Short-Form Content Ideas: How to Create Engaging Content in a Short Time Span

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If you’ve ever calculated your ROI for short-form video content versus longer videos, you’ve likely seen that the shorter pieces of content do better, but not always. It can seem counterintuitive. After all, short content is limited in information, and you might think your audience wants more detail. In reality, what most modern audiences want can be something short, simple, and to the point, which is why short-form content can be a winner compared to longer content. But to make that work, we need some short-form content ideas and consider what’s best for each situation.

A lot of which option is better is situational too. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content length for videos or written pieces of content.

The following are six key things to know about short-form content and how it fits into a larger marketing strategy.

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1. Long vs. Short-Form Content Ideas

In general, you have a choice between creating long and short-form content. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but there are certain situations that call for one over the other.

When we’re talking about written content, long-form is usually 2,000 words or more, while short-form content is anything that’s 1,000 words or less. Emails, social posts, and some blog posts are short-form. Long-form written content can include e-Books, guides, and whitepapers.

For videos, Google and other platforms define short-form videos as under 10 minutes long and long-form videos as longer.

You’ll also see references to micro-videos, which are around 30 seconds long, so they’re ultra-short-form.

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2. Consider Your Audience for short-form content ideas

When you weigh whether you should use short-form or long-form content, whether that’s videos or written content, your audience should be your first consideration.

With regard to videos on social media, videos tend to need to be shorter. People are scrolling, and you have just a few seconds to get their attention. If you’re going to put your videos on YouTube, they might be longer because audiences come there exclusively for video content, so they might be willing to stay engaged for longer.

For copy, long-form could be best if you’re marketing expensive, high-end products and services because your audience may be more discerning and spend more time in the research phase. Business-to-business sales audiences can require longer copies because their purchasing cycle is complex.

Long-form content can also be good if you’re catering to an audience that’s in the early stages of your marketing cycle. The audience may not have much, if any, awareness of your products or services.

By contrast, if your audience is already familiar with your business and has a sense of trust in you, then short-form content may be better. If your audience is going to be buying less expensive or frequently used products, then again, consider short form.

You may be at a place where you really aren’t sure what your audience prefers in terms of the length of your videos. If this sounds like you, then test some different options out. See what’s performing well and what isn’t. Where are you getting the most engagement currently, and how can you build on this?

You might find that for your audience, a good mix is what’s appropriate.

3. Type of Video

When you’re creating video content, the type it is will weigh heavily in how long or short you make it.

If you have a tutorial or a how-to video, it’s going to be as long as it needs to convey all the key steps in the process.

Along with tutorials, documentaries and event videos might be longer. Videos that work better in short form might include product videos, customer testimonials, and culture videos.

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4. Blog Posts

In the discussion of long- versus short-form content, blog posts always come up. A lot of marketers question how long a blog post “should” be. There’s no right answer to this.

Yoast says that a blog post should be at least 300 words. Otherwise, it could be viewed as thin content.

If you use a tool like Semrush, which provides SEO content templates, they’ll give you an ideal length based on the keywords you’re targeting. These recommendations are often around 1500 words or more.

Does this mean you need more than 1500 words to rank or convey your message to your audience? No.

Short-form content has its place in your strategy. The upsides of short-form written content include that it’s easy to get across a single point, and it’s less resource-intensive to produce. Short-form content can also be more mobile-friendly, and it’s easy for your audience to read.

The cons of short-form written content include the fact that it’s tough to cover a topic in-depth, and it’s not often evergreen, so interest and performance can go down over time.

The benefits of long-form written content include that it often ranks better on search engines, and if you’re covering a topic in-depth, it’s going to help you rank for a higher number of keywords. Long-form content can get more backlinks than short-form, and in a report from Semrush, pages that were 3,000 words in length or more got 3.5 times more links than those between 901 and 1200 words.

The conversion rate for long-form content can be higher than for short-form content because the reader may be giving it more attention, and you can position yourself as an authority in your industry with your longer content.

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5. Consider Intent

Something that you can consider with videos and written content when you’re thinking about length is intent. What is the intent of your content?

If the intent is to educate or teach your audience, you’ll probably need long-form content. If you want to update your audience on the news or entertain them, shorter can be more appropriate.

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6. What Works for One Business May Not Work for You

Ultimately, there will never be a right answer as to how long your video or written content should be. The best thing to do is keep it mixed up and measure your efforts along the way so you can refine your strategy.

Content creation is always an ongoing optimization process, so you’re constantly working to improve your performance.

If you create a video or piece of content and it doesn’t perform well, try to figure out why so you can make changes going forward, rather than thinking you have to stick to any hard and fast rules.

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