Is Your Content Binge-Worthy?
May 26, 2017 | Dan Trefethen
At the 2013 MacTaggart Lecture Kevin Spacey spoke (in reference to House of Cards and Netflix) directly to a room full of television executives telling them to go with the flow and give audiences “what they want, when they want it. If they want to binge then we should let them binge.”
Netflix is a huge embracer of the “binge” mentality. Full seasons of original shows are released all at once instead of serialized, and videos automatically queue up immediately after one has ended.
And while Netflix has certainly enabled binge-experiences to advance in culture, audiences were already leaning that way before streaming platforms. Even in the aughts or late 90s, you’d here stories of full weekends being usurped by DVD marathon sessions of full TV seasons (or series).
Now “binge” options are widely available in all sorts of mediums. From online shopping to TV streaming to Spotify to “getting lost” in Wikipedia, interest in any subject can become voluntarily intense.
The compound verb “binge-watch” has even been officially added to the Oxford Dictionary.
I’m definitely no exception. When I get fascinated by something whether it’s a new author, band, or filmmaker, I deep dive to learn and experience as much as possible on the person or thing in a very short period of time – I want to know everything immediately.
This is a crucial concept for all marketers to understand – when you’ve grabbed someone’s interest, everything needs to be shiny and ready for their binge experience into your brand and product.
To be prepared for this, let’s look at six different tactics marketers can start employing today so their content is aligned for a binge experience.
1. Make Your Content Easily Discoverable
It seems like a simple point, but there’s a lot of content out there and not all your customers are going to be looking in the same place or for the same thing. Browse around the web from the perspective of one of your buyers and see what you can find. Are your answers to their questions showing up? And are they in the right places?
Your content should be spread out and promoted across multiple channels, but also be appropriate for each.
If you’re promoting an ebook on social media like Twitter or LinkedIn, consider creating a short infographic of the ebook that can hook people in quick, and then lead to the ebook – a path to start a binge experience. If you just link straight to the ebook, the time investment may be too much for the browser, and they’ll move on.
Here’s what a solid, cross-channel promotion cycle should look like for one strong piece of content:
2. Are You Using Video?
For a real life B2B example, let’s look at HCSS – a construction project management software solution. Without doing anything over-the-top glamorous like an Old Spice ad, HCSS offers several short videos on a variety of topics.
Some are just a minute long, and target a single aspect or question a prospect might have.
If you don’t have any overview videos currently, try posting a broad webinar or demo video. Or look at an affordable screen-recording tool like Camtasia for short and visual videos.
3. Start Offering Alternatives
While best practice for strong CTAs is to direct users to one main goal, marketers are starting play around with this by offering an alternative experience.
Think of it as “Well, if this isn’t what you want to do right now (the main goal, maybe download an ebook), perhaps this (the alternative) is more suited for the moment.”
To illustrate this, let’s look at an example from Vidyard. Below is the top fold of a landing page for a Video Marketing guide.
The main goal of the landing page is for leads to download the guide, but, as an alternative, Vidyard offers a “watch video” option too. This might appeal to the prospect who hesitates at downloading the ebook because of a time commitment.
4. Next Step Call to Action
Speaking of calls to action, towards the end, or even in the middle of each piece of content – the next logical piece should be set up. This creates a momentum track.
The key to this approach? Offer a content experience that’s both directly related to the current subject but different in format. If someone just read a full blog post, or infographic, maybe they don’t want to look at another one.
Taking another example from Vidyard (hey, they’re in-tune with the binge wave, I guess), at the end of their video marketing guide, they don’t offer a demo request or another guide – they offer an assessment.
This is directly related to the guide, but also much more personalized and immediate – a free tool as a reward for getting this far.
Offering interactive content as introductions or endings to pillar content pieces is a great way to continue the engagement track by delivering something individualized for the user.
5. Plan Your Content to Cover Different Buyer Stages
Once you have someone on your website or even in an email nurture stream, do your different content pieces offer a basic introduction-body-conclusion? Again, put yourself in the shoes of a prospect or lead – what would they first need to know, and then what would they next want to know?
Typically, prospects would want to know at a high level what the problem your organization is solving. These would be the introduction pieces that identify situations prospects might find themselves in and how you can help them, without going too far into product details.
These pieces should have broad topics, and to really capture a new audience they can be seasonal or more light hearted – this will help you stand out.
Below is a Game of Thrones assessment SnapApp did for last year’s season premiere.
The more bottom-of-the-funnel conclusion pieces can really talk in detail about your products and services – which ones are right for each individual and how to actually get them rolling with your organizations.
All these pieces should be easy to navigate in the resource areas on your site.
Of course, every buyer’s path will be different, and rarely will it be discovery, then 1-2-3 sale! Buyer’s will come and go at different places in the funnel, with different knowledge backgrounds, and at different speeds. But when you have someone on a content binge, ready to spend hours of focus on your product, you want to be able to feed that interest without any roadblocks.
6. Offer Your Content in Diverse Formats
Subjects aside, content is not one size fits all. You could have a great variety in subject across the usual mediums like blog, ebook, and white papers, but what if parts of your audience are totally sick of blogs and don’t have time for a lengthy white paper?
By offering an assortment of content formats, you allow visitors to choose their own preference. Take the example of turning an ebook into an infographic that we went over in the first question, by diversifying larger pieces of content into smaller, more snackable pieces you create both an alternative experience and an additional asset.
Above, we have a resource microsite from Blackbaud that offers a variety of topics, but also formats. Included are guides, ebooks, and calculators.
Some people respond better to video, some to infographics, some to blogs, and some to 30-page white papers. Hitting on the right format will keep visitors that much more engaged and coming back for more.
Consider turning Slideshares into webinars or vice versa to make two different experiences available. You can also tease longer-form pieces by turning aspects of them into interactive content. For example, turning a white paper chapter into a “How Much Do You Know?” quiz, or taking a case study’s stats and making a calculator where buyers can apply the results to their own situation.
Time to Adapt
As audiences become more accustomed to that freedom of consumption, your content needs keep pace.
Creating a variety of formats that are easily available and lead to further content lets you meet those binge seekers at their level. When someone is excited about your product, sometimes it’s best to just give them the keys and get out of the way.