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4 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Make Episodic Video Content

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Back in the day (approximately three short years ago), we wrote a little blog post about how to convince your boss that you need video in your marketing mix. Flash-forward to the end of 2019, and the value of video is simply a no-brainer. However, some businesses are still sticking to the same old strategies, and truth be told, the times have changed yet again. In today’s marketing landscape, you can’t depend on e-books, video email signatures, or one-off videos for social media to help you stand out amongst the competition and grow a strong, well-loved brand.

Getting people to genuinely like your brand through traditional marketing strategies and digital advertising is harder than ever, and we need a new way to engage an audience that’ll truly foster an affinity for our businesses. So, what are we getting at here? Well, as you may have noticed lately, we’re going all in on episodic video content (and we think you should too!). Most of us dedicate entire Saturdays to binge-watching series like Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale because the content is just that good. So, why can’t businesses get in on the game?

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We’re not saying your company should shell out millions of dollars to create an original series with A-list actors. But luckily, creating an episodic series for your company within the constraints of a marketing budget is not impossible, either. We know a ton of businesses from a wide array of industries are doing that as we speak, and we even did it ourselves at Wistia with our docu-series, One, Ten, One Hundred, and our latest talk show for marketers, Brandwagon. While this may sound like an ambitious venture, an episodic video series is an evergreen piece of content that can generate a ton of different benefits for your brand and your business.

If you’re already completely sold on this idea, that’s great! Now, it’s just time to get your boss on board. In this post, we’ve gathered the evidence you need to support your pitch for making an episodic video series and why it should be your company’s next big marketing move.

Content strategies

To be seen as a leader and an innovator in your industry, ranking at the top of search queries with traditional content strategies isn’t as easy as it used to be. The sheer density of written content today is overwhelming when you look at the numbers. For example, according to 2018 internet statistics, over four million blog posts are published every single day. When you take a minute to assess that stat, differentiating your brand through written content on the web seems like a shout into the void for many businesses, unless they’ve already established a loyal fan base.

Patrick Campbell, CEO of ProfitWell, a subscription software company, is someone who has dwelled over the decreasing effectiveness of e-books and blog posts for his business. This influenced the company to shift its strategy to creating episodic series for niche audiences, which has become one of their primary marketing vehicles. With his background in data-science, Campbell uncovered that the average cost of creating a written e-book cost more for ProfitWell than their new strategy of creating shows like Pricing Page Teardown. And as a result, Campbell proclaimed that this episodic content strategy is having an incredible impact on the business while building their brand in unprecedented ways.

“Campbell uncovered that the average cost of creating a written e-book cost more for ProfitWell than their new strategy of creating shows like Pricing Page Teardown.”

Advertising strategies

In terms of traditional advertising, we’re no stranger to seeing a campaign we put our hearts and souls (and a couple of million dollars) into not meet our expectations. For a brief overview of what happened a few years back, our co-founders, Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz, explained at our live-streamed event “Change the Channel” that Wistia spent $2 million on an ad campaign consisting of web ads, billboards, and NPR spots. The campaign got us 43 million impressions. However, it got us no more traffic than one relatively successful blog post.

This was one of the most expensive mistakes we’ve ever made. What was the main problem, you ask? Well, we underestimated the fact that digital advertising doesn’t actually make people like you (regardless of how cute the ad is) and no one wants to be bothered by unsolicited ads. Your chances of building brand affinity with a witty tagline or targeted 10-second video ad won’t convince people to become loyal advocates of your brand.

Want to learn more about Brand Affinity Marketing? Check out our new four-step playbook for all the nitty-gritty details.

Furthermore, creating compelling and entertaining video ads powerful enough to garner new brand fans like some of the best Superbowl spots is unattainable for most small and medium-sized businesses. Even a well-known brand like Nike can’t consistently maintain virality or a positive image with their creative campaigns in the minds of consumers. For small and medium-sized businesses out there trying to compete with the caliber of Superbowl ads, it’s time to think about casting your net around niche audiences and getting them to spend more time with your brand. And the best way to do that is through valuable and entertaining episodic content.

Another strong case for creating a video series is based on the way users choose to consume media. In this binge-watching era, users are embracing the trend of watching video content for several hours straight when it’s worthwhile and engaging.

