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4 Companies Producing Episodic Video Content, Big and Small

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While plenty of businesses are still discovering the power of video marketing for engaging and building audiences, we’ve seen early evidence that creating episodic video content can help businsesses deliver value consistently. The web is a noisy place, with e-books and blog posts galore, and as marketers, it can be difficult to keep people coming back for more. But with episodic video, brands can deliver their unique message consistently through a series that aligns with their business and resonates with their audience. After all, video is one of the most engaging mediums for conveying complex or emotional messages. At Wistia, we even gave episodic content a go when we produced our own original four-part series One, Ten, One Hundred (shameless plug … but really, check it out!).

In this post, we’re bringing you four companies we believe are creating smart episodic video content and leading the pack for big and small organizations alike. From a giant music streaming service to an insurance agency with simple solutions, read on to hear about what type of video series these businesses have whipped up, and why others should hop on board!

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Aside from being a music streaming service loved by millions, one branch of Spotify’s service specifically caters to aspiring artists who are looking to grow and share their music with the world — Spotify for Artists. This service allows people to upload their tracks, promote new music, and see their song stats and fan insights firsthand.

So, if you’re a musician, getting your own music on Spotify and out into the universe is easier than you may have originally thought. To help you along your journey, Spotify for Artists rolls out blog posts, news updates, and even two episodic video series that provide valuable advice for anybody who’s passionate about making music.

One of Spotify’s episodic series, The Game Plan, educates, delights, and above all else, aligns with Spotify’s brand perfectly. For artists with big dreams, The Game Plan roadmaps everything people need to get the most out of Spotify, such as the logistics of getting set up, engaging your audience on their platform, understanding the industry on a business level, and more. Not only do you get the scoop from experts inside Spotify, but music legends like Sheryl Crow, Matt & Kim, and Mike Posner tap in to share their insight about promoting music and reading the fine print when it comes to copyright.

As a brand, Spotify has crafted a delightfully personalized music streaming experience for its users. With great care and consideration for one audience who uses their service, they’ve created a helpful episodic series that answers striving artists’ questions. Not only does it guide you through getting your music set up on the platform, but it also establishes a connection between you, well-known artists in the industry, and Spotify’s brand.

“With great care and consideration for one audience who uses their service, they’ve created a helpful episodic series that provides value and answers striving artists’ questions.”

So, if you’re a business that wants to help your customers get the most out of your product in an engaging way, taking a few pointers from Spotify’s episodic series is a great starting place for inspiration!

Drift, the first conversational marketing platform, is another company creating episodic content that aligns with their business’ mission and the products they sell. Defining themselves as “an enduring company and a platform that emphasizes the value of human interactions and connection,” their system’s features are designed with an intense customer focus in mind to help marketing and sales teams be more successful.

For example, one of their features is a responsive bot you can have on your site that performs as a 24/7 Sales Development Rep & Demand Gen team. With the platform, you can also create landing pages and provide anonymous visitor intelligence that helps give teams a boost when it comes to closing more deals for your business.

To support Drift’s mission, which is to “turn the internet into a conversation,” they’ve set up a series called Coffee with a CMO hosted by Dave Gerhardt. Each episode gives you an inside look at what CMOs are actually doing behind the scenes. Over an informal conversation (plus coffee), CMOs shed their intimidating titles to answer questions most marketers, like Dave, want to know. In the series thus far, Drift has sat down with Joe Chernov of InsightSquared, Tim Kopp formerly of Exacttarget, Brian Kardon of Fuze, and Mike Volpe CEO of Lola. Digging into topics such as hiring, interviewing for marketing, past mentors, and career transitions, Drift engages their audience and reinforces the idea that authentic conversation builds stronger relationships.

By referring back to your own business’ mission and knowing who your audience is, you can concept an episodic series like Drift that aligns with your organization and offers people real value. There’s a good chance that if viewers like your ideas, you’ll remain top of mind, and they’ll be enticed to tune in again!

Even an insurance agency has developed an episodic series that helps them achieve their goals. Say hello to Sahouri, a company playing a leading role in the insurtech movement, which involves the use of technology to help make the insurance process smarter and more efficient for consumers. For many people, insurance questions are some of the most worrisome, and nothing is more stressful than when you feel like your problems aren’t being heard. Sahouri stands out from the rest by wow-ing their clients with outstanding customer service, in turn becoming a business people love and respect. To help them achieve their goals, they’ve started using the power of video to connect in a more personal way.

