Mastering short-form video: Comprehensive guide for success

22 September 2023
11 minutes

In short

Looking to master the art of short-form video? Want to get your brand exposure on platforms like TikTok? You’re in the right place. This is a medium that is escalating in popularity at an increasingly rapid pace. In fact, 91% of marketers plan to use short-form video in 2023. Whether you’re a content creator, marketer, or business owner, short-form video is a dynamic medium that can transform your online presence and drive engagement.

The world of short-form video is a fascinating one, filled with creativity, brevity and the potential to captivate audiences within seconds. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts have redefined how we communicate, share stories and market products or services.

In this guide, we’ll explore the nuances of short-form video, uncover its many benefits, dive into a variety of effective content types, discover the best platforms for distribution and unravel the best practices to create compelling videos that leave a lasting impact.

So, whether you’re a brand looking to connect with your audience, an influencer seeking to expand your reach, or a content creator aiming to craft captivating narratives, join us on this journey to master the art of short-form video.

Infographic how many marketers will use short-form video in 2023

What is a short-form video?

Let’s start with the fundamentals:

Short-form video refers to bite-sized video content characterised by its brevity, typically ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. Its hallmark is the ability to convey information, entertainment, or a message concisely and effectively.

Short-form videos are designed to capture the viewer’s attention swiftly in an easily consumable format. TikTok videos, which are often limited to 15 to 60 seconds, epitomise the essence of short-form video.

Now that we’ve defined short-form video, let’s delve deeper into why it’s become a game-changer in the world of digital marketing.

Image of a man creating short-form video content with a phone on a tripod

What are the benefits of short-form video content?

Short-form video offers a multitude of advantages that make it a compelling choice for content creators and marketers. Let’s explore these benefits in greater detail:

Increased engagement

Short-form videos excel at grabbing the viewer’s attention within seconds. Their concise nature encourages people to watch the entire video, resulting in higher engagement rates. This engagement can translate into increased brand awareness and better audience retention.

Pro tip: Start your short-form videos with an attention-grabbing hook or question to pique viewers’ curiosity instantly.

Easier consumption of content

As we all know, today’s consumers prefer bite-sized content that provides quick bursts of information or entertainment. Short-form videos are designed for easy consumption, making them a preferred choice for on-the-go audiences or anyone using a mobile device. Users can quickly grasp the content’s essence without investing a significant amount of time.

Pro tip: Focus on delivering one key message or idea in each short-form video to ensure clarity and memorability.

Higher SEO value

Search engines value video content and short-form clips can contribute to improved search engine optimisation (SEO). Videos often rank higher in search results, attracting organic traffic to your website or social media profiles. Optimising your video titles, descriptions and tags can further enhance your SEO efforts.

Better ROI

Short-form videos are cost-effective to produce compared to long-form videos. They require less time, resources and production effort, leading to a better return on investment (ROI) for your content marketing efforts.

Pro tip: Create a library of short-form video templates and repurpose them with updated content to maximise efficiency and ROI.

Better quality of content

Creating short-form videos encourages marketers to focus on high-quality, impactful content. The succinctness inspires creativity and storytelling, challenging creators to convey their message effectively in a short time. This should result in more engaging content.

Pro tip: Experiment with different storytelling techniques, such as humour, emotion, or suspense, to create memorable short-form videos.

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that short-form video is a powerful tool for upping your content marketing and brand promotion game. Now, let’s explore the various types of short-form videos you can create to achieve your goals.

What are the main types of short-form video content?

Short-form video is a versatile format that can be adapted to various purposes and niches. Here are some popular types of short-form video content:

Product demos

Short videos showcasing the features, benefits and usage of a product. They help potential customers understand how the product works and why they need it.

Pro tip: When targeting customers at the awareness or decision-making stages of the buyer journey it is a good idea to highlight your product’s unique selling points and demonstrate how it solves a specific problem for the audience.

Product tutorials and how-tos

Instructional videos use step-by-step instructions and other advice to guide viewers through a specific task or process. They provide valuable information and solve problems for the audience. These assets are also really effective tools for the decision-making and awareness stages of the buyer journey.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

FAQs can be presented as short videos to address commonly asked queries or broach barriers to sale relating to a product, service, or topic. They provide quick solutions and information to viewers and are a valuable tool to use at any stage in the buyer journey.

Pro tip: Add links to your FAQ videos on website product pages to help smooth the buyer journey or provide support to customers.

Behind the scenes videos

These videos offer a glimpse into the inner workings of your business, providing transparency and adding a human touch to your brand.

Pro tip: Showcase the dedication and passion of your team to create a connection with your audience. Tell their stories and encourage them to show their personalities and motivations, as well as their skills and expertise, of course!

Teasers for upcoming events

How about a short, intriguing video or two that builds anticipation and excitement for upcoming events, product launches, or promotions at your company?