When you invest in creating long-form content that offers value and entertainment for a niche audience, the increase in time spent with your brand for one engaged individual is significant. There’s no comparison when you think about someone who willingly watched 10 minutes of a single 25-minute episode of your show and someone who was forced to watch a 10-second video ad upwards of seven times on social media. Echoing the last argument we made, people often show disdain toward unsolicited ads on social when they go there to be distracted, entertained, or informed.

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Dan Slagen of ThriveHive, a SaaS company providing guided marketing solutions for small businesses, is someone who can attest to episodic series’ positive impact on time spent with a brand. Based on data from analyzing peoples’ viewing habits of their series Locals, which brings you behind the scenes of local businesses, ThriveHive has found that people who make it to the three or five-minute mark of an episode are most likely to watch all the way through. That simply means that when the right people in your audience discover your series, they have the potential to watch a ton of it. Tell that one to your boss!

“ThriveHive has found that people who make it to the three or five-minute mark of an episode are most likely to watch all the way through.”

Binge-worthy content is also the most scalable type of product your business can offer your audience. Follow the lead of media companies who’ve developed an effective social media advertising strategy that doesn’t get on people’s nerves. For series like The Good Place, media companies create trailers that are optimized for specific platforms they’re distributed on. When folks are on their favorite platforms and are looking to be entertained, distracted, or to learn about something, these trailers reach people at the right place at the right time. Audiences that find these trailers or snippets entertaining and worth checking out are then directed to the full episode to watch at their leisure.

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If your business creates an episodic series, you can scale your marketing assets just like media companies by creating a trailer to tease the release, extracting clips from the actual series to promote it, engaging people with behind-the-scenes footage, and much more. Investing in producing an episodic series is investing in an evergreen piece of content for your business that’ll support your brand indefinitely. And you’ll be able to reuse and re-create marketing assets from your series far into the future.

For example, a year ago we released our four-part docu-series One, Ten, One Hundred and created a bunch of marketing assets to get people excited and interested in watching. One year later, and we re-marketed the series on social and posted behind-the-scenes footage to reach new audiences. As a result, we saw new people access this evergreen piece of content and spread the word to others that it’s worth watching, too.

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Even after we’ve stopped promoting the docu-series, we’re still seeing One, Ten, One Hundred bring in about 5,000 new people every month. The original campaign also permanently increased brand search (queries with “wistia” in them) by 11%, which has stayed steady. Lastly, it brings in more than 100 leads per month.

With an episodic series for your business, you’ll be surprised by how many times you can tie it into conversations you have and the marketing assets you need to support your brand long after its release.

The final (and arguably most compelling) piece of evidence to show your boss and stakeholders when pitching episodic content is simply the fact that other businesses in your space are already investing in it. Sounds pretty simple, right? The truth is, sometimes you need to just prove that the trend is already well under way in order to get your boss bought in on doing it. Remember, there was once a time where people thought Instagram wasn’t really a social platform for businesses, and clearly over the years that theory has been proven wrong.

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Businesses in unexpected industries are experimenting and taking risks with episodic video to build an engaged audience for their brand, so chances are you’ll have some examples to point to in your own industry. But regardless of the space you’re in, your boss is most certainly paying attention to what your competitors are doing, so you should leverage that when making a case for creating an episodic series. The last thing you want for your business from a marketing perspective is to seem outdated and behind the times. Showcasing how other companies and competitors are making this content is a great way to prove that you’re not alone when it comes to believing in this strategy.

We’ve already mentioned two businesses that are completely bought-in on developing shows — ProfitWell and ThriveHive — and they’re definitely not the only ones! One business producing a short-form series is ezCater, the world’s largest online catering marketplace. We chatted with Sarah Gurr, ezCater’s Head of Content Marketing, to get the inside scoop behind their strategy. Their series, Restaurant Roots, features unique stories from their partners such as SA PA and Modern Thai Cuisine in Boston. Instead of taking a conventional approach to written customer testimonials, this engaging episodic video series showcases the heart of each restaurant with narrations from respective founders to establish a deeper connection between ezCater and prospective customers and other restaurant operators.

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Another business we believe is leading the way with this audience-building strategy is Mailchimp. Mark DiCristina, the Head of Brand at Mailchimp, described how the marketing automation software platform has decided to invest in creative content over brand advertising. The company has been releasing short-form video series, films, and podcasts out of their own new content studio, Mailchimp Presents. With content that inspires, motivates, and makes people feel like they’re not alone, Mailchimp Presents has developed a valuable platform for an audience of entrepreneurs, while increasing the amount of time people spend with their overarching brand. When DiCristina sat down with Chris Savage on the first episode of Brandwagon, he also shared that “ … the people who engage with this content are paying us more quickly. And when they pay us, they pay us more money, which is just completely mind-blowing.” This fact isn’t mind-blowing because he’s surprised people like the content — it’s because the content isn’t about the Mailchimp product at all.

