Marketers are told that they must start thinking and acting like publishers – and to their credit, many of them are. In fact, in a Content Marketing Institute study, 70 percent of B2B marketers said they created more content than a year ago. But with this massive amount of content flooding the market, target audiences are also overwhelmed with noise. So how do they reach their audiences with greater effectiveness to forge connections and engagement?
Yale University psychology professor Roger Schank wisely said that “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”
Forward-thinking marketers are using a strategy – episodic content – that leverages storytelling to connect with customers and keep them returning for more.
Why Episodic Content?
Episodic content is already capturing the attention of your target market. For example, Netflix discovered that 61 percent of its subscribers binge-watch shows at least every few weeks. Viewers are hooked. They simply can’t wait for that next episode. But what does this mean for marketers?
For starters, it shows the power of episodic content. If the content is done well, not only will it capture the attention of viewers, but also it will force them to come back for more content as quickly as you release it.
But episodic content doesn’t include only video; it can include a blog series, images, or audio. Anything released in multiple stages could be considered episodic content. But how are major brands delivering this type of content with success?
Brands Using Episodic Content
The webisode series “The Spot” is one of the earliest examples of episodic content. The series, which was created by Scott Zakarin in 1995, was likened to the “Melrose Place” of the Web. The characters, called “spotmates,” kept online diaries (similar to what we now call blogs), responded to emails and posted images of current activities.
“The Spot” engaged its audience by inviting them to become part of the storyline and give advice to characters, which sometimes changed the course of the story. Brands, such as K-Swiss and Toyota, took notice of the power of episodic content, and sponsored the series. Eventually brands moved from sponsoring this type of content to creating it themselves.
For example, Coca Cola produced the “Crossroads” series, which is focused on teen challenges, and features teens choosing kindness and compassion over cruelty. The content tells a story to a specific target audience, develops characters that are relatable and drives brand awareness and engagement.