Sahouri’s web series talk show is called “Allen and Lauri“. Allen Hudson is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and Lauri Ryder is a Certified Risk Manager and CIC. Together they “cover insurance trends, FAQs, and events for CAI members and the community association industry at large.” Each episode’s objectives are to educate viewers on their exposures, make complex insurance topics easier to understand, and spotlight current business world events concerning community associations.

As we mentioned before, insurance questions can be rather stress-inducing. And when you’re calling an insurance company for help, you can often forget people on the other end aren’t just robots feeding you automated information. Allen and Lauri reminds you of the real people who work at Sahouri that are dedicated to helping you solve your most complex insurance problems. While delivering smart solutions and advice, they also add a dash of humor.

“Reaching individuals and answering questions with an episodic video series can help you differentiate your company from the rest of the pack.”

Although we can’t say a web talk show is right for everyone, reaching individuals and answering questions with an episodic video series can help you differentiate your company from the rest of the pack. And remember, using video to showcase your message can be particularly impactful when your goal is to combat stigma or change the perceptions of a business or indsutry.

Last but not least, we have Zaius, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform for B2C marketers. Part of Zaius’ mission is to help businesses engineer the hard-sought repeat customer. After all, customer loyalty isn’t the same as it used to be, and some might suggest it’s dwindling every day. Because people are presented with an abundance of options across multiple marketing channels and devices, it’s a real challenge for marketers to find the right time and place to communicate with prospects.

Luckily, Zaius’ platform can help you deliver personalized campaigns across channels by gathering customer data all in one place. Zaius recently created their own video series all about how your favorite brands convince you to make a first, second, or even a third purchase. Take a look at Marketing Unboxed:

If you’ve ever accidentally spent hours watching unboxing videos on YouTube, you’re not alone. Marketing Unboxed plays on that concept while adding marketing expertise into the mix. In each episode, Zaius’ content strategists Jordan Wellin and Cara Hogan buy, unbox, and analyze the way top ecommerce brands like Glossier, Spikeball, and Rebecca Minkoff communicate with prospects and customers throughout the buyer’s journey. The series is entertaining and informational for marketers, while highlighting the importance of consumer lifecycle analysis and segmentation for smarter campaigns. By presenting the successes and shortcomings of today’s top brands, people can adopt best practices and apply it to their own efforts.

“The series is entertaining and informational for marketers, while highlighting the importance of consumer lifecycle analysis and segmentation for smarter campaigns.”

Ultimately, Marketing Unboxed aligns with Zaius’ service focused on engineering the repeat purchase. Despite being a web platform, the business proves that people from other tech companies can find a way to step in front of the camera and create an engaging series that will help build audiences.

Now that you know four companies, big and small, who took a leap of faith and produced their own episodic video series, we encourage you to see if this type of video content could help your company achieve its goals. Whether you’re a tech company helping marketers or a music streaming platform advising aspiring artists, concepting an episodic series that works for you is inside the realm of possibility. So, get out there and use episodic content to your advantage!



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Video Marketing

4 Ways to Make Your Wistia Channel Shine

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If you’ve decided that Wistia Channels is the best place to showcase your videos on your site, then you’ll be pleased to know you’re already on the right track for building an engaging brand. When it comes to setting up your Channel for success, all it takes is a little attention to detail on your part to truly make your content shine in the eyes of your viewers.

In this post, we’ll cover exactly how you can make a beautiful, brag-worthy Wistia Channel for your business. From name-picking and color-matching to thumbnail creation and embedding, there are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your Channel to improve the overall presentation of your content. Keep reading to learn how you can leave your audience impressed and coming back for more!

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Whether you’re in the pre-production stages of your business’s first branded series or you’re grouping together related content under one roof, choosing a name for your Channel is a major decision. The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive. When it comes to landing on the perfect name for your Channel, there are three key factors you should consider: branding, discoverability, and shareability.

“The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive.”

Here’s how we break these three factors down:

  • Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
  • Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
  • Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
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Don’t Fret Guitar Repair? Talk about click-worthy!

Considering these factors as you set up your Wistia Channel will help you grow your audience and brand over time. Head on over to this post to dig a little deeper into these terms and learn more tips for simplifying the process of picking a Channel name that positions your brand for success!

As we mentioned before, branding is a super important factor for naming, but it also plays a big role in how your business and your content are visually perceived. You want to leave a positive first impression, right? Luckily, with Wistia Channels you have the ability to choose a font and color scheme that aligns with your company’s existing brand, set thumbnails to match, and even upload an eye-catching header.