“The people who engage with this content are paying us [Mailchimp] more quickly. And when they pay us, they pay us more money, which is just completely mind-blowing.”

If you want more examples of companies with episodic video strategies, look no further than our blog. Prove to your boss that other businesses are ahead of the game, and they just might be on-board to take a bigger creative risk for growing your brand.

We understand approaching your boss and company stakeholders with an idea to create an episodic video series might sound absurd, but hey, it’s almost 2020 — anything can happen! All jokes aside, the future of marketing has shifted and brands need a new way to stand out amongst the competition. It’s time to convince everyone that episodic video content will help you cut through the noise and build better brand affinity in the long-run.

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7 Fashion-Forward Video Series to Keep Your Eye On

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Who said videos about fashion were only made for the big screen? The Devil Wears Prada might be a pretty high standard to live up to, but in reality, tons of brands are already making innovative shows and video series to help move their businesses forward.

In fact, we recently stumbled upon four fashion-focused brands that are all creating entertaining, binge-worthy video series, that even Meryl Streep herself might be interested in watching. Businesses like Vans, Refinery29, Marc Jacobs, and Foot Locker stood out to us as top-dogs in the branded content space because their shows are so clearly focused on attracting a niche audience, which is a key part of executing an effective brand affinity marketing strategy. Plus, they’re just plain fun to watch!

Who doesn’t love a good surf video? Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a “sneakerhead”? Take a look at what these creative brands put out into the world and get some insights into what you can do at your business to make an awesome series yourself!

We bet you know someone in your life who owns a fresh pair of Vans. But if you’re not familiar with the brand, Vans is the original action sports footwear, apparel, and accessories brand promoting creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture.

Vans decided to showcase those company values with a video series called Weird Waves, which follows the gnarly journey of Dylan Graves as he introduces viewers to “the weirder side of surf culture and the characters who chomp weird waves.” In two seasons, he links up with people from the underground side of the surf scene to ride everything from waves in wintery Great Lakes to waves formed by falling ice in Alaska. This show is no joke — things get weird!

To successfully showcase what their brand stands for, Vans identified the perfect brand ambassador to be the host for an engaging binge-worthy series. While not everyone can relate to riding waves in unthinkable places like Dylan Graves and his friends, viewers can be entertained and identify with how Vans is a champion of creative self-expression.

In a more fashion-focused realm, Refinery29 is an online media and entertainment hub that appeals to young women who may be interested in style, health, careers, technology, and a whole lot more. To pique the interests of their target audience, they’ve created an award-winning video series called Style Out There exploring “the connections between clothing, community, and culture across the world.”

Style Out There features hosts Asha Leo and Connie Wang as they travel the world to learn more about “the ways clothing has given women a way to speak out, look within, and identify the forces that limit their potential.” In season one, watch Leo dig into Decora style in Tokyo and how it goes against the mainstream, or jump ahead to season three and learn about Afrofuturist fashion with Wang and why it’s more than just a costume for black women.

For someone interested in style, this series goes deeper than the outward appearance of an outfit or accessory. It shows the significance of fashion for people to express themselves around the world.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered what the inner workings of a high fashion label look like days before a runway show, check out Marc Jacobs’ The Making of RUNWAY.

This six-part series follows Marc himself, Joseph Carter, Creative Director of Runway, as well as many of the faces working to run the ship five days before Marc Jacobs’ February 13, 2019 show. From fittings and design meetings to set and music planning, they show you what it takes to make a fashion show a success.

Marc Jacobs is a world-renown brand, but the way they shot their behind-the-scenes footage could be pulled off by any company big or small. Whether you’re aspiring to work for Marc Jacobs or a fan of the brand, this simple series gives you an authentic look at the people, the work, and the creativity that makes Marc Jacobs what it is.

In the fashion industry, Patagonia is famous not only for leading the fight against climate change but also for spearheading the binge-worthy content movement with their visually stunning and thought-provoking documentary series.

To promote their signature line of work-friendly attire, they blended their passion for the environment with the art of storytelling to craft a video series called Workwear.

