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Short-Form vs Long-Form Content: Which is Best for You and Why

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Short-form or long-form? An 800-word blog or a 1,500-word feature article? A 15-second TikTok or a 30-minute YouTube vlog?

There is no wrong answer when choosing between these content types. Each has a role to play in an individual’s or company’s content strategy. The content types may work differently and reel in different results or reactions, but their importance can’t be questioned. Yes, the response they generate and the benefits they offer are different, but they both can get the target results when they’re done and executed properly.

Both short-form and long-form are content rock stars. But mind you, neither won’t appeal to everyone all the time and get immediate results. Strategizing well and knowing which content type to leverage for which purpose and when could bring the desired impact.

In our previous posts, we defined short-form and long-form content and discussed how they benefit audiences and creators, what advantages they offer and what challenges are involved in their creation. This time, let’s put both content types side by side and examine their strengths and weaknesses to get a better idea of which is better suited to what you need.

Short-form vs long-form content: The showdown

Let’s recap: Short-form content refers to material that as the name suggests is brief, snappy and easy to digest. Many describe this type of content as snackable precisely because of this fact. Online content typically shared by the younger generation such as TikTok videos and IG reels fall into this category. Because they are short, they take less time and energy to produce and consume.

Meanwhile, long-form content is more comprehensive and detailed. Although it takes more time — and concentration perhaps — to consume compared to its short-form counterpart, it remains ever significant to our day-to-day lives as it is able to provide answers to big queries.

Besides length, the most significant difference between the two content types is purpose. Short-form content aims to provide information in bite-sized pieces. It also aims to entertain. Long-form content is meant to provide comprehensive and detailed information.

In the context of PR and marketing, short-form content is a good tool for building brand awareness. Why? Because of their length, short-form articles or videos are easier and faster to create so producing a volume of content to populate platforms for a longer period of time would be more manageable (and hopefully less stressful). In addition, this type of content can be easily shared on multiple platforms, and many of the more popular ones today prefer short content, especially short videos.

This doesn’t mean that long-form content doesn’t help with brand building. It does that as well. If the goal is to provide a deeper insight into a company or product, establish authority and build trust among audiences, then long-form content might be the better bet. If you’re focusing on boosting website traffic and engagement, for instance, long-form content can get you the numbers and can help your website generate a higher search rank.

Content creation is of course riddled with snags, and both short- and long-form content are not without their challenges. But they have their respective wins just the same. Short-form content, besides requiring fewer resources, is mobile-friendly. This means social media posts for your company or product can be accessed by your target audiences wherever they are at any given time. As for long-form content, it may take more time and energy to produce but once done, an article can be easily repurposed. This is expedient when you’re feeling stuck coming up with new content ideas or have fewer resources to create more new material.

These are the basic similarities and differences between the two content types. But take note: Choosing the content type to use should not rely on these information alone. There are other things to consider when strategizing your content. One of these is how long you’ve been in the business or the status of your brand.

Imagine this scenario: If you’re a startup, creating awareness about your company, product or service tops your priorities list. Long-form content may seem to be an ideal choice as it will enable you to provide a whole lot of details about your brand, your mission and vision, business identity and what you can offer your target market. But long-form content is resources-heavy: It might be too much of a hassle to produce for a new, small business just getting its bearings. Further, long-form content might intimidate your potential customers at this stage. In this case, nugget-size material might be a better way to introduce yourself to the market.

As always, your customers’ needs are a key consideration when planning and producing content. Let’s try grouping customers into two: those that are “just looking” and those that “really need something.” Think of the first kind of customers as window shoppers: They come to your site or platform not really to buy but to just browse. With the right hook, however, they might just give in, right?

Short-form content works best with this type of customer since all they need is to fill their curiosity about your business or brand. Additionally, you can use trendjacks or witty posts like those on TikTok to make your content interesting enough and convince them to follow you. Once they learn more about you and your brand, they just might be loyal customers.

The other type of customers comprises those with a real need and are therefore searching for something, say a particular product or service. They’ve stumbled upon your business on the internet and now are considering purchasing from you. What you need to do now is to answer all their questions, clear all doubts they might have and essentially convince them that you are the right choice. This is your long-form content’s moment to shine. These customers need to know what products or services you offer and which of these match their needs. Providing them with enough quality information to guide their decision-making will make every transaction with your customers a success.

Another key factor when strategizing content is the capacity of your business or brand. Do you have the resources to produce the content you need or plan to offer your target market? Creating content beyond one’s capacity could compromise the quality of the content. As always, quality over quantity.

So we go back to the question of which type of content is best to use. The answer depends on your needs and resources. You will find that short-form content won’t be all you need; the same way that long-form material is not the ultimate answer. A good mix would enable you to reach a variety of audiences and populate different platforms. Again, whatever rocks your boat.

We know content creation could be tough, but don’t let that stress you out. Enjoy the process! The more you learn and love creating content, the better you get at it and, at the same time, the better your content becomes. Happy creating!

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