shutterstock_363709736In 2014, researchers did a study on how the brain processes suspense and they concluded that suspense made 69% of the subjects come back for more. They found that when someone is viewing something suspenseful, their attention focuses on the story at hand.

So what does this mean for content marketing? We’re not writing book series or creating TV shows, so why does suspense matter? The answer: episodic content. Episodic content is memorable, long-lasting, and sharable.

1. Episodic Content is Memorable

We all have the stories that we heard when we were children, maybe over a campfire or in grandma’s kitchen, that still resonate with us decades later. Something about them clicked and we continue to tell them to others. Usually, these stories are well-developed and memorable because we are invested in the outcome.

Content marketing’s goal is similar: make people remember what you are saying so they will come back to your site or share it with others. And through episodic content in particular, marketers can extend a story and make it that much more salient.

Adding cliffhangers or calls to action at the end of your episodic content will also make it more memorable because people will want to tune into the next installment. Like the example in the beginning of this blog, the suspense will keep them coming back for more.

2. Episodic Content Makes Your Strategy Last Longer

We’ve talked before about the short lifespan of content, and strategies marketers can use to reuse and recycle their content. Creating episodic content is one way to do that in a new and creative fashion.

Imagine a blog post. Now, what if you could break that blog post and extend it into a story. Instead of having one post, you now have 5 or so short ideas that you can share in episodes. Through strategic planning and cliffhanging details, you just extended the life of a single post five times. You can see how this strategy could add up to some substantial extensions.

3. Episodic Content is Sharable

While most content is sharable, readers will feel more inclined to share content if it resonates with them and they enjoy the beauty of the story. It’s rare for people to share a traditional advertisement or self-promoting social post, but they share stories all the time. We’re sure you’ve seen “How This Couple Saved a Baby Panda” or “Check Out This Car Transformation” scattered around your Facebook Newsfeed because these articles tell a story and even if they’re advertisements, they are a new twist on the traditional model.

The Content Marketing Institute does a great job of explaining the importance of storytelling in content. The main ideas are that words spark emotion in readers and that storytelling is human nature. Episodic is a perfect way to capitalize on this marketing strategy because it gives you a chance to develop a cast of characters, flesh out plot lines, and satisfy your readers with a powerful ending.

There are many benefits of episodic content, including being memorable, long-lasting, and shareable. It is also a relatively new content marketing strategy, meaning that you will be seen as a pioneer in the financial marketing world if you pick up on it early. The trend may be new, but it will stick around for a while because of its ability to tap into our human nature.