With short form content emerging on nearly every social media platform, from TikTok to Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, it's clear that short form strategy is here to stay.
TikTok is expected to reach 1.8 billion users by the end of 2022, and projected to have continued growth in the next year.
Clearly, 2023 is shaping up to be the year of short form content.
That's why I've been diving deep on short form content strategy and how to implement it for your clients. Use this handy guide to jumpstart your short form content game:
- Long Form vs. Short Form Content
- Repurposed Content vs. New Content
- Popcorn Content vs. Threaded Content
Long Form vs. Short Form Content
When to use long form content vs. when to use short form content, and how to effectively incorporate short form content into your already existing content marketing strategy:
I have so many clients coming to me right now wanting a short form content strategy. And this makes sense – they want to be discoverable to the wide audiences that are on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.
Unfortunately, whenever there’s a lot of noise around a strategy that’s all the rage, clients tend to think they have enough information from webinars, blogs, and influencers to implement that strategy and will come to you with a plan already in place that is most-often missing a few key elements.
Let’s get into the pros and cons of short form strategy vs. long form strategy, and how to successfully execute a strategy for your clients.
Short Form-Only Can Hold You Back
One of the most important things for clients to remember when it comes to short form content is that big brands and big influencers have an early adopter advantage and a large audience advantage.
So while you might admire the tactics that they're using, these same tactics may not be appropriate for you and where you currently are. Not only might they not be appropriate, but they could possibly be holding you back if you are only implementing the short form tactics of these big players.
Here's an example. I did a content marketing strategy with an emphasis on short form content because I have a client with a very large business who is well-known amongst his peers, but he's just getting started online. This client looks up to people like Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, Gary Vaynerchuk, and other influencers that are in his particular vertical that already have large audiences.
Based on what he saw from these aspirational figures, he started his social media accounts doing ONLY short form content.
Now as I just mentioned, if you're just getting started online, you cannot use the same tactics as somebody who already has a large audience, and here's why.
When I did this audit, I dove deep into Grand Cardone’s strategy and found that he's posting EIGHT times per day across his social media channels.
A new client just getting started cannot keep up with that amount of content. Grant has been in the content creation game for a very long time, so the sheer volume of posts that he's making is something that a new client would have to work up to over time (unless you completely quit your business to become an influencer or a thought leader).
Not only that, but because Grant already has a large audience, he can post whatever he wants whenever he wants and he'll still have a decent engagement rate.
Long Form Content is NOT Dead
What I notice with new brands trying to grow their online following by jumping straight into the short form game is that they're not creating any depth with their followings.
While short form content is great, the consequence of doing ONLY short form is that you never create a deeper relationship with your audience.
And as we all know, deeper relationships are what lead to the sale. Remember, it all comes down to Know, Like, Trust. So just because people might know you because they see your short form content and maybe they like you, do they trust you?
In order to create trust with someone, it takes longer than 60 seconds. So if you’re using only a 60-second strategy, you can see why you would need eight or more videos a day to start to build that trust.
This is why I believe that long form content is not dead. In fact, it is still the backbone of all successful digital marketing strategies.
You should be using short form content to drive back to your long form content where you can create that depth of relationship and trust with your audience and convert them into loyal, long-term followers and customers.
Repurposed Content vs. New Content
For your short form strategy, should you be repurposing existing content or creating new content?
Short form content is a new player in the content marketing space, and social media professionals everywhere are looking for ways to incorporate it into their client strategies.
While short form content may employ new tactics, the most important thing to remember is that the pillars and core fundamentals of social media strategy and content marketing strategy never change.
Every time a new platform or tool is released, content marketing professionals everywhere get so excited to implement it for clients and try to find ways to hack the new algorithms. They change their entire strategy to accommodate and adjust to the new platform.
However, things eventually settle down and people return to the fundamentals. This is exactly what's going on in the short form content game right now.
Until recently, Gary Vaynerchuck's concept of repurposing content had revolutionized the content marketing game. This idea of taking one long video and chopping it down into various pieces of content to distribute across multiple social channels is still a very important strategy. But how well does it work with short form content?
Ryan Magin, founder of the successful TikTok agency 1 Million Views Co, recently told me that he charges his clients up to THREE TIMES as much to edit a short form video that has been repurposed from a long form piece of content. Why? Because it is THAT much more difficult. And why is it so difficult? Because it takes more time and energy in order to find the exact clip that you need with the right punch and hook from a long form piece of content.
