Jordan Ogren

March 23, 2022

I almost missed the boat on this trend. Did you?

I’m late on almost everything. One of those is miniseries.

While they aren’t new (e.g., Band of Brothers in 2001), they are taking over again. 

In the last few years, Netflix has adopted the strategy full-blown. They’re pumping them out like a catholic family pumps out babies.

Have you ever watched one? They are usually 5-10 episodes long and cover one topic.

Some more recent examples are:
  1. The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story 
  2. Chernobyl (my personal favorite)
  3. When They See Us (such a sad story…)

While watching When They See Us, which details the false conviction of five black teens for raping a woman in Central Park, a thought came to mind:

Why do marketing teams not adopt this strategy?

Rather than hosting a lame interview-style podcast, they could cover a specific topic in 4-10 episodes. Of course, they could still interview people, but it would fit within the overarching storyline of the miniseries.

Before sharing notional examples of how this would work, let me cover why this works. What makes miniseries so successful?

Why would show (movie) writers pick a miniseries instead of shooting a film? A film is shorter and possibly less work than shooting six episodes (maybe not). They must see an opportunity you and I are missing.

That opportunity is to tell bite-sized stories residing within a larger story. Rather than one large story (a movie), they can break up significant events (i.e., the Chernobyl accident) and make it a more engaging process.

For what reason? 
  • To keep you more engaged through the series
  • To cover more details of the story and educate you more
  • To boost their total number of views

If a movie gets 1,000,000 views, imagine what a damn good miniseries could do (500,000 views multiply by eight episodes = 4,000,000 views).

I know it’s not always about reach. But that is crucial in getting your messaging (POV) to more people.

The truth is, resonance is more important than reach, IMO. And I would argue that miniseries win over movies on that front, too (except maybe movie series such as Harry Potter). Why is this?

When you keep coming back to watch another episode and get deeper entwined into the story, your engagement grows, rather than when you only get one or two watches in.

Now let’s get to the part you care about: Examples. I will use podcasting as the main driver, but you could do this via video or written word.

Example 1: Data security/protection company

Old way: Interview security experts and riff on the same topics repeatedly.

New way: Pick a significant event in the data security world (maybe a recent large data breach) and make a miniseries diving deep into the situation.

Interview people who were there and helped fix the situation. Then, pull out lessons your audience could apply while telling an engaging story about the situation.

Example 2: SEO agency

Old way: Interview SEO experts and ask for their top tips and tricks.

New way: Detail stories of startups or well-established businesses that leveraged SEO to generate killer revenue. 

Interview team members whether currently there or not and pull out timeless lessons and insights. Tell the full story of why they used SEO and how it turned out.

Example 3: Tax management (financial) firm

Old way: Interview tax experts that share how they help their clients save money and avoid taxes.

New way: Share horrific tax frauds and the lessons that could be learned (e.g., Enron)

You could interview people who were either a part of it or remember it and then draw out critical lessons from their mistakes. Make it exciting and engaging as you retell the story while making it educational for the listener.

Those are only three examples of how you could take the miniseries strategy and run with it. Doing so will make your content more engaging and memorable.

Isn’t that the objective with content? Engage the listener while giving them insights, information, and emotions that stick. 

That’s engineering resonance into your content.

And that’s what makes content stand out in 2022 and beyond.

Producing content is no longer enough.
You need to produce content people binge (and remember).

How will you do that?

Marketeer Insights ⚔️
  1. The old way of doing content is to create one-off pieces (not fit within a larger story arc)
  2. The future of content is miniseries that tell stories over a period of 4-10 episodes
  3. Miniseries are an excellent content format for maximizing engagement and resonance

🧠 + ❤️ // JO