To customize the look of your Channel to align with your brand:

  • Select “Edit” and “Banner” to add a video header (which will loop silently at the top of your Channel) or upload a static banner image
  • Click “Text” to add a project title and description, and change the font to match your site. While you’re there, switch up the size to whatever you fancy as well!
  • Click “Color” and use the picker to change the overall color scheme.

You can also choose between Light or Dark Mode for your Wistia Channel depending on the look and feel of your brand (and the content you have displayed). When you’re viewing a project, simply go to Edit > Color > Background to modify this setting. It’s as easy as flipping a switch!

For your banner, instead of a static image, you have the option to throw in a looping video background as we mentioned before. Want to see this feature in action? Check out how Nextiny, an inbound marketing and sales agency, uses a snazzy looping video to showcase their content and intrigue visitors on their site.

If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, you can find a few more examples of Channels we love in this post. These aesthetic changes may seem small, but they’ll ultimately lend to a more sleek-looking collection of videos for your site.

With Wistia Channels, you have the power to choose whether to embed your Channel as an Inline embed (meaning your audience will see your entire Channel “inline” with the rest of your content) or as a Popover (meaning your audience will click on a single image or video to launch your Channel full-screen). Plus, any updates you make to your Project will automatically be reflected on your Channel — no need to replace the embed!

While it’s super simple to add all your videos to your site with just one embed, deciding where to place your Channel will impact who discovers and engages with your content. We recommend making the call based on the type of content you’re presenting to your audience.

“While it’s super simple to add all your videos to your site with just one embed, deciding where to place your Channel will impact who discovers and engages with your content.”

For example, if your Channel consists of informational or educational videos, putting it on your homepage might not make sense to someone visiting for the first time. On the other hand, if you have a blog, a Channel like this may fit well amongst your other educational content. Those who frequent your blog looking to learn from your expertise will easily discover your shiny, new collection of videos and be over the moon!

You can also easily share your professional-looking Channel across your business’ social media platforms with a public URL. Get more personal and direct with your communication efforts by popping the link to your Wistia Channel right in an email or newsletter to get more eyes on your content.

When you’re ready to share your Channel:

  • Select “Share” from the menu options
  • Select whether to share your Channel via “Embed” or “Public URL”
  • If embedding: Select your “Embed Type,” whether “Inline” or “Popover”
    • Choose a “Responsive” or “Fixed size”
  • If sharing the public URL: Just hit “Copy” and paste the link where ever your heart desires!

Once you’ve got some action on your Wistia Channel, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the contact information of the folks interested in consuming your videos. While you’re customizing your Channel, you also have the option to add an Email Collector — not just any old Email Collector, but one that comes in a few flavors. Aside from requiring viewers to enter their email in order to view your content, we have two Email Collector options you can start experimenting with today. The first option is called “Overlay on hover.” Here’s an example from Zaius to showcase what this looks like in reality:

In this scenario, an email collection form will overlay when someone hovers over your video with their mouse. Your video will keep playing while displaying several fields, including a place for folks to enter their names as well as text fields you can customize, depending on the Call to Action that makes the most sense in the given context — something like, “Enter your email address to view this video.” The second option is “Conditional,” which means each video will maintain the email collecting pre-sets you’ve already set up in your Wistia account when the content is embedded on your Channel.

Using Email Collectors is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your Wistia Channel. You can bet the people who enter their information are interested in the value you offer and will be more likely to check out future content you create. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with them more often and let them know when you’ve got a new video for them to watch!

A Wistia Channel is only as great as the sum of its parts — names, colors, fonts, banners, email collectors and more all add up to create a beautiful video collection you’re proud to share. Start engaging your audience with the videos you’ve worked so hard to create and build stronger brand affinity in the long-run. We’d love to see your next Channel out in the wild, so be sure to throw a link to it in the comments below!

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7 Examples That Show the Best of Long-Form Video

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Whether it’s the hottest new web series or an in-depth TED Talk, people love to watch long-form video — and businesses are catching on to the trend.

Unlike shorter, product-centeric videos, long-form content offers companies the opportunity to show their commitment to their mission and connect with viewers on a deeper, more emotional level. Longer content also enables intensive educational experiences for the viewer, whether the video covers exciting industry trends or specific approaches to tackling problems.

What does “long-form” video really mean? To put it simply, long-form videos are a type of video content that are usually longer than 5 minutes in duration.

We put together a list of long-form video series and one-off productions to showcase how companies live and breathe their values through video. Small to medium-sized businesses can use this list of branded content to get inspired when it comes to creating content for their own brands. Let’s get into it!

