
Adopt a humanized approach.
When it comes to creating episodic content, don’t just show off the polished side of the story. Consider the type of content that is likely to gain public trust. We’re all human, so don’t be afraid to take a humanized approach.
People are drawn to real, unscripted stories. In short, we want to see content that shows the struggle. By embracing transparency and giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your product, company, and team, you can earn viewers’ trust.
Encourage interaction with the audience.
Engage your audience by giving them a variety of ways to interact with your brand. Engaging the audience during every episode of content further increases brand engagement.
For example, Intel and Toshiba teamed up to create the six episodes “The Beauty Within” video series. The main character Alex wakes up every day as someone different. The companies also engaged viewers by asking them to enter their own videos for a chance to be shown. These videos have proven popular with their audience and have had a positive impact on brands.
Done right, episodic content marketing can help you differentiate your brand and build deeper connections with your customers. With the huge amount of content available online, use episodic content to tell your brand story in a unique way.