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The concept of serialization is being applied to marketing quite rapidly. But what exactly is serialized content?
The basic principle behind serialization is that you take one concept or story and turn it into many more smaller/bigger ideas. The idea is to develop a series based on that one concept. For example, the first Indiana Jones movie based on the adventures of Dr. Indiana Jones was released in 1981 and became a global hit. The movie, titled Raiders of the Lost Ark made hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of its immense success, the movie directors and the production team decided to create a series of movies based on the same character but with a new twist to the story for every new sequel.
The same concept of serialization has been adopted by many authors such as The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games and numerous others. The first Harry Potter book titled The Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997 and was also made into a movie. It was a billion-dollar hit. The author J.K. Rowling wrote six more books in the Harry Potter series, and each book was made into a movie.
Another example of serialized content is soap operas. Daytime soap operas have a huge following and shows like The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives and the Young and the Restless have been entertaining fans for decades. Most soap operas follow the typical formula to keep their audience engaged: they keep the content fast-paced and exciting. There is usually at the end of the episode to motivate the viewer to tune in again the next day. That is the concept of content series. To provide engaging, interested, relevant and accurate content to your viewer with the intention of keeping them engaged for a certain period.
Serialization is not a new concept at all. Shakespeare utilized serialization in all his 39 plays. Today, many authors use serialized content to write books, which follow similar themes in a sequence, each one with its exciting story and finish. The majority of travel bloggers also put out serialized videos that start with their travels in one city, where they explain the cost of living, the food, culture, etc. followed by travels in different parts of the world. This keeps the readers interested, and they keep coming for more.
There is no longer any question that serialized content can help attract more readers, increase visibility and increase brand awareness. For example, the Kardashian family has used their name for serialized content marketing. Today the family markets perfumes, designer clothes, jewelry, and shoes under their brand name Kardashian. All of these products are interconnected with, and the main theme is ‘beauty.’
It is thus evident that serialization has always been a part of marketing – whether you’re marketing a product, a TV show or a book. Marketers have seen a significant impact on sales and revenue when they use content series, and that is why they continue to use serial content to boost their products, services, and business. Serialization has the power to create anticipation and increases the desire for people to know more.
Why Serialize Content?
A key reason why serialized content is being used even more today is because of improved technology and the way we communicate. The Internet has made it possible to reach out to millions of people all over the globe within seconds. Serialized content works because it promotes anticipation and leaves your target audience waiting for the next episode, the next book or the next product line. Plus serialized content can be interlinked so that one can go back to capture the entire story.
For the marketer, serialized content means that they need to be more creative. You need to think ahead of time what the story will be and what the ending will be like. Serialization allows the use of many formats like social media, videos, print, infographics and even eBooks.
Benefits of Serialized Content
There are several benefits of serialized content including:
Increased Productivity: There is no question that with the right serialized content one can boost sales and enhance profits.
Improved knowledge: Serialization also improves knowledge among the developer and the user as everything is streamlined. Information is disseminated serially without causing an overload.
Brand enhancement: Like the Kardashians, Wal-Mart and the movie industry have shown, serialization helps boost brand name and keeps your brand in the limelight and your target audiences’ mind.
Choosing Which Content to Serialize
To win readers with serialized content means coming up with a great idea and then breaking it up into many small ideas. The content may be for a book, a TV series, movie, YouTube video or even a blog. But the most important thing is to first create an idea and break it up into many smaller ideas and then make a story out of each of these ideas. The next most important thing is not to reveal all the details in the first story but to have an ending with a surprise so that the user will come back for more.
It is also important to pick a topic that will be of interest to your audience, and one that fun and exciting and has the potential to be made into a series. Finally, it is always a good idea to pick a topic or story that serves a purpose and meets a need for your target segment.
One can start a content series via blogs, YouTube videos, and eBooks but in most cases, it is recommended that the duration of serialization should be short. No one wants to wait for months before the next topic is released. Deliver content at weekly intervals and provide links so that the reader can navigate and search for previous posts. This may not apply to books as authors do need time to write an entirely new book, but if you are running a blog or a column or you have a series of product-related posts targeted towards your audience, you should make it a point to provide content frequently and not have too much gap between one part and the next.
Finally be consistent in your story, deliver quality and maintain a rhythm. Random posts and rambling will turn off your audience. When done well, serialized content is a great way to share information, engage readers and promote a brand.
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