Attract repeat visits with ‘episodic’ video content

Video is now a ‘must have’ for marketing content. It’s easy to engage, it retains visitors and it’s good for SEO. However, one video on the homepage does not make a video content plan. To form a video content strategy you need to produce film content regularly and one very strong way is with episodic video campaigns.

Business writer, Richard Forsyth joins forces with video company Hub TV, to explain why this is a great way to make video work for your online business.

For building subscriber lists, episodic videos can work brilliantly. Episodic videos – or rather a series of video episodes, involves a core narrative or theme that is continued with every new video. This is where you have a high frequency of films created – higher than quarterly, to bait an audience and to create a community that follows and looks out for each new production. ‘How to’ videos are a great example of episodic videos. ‘How to’ videos are extremely popular – think of plumbing videos, bike maintenance videos or anything where there is an opportunity to teach in what is essentially a course online. It’s a good way to notch up a solid following quickly to your website. However, How To’s are just one example of a thematic video series.

Funny or thrilling, real or animated

These kind of episodic films are seen all the time on television advertising. Think Coors adverts with Jean Claude Van Dam, or Orange Wednesdays with Sergei the Meerkat. Whilst these are big production videos the same kind of concept can be used for SMEs with a strong content budget for online advertising or for website marketing. This kind of content marketing is now more accessible than ever.

When planning out the theme it’s important to get it right from the first video. Animations are good for conveying multiple messages quickly whilst real people (actors, presenters or your business team) and ‘real’ situations give a sense of drama that some visitors will gravitate toward. The tone, any humour and the production values should be consistent with every video and so planning is very important before you go near the studio. Brainstorm, jot down your ideas with headings for each sketch, make notes, drawings and storyboards. It has to deliver something worth the investment of time to watch – so don’t put films together just for the sake of showing your logo at the end. It must have a natural flow to it from one video to the next. Keep people engaged and they may even ‘binge watch’ these videos if they are good enough. This is about forging a relationship with your audience – your customers.

Define your content strategy with the three H’s

So you want to try an episodic video campaign. Where do you start – which formula of video should you choose? According to Google strategist, Lazar Dzamic, there are three types of content to differentiate before you begin your plan, they are – Hero content, Help content and Hub content. By engaging in any of these three strategies means you can build subscribers on your YouTube channel or your website.

The first is Hero content – all those videos that have great stories that we talk about at the water cooler. They really capture the imagination and everyone finds this content special, inspirational and it stands out from the crowd. It grabs your attention and you are compelled to talk about it. This is the stuff that can go viral.

The second is Help content – which refers back to the earlier example in this article about ‘how to’ features. These kind of videos become working guides for practical solutions. These are not stories but tools.

Thirdly there is the Hub content – this is content that allows you to behave like your own TV channel around your brand, producing regular stories and information around your business prospect. This is pumping out content around your brand and it can suit episodic video marketing well. Carefully chosen keywords in titles will help get this noticed.

If you are seriously considering a video strategy over a year and you want it to play a core role in your marketing, then the first steps are so incredibly important, so take your time to think clearly about your idea and how your customers will receive it. If it works like it should – people will not only have your brand etched into their brains but they’ll enjoy watching your films, you’ll make them happy.

Article written with help from David Hunstone, director of the film company Hub TV, based in Clerkenwell Close in London.