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InVision is swinging for the fences with long-form video. On their blog, Inside Design, InVision shares videos about design trends and tips, many explaining how to use Sketch and get the most out of it. InVision’s site is filled with robust product tutorials, but these pieces focusing on larger, fundamental design principles — between two and seven minutes long — will help anyone strengthen their overall design foundation. The company has even created a full-length documentary about design thinking at IBM called “The Loop.”

InVision’s stated mission is to help users create digital content that people love, so it’s fitting that the company offers viewers new strategies and approaches for designing that go beyond merely using their own tools. The longer format allows viewers to learn the details involved in the execution of new techniques.

InVision examples:

  • Design Systems Manager Master Class: In this two-hour, 6-episode series, InVision explores how to create a design system for an entire organization, from start to finish. It taps three design experts to walk through the challenges of product design at scale.
  • Design Disrupters: In this series, InVision showcases top designers at the world’s smartest companies and dives into how design has become the new language of business in the 21st century.

With the shift to long-form video, InVision shows they are true leaders in the field of design — not just a tool for designers.

On their Price Intelligently blog, ProfitWell conducts video “teardown” case studies, in which they focus on one to three company pricing pages and talk about what works and what needs improvement. Videos usually feature a lighthearted (though occasionally heated!) conversation between executives Patrick Campbell and Peter Zotto and typically are just under 10 minutes long.

ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand. Rather than focusing on their own software, ProfitWell’s teardowns appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs and startup leaders looking to discover best practices from successful companies and competitors.

“ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand.”

ProfitWell examples:

The longer format of these videos enables hosts to slowly walk viewers through the pricing pages in question, ensuring that the pace of the content can fit a wide number of learning styles. There’s a healthy mix of commentary and visual aids made with original data, which shows that the company is committed to making the most of the long-form branded video format.

Mailchimp’s core focus is email marketing, but their target audience is far more broad than just those interested in sending tons of emails. Experienced business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike may find inspiration in the “Mailchimp Presents” video series.

Using high-quality production techniques and clever editing, the videos attach Mailchimp to buzzworthy brands and their founders who, incidentally, use email to communicate with customers. The style of the videos is closer to an independent documentary than to a typical SaaS product video, giving viewers a chance to sit back and enjoy a theatrical glimpse into creative spaces and minds.

Mailchimp examples:

  • Hamburger Eyes: In this documentary, we get a behind-the-scenes look at a one-man photography project that evolved into a thriving community of artists based in San Francisco. Mailchimp knows its audience and stays true to its brand by focusing on a creative-centric topic that anyone with a pulse and an appreciation for photography could get behind.
  • Taking Stock: A fictional video series about a young female photographer navigating the complexities of agency life, Taking Stock delves into the realities of working in the world of tech and design, giving viewers a chance to see inside the life of a creative. We learn much about the subject’s life here — what drives her, what a typical day looks like — helping the viewer associate Mailchimp with the driven professionals who make the world of entrepreneurship thrive.

Mailchimp has been a visionary brand when it comes to creative storytelling. Ever since they sponsored the first season of Serial, the company has attached itself to big ideas, and, through their own example, they’ve proved that every business can affect a wide audience if they tell a powerful story.

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Still from “Taking Stock” courtesy of Mailchimp.

Intercom features videos regularly on its blog, with experts speaking on topics like support, growth, product, and design. Many of the videos are talks that the team and others have done at different conferences, which is a great way for people to see talks that they weren’t geographically capable of attending.

Intercom’s videos educate viewers on new ways to approach Intercom’s core competency — customer support and communication — in a format that encourages in-depth exploration and tutorials. Instead of merely chopping up key takeaways from the talks, long-form video enables the brand to include the overall conference context, linking together key concepts and materials.

Intercom example:

  • 5 lessons learned from growing a support team: In this conference video, Intercom’s customer support lead, Sharon Moorhouse, shares five lessons that the company has learned as it has scaled its support operations. It’s meant to engage growing companies, regardless of the industry, and appeal to audiences that may lie outside of the scope of Intercom’s typical customer profile. Sharon’s talk is engaging and packed with visual examples, making the most of the video format and capturing the energy and excitement that she brought to the conference.

Conferences are affirming experiences, where people in the same field can form new connections, get new ideas, and become excited about trends and developments. Intercom’s focus on opening up their otherwise siloed conference material gives audiences a chance to connect with the brand even if they’re far away from the talks or sessions. It shows the company living out its mission of “keeping business personal” by opening up access to the conference experience.

