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Short-Form Content: Why We Can’t Get Enough of It and Why We Should Make More

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Do you ever find yourself opening your TikTok app thinking you’d just check out a few videos to appease your boredom but ending up scrolling for an hour or more? You’ve completely lost count of how many TikTok videos you’ve laughed at and double-tapped.

The truth is, it’s really easy to get hooked on short content such as TikTok, Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts. They are humorous, creative and relatable. Credit goes to creators for knowing how to catch our attention, keep us hooked on their content and crave for more, albeit they’re only a few minutes short.

Such videos fall under what people call short-form content, or the type of online content that audiences can easily and quickly consume. Videos are just one example of short-form content. This type of content can also be short blogs, social media posts, short emails and infographics. And here’s the good news: If you want to create such content for yourself, your business or a client, you definitely can!

In this first part of our short-form vs long-form content series, let’s take a look at what short-form content is, why it works for audiences and creators, and its pros and cons.

Short-form content: What it is, why make it and what to watch out for
Short-form content is content that can be read, watched or listened to within a short period of time. Written short-form content usually has fewer than 1,200 words[1]. In video or audio format, short-form content will typically only be a few minutes — even seconds — and will not reach 10 minutes.

The main goal of short-form content is to get a message across quickly and simply but effectively. This type of content gained traction very rapidly in recent years, especially among the younger generation who wants bite-sized yet witty material that they can also easily share with friends and family.

What else makes short-form content so popular?

For audiences: Easier to consume
Because of the space or time limitations, short-form content is pretty straightforward. As such, it can deliver its intended message minus the fuss and frills. It caters to an audience that is on the go and has very little time for lengthy articles or videos.

Further, because it doesn’t require the audience to commit their time and focus to something that may be time-consuming, the material seems more inviting and less intimidating.

For creators: Faster to put together
A social media post can be done in less than a day or even just an hour or two. A TikTok video can just be your phone placed in front of you recording what you do. You can flex the highlights of your recent trip in a 3-minute video!

In other words, creators won’t break a sweat in creating short-form content, giving them more time and energy to create more. If you’re a content creator and your strategy requires swift content creation, short-form content is the way to go.

For both audience and creator: Encourages engagement
Short-form content can capture or summarize a whole idea, product, service or trend in just a few words or minutes but still leaves enough mystery to pique the curiosity of its audiences.

If your content is well-made, it can elicit reactions or questions from the audiences, which gives the creator a chance to engage with them. The content then has more visibility as long as it creates engagement.[2]

Why should creators, professional or aspiring, consider making more short-form content?

  • Easier brand building or product or service awareness: If you’re selling a new product, offering a new service or introducing your business, short-form content can help you attract new visitors to your website or page while keeping your existing audiences engaged. Using short-form content, you can discuss the highlights of your business, products or services and provide quick and straight-to-the-point answers to your customer’s questions. By summarizing the best features of your products or service in fewer than a thousand words or less than 10 minutes, you can prevent boring or intimidating your audiences with too much information.[3]
  • Lower content creation cost: Because it’s short and straightforward, you don’t need to burn a hole through your pocket making short-form content. In fact, you can repurpose old content and give it a different angle to make it seem brand new! And since short-form content takes less time, effort and resources to make, this gives you a lot more time and energy to produce more or focus on other marketing efforts such as distribution and promotion.
  • Trendjack-ready: Short-form content is much more effective when attempting a trendjack. Because you don’t need to explain something extensively — which in the case of trendjacking might strip away the humor completely — you can get your intended message across effectively even when you’re just being subtle about the topic. And since trends stay relevant for only a short period of time, acting immediately is necessary.

Warning, though: Despite all its uses and benefits, short-form content presents some challenges as well.

  • Open to interpretation: Because it’s short and straightforward, it often lacks context, which opens it to various interpretations. This is often the reason why short-form content can easily be misunderstood, taken into different and absurd context, and even bring harm to a person or an entity.

Remember the Amber Heard x Johnny Depp trial? This became a hot topic and took over TikTok for the whole duration of the case. Since TikTok videos have a maximum length of 10 minutes, videos about the trial only covered bits and pieces. Additionally, the case became a source of entertainment for TikTok users as some creators combined short clips and used funny sounds and effects, which stripped away the seriousness and complexity of the matter.

So regardless of whether you were on team Johnny or team Amber, if TikTok has been your only source of information about the case and you never tried to research articles about it or followed the entire case, chances are there’s still a lot you don’t know. In such instances, the limited context and content could lead to major misunderstandings.

In some cases, a short-form content that may seem funny and harmless to one may come off offensive and insensitive to other people.

  • Can limit creativity or uniqueness: Since the length of the material dictates a lot of what goes into it, you could end up compromising the impact or uniqueness of your content. Sometimes, 10 minutes is not enough to showcase one’s creative genius.
  • Increasingly competitive space: Short-form content is very popular. This means you are not the only one creating this type of content. So besides overcoming the limitations presented by the length considerations, you have to make sure your content is more eye-catching and has something different or special to offer to make it stand out among the competition[4].

Like all things, short-form content has its advantages and disadvantages, but the fact remains: It will be a great help in your content creation strategy. With more platforms leveraging its popularity, it’s likely that short-form content will be here for a long time. Now is the best time to insert short-form content ideas in your content strategy.

Just be careful and don’t risk making content or jokes that could possibly harm or offend. When done the right way, at the right time and with the right purpose, your short-form content could be the one ingredient missing in your marketing and business success.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series as we dive further into the types of content and how to leverage them for your content creation goals.


[1] https://www.semrush.com/blog/short-form-vs-long-form/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/09/06/five-insights-into-the-popularity-of-short-form-video-content/?sh=b406f9e79e52

[3] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/short-form-vs-long-content-why-you-need-both-simon-kingsnorth/

[4] https://www.tenspeed.io/blog/short-form-vs-long-form-content

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