Pro tip: Use suspenseful storytelling techniques and visual teasers to generate buzz and curiosity.

Live streaming events

Live broadcasts enable real-time interaction with your audience. They are an excellent way to engage and connect with viewers and can be very effective on social media, with the right amplification and promotion.

Pro tip: Promote live sessions in advance and interact with viewers during the broadcast to foster engagement.

Highlights of past events

Recaps of previous events, conferences, or experiences can be very evocative ways to showcase the best moments and key takeaways. They can also act as a promotional tool for the next event.

Pro tip: Create highlight reels that capture the essence of the event and its impact on attendees.

Messages from thought leaders in the company

Personalised messages from executives or leaders can humanise the brand, demonstrate expertise and experience and convey important messages.

Reviews and customer testimonials

Short video reviews or testimonials from satisfied customers are a wonderful tool for building trust and credibility for your brand.

Pro tip: Keep customer testimonials authentic and relatable by featuring real customers sharing their experiences. If you can show them using the product or service, or find a way of visually demonstrating the benefits, even better!

User Generated Content (UGC)

UGC is content marketing and social media gold dust. Encourage your audience to create and share their short-form videos related to your brand or products.

Pro tip: Create UGC campaigns with incentives to motivate customers to participate and share their content.

Leveraging trends

Keep your audience updated with current trends and create short-form videos that align with popular challenges, memes, or viral content.

Pro tip: Monitor trending hashtags and adapt your content to fit the latest trends while staying true to your brand identity. Not got time to monitor hashtags? No problem! Take a look at this handy guide from Buffer of the best free hashtag generators.

Now that you have an impressive selection of short-form video content ideas to pick from, let’s explore the best platforms for distributing your short-form videos.

Image of a woman giving a product demo through short-form video content

What are the best platforms for short-form video distribution?

Choosing the right platform for distributing your short-form videos is crucial. Here are some of the best platforms to consider:


No doubt you’ll be familiar with TikTok, a leading platform for short-form videos known for its creative and viral content. Its scope is huge, with 1.1 billion active monthly users and 1bn videos viewed every single day.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels allows users to create and share 15 to 60-second videos within the Instagram app. It’s a great platform to collaborate with influencers or creators to expand your reach and tap into their followers. Not sure how to use Insta to promote your brand? Take a look at this guide on how to use Instagram for business from Hootsuite.

Instagram Stories

Another product under the Insta umbrella, Instagram Stories are short-lived, immersive video or photo posts that disappear after 24 hours. This is a great platform for sharing behind-the-scenes content, promotions and real-time updates with your Instagram followers. You can also use interactive features like polls, questions and quizzes to engage with your audience.

YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is the company’s answer to short-form video, offering 15-second vertical videos. YouTube Shorts are a handy medium for reaching a broader audience and repurposing content from your YouTube channel.

Pro tip: Make sure you optimise video titles and descriptions to make your Shorts discoverable on YouTube. Get some tips from this article on six effective ways to boost your YouTube reach.

Pinterest Idea Pins

Idea Pins on Pinterest are an evolution of Story Pins, that allows users to create engaging and actionable short videos. This platform can help you showcase projects, tutorials and creative ideas to Pinterest’s visually oriented audience.

Pro tip: Utilise detailed descriptions and relevant keywords to enhance the discoverability of your Idea Pins.

Facebook Stories

Similar to Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories allow you to share short videos with your Facebook followers.

Pro tip: Make sure you leverage Facebook’s targeting options to help you reach specific audience segments with your Stories.

Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Pinterest Posts

These well-known social media platforms also support short-form video posts, making it easy to repurpose and share your content across multiple channels. Extend your video’s reach by posting it on various social media platforms, ensuring maximum visibility.

Pro tip: Adapt your video’s format and message to align with the unique characteristics of each platform.

With the right platform(s) chosen for your content, let’s explore the best practices for creating compelling and effective short-form video content.

Short-form video best practices

Like all marketing and sales activities, creating engaging short-form videos requires a strategic approach. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

Know your objectives

Before creating a short-form video, define your goals and objectives. Think about what you really want to say and what you want to achieve. Are you aiming for brand awareness, lead generation, or product promotion? Knowing your goals, as well as your audience, will help to guide your content creation.

Pro tip: Set specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your video campaign.

Engage viewers from the get-go

The first few seconds of your video are crucial. Capture viewers’ attention immediately to ensure they watch the entire video.

Pro tip: Use visually striking visuals, ask intriguing questions, or include unexpected openings to hook viewers.

Quality content only

Even in short videos, quality matters. Always use clear visuals, top-notch audio and a compelling message.

Pro tip: If you can, invest in quality equipment, lighting and sound to enhance the overall production value of your videos.

Use quick cuts

Short-form videos benefit from rapid scene changes and transitions to keep viewers engaged.

