Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime docuseries got you hooked?
Some call it the Netflix effect. Those chill nights we spiral into hours of binge-watching our favorite series – Planet Earth, Making a Murder, Vice.
Watching shows that are real and relatable is trending. Now, brands are bringing the docuseries into focus as part of their digital marketing strategy.
As an example, Netflix’s best performing content of 2019 included the docuseries Fyre Festival, the biggest party that never actually happened.
A good docuseries can be the perfect dose of reality when it comes to a brand’s content marketing formula for 2020.
If this content works well for Netflix and Hulu’s of the world, what’s to say a docuseries can play a vital role in your content strategy?
Documenting New Video Horizons
Advertisers and digital marketers around the world are finding new and creative ways to engage with their audience and share their stories.
It’s nothing new.
Gary Vaynerchuk captured an audience documenting his wine and wit.
Donald Trump “fired” everyone up with “The Apprentice”.
Most recently B2B brands such as Cat Howell’s Digital Distillery brought a voice to the digital agency industry with Pay the Invoice.
Howell, admin of the world’s largest Facebook Marketing Group Ad Hacks, heavily invested in using a docuseries to change up her brand’s content strategy and create a funnel for a warm audience.
Here are a few takeaways from Pay the Invoice and other marketing-centric docuseries examples.
1. Script Your Docuseries Story
A docuseries is a fresh way to let your audience know about you and your brand story.
Tell your backstory, show off your team, and let your viewers into what makes you different.
Or tell the story of someone or something that has influenced you or your business that you feel will resonate with your audience.
In retrospect, if Howell had to do it over she would have invested more upfront time in scripting and planning.
2. Show Off Your Skillset
It’s also a transparent way to position yourself as an expert in your field.
Try educating your audience on what you do and how you do it.
What better way to let people know what you do than by letting them see it for themselves?
3. LOL & Entertainment
Does your story feel a little lackluster? Humor is powerful.
A 2018 research article in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice suggested that humor actually showed more positive engagement across social video content.
Using bloopers and showing imperfections is part of today’s most successful content formulas.
Filmmaker Ron Lynch, a video marketing phenom, is partially responsible for the success of brands and products like GoPro
In Lynch’s experience, humor stands out as the ultimate secret weapon of effective video content.
Humor wins because it demands attention. It prompts the brain’s chemical release of serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.
This cocktail of neurotransmitters makes you feel good, creating a positive experience around the brand or product in the video.
Using humor in a video whether it is a docuseries or short-form social ad, is a smart move, but how do you come up with the humorous ideas for that psychological edge?
Here is what Lynch suggests:
- Watch comedy. Netflix is brimming with professional comedians.
- Attend comedy shows, even if the comedians are inexperienced.
- Watch mentalists, paying attention to those moments when they shock their audience.
The modern brain has evolved the ability to defend against the 5,000 ads that we see each day. It’s the only way to stay sane!
Humor can obliterate this defense. But it doesn’t stop there; the humor churns up the body’s chemical warm-and-fuzzies, making your brand feel even better.
4. Attract Future Talent
What better way to entice people to come work for you than showing off your skills? DigitasLBi is an example of how good content can drive new talent.
They released their docuseries “Into the Wild” to share special stories about staffers all over the world. The result?
A 50% increase in job applications to the agency since the show went live according to an interview with Ad Age.
5. Unexplored Territory & Taboo Topics
A documentary can serve a bigger purpose for your brand by allowing you to touch on topics that may not be available in mainstream media.
Howell saw an opportunity to document the experience of seven digital marketers traveling to New Zealand for eight weeks to learn how to grow and scale their agencies and compete for cash prizes with Pay the Invoice.
KY touches on taboo topics with women in their web series “The Pleasure is Mine.”
6. Lead up to a Major Announcement
Hit record while #BTS. Build up momentum for your next big release or announcement by documenting your journey and how you and your team got there.
This really serves two result-oriented purposes: giving your audience an inside look at a special moment while also giving you something to look back on!
7. Influence Visual Message
If your brand has a specific mission or goal for the community, a nonprofit or a charity, it’s added value to help bring awareness to your cause through a storytelling piece of content like a docuseries.
Show your impact on the community, inspire change, and feature testimonials to provide validity.
8. Softer Content, Segmented Viewers
Pay The Invoice and other docuseries like the brand KY wanted to go deep and personal versus strictly educational.
9. Build Trust & Credibility in a Non-Invasive Way
“The document-series essentially acted as a lead magnet. We knew only freelancers and agency owners (or those interested in entering the space) would take an interest in the content. That being said we focused mostly on the stories of the participants to create a connection with viewers,” said Howell.
10. Retargeting with a Facebook & YouTube Strategy
“We initially launched the first four episodes on Youtube and built campaigns to drive views of these, we retargeted on Facebook and YouTube based on views but found these audiences weren’t high quality enough. This was the first time we had tried a funnel of this nature so we decided to regroup and took a mid-season break relaunching a month and a half later with an email gated funnel,” Howell said.
11. Have a Social PR Strategy
“Focus on media outreach to industry publications, Facebook Groups, influencers as well as leveraging each cast member’s social reach and audience. This was important when we launched to create awareness and build a reputation around the series,” Howell said.
Longer form video content with a focus on quality over quantity is taking shape for B2B and B2C marketing.
Thanks to the power of easy distribution across social channels and the power of retargeting to a warm audience who has engaged with your content, the beauty is in the reality of the docuseries.
Will you be starting your brand’s original documentary?
Full disclosure: Cat Howell’s Digital Distillery is a client of The Buyer Group.
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