Now Is the Best Time to Invest in Creating Long-Form Content—Here's Why

How to use videos and podcasts to build brand affinity with your audience

Marketers know that building genuine relationships with their audiences continues to be a challenge—this was true even before the pandemic. That’s why figuring out ways to break through the noise is what will help the good brands become great brands in the long term.

At Wistia, there has been a 120% increase in the amount of video content created and consumed on the platform since the pandemic began. This data shows two things: companies are investing more in long-form video content, and people are willing to spend more time with brands that create this type of content.

If you’re not investing in long-form content as a way to connect with your audience, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity: building brand affinity.

Rather than forcing viewers to interact with the same ad repeatedly, businesses invest in the creation and distribution of long-form, binge-worthy content, like video series or podcasts. By nature, this content encourages viewers to spend more time with your brand, giving you the opportunity to make more personal connections with them.

In many ways, the Covid economy has made creating this type of content more of a focus for businesses. Here’s why you should and how you can start investing in this type of content today.

Being remote has leveled the playing field

How can brands produce consistently good content with their teams working from home? The good news is that despite more competition than ever before, the bar is also lower for making great content. Everyone is at home with webcams, crappy lighting, and a bedroom backdrop. But don’t let these limitations stop you. Yes, it may be harder to create engaging content from home, but it can be done, and people are far more forgiving on the execution.

At Wistia, we recognize the challenges companies and creators were facing when everything suddenly shifted to working from home, so we leaned into this opportunity and launched (Out of) Office Hours, a weekly live-streamed video series about remote production.

Though the series was low-budget from a production perspective—shot in our head of production’s living room— it was high-quality in terms of the value the audience received. Around 100 people watched live each week and were incredibly engaged.

Let the creative members on your team run with the ideas they’re passionate about, especially during quarantine. Don’t let good ideas die in a spreadsheet—provide the freedom to take some risks, embrace what sticks and be ready to pivot on what doesn’t.

Embrace podcasts as the new blog

Long-form content isn’t limited to blogs or video. Podcasts have a much lower barrier to entry than a video series and are actually easier to execute from home.

Podcasts also are very cost-effective compared to other more traditional marketing channels. Take Privy, an ecommerce marketing platform, for example. CMO Dave Gerhardt runs a small team with limited budget and bandwidth, but he leans on freelance talent and affordable tools to create a podcast that costs him around $50 per episode to produce. That’s pennies compared to third-party ad placements, sponsored content and other tried-but-true media plays.

The key to tapping into this success is to find a repeatable, scalable process that works for your entire team. For a podcast, make sure everyone has the same equipment and a similar setup. Pick a format and length that you know you can execute on and that is sustainable—and stick to it. Create an outline and show notes for each episode to keep conversations on track. And create templates and processes for promoting episodes when they go live. These are relatively easy things to execute on with a little planning, and they can go a long way in support of building brand affinity for your business in the long term.

Brand affinity as a business strategy

Building brand affinity is key for businesses that want to create brands that stand the test of time—brands that people talk about, recommend to their friends and spend time with. And no matter the medium, long-form, binge-worthy content is here to stay. Video series, documentaries, talk shows, podcasts—we’re going to see much more of this type of content as businesses aim to make lasting emotional connections with their audiences.

What’s stopping you from launching a new video series or podcast for your brand? Buy that ring light or microphone, press record and get started. Your brand has nothing to lose and everything to gain from investing in creating long-form content.

Chris Savage is the cofounder and CEO of Wistia, a web-based software solution designed to help marketers use brand affinity marketing to grow their businesses. As CEO, he focuses on developing innovative and creative strategies to help guide the company.