Pro tip: Experiment with creative transitions and visual effects to maintain viewer interest.

Optimise for mute viewing

Many viewers watch videos without sound. Use captions or visual storytelling to convey your message effectively. It is also advised to always use subtitles in your videos.

To further enhance accessibility and cater to a diverse audience, consider incorporating a video to text converter tool. This technology can automatically transcribe spoken content into text, providing viewers with a written representation of the audio.

Pro tip: Ensure that your captions are clear, concise and synchronised with the video content.

Leverage hashtags

Use relevant hashtags to increase the discoverability of your short-form videos on platforms like the aforementioned TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

Pro tip: Research popular and trending hashtags in your niche to maximise exposure.

With these best practices in mind, you’re well-equipped to embark on your short-form video journey and achieve online success.

image of a man using tiktok to make short-form video content

The top tools for mastering short-form video

To excel in the world of short-form video, it’s essential to have the right tools at your disposal. These tools can streamline your video creation process, enhance the quality of your content and help you stay on top of trends. Let’s explore some of the top tools that can elevate your short-form video game:


TikTok is not just a platform but a powerful tool for creating and editing short-form videos. With its user-friendly interface and an array of creative features, TikTok empowers users to craft engaging videos effortlessly.

How it helps: TikTok provides an extensive library of music, effects and filters to enhance your videos. Its intuitive editing tools make it easy to trim, cut and add text to your clips. Additionally, TikTok’s algorithm can help you discover trending content and gain exposure.


InShot is a versatile video editing app designed for mobile devices. It offers a wide range of editing features tailored for short-form videos.

How it helps: InShot allows you to trim and cut videos, add music, apply filters and create transitions seamlessly. It’s an excellent tool for enhancing video quality and adding a professional touch to your content.

Adobe Premiere Rush

Adobe Premiere Rush is a user-friendly video editing software suitable for beginners and professionals alike. It offers a range of features for editing short-form videos.

How it helps: With Adobe Premiere Rush, you can edit videos, add transitions, create titles and adjust colour and audio settings. It syncs across desktop and mobile devices, making it convenient for on-the-go editing.


Canva is a versatile design platform that includes a video editor. While primarily known for graphic design, Canva’s video editing tool allows you to create eye-catching short-form videos.

How it helps: Canva offers customisable templates, stock footage and an easy-to-use interface for designing video content. It’s ideal for adding graphics, text overlays and animations to your videos.


Unfold is a mobile app designed for crafting visually stunning Instagram Stories and short-form video content.

How it helps: Unfold provides templates and creative tools for designing engaging Stories and videos. It’s perfect for adding text, graphics and effects to your content.

Splice by GoPro

Splice is a mobile video editing app that offers a range of features for editing short-form videos.

How it helps: Splice enables you to trim, cut and arrange clips, add music and sound effects and incorporate text and titles. It’s user-friendly and suitable for quick editing tasks.


CapCut is a mobile video editing app that provides a variety of editing tools.

How it helps: CapCut offers features such as cut, trim and split, along with effects, transitions and filters. It’s a comprehensive tool for editing short-form videos.


Ripl is a mobile app designed for creating short-form videos and animations for social media.

How it helps: Ripl offers templates, animations and music to enhance your video content. It’s an excellent choice for adding dynamic elements to your short-form videos.


Lumen5 is an AI-powered video creation platform that transforms text into engaging short-form videos.

How it helps: Lumen5 analyses your text content and automatically generates video clips, animations and text overlays. It’s a time-saving tool for turning blog posts or articles into video content.


VSCO is a popular mobile app known for its photo editing capabilities, but it also offers video editing features.

How it helps: VSCO provides filters, presets and editing tools for both photos and videos. It’s suitable for adding a unique aesthetic to your short-form videos.

These tools cater to a variety of short-form video tasks, from basic editing to advanced video production. Depending on your skill level and requirements, you can choose the one that best suits your short-form video creation journey. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced content creator, these tools can enhance your ability to craft engaging and impactful short-form videos that will give you a competitive edge.

Elevating your brand with short-form video

Short-form video is not just a trend; it’s a transformation in the way we communicate, engage and consume content. By understanding its benefits, exploring the many different content types at your disposal, selecting the right platforms and following best practices, you can master the art of short-form video and harness its power to grow your brand or boost your content marketing strategy.

Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to connect with your audience, increase engagement and amplify your online presence. Embrace the world of short-form video and watch your success story unfold in this dynamic and fast-growing digital landscape.

Remember, it’s not about the length of your video but the impact it creates. And speaking of impact, if you are looking for support with creating the content that gets your brand noticed, look no further.

We are the best-in-market content creation platform, featuring a pre-screened, top 3% team of freelancers who become an extension of your own team. Click here to learn why we’re the preferred choice for quality, expertise, and customer service in content marketing!

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