In this seven-part video series, you’ll meet farmers, eco-friendly automotive technicians, conservationists, fishermen, and more to learn what drives them to work so hard day in and day out and how they protect the environment while doing so.

Even though Workwear is meant to promote Patagonia’s line of work clothing, they don’t draw any direct attention to their products.

Instead, Patagonia focuses on the real reason each person in the video series chooses to make an honest living. And with over 2.5 million views on YouTube, they’ve reached and resonated with plenty of people who share the same “why” when it comes to their work.

Lululemon is an athletic apparel retailer with strong roots in yoga, running, and any other activity that makes you break a sweat and feel great. However, when they think about their marketing, they make sure not to just focus on the physical aspects of these activities. They also make sure to highlight the mental and emotional side of physical fitness.

To celebrate the International Day of Yoga, for example, Lululemon released a video series called Yoga Changed My Life to tell the stories of three people who used the power of yoga to overcome a traumatic experience.

From conquering teenage homelessness to a near-death experience due to a complication from Crohn’s disease, you’ll learn how powerful yoga can be for the mind, body, and soul.

Most athletic apparel retailers try to generate demand for their products by emphasizing the physical benefits of exercise, but Lululemon understands that truly resonating with an audience requires a message much more inspiring than that. You can’t just strive to look good — you also need to feel good.

Nike’s I Am Giannis tells the origin story of Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the best basketball players in the NBA.

Giannis is known for having a strong work ethic and bulldog mentality that rivals the game’s most iconic players’. And after watching this five-part video series, you’ll quickly understand how his humble beginnings in Athens, Greece have fueled his fire to reach the upper echelon of the basketball world.

You can’t help but smile as you watch Giannis’s story unfold. From getting selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft to attracting thousands of Greek and Nigerian fans to each of his games to designing his own signature Nike shoe — the story is both uplifting and inspirational.

As marketers, we recognize that Nike knows how to tell a compelling story, especially with just a few words. But by venturing into long-form storytelling and spinning a narrative about one person’s life over 20 minutes of video content, they might have just told their best story yet.

After seeing the ideas these brands have come up with, we hope you’re feeling inspired to start creating a video series of your own! Start by figuring out what makes your brand unique and what your current audiences like about you. The next concept for the perfect video series could be right under your nose!

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5 Food and Beverage Video Series That’ll Make You Hungry for More Content

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Do you remember the iconic “how many licks” Tootsie Pops commercials from the 70s? What about the heartwarming snowman that thawed after eating a satisfying bowl of Campbell’s soup?

Many food and beverage brands are famous for their clever and memorable advertisements.

However, only a handful have taken their creativity to the next level and crafted full-scale video series that rival the very TV shows they place their ads with.

We’ve rounded up five of the best video series in the food and beverage world so you can draw inspiration for your next project. Read on to cook up some delicious ideas for your next show!

As the most popular energy drink in the world, Red Bull naturally gears its brand toward pro athletes who participate in extreme sports. One of the ways the company connects with this cohort is by crafting thrilling video series about the world’s most extreme athletes. From a video series about wingsuit fliers to one about the top athletes in their respective extreme sport, you can get your daily dose of adrenaline from a single episode.

But out of all of Red Bull’s video series, the arguably most compelling one is about the athletes who have overcome near-impossible odds to ascend to the heights of their extreme sport. It’s called The Way of the Wildcard.

In this wild video series, you’ll hear from a two-time cancer survivor who holds two world records in cycling, a former prisoner turned Iron Man triathlete, working-class brothers who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in rowing, and many more impressive athletes.

All of the stories in The Way of the Wildcard are naturally chock-full of conflict, which grips audiences from start to finish. And by showing audiences how these athletes achieved their dreams with the odds stacked against them, it inspires viewers to do the same.

Growing up, a day out with your friends during the summer usually included a swim at the pool, a bonfire, and a can of soda. Was there anything more carefree?

Coca-Cola wanted to tap into this nostalgia to forge a closer bond with their audience. Their bold idea? A video series called One Last Summer, which follows a group of incoming college freshmen as they enjoy their last summer together.

Throughout the four-part series, you’ll learn all about this friend group’s future plans, watch them cross off their summer bucket list, and navigate the complexities of their high school romances.

Each episode of One Last Summer focuses on a single character. This approach allows you to get to know them personally, understand the dynamic of their friend group, and understand why it’ll be bittersweet for them to split up when it’s time to go off to college.

