B2B marketers are living in quarters.
And somehow that’s normal because that’s their company strategy; every quarter has a deadline, a target, and a premise.
But what if B2B marketers didn’t plan only on quarters and played the long-term game?
So, I’ve been thinking lately about what makes me love B2B brands like ConvertKit, Sparktoro, Wistia, or Demand Curve, even if I’m not using or paying for all of them.
Because they give me more than they ask from me.
They are giving me skills, valuable information, and are always on my mind.
They are creating a connection between me and them. They are building the bridge and helping me thrive in this over-competitive world.
How? By having an episodic mindset with their marketing.
When I say episodic, it’s not only about a TV show I can watch on Netflix or Hulu. It’s about an episodic content strategy that is the B2B storytelling revolution.
It’s a transformative perception of brand narrative.
We can talk about episodic content strategies like videos, audios, webinars, online summits, or strategies like newsletters, short videos, or snackable content on social media like LinkedIn or Twitter.
Episodic content not only keeps the audience hooked, but it also adds an element of anticipation to content consumption.
Creating such content continuously involves a blend of creativity, strategy, and a deep understanding of target audiences.
And these are the three points B2B marketers should deeply dive into.
But why is this so critical?
Today’s audience craves more than just one-off engagement.
They seek a journey, a story that unfolds over time, keeping them hooked and invested in your brand’s narrative.
Let’s see how a B2B marketer can craft an episodic content strategy for their brand.
A. Crafting Your Strategy
1. Start with the Objective
Without a purpose, anything you do will just fade into the market.
As a B2B marketer, you need an objective for your work. Because you need to calculate your resources, your outcomes, and your return. So, before you start your next podcast show, or your next B2B newsletter, think about these questions:
- What do you want to accomplish? I want to____
- How much time do you want to invest in it? I will work _ hours/week
- How will this help the business? This project will have a brand/business/sales impact, and we can see the results in_____
- How will you measure success? The success of this project will be measured in_____
Now, reverse engineer your content project and start working on it, so you can achieve your goal.
It’s not just something for you as a B2B marketer, but something you need to think about if you want to invest your resources.
1.a. What’s Your ACC?
The cornerstone of any successful episodic content strategy lies in a deep understanding of your ACC.
What’s an ACC?
Audience – Community – Customer
As a B2B marketer, you already know two important points: the industry you operate in and the product/service you want to sell.
So, the next thing for you will be to understand your audience and reflect on three major ideas:
- Who’s your audience – Who will subscribe and follow this content episode?
(Your audience is not your customer. They are the people who can find your content, follow you, and consume your content, but not necessarily buy your product or use your service.)
- Who will be in your community – Who will give you their credibility?
(Your community is not your audience. They are the people who trust you and will give you access to their space, but not their wallet. They will give you their email address, so you can send them an email or connect them in a community.)
- Who is your customer – Who will give you their money?
(Your community is not your customer. They are the people who trust you and will give you their money. It’s a new level of trust. Maybe at the beginning, they will just test you out to see if you are a good fit.)
So, based on your ACC profiles, you will understand more about them.
But not from a demographic perspective; you need to get more insights about them. What podcasts do they follow? What YouTube channels are they subscribed to? Who do they follow on social media? What websites do they read?
And tools like Sparktoro can help you get all the valuable insights you need to understand your audience’s preferences.
But…there is a big challenge here we need to understand.
We don’t give people what they want or need. As a B2B marketer, you need to create a desire, read a signal, and build on something you really believe in.
So, your next step is to put on a show about
1.b. What do you believe in?
Do you want to set up a comprehensive theme for your show. Nothing better then talking about something you believe in.
Because that’s what will you make your brand stand out in this world where anybody can create and publish content.
Also this can set up your theme show to be easier to produce.
When I say what do you believe in, I’m all about showing what your brand is standing for.
And when you stand for something it means that
- you have a story why do you stand for → sometimes this can come from the founder or CEO
- you have a voice because you want to share your believes → this can be the person who can be the drive of your show
- you have a show-audience fit → i mean, if you have a brand and a business, it means you have an audience who have somehow the similar believes as you are.
- you have an enemy → every belief have somehow an enemy and your solution is better then the enemies solution.
Write down all these believes and you have a holistic answer on why do you do this show.
1.c. What’s your resource plan
I heard many times B2B marketers that they want to start a Youtube channel or a podcast. And my question always was “Great. And where this show will be in 6 month if you still only have the resource you have right now?” and every single time I receive a muted answer where people just look somewhere else to give me a real question.
