What do you do after you’ve finished watching a great TV show?
Go and find more content related to it, of course!
This is why so many TV and radio shows offer companion content, some digital content creators have already jumped on this bandwagon but many haven’t – and this could be a missed opportunity. I’ve got three ideas you can use to start creating companion content today.
If you'd like to listen, hit play on the podcast player below:
Before we get into those three ideas, you’re probably asking…
What is companion content?
Companion content is live content that you publish immediately after publishing your core content.
All the best TV shows are doing it – there’s the Talking Dead, The Apprentice: You’re Fired, Love Island: Aftersun and plenty of others.
These are live shows that go out immediately after an episode, where actors, fans, and celebrities all discuss what they’ve just seen. They’re usually chatty, informal, and fun.
Companion content is hardly a new phenomenon, though. For example, in the UK, go back to 2001 and you’ll find yourself in the heyday of Big Brother’s Little Brother. Go back another 10 years from that to the start of phone-in shows on BBC’s Radio 5 Live, and you’ll realize we’ve been surrounded by companion content for decades already.
But many digital content creators have yet to really catch on to this concept.
As a result, I think, they’re missing out on some great opportunities for content repurposing.
How can you create companion content?
Nobody is expecting you to offer up a fully-produced, all-singing, all-dancing chat show after you’ve released your latest podcast, blog or vlog.
But here are three simple ways you can make use of live content after publishing your core content:
1. Live streaming after publishing
Not everybody who consumes your content is waiting on tenterhooks for it to be uploaded. But there will be some people who are excited to catch up with your content as soon as they can. Streaming a live video after you’ve launched your latest episode will give those core followers a closer insight into what you’re discussing and provide more value to those initial viewers.
You can explain more about the topic, take questions, and include some extra content that adds value and detail. The interactive nature of live streaming will work wonders for building a relationship with your audience.
If you don’t think this will work for you, I’d definitely advise taking a look at the stats for your content. When do most people watch or listen? Would it be wiser to run a live stream one day after publishing? How about one week?
Ultimately, it will be different for everyone. Some content creators have audiences that would love to have a Q&A or deep dive immediately after they’ve watched the episode. Others may have more of a slow, steady drip-feed of viewers for whom a live video much later after publishing would work better.
Have a look at the audience data for your content and work out when (or if) a live stream would work for you. And the great thing is, viewers don’t expect the same level of production quality from a live stream, so you can test it out in a way that is low risk and low cost.
Publicize your live stream on your show. A few shout outs like “if you want to talk about this more, with me live, then don’t miss my weekly <insert fun name for your live show> at day & time” will really help to grow your live stream audience and delight your hardcore listeners that there’s more where this came from!
2. Exclusive content for members or patrons
If you do have an audience who are close to you already, or if you run your business as a membership, you might want to consider using companion content as an exclusive bonus for members or subscribers.
Some content creators use platforms such as Patreon to create a steady income stream whilst simultaneously rewarding dedicated fans with exclusive content.
There are lots of ways to do this – some creators publish extended episodes on their Patreon accounts, others do live Q&As, and there are countless ways you can use companion content as a bonus for your core fanbase.
Equally, if you run a membership, you are already operating in a way that provides members with exclusive content. Fitting in a live stream in your private Facebook group or a Q&A in a Slack channel can be an easy way to introduce companion content within the model you’re already using.
There are lots of positives with this model, but it does require you to be a little further ahead in your plans than the other options. If you are just starting out, this may be one to keep on the back burner, as you may find it difficult to get many people willing to pay to be patrons or members so early on.
3. Twitter chats
Ever wanted your own hashtag? Now’s the time!
You can schedule a regular Twitter chat to serve as companion content for your episodes. This is probably the easiest way of creating live companion content to go alongside your core offering.
For an hour a week, you can speak directly to your audience and answer their questions, clarify discussion points, and talk about your content in a relaxed atmosphere. Just keep it under 280 characters!
If you are interested in running a Twitter chat, I’d recommend you mention it regularly in your core content, on your website, and social media. Make it as easy as possible for people to find out about it.
For example, in every episode, tell your audience that each Tuesday at 8pm, you’ll be running a Twitter chat to discuss the episode. People can participate by mentioning you and using a hashtag of your choosing. Post reminders on social media in the days leading up to it. Do everything you can to make people aware.
If you want to know more about Twitter chats (and even how you can repurpose them into more content – we’re really going down the rabbit hole now!), there is only one person you need to speak to: Madalyn Sklar.
Oh, hold on. I already spoke to her for you! She was on episode 59 of the Content 10x podcast. Madalyn’s advice is like gold dust… in a podcast.
Why is companion content so good?
Content marketing works because it solves people’s problems. However you produce your content, it’s probably informing or entertaining your audience. Good content creators keep people coming back for more and, once they’re coming back, it’s important to make them feel valued and connected.
That’s where companion content comes into its own.
Your core content – your podcast, vlog, keynote, whatever! – Does the job of informing or entertaining. Your companion content is the after party. The mood is more laid back, your audience get a more informal but authentic experience of you and what you’re about, and it builds a sense of community.
Companion content also allows you to go into more detail. If you know what you’re talking about, it’s almost certain that you’ve had to cut some details from your core content. Companion content gives you the chance to go further into the topic you’re discussing and share some of those ideas you would have ideally included but had to cut out due to time constraints.
Want to know more ways to repurpose your content?
Then you’re in the right place. I’ve written the book on it!
No, seriously, I have. You can get the Content 10x book! It’s bursting with great, actionable ideas and concepts you can use to make your content work harder for you.
Take a look (or rather a listen) through our podcast archive for lots of bitesize episodes on content repurposing.
You might be surprised by the ways you can multiply your content. Taking inspiration from TV shows is just the start!