Patagonia makes documentary-style videos about real people doing the things they love and excel at in the outdoors. The videos are extremely high-quality, featuring breathtaking visuals and rare glimpses of some of nature’s best vistas.

Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet. It’s hard not to fall deeper in love with the earth after watching these pieces, and viewers certainly can see that the brand is about far more than just making outerwear and camping gear.

“Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet.”

Patagonia examples:

  • Wolfpack: This video follows the training efforts of a group of trail runners living in isolation. Drone shots and ultra-slow-motion close-ups abound, giving the pieces a cinematic quality that is certain to move viewers on an emotional level. The family’s extreme choice to live in the wild is likely outside the desires of most of Patagonia’s customers, but their way of life can inspire viewers to think about how to better connect with planet Earth.
  • Takayna: Takayana (Tarkine) is one of the last remaining old-growth rainforests in the world, yet it’s increasingly threatened by mining and other destructive activities. This video highlights the beauty and fragility of the landscape by intercutting meditative shots of flora and fauna with images of devastating excavation and logging. Patagonia is clearly living its mission here — seeking to save the planet by raising awareness about protecting one of our most precious earthly resources.

Patagonia’s mission is one of the most ambitious of any brand out there, and that’s what makes them so successful. By taking a stance on major issues and creating beautiful visual content, they’re proving to an audience why it’s cool to care about more than just clothes and gear. To change the world, Patagonia is leading by example.

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Still from “Wolfpack” courtesy of Patagonia.

Many beauty brands rely on mere testimonials to push their products. But Glossier opts to show how their products weave neatly into the lives of their customers. They have a series called “Get Ready with Me” (based on the popular)YouTube trend that follows the morning routine of influencers and creatives. The hashtag for the campaign — #GRWM — encourages customers to create their own content and further engage with the brand.

The pieces also have a casual instructional approach, giving them an educational component that goes beyond a shorter “how-to” piece. They’re showing you how to create a look rather than telling you how to do it.

Glossier example:

  • Get Ready With Me: feat. Annahstasia + Glossier: Here, an influencer’s morning routine is shown in real time. In several meditative shots, the camera lingers over Annahstasia going about her morning. It’s easy to imagine someone watching this piece they start their own day to find inspiration and calm from the emotional music and beautiful cinematography.

Glossier, known for its colorful Instagram account and vibrant pop-up stores, creates a calm atmosphere throughout their videos. They create intimacy with the way their videos are shot, and that intimacy will contribute to a long-lasting and better customer relationship than a typical advertisement or commercial.

Over the years, Airbnb has evolved beyond being just a website for booking rooms and homes, becoming a platform for finding community through unique experiences. Recently, Airbnb launched an Adventure series featuring hosts and people from all over the world. By focusing on the curated experiences offered through Airbnb’s “Adventures” programs, the brand helps establish itself as far more than a travel app.

Airbnb example:

  • Six Strangers: In this 12-minute video, six strangers take an unexpected trip together. Like the other pieces in this series, the length of this video enables a more TV-like viewing experience that mirrors popular reality shows like Naked and Afraid and Survivor.

Through their long-form videos, Airbnb is expressing one of their most significant brand values: “Belong anywhere.” The Adventure series is all about breaking down barriers to find out what people have in common with each other. When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.

“When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.”

More and more brands are reaping the benefits of thinking (and acting!) like media companies. With the wealth of high-quality content vying for their attention, viewers are demanding highly engaging work from companies they encounter. Investing in rich long-form content enables brands to tap into the growing binge-watching habits of their followers while expressing the values that matter most to them and finding deeper ways to connect with customers.

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Video Marketing

Introducing “Brandwagon”—It’s like a Talk Show, but for Marketers

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These days, it’s harder than ever to be successful with your marketing campaigns. From keeping up with ever-changing SEO tactics to shouldering the burden of growing advertising spend to shouting into the void that is social media, it can feel like even your most successful initiative is, well, kind of a flop.

That’s why I’m super excited to introduce you to Brandwagon, Wistia’s newest series from the team that brought you One, Ten, One Hundred. As the host of this talk show for marketers, I’m going to be chatting with business leaders who are doing things differently when it comes to marketing their businesses and building their brands. Find out how they’re seeing such success and learn what tactics they’re using to stand out in a sea of “meh” marketing.

Hop on the Brandwagon and come along for the ride each week as we uncover what’s working in the world of modern marketing. The first episode hits the road this summer, so be sure to enter your email below to stay in the loop and get notified when new episodes come out.

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