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Lights, camera, action: Your business needs online episodic video content

Video is a must-have for marketing content as it’s easy to engage with, retains visitors and benefits your site’s SEO. However, one video on the homepage does not make a video content plan.
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To form a video content strategy, you need to produce films regularly and I’ll explain why online episodic video content campaigns can deliver your brand to the masses in a meaningful way.

For building a subscriber list, episodic video content works well. Episodic videos – a series of video episodes – involves a core narrative that is continued with every new video.

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This is where you make a high frequency of films to bait an audience and create a community that follows and looks out for each new production. We are talking a higher frequency than quarterly, so it would be beneficial to set up the whole video series in advance.

“How to” videos, often referenced as “help content”, provide an example of episodic videos and they are very popular – think of plumbing videos, bike maintenance video content or anything where there is an opportunity to teach online. It’s a good way to notch up a solid following quickly to your website.

These kind of videos become working guides for practical solutions. These are not stories but tools.

However, this is just one example of a themed video series. Storytelling is another strong format for using episodic films.

Engage with storytelling themes

Episodic films are seen all the time in the form of television advertising. Think Coors adverts with Jean-Claude Van Damme or Orange Wednesdays with Sergei the Meerkat.

The same kind of storytelling can be exploited by SMEs. This approach is often referred to as “hero content”. Hero content comprises all those videos that have great stories that we talk about at the water cooler.

They capture the imagination and everyone finds this content special, inspirational and it stands out. It grabs your attention and you are compelled to talk about it. This is the stuff that can go viral and etches a brand in your brain with an emotional attachment.

When planning out the video content theme it’s important to get it right from the first video. Animations are good for conveying multiple messages quickly whilst actors or your team members 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 each sketch around your brand values is very important before you go near the studio.

Brainstorm, jot down your ideas with headings for each sketch and 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 stronger relationship with your customers by giving them something new and something they will enjoy.

Film as your business voice

Lastly, there is the “hub content”, which allows you to behave like your own TV channel around your brand, producing regular stories and information around your business prospect.

This is basically pumping out content around your brand. Carefully chosen keywords in titles will help get this picked up.

This can be viewed as an easier option and might suit businesses that have a lot to say and can articulate new offers and new important insights at regular intervals.

If you are seriously considering a video strategy over a period of a year and you want it to play a core role in your marketing, then the first steps are important, so take your time to think clearly about your idea and how your customers will receive it.

When an episodic video strategy is well executed it can build your online following as well or better than social media, online marketing or direct mail campaigns, so make it a priority in your marketing mix.

David Hunstone is director of the film company Hub TV, based in London’s Clerkenwell Close

Image: Shutterstock

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As the champion of UK enterprise for 20 years, Real Business is the most-read SME website dedicated to high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. Through daily news, unique insight and invaluable guides we are an essential resource for thriving businesses.

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