Everyone is talking about podcasts; It seems like every brand has one or is working on one. However, podcasts are just one type of series of content – or episodic content – that are gaining popularity these days.
It is important that you think through and define your strategy for a long time before you start implementing it. After all, you don’t want to get lost in the mix of podcasts, videos, or other series of content that are available today.
The Power of Episodic Content, a webinar with Paige Bidgood Azevedo, Manager, Original Content, BrightTALK, and Jennifer Reed Marketing Programs, BrightTALK, provide some insight into creating a content series.
The benefits of episodic content
Bidgood Azevedo shared three benefits of a content series. First, it helps build credibility for your brand. Well done, it helps identify you as an expert or a trusted source on a subject. It also builds familiarity with your brand.
Second, a content series provides consistent interaction with your audience, which also encourages re-engagement. And third, you get better insights into your buyers and what topics interest them.
Does a content series have to cover evergreen content? In other words, content that lives forever (or at least for a long time) because it is not tied to trends or current events? Bidgood Azevedo said yes and no. While it’s good to create content that will be available longer, you need to be careful not to get too “overlapping” with your content. Also bring some things that are new and exciting to create interest and excitement.
Structure of a content series
The webinar offered three things that you need to do to create a good content series. Make sure your brand is recognizable. It’s important to be consistent with brand colors and images. But it is also important to create a uniform structure for the series episodes and to link episodes with one another.
Another thing they talked about was having a familiar host. I would add here that it doesn’t have to be a well-known one, but it has to be someone who wholeheartedly helps promote the series on their social channels and is interesting to listen to.
Developing a strong narrative is also critical to the success of your content series. A well-developed storyline helps extend the life of the content, they explained, and consistent messages allow you to be recognized as a thought leader.
The last thing to make sure is to build anticipation for the streak and hit the payoff. So don’t just create your series and start it; Let your audience know what this is about and why they should watch the video. And then keep this promise. You can also build anticipation for each episode, either from the last one or through social and email promotions.
Don’t forget to measure success
The answer to how you know if your content series is successful depends on your specific goals. Bidgood Azevedo talked about measuring engagement and re-engagement using metrics like number of episodes consumed, time spent on each episode, number of articles read, social shares, etc.
She also talked about measuring the proportion of the voice or the proportion of the audience to see if you will become the preferred subject matter expert on the subject. These metrics require different types of technology. So make sure you have the right tech stack to make sure you can measure properly.
What kind of content series should you create?
The webinar didn’t talk about the types of content series. BrightTALK is a video sharing platform so I suspect most of their insights came from their work building their video series and video series for their clients. But there are many types of series you can create.
Podcasts are the most important series of content a brand watches today because they think it’s easy to start. Podcasts can be continuous or short, even a short length like Joe Pulizzi’s Content Inc series. I recently helped a client create a specific series of topics on their new podcast.
When thinking about a podcast, don’t just make a podcast, which is a general series of interviews. There are many of these, and while many are good, this type of podcast is becoming more and more popular. It’s time to think about new approaches.
You can also think of Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces as audio channels that help you create audio content series. Just make sure you can get the recordings of these episodes for use on your website and community networks.
My thoughts immediately go to Brandwagon, a video interview series that Wistia did a few years ago. But since then they have made several other video series (they are a video sharing company) including this one for creating their own video series or podcasts.
Robert Rose does a monthly video series on modern marketing and Jay Acunzo shared an innovative series for Help Scout that is worth watching called Against the Grain. These are some examples of innovative episodic video content you can create.
I’m adding newsletters as a new type of episodic content. To me, newsletters are another great example of regular content that nurtures and builds a community. I sign up for a lot of newsletters, but the ones that I think add to a wealth of current content are Ann Handley’s ANNARCHY, Jay Acunzo’s Playing Favorites, and Joe Pulizzi’s The Tilt.
Audio and video episode content are the most discussed types of content streams. Email is gaining in importance. But when you flex your creative fingers, you can think of other episodic content or series of content that you can create in different formats. Written content can work, social media content has options, a combination of these formats to create a range of works as well.
A content series doesn’t have to aim to increase leads or MQLs; In fact, I think it shouldn’t have those goals at all. It should be about building an audience, and that audience should look like the kind of customers you want.
But aborting a series because it did not bring the correct number of MQLs is a mistake. It takes time to build a loyal, engaged audience, and only a fraction of that audience is likely to become customers. If you break off a series, you’re doing it because it didn’t generate the expected audience or your focus and business changed.
Remember to have a strategy in place, create a strong plan, measure it, and adjust it when it makes sense.