Because guess what, it’s not a surprise that you need resource, and not just production resource, but also research resource, distribution resource and also mental resource.
That’s why I love how Rand is producing their 5-Minute Whiteboard. Whenever he have something important to say, he will structure what he have to say and write it down on a whiteboard (yeah, that’s typical Rand) and then start recording the video, that is published via Wistia and distributed on his blog, Linkedin and Twitter and then on Youtube.
But the key here is this: “whenever he have something important to say”. This means that there is something really important he found out, or maybe he saw a pattern in discussions with other people or maybe he just want to say something that the industry need to hear it.
Yes, you can test with a first season, writing down on a spreadsheet all your resources, all your expenses and all your objective.
But then what? What’s happening if you won’t hit that objective? What’s happening if your show won’t be produced because you don’t have the amount budget you need to make it as perfect as you want?
Your resource plan should have the next elements:
- How much time I’m willing to spend every week to make this episode be published?
- Who in my team is willing to collaborate with me to make this episode happen?
- How long can we make this show happen if we only have the resources we have right now?
- What’s happening if a new project will come along? Do I still have resource to create and distribute this episode?
These are all resource questions. But when I say resource, I mean time, money, human resource and also mental resource. Yes, mental resource, and you know why: because that’s the beauty but also the scary moment when you need to think about also about you.
If you will have a mental break down, a burn out or something else that won’t let you focus on this work, then just drop it and that’s all. You are more important then any other marketing strategy you have to pull off.
B. Design your Show
1. Choose the Right Type of Content
Selecting the appropriate format for your episodic content is critical. Be it a docu-series, interviews, or a mix of formats, the choice should align with your brand’s message and audience’s preferences. This step is where creativity meets strategy, allowing you to stand out in a crowded market.
Let’s get more deeper into this topic with some helping questions:
Do you want to make it episodic?
- How many episodes I can produce in this Q?
- How many episodes I can publish in this Q?
- How many episodes I can distribute in this Q?
- How many series will I have this year?
Do you want to make it documentary?
- Why documentary and not episode?
- How will I distribute this documentary?
- In what Q can I start promoting this documentary?
This are only some basic question you should ask yourself if you are continue willing to do the work. Don’t get me wrong. I want you to make it happen.
But if you don’t have all the answers put together, your boss or your client won’t be happy to make it happen or if they will allow you to make it, they will definetly ask you these questions after a few weeks of hard working. So better answer now and not later.
2. Plan Execution and Flexibility
Effective episodic content strikes a balance between meticulous planning and adaptability. Outline your content in advance but remain open to incorporating current trends and topics.
Here’s how to plan your execution:
a. Set a realistic publishing timeline: estimate how long it takes to create, edit, and publish an episode. This timeline should ask: “How long will it take to brainstorm content? Conduct research or interviews? Edit, proofread, or storyboard? Upload and optimize for SEO?”
b. Create a content calendar: this should detail what topic every episode will cover for the season, accounting for practical considerations like release dates, holidays, or collaborations.
c. Build in flexibility: your planning should allow for timely content on evolving industry trends or important news. That way, your content is not only consistent but also relevant and responsive.
d. Make use of project management tools: use software like Asana, Trello or Monday.com to organize the planning and execution of your content, and ensure all concerned team members are informed and coordinated.
This approach ensures that your content stays relevant and aligned with your marketing goals, while also resonating with the audience’s current interests.
3. Distribution and Launch
How you distribute your episodic content is as crucial as the content itself. Use your existing channels and explore partnerships for broader reach.
An impactful launch plan is essential to captivate your audience from the outset.
Think of distribution as the bridge that connects your content with its intended audience.
Make sure your show is first video and then audio. Invest in video first because most people wants a good video show and then a great audio show.
I saw this strategy on many content creators and they are thriving with their content.
Jay Clouse changed his podcast strategy this year. He went from audio first to video first. And that was a big change in his game, because he also built his Youtube channel but also his audio podcast gained more downloads. Here is his entire strategy.
The journey doesn’t end with publishing your episodes. Amplify and extend the life of your content by creating micro-content for social media and other platforms.
This approach not only increases your content’s reach but also fosters deeper engagement with your audience.
Episodic content is not just a fleeting trend but a pivotal element of effective content marketing. It requires a blend of creativity, strategic thinking, and deep audience insight.
By focusing on these areas, your episodic content will not only capture attention but also sustain interest over time, fostering long-term brand loyalty and engagement.