5 Reasons Why 2020 Is the Year to Invest in Binge-Worthy Content

Jenny Coppola

Jenny Coppola

Creative


In 2019, we watched TikTok explode with popularity among today’s youth. We also grappled with the fact that the athleisure trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (which is arguably more impressive). But here at Wistia, we were only focused on one big trend as we closed out the decade, and that was all the hype around binge-worthy content.

Brands like Mailchimp, Shopify, and ProfitWell all launched their very own show networks last year. And given their success, we’ll likely see even more brands follow suit in 2020.

Binge-worthy content is here to stay, but staving off the competition is only one reason why the trend won’t fade away like the once-beloved fidget spinner. Here are five other reasons why 2020 is the year to start creating video series and podcasts.

1. The old content marketing playbook has gone stale

Digital advertising and inbound marketing were once innovative ways to promote your brand — now they’re simply part of the status quo. For instance, due to a 113% increase in ad spend from 2014–2019, more than 25% of U.S. internet users in 2019 have ad-blockers enabled on their devices. Similarly, content marketing, the foundation of any successful inbound marketing strategy, has also experienced a similar uptick in adoption and decline in impact. While more than 4 million blog posts are published every day, only 5% of all the content created by businesses generates the majority of the engagement for brands. In other words, 19 out of 20 blog posts get little to no engagement.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of traditional digital advertising and content marketing will continue to wane as marketers cement these methods into the mainstream. That’s one of the reasons why investing in the creation of binge-worthy content like an episodic video series or a podcast can help brands stand out from the crowd.

2. People crave entertainment more than ever before

Marketers often assume the only competition they face is the rest of their industry. But with most people consuming work-related content before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m., almost every brand is in direct competition with an ensemble of media companies that, frankly, they don’t stand a chance against right now.

The sheer amount of high-quality entertainment that people can access with a click of a button is staggering. And the only way brands can compete in this battle for attention is by crafting content that their audience would actually consume on their own time — and not just because it’s for work.

“The only way brands can compete in this battle for attention is by crafting content that their audience would actually consume on their own time — and not just because it’s for work.”

Nowadays, people crave entertainment and media companies are more than happy to satisfy their appetite. With 23% of U.S. adults listening to podcasts daily or a few times per week and the average U.S. adult subscribing to 3.4 streaming services, it makes complete sense why Spotify plans to spend upwards of $500 million acquiring podcast companies and why Disney invested $2.6 billion to launch Disney+. They’re giving people what they want and now it’s time other B2B and B2C companies do the same.

Obviously it’s a bit unrealistic to expect brands to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, but we don’t necessarily have to. The demand for binge-worthy content bleeds over to the branded content space, so any content that’s more entertaining, creative, and unique than the standard blog post or social video will help to pique your audience’s interest.

3. The binge-worthy content space is still new

As a business, creating content that’s so good people can’t help but want to watch or listen to more of it is still a pretty novel concept — which means there’s an opportunity to become an early adopter. As we’ve learned from Mailchimp and their early advertisement on the mega-popular podcast Serial, being one of the first businesses to take a risk on a new marketing tactic can be a real competitive advantage.

Image by: FLICKR User TOMOSWYN

Staking a claim in this space now will enable you to cut through the noise faster and, in turn, grow a bigger, more loyal following than your competitor’s. But remember, it’s not about the volume or how fast you can churn out this type of content. The value truly comes from creating something entertaining that resonates with the right members of your audience. So, don’t rush out to launch your show without doing your homework first. Clearly defining your niche audience, your show’s concept, and how you’ll create your show is just as important (if not more!) than simply releasing it to the masses.

4. It takes time to become a great storyteller

Effective storytelling is a difficult skill to master, but if you can hone your creative chops now, you’ll be able to future-proof your podcasts and video series. From coming up with a great idea to streamlining the creative process itself, it takes time to grow your storytelling skills. Making a commitment to pushing yourself creatively in 2020 is the first step to seeing success with binge-worthy content in the long run, so why wait to get started?

For Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, it took years of practice to consider himself a good content creator. “I always believed I didn’t start creating good content until after 1,000 blog posts. Creating great content is a process. You generally don’t catch lightning in a bottle,” he says in a Marketing Showrunners’ blog post. The importance of finding your voice and your audience as a content creator can’t be understated, and that process doesn’t happen overnight.

“The importance of finding your voice and your audience as a content creator can’t be understated, and that process doesn’t happen overnight.”

Great work takes time, and refining it takes even more time. So, start working on finding the best stories you can possibly tell right now. Otherwise, your video series may end up turning out more like Cats than Parasite.

5. The proof-points are already becoming clear

Building a dedicated audience of fans for your brand is definitely a long-term game. However, the people who have invested early in the creation of binge-worthy content are already seeing a return on their investment. For example, the folks at ProfitWell have found that creating just one season of their show Pricing Page Teardown is actually cheaper than producing an eBook. Because they’re able to shoot several episodes of one season in a day, they’re able to create this high-value content, faster than an eBook, giving them ample content to share for the months to come.

More broadly, according to Patrick Campbell, CEO and co-founder of ProfitWell, “We’ve discovered that the life of an eBook had basically lost 80% of its velocity. Very similar to a blog post, you’d have one eBook do really well, and another do really well, and then one kind of do terribly.” Some businesses responded to this decline by simply creating more eBooks, but Campbell argues that doesn’t they’re necessarily maintaining the value that content brings.

On the revenue side of things, Mailchimp has noticed that the people who have engaged with their shows actually buy their products faster and spend more money with them. Mark DiCristina, Head of Brand and Mailchimp, said, “We wanted that to happen. And we were expecting that to happen at some point, but from the minute we launched this content we noticed people were behaving differently.” Boasting low costs, a high revenue potential, and, in turn, healthy margins, binge-worthy content is one of the most effective — and fun — ways to grow your business.

Invest early and reap the long-term benefits

The binge-worthy content space is still in its early days, but there are some clear indicators that prove it’s going to be one of the best ways to build a brand in 2020 and beyond. Getting started early by experimenting with different shows and formats can help you stay ahead of the curve, so don’t wait to get started with your very first video series or podcast!

If you’re looking for a place to start, be sure to check out some of our resources for creating binge-worthy content. To get the lay of the land, we recommend checking out our Brand Affinity Marketing playbook, and once you understand the principles of this strategy, be sure to check out our post about the types of video series your brand can make today. We can’t wait to see what types of shows you create, so be sure to share your progress with us along the way! Remember, the first thing you make probably won’t be your magnum opus, so there’s no time to waste. Get started today and learn how you can make the best binge-worthy content out there!

Jenny Coppola

Jenny Coppola

Creative

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