Using Binge Worthy Content

Josie Ruff

This last week, Carmen Hill spoke to the class about content strategy. She reminded us that just like our journalism peers we need to be asking the five “W’s” (who, what, where, why and when) when we are producing content. Her advice on the “when?” question was to think less like a publicist and more like a TV producer; specifically, successful producer Shonda Rhimes who is behind some of today’s most popular “binge worthy” shows. Binging has become a common way that people take in their media. Companies should be actively fighting for these hours of time audiences are spending with digital content. Some type of video or podcast series where new episodes premiere on a constant schedule is a great way to keep customers returning to a brand’s owned media. 

Photo by The Teens Network Daytime Show Studios from Pexels

That being said, this binge worthy content does not need to be the next “Grey’s Anatomy” or any other of Shonda’s hit shows with millions of fans who watch religiously. However, the series should be catered to the target audience of the brand with the hopes of growing a dedicated fan base who will consume the content. Creators need to carefully think about what will appeal to their brand’s niche audience. The recurring episodes need to look cohesive with the same theme and format. For everyone who has gone on an eight hour streaming binge, the best part is that it does not feel like it has been that much time because the episodes are so similar they blend together in our minds.

Of course the binge worthy content cannot be the only content the brand is producing otherwise it would turn into just an entertainment brand. According to Hill, a brand needs two other types of content besides binge worthy: “specials” and “regular programming.” Specials refer to large pieces of content posted at certain times of year. Going back to the TV producer analogy, this would be the Christmas specials or network movies. These pieces of content take a lot of work and time and a brand wants them to stand out to its audience. Regular programming is blog and social media posts; content that will draw people to the brand’s website to find the binge worthy and special content. 

Once a brand understands the strategy of having these three types of content, it needs to come up with a content calendar and then get to creating. The binge worthy content needs to come out regularly enough that viewers will forget about the next installment before it comes out. Monthly is good, biweekly or even weekly is better. Customers cannot binge content if there is not a lot of it so brands need to get started on making these series and getting them out to the public. 

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Feature image is Photo by from Pexels.

This Article Has 9 Comments
  1. Ofuma Eze-Echesi says:

    I agree with the fact that brands need to consistently produce different types of content to not only entertain their target audience but to draw other audiences to build awareness and loyalty. I think appealing to a target audience is important but it may be more sustainable in terms of brand and financial growth to create different types of content that can appeal to multiple audiences rather than just one/a few.

  2. Jamie Dunn says:

    I agree with this idea of binging and how media has used this method as a way to engage audience members. Binging is one of the only ways I have watched TV shows and it has become one of the most common ways of watching TV so it makes sense that content would want to be featured on these forms of media because people are constantly invested and watching TV for hours on end. I have fallen to this before, when I watch TV and before I know it, it’s eight hours later and I feel like I have watched one giant episode because all the episodes have blended together.

  3. Brandon Yee says:

    Hi Josie, this was a very engaging post! As someone who is an active follower of niche programming I can totally agree with the types of media that content creators must publish in order to stay relevant. As I reflect on my own viewing habits, I can see several of the YouTube channels that I subscribe to following this model that you have outlined. I am definitely guilty of bingeing content and I get frustrated when channels fail to live up to their content calendar. This can be a huge turnoff as a viewer and can cause a loss in following and viewership.

  4. Mary Edman says:

    I agree that brands need to work to cater their content to their current fans but I also don’t think that is a sustainable business model for any brand. Successful companies are those that are best at bringing in new customers every year so they can continue to grow their name, impact and revenue. Creating content to their current fans is important because they are the current ones invested in the brand but it is also important to find content that can link those current customers with new customers.
    Brands need to be continually innovative and create continuous new content to find success in the business

  5. Olivia Gabriel says:

    Nice post Josie! I definitely have found myself lost in the never ending hole of binge watching. Next thing I know, it has been 6 hours. I think content creators can benefit from creating binge worthy material, but I also agree that a variety of content needs to be released to keep users interested. I know after I binge watch something, I can get tired of it and I don’t go back to it for a while. I usually look to different media to consume or something different. A variety of content can keep their current audience engaged while also drawing in new audience members who may be drawn to one type of content over the other.

  6. Katie Zurbrick says:

    The great thing about making binge-worthy content is that while a viewer is binging your hit series, you’re not having to compete with other content creators for their time or attention. This is a pretty awesome, hard-to-achieve feat nowadays.
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you recognized that, while binge-worthy content is GR8, you have to be producing a variety of content to really have sustained engagement. Even the most binge-worthy show won’t keep viewers from getting distracted with a second screen (usually a mobile phone or laptop) while they’re binging your series. How content creators can really double-down on their success is by creating not only content that viewers can (and want to) binge, but also ensuring they’re able to engage with them on that second screen — get them to interact with your social posts or website or fan pages while binging.

  7. Hannah Miller says:

    Great post Josie! I have definitely lost track of time while binge watching a great show. I do believe that creating binge worthy content is what creators should strive for, however it is also important to not get lost in that and to continue creating other content to keep viewers interested. After binging a show, I have found that at some point I need a break. Having multiple platforms and a variety of content can help keep an audience intrigued.

  8. Brandon Hargrave says:

    I think that bing watching watching has a lot of pros. You have enough content to really captivate someone so that they get hooked on the show. Brands can hopefully utilize that binge to draw you into some other content that they have. One of the major cons that I see with this would be that after the binge you can lose someone. I loved Ozark season 1 however by the time the second season came out I had lost that buzz and love I had for the show. In that year I don’t remember seeing anything related to show or promotion for the next season. When the second season dropped in was just on the home page and that was the first I had seen on it.

  9. Brea Bechelli says:

    Hi Josie! really engaging post! I think binge-worthy content is a great was to get viewers and keep them interested. I think we are all guilty of binging various tv shows and youtube accounts or even Instagram accounts. I think when some user of brand stands out to use and grabs our attention, we are more likely to investigate more and keep looking through the content. I also liked your view on the different kinds of content brands can post. Like having specialized posts to stand out even more over their regularly scheduled content.

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