| By Lucy Helliwell Expert View
Why Top Brands Are Producing Episodic Content
Marketers often talk about how brands must think and act like publishers. Many brands are taking on this role by producing episodic content that provides entertainment or valuable information with a focus on their target audience. This could be in the form of short video sketches on YouTube or a blog series.
4 Benefits of episodic content
1. Give the consumer control
The traditional way of watching TV is long gone, with many households having the ability to view programmes on-demand through the likes of Netflix or Foxtel, or through various mobile platforms. This is the era of binge-viewing, where consumers don’t have to wait a week for the next installment of their favourite show, they can watch episodes in bulk.
The millennial generation now watch more online programming than broadcast TV. Statistics show that consumers aged between 13 and 24 watch an average of 11.3 hours of online video per week as opposed to just 8.3 hours of broadcast TV. 67% felt digital content, i.e. online video, was more relatable than TV.
2. Return business
If the viewer enjoys the first episode they are likely to go back for more, increasing customer engagement and offering more opportunity to share your business offerings.
Episodic content creates a community of people with a shared interest, it’s a conversation starter. Hosting it online allows for this conversation and posting on social media provides a means to easily share.
4. Recruit brand ambassadors
Delivery of regular content ensures the brand has a better chance of remaining front of mind, rather than a one-off piece that maybe forgotten as soon as it is consumed. When a brand becomes a regular feature in the consumer’s life there is increased possibility of a brand ambassador recruit. This alignment with the brand increases trust and helps build a relationship to encourage further interaction and business.
Considerations when producing episodic content:
It’s not an advert
It must not look like an advert. It must satisfy both the requirements of the consumer and the brand by offering content of value that has a positive reflection of the brand.
Create ‘digital shorts’ not documentaries
Unless you’re Red Bull and have your own media house, your content should be short in length. YouTube recently announced the ‘digital shopable shorts’. These are videos that feature a small icon in the corner of the screen that advertises the product shown.
It should have a call to action or let the user know when they will receive more of the same content, or where to find other valuable content assets.
You must plan ahead
Unlike other content formats that can be produced on-the-go, episodic content must be planned to guarantee the required amount of content is produced. This may mean that you create it all at the same time then drip-feed episodes, alternatively make sure that it is part of your scheduling.
Here is an example of episodic content from a fashion designer in New York called Kate Spade. Actress Anna Kendrick was brought onboard for a video series called ‘Miss Adventures’, with the accompanying hashtag #missadventures to help build a following and start a conversation online. Each episode features a story that evolves around something going wrong.
Each is a self-contained story but follows the same theme of misadventure. The clever part is that everything Kendrick wears is a Kate Spade product, and can be bought online as the viewer watches the video. It’s a great way of advertising without blatantly selling. At the end of the 3-minute episode the viewer is invited to ‘shop for the items featured’. They’re already on the website, or being directed to the website, so the buying process is made really simple.
Compliment traditional advertising
Episodic content is a great asset to complement your traditional advertising and marketing tactics, it has the potential to elevate your brand above competitors.' It doesn’t need to be of cinematic quality or worthy of a book publisher. If it remains focussed on the audience and stays aligned with your brand, you’re onto a winner.