It can feel like looking for a needle in a long form haystack, unless you have a very experienced client who’s making their content with short form also in mind.
Creating Short Form Content Newly
With the amount of time and effort required for repurposing long form videos into short form content pieces, it is often simpler and more effective to have your client record their short form content newly.
During the content creation process, have your client record the long form video, then hang up or turn off the recording, and immediately record 1-3 short form videos discussing the same topic.
By using this method, they’re still focused on the topic that they’re discussing, but they can take a moment to get into the 60-second mindset and record the content in short form.
Repurposed or New Content? You Need BOTH
So once again, the question at hand is, “Long form content repurposed or short form content created from scratch?”
The answer is that you need BOTH. You need to be making both repurposed content and brand new short form content.
Long form content is still the backbone of a successful digital marketing campaign, and you'll need to market your long form content to short form platforms.
Rather than try to find the needle in the haystack or train your client to be a better speaker, you'll want to have some short videos that point back to your long form content.
Now, if your client isn’t creating new content and you’re only stuck with old videos, podcasts, or interviews that they've done, then you’ll absolutely want to repurpose the content that you have. Do not go without shorts.
But my best-performing clients have some shorts that are created specifically for TikTok and Instagram Reels, and some shorts pulled from their long form content that point back to their long form campaigns and sales funnels.
Popcorn Content vs. Threaded Content
I'm continuing our short form content series with a current trend I’m seeing: popcorn content versus threaded content.
You’re probably wondering, what is popcorn content or threaded content? I’m going to answer that question for your right now.
This topic relates not only to your social media or short form strategy, but to your overall content marketing strategy.
Historically with content marketing, we've always advised our clients to pick a topic or theme for the week and publish at least one blog post and one YouTube video or podcast on that topic, and then spend the rest of the week marketing it on social media.
That has been a tried and true best practice in the content marketing game for as long as I can remember.
Now with short form content, we’re seeing daily content across the platforms – YouTube channels that post new videos every day, daily blog posts, email newsletters that go out daily, etc.
Right now, it's a volume game and a volume play. But what does that mean for you and your clients? How does this affect the topics you're posting about and your client’s overall content strategy?
One of the biggest challenges that I see when people are coming up with their content topics and giving them to their clients is that they're creating what I call “popcorn content.”
This means when I turn on my phone and start scrolling, I see a topic from you that is about the color red, then the color blue, then the color purple, then the color green, then the color orange.
So depending on which platform I’m on, there's a jumble of different topics, and I don't feel like we're having an actual conversation.
Now, there are some cases where this is appropriate and the account can get away with it, such as already established influencers and thought leaders. These are accounts that already have a large following and aren't trying to build an audience or develop a deeper relationship with people. In these instances, the trust is already established and they can post about different topics on each platform while still keeping their audience engaged.
For the rest of our clients who are smaller influencers or up-and-coming thought leaders and are trying to build their brand online, we need to be having more threaded conversations and creating what I call “threaded content”.
What is threaded content? It’s when you’re producing several short form content pieces in a row, but there is a thread running through the shorts, allowing your audience to delve deeper into a single topic with you.
I saw a great example of this from my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Amy Porterfield. She made 4-5 short, one-minute videos all about the same topic and posted them throughout the week.
When taking this threaded approach, you can then compile all of your shorts into a blog post, so you have one blog post on that topic with 4-5 shorts to post throughout the week pointing back to the blog post.
One of the biggest mistakes I believe emerging influencers or thought leaders are making is having too many popcorn conversations, which means you're moving away from your long-form, threaded content marketing strategy, and only doing a short form strategy.
Of course with any successful content strategy, you still need to put out inspirational, lifestyle content and funny, entertaining content, which you can do with shorts. But there does need to be threaded content implemented into your short form strategy as well, to invite your audience into the conversation, so when I open Instagram we’re talking about the color blue and when I open TikTok we’re still talking about the color blue. We might be talking about different shades of blue on each platform – turquoise, navy, baby blue – but there is now a dialogue going between you and your followers.
By using a threaded content approach, you’re bringing your audience into the conversation and opening up an opportunity for them to engage with you.
So, pick a theme for your client for the month or the week, then break that down into posts that can be long form and posts that can be short form, and thread your content across your platforms.
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