One (Not So) Weird Trick for Engaging Audiences with Episodic Content

Welcome to Maker Corner, our series where we feature guest contributions to our blog from QuickFrame makers.

This month’s post is written by maker Misha Koroteev, founder of creative studio VeryVertical.

You know how you snuggle down to watch a 6-hour movie every night of the week? Of course, you don’t. What nonsense.

We do something completely normal – we binge watch 6-hours of Downton Abbey till 2AM, because the final episode is a two-parter, and each part goes double down on all the abbies! And although this is suspiciously specific, doesn’t it make all the sense in the world?

We are the shows that we watch daily: The Offices and the Friends and the Abbot Elementaries. I am personally an “old man” – a Jeff Bridges show where he gets his ass kicked while always having his mouth slightly open in disbelief.

But now let me ask you this – you know how you weigh yourself down with a weighted blanket with hot cocoa, ready to watch a 9-minute commercial for a hardware company? You don’t? How much sense does that make though? I’m going to pull a three-sixty and say that it does indeed make a lot of sense. Because at least 34 million people watched an Apple commercial that was in its essence the third episode of a well-produced sitcom.

“The Underdogs” series features four diverse characters in an office setting, where they get into shenanigans and shenanigan out of them using some kind of an Apple product. It’s everything you expect from a 2022 sitcom, and with every episode, it’s bringing more and more eyeballs and praise.

Episodic content as a content strategy? How showy and serialized of them. How “unapologetically” binge-worthy. And how is this not a thing that everyone is doing?

“Yes, Maker’s Corner maker!” you exclaim. “That’s Apple! We are, if not oranges, but will defy comparison!”

You are indeed not a trillion-dollar company, but you are reading an article on QuickFrame, a platform that has “content packs” that would include a few videos that can be made episodic if one desires.

And if you ever planned the feeding schedule of a content monster, you should definitely desire episodic content.

Let me give you a few pros and cons because this is not a “paid review” and in this house we speak the truth or forever hold our peace. Or at least till we can’t hold it anymore.

Related: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

Pros for Serialized Content

Here are the pros as I see them.

Serialized content has been building repeatable engaged audiences for TV channels for decades. People tuned in to watch their favorite characters MacGyver their way out of sticky situations since before Dr. House broke his leg. You’ve seen it in TV ads through the ages as well—the Geico lizards and the State Farm Jakes keep making appearances during the Big Game like it doesn’t cost a few gazillion dollars for a second of screen time. Familiar faces build trust and recognition – everything your brand needs to be recalled at the moment of purchase.

Here’s another one – episodic content is evergreen. You can post a new entertainment episode tomorrow and if a viewer gets hooked, expect him to go back to rewatch your catalog. Because let’s not pretend people don’t watch entertainment content during working hours. Let’s not also pretend people don’t rewatch their favorite shows. I have watched the “couch pivot” scene from Friends maybe fifty-four times since I started this article.

Before you wander off to do the same, here’s the last pro – video series gives you more reliable data. It’s hard to catch those lightning-in-the-bottle million views one-off videos. What do you learn from that success? Get more bottles? But with a steady stream of content, you can build projections. If that excitement sounds too nerdy, don’t worry, it is. But that’s how you get that loyal, engaged audience that keeps coming back to your channel, and will advocate for your product without you lifting a finger. Assuming you approve your budget by lifting your fingers.

Related: Video Production Process: Everything You Need to Know

Cons for Serialized Content

Now for the cons.

If you put your money on developing a show and the character becomes popular, the actor fees might go up, compared to a regular commercial. Unless you’re KFC and hire someone new to play the Colonel for every new episode. Or you just recast Aunt Viv and still feel as fresh as a Prince of Bel Air.

Another con would be scheduling – you’ll have to stagger the production of your content so that you have time to analyze the data on what’s working and how to pivot to the vibe that’s bringing you the most human comments and bot-less shares. That would mean, you probably won’t be able to do a week of production for the whole year of content. But a production period for every three months sounds just about right.

The last con is that it seems more complicated than it actually is. The little secret here is that it’s not – podcasts have had brand sponsors present their entertainment content for years. YouTubers have shown personalized ads since forever. The only difference here – is that you get more control over creative content and use it to build your own audience, as opposed to adding another million eyeballs to Mr.Beasts’s moon landing re-enactment.

If you made it to the very end of the article, that means one of two things – either you like punny humor, and we should be friends. Or you are thinking about episodic content for your next cycle, which means we should be work friends. Whatever the reason, I like you, and I have to show you this mini Instagram Series made by Daniels, the guys that made Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Hit me up so I can send it to you.

Hi, this is a bio, so I want you to know, that there’s going to be some bragging, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be friends. I’m a commercial comedy director working from NYC. Did I mention award-winning? I work on web films and spots that feel like entertainment. I’ve directed mock music videos for Samsung and talking cheese TikToks for Pinterest.

In my spare time, I am a founder of a creative studio VeryVertical that will create vertical, and in a surprise twist, horizontal content, that will help you grow your engaged audience through the magic of comedy. Yes, all of this does sound rather peculiar, isn’t it great?

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