One Last Summer is sure to transport you back to your most carefree days as a teenager — and it might even persuade you to crack open a Coke while you’re at it.

When you think of Cadbury, you most likely think of rich, creamy chocolate. And when you think of chocolate, you might reminisce on the good old days when your mom or dad would slip you a piece of chocolate after dinner.

That’s why Cadbury decided to create Families Reunited, a video series that aims to reconnect parents with their teenage children by giving parents a crash course on their children’s passions.

In this two-part video series of 20-minute episodes, you’ll watch a dad learn how to pop a wheelie on a BMX bike just like his son. Then, you’ll watch a mom learn how to conquer the ice and figure skate with her son. At the end of each episode, the parent ultimately proves to their kid that they’re not as different as they think. Even better, they can also spend time bonding over a shared passion.

Almost every parent goes through a rough patch with their kids, especially when they’re teenagers. But Families Reunited lets parents who have drifted from their kids know that they’re not alone. It also inspires them to truly understand their kids before they try to rekindle their relationships with them.

Known for their fun, playful brand identity, Taco Bell stuck to their guns when they released The Taco Bell Show. It’s a game show that features celebrities — including Drake Bell and Spencer Pratt — known and loved by Taco Bell’s young target audience.

On the show, the host and the guest celebrity play Taco Bell-inspired games, like “Diablo Dare.” It’s Truth or Dare, but instead of doing a dare, participants have to drench a tortilla chip in diablo sauce and eat it. What a creative way to plug two of their products into one game — kudos, Taco Bell!

The Taco Bell Show draws you in from the beginning by immediately informing you what it’s all about — a game show with celebrities. It then keeps you glued to your screen by having the celebrities play fun, creative games. If you ask us, that’s definitely a recipe for binge-worthy content success.

Another brand that leans on humor and lightheartedness, Kentucky Fried Chicken released a series of satirical Shark Tank-esque pitches for outlandish business ideas called KFC Innovations Lab. These ideas include Colonel on Ice, a bow tie that also serves as a GPS locator, and a walking cane that doubles as a remote control for your TV.

All of these pitches relate to KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders in a creative way, which makes the video series one of the funniest in the food and beverage industry. After watching it, you’ll laugh so hard that you’ll work up an appetite, and KFC hopes it’ll be for some of their famous fried chicken.

Crafting a creative and compelling video series is just like cooking. It’ll be hard. It’ll get messy. And there’s a chance you might burn the dish to a crisp. But, hopefully, with these examples, you can put together a recipe for a video series that will please your audience’s palate.

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Announcing “Built to Last”: An Audio Conference from Buffer and Wistia

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If you’ve watched an episode of Brandwagon or tuned into our Change the Channel event last year, then you know there’s nothing we love more than talking to people about what it takes to build a great brand. And now, we’re super excited to continue that conversation with Buffer, a social media management platform, throughout Built to Last — a free audio-conference for brand builders.

Taking place on August 19 and 20, this first-of-its-kind conference will feature guests (including our very own Chris Savage!) from companies that are invested in building stronger brands and creating compelling content in all forms. If you’re looking to learn how to foster organic growth, take marketing risks, or develop an audience of engaged advocates — this conference is for you.

Attending a marketing conference once meant spending an entire day in a windowless ballroom or glued to your computer screen for hours on end. By leveraging the power of podcasts, our conference sessions will be available for your listening pleasure no matter what you’re up to.

Wait a minute — what does an “audio-conference” really mean?

We’re taking the concept of an in-person conference and delivering it as a podcast. Built to Last attendees will receive access to a private podcast feed where we’ll release seven episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode will feature lessons and insights to help you craft memorable content and campaigns that create devoted audiences.

By signing up to attend this conference, you’ll get access to the content in real-time or on-demand (with show notes!). We encourage listening while making a meal, getting some fresh air, or moving your body. In other words — you do you!

Beyond the podcast episodes, we’re encouraging attendees to join our private community to network with each other, participate in facilitated discussions, and interact with select speakers live. Simply sign up to attend Build to Last and you’ll be invited to join — simple as pie.

We hope you’ll join us for this interactive podcast experience. If you’re as pumped as we are, then head on over to the Buffer site to register, see the full list of speakers, and get all the conference details. Oh, and be sure to charge those headphones so you’re ready to rock ’n roll!

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