The ultimate guide to short-form content

7 November 2023
10 minutes

In short

Great content marketing is like a good friendship. Sometimes you need an in-depth conversation over plenty of coffee and a hefty slice of cake.

Other times you just want a quick catch-up. When it comes to consuming content, some days you’ll benefit from the full low-down on a topic, with all the bells and whistles and plenty of food for thought. The next day you might need a quick update, a snippet of information or a short video clip to make you chuckle after a hard day. And that’s where short-form content steps in.

Short but sweet, this powerful content format has a lot to offer marketers – providing you get the message, medium and method right. Let’s take a look at how to get shorty.

a vector that shows a type of short-form content such as blogs, videos

What is short-form content?

Short-form content, as its name suggests, is the concise pieces of digital content marketing that are designed to capture the audience’s attention quickly. Short-form content assets can come in a variety of formats including videos, podcasts, blogs and infographics, each crafted to deliver a specific message swiftly and impactfully.

When combined with long-form content and a robust content marketing strategy, short-form content can play an important role in the customer journey; from encouraging leads to read more about your brand at the awareness stage to nudging potential customers over the finish line at the decision-making stage, it more than earns its place in your content marketing toolbox.

What are the benefits of short-form content?

As you can probably tell, we are big fans of short-form content. Here’s why:

  1. Enhanced audience engagement: Short-form content captures attention quickly, helping to ensure higher engagement rates and providing readers with concise information to consume on the go.
  2. Easier for readers to digest and remember: Short-form content provides short-form entertainment, delivering focused messages and making it easier for the audience to absorb and retain information.
  3. More accessible: Short-form content can be easily consumed on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.
  4. Quick production turnaround: Creating short-form content can be quicker and require fewer resources than long-form content. *However* this depends on the requirements. As any copywriter will tell you, it is often harder to consolidate a message into a brief update than an 800-word blog!
  5. Easily optimised for social media: Social media platforms often favour short-form content due to its shareability and ability to maintain user interest. Audiences love it too; in fact, social media content consumers find short-form videos 2.5 times more engaging than long-form videos.
  6. Cost-effectiveness: Short-form content often costs less to produce, making it an attractive option for businesses with limited budgets.
  7. Higher Click-Through Rates (CTR): Short, compelling messages encourage users to click on links, leading to increased website traffic and potential conversions.
  8. Easy adaptation across platforms: Short-form content can be repurposed and adapted for various platforms, from social media to email marketing.

What marketing experts say about short-form content

…But don’t just take our word for it. Let’s take a look at what the wider marketing world has to say about short-form content.

In a recent survey conducted by Contentoo, short-form content emerged as a pivotal focus for content marketers, as emphasised by 77% of surveyed experts. Jennifer Lapp, SEO Team Lead at HubSpot, highlighted the need to move away from the idea of a singular ‘magical’ content piece. Instead, the strategy involves assigning specific tasks to each content piece, achieving a balance between attracting traffic, depth and lead generation.

Short-form content offers direct ownership of the message, allowing brands to convey ideas clearly and effectively. Additionally, maintaining full control of the brand image emerged as a critical factor driving the preference for short-form content. In an information-saturated landscape, the ability to curate and present content in a controlled manner becomes even more important.

This control extends to keyword rankings, where short-form content enables brands to compete effectively and respond in real-time to trends in user engagement.

What are the most effective types of short-form content?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most effective types of short-form content.

Short-form video

According to HubSpot’s 2023 Social Media Marketing Report, 33% of 1000+ social media marketers surveyed plan to prioritise investment in this content format. Short-form video content is immensely popular offering a dynamic, highly shareable medium to engage audiences on a variety of devices. Whether it’s a 15-second clip designed to build brand awareness or a five-minute explainer video TikTok and co. short-form video is an effective and fun addition to your marketing arsenal.

Need some inspiration? Take a look at these brands who are winning at TikTok marketing.

Top tips:

  • Keep videos under 60 seconds for maximum impact.
  • Pay attention to lighting, audio quality and engaging storytelling.
a photo of a person doing a short-form podcast as one of the effective type of short-form content

Short-form podcasts

Short-form podcasts offer a convenient way to deliver valuable content to your audience, allowing them to consume information while multitasking. Mini-podcasts as they are often known are also a great format for co-hosting with influencers and thought leaders in your sector and for building long-lasting customer relationships. Long-form podcasts can take a fair bit of time to produce, so mini-podcasts could be a great solution for brands who might not be able to make a long-term commitment.

Top tips:

  • Keep episodes focused and informative, catering to your target audience’s interests.
  • Create a theme and run with it. A series of tips or a weekly/daily diary relating to your team or your brand could work.

Short-form blog posts

Engagement drops for blog posts that take longer than seven minutes to read, though we hope you’ll give us the pleasure of your company until the end of this article! 🙂

Guides like these require a long-form approach but short-form articles are great too. If you have a topic to cover that only needs a summary or perhaps you want a teaser blog for a broader content piece – an e-book or whitepaper for example – a 200-word blog could be just right.

Top tips:

  • If the short-form blogs prove to be useful and you get the feeling people need more information, you can always repurpose them into a long-form guide or video how-to.
  • Include multimedia elements like images and videos to tell the wider story around your written content and bring it to life.
Are you interested in seamlessly creating short-form blog posts? Click here to find out how Contentoo can help you out!

Infographics

Infographics combine text and visuals, simplifying complex information into easily digestible graphics. They are one of the best short-form content formats for making an impact and are also super-effective for sharing.

Top tips:

  • Focus on a single story or statistic for maximum impact.
  • Ensure the design makes it easy to understand the data or point of the infographic right away.

Best practices for creating short-form content

As with every aspect of your marketing, it’s important to adhere to best practices, while injecting your unique creative spin, of course. Here are some guidelines to follow when creating short-form content.

Keep it concise

Make sure your short-form content gets straight to the point and that every word adds value. Engage your audience from the beginning to create a lasting impression.

Top tips:

  • Craft compelling headlines and opening sentences to capture attention instantly.
  • Use storytelling techniques to evoke emotions and create a memorable impact.

Include visuals and graphics

Visual elements enhance the appeal of short-form content, making it more shareable and memorable. Make sure they genuinely add to the written content rather than detract from its message.

Prioritise quality over quantity

In the world of short-form content, quality always trumps quantity. Each piece of content should be meticulously crafted to resonate with your audience.

Top tip:

  • Invest in professional editing services to maintain a polished and professional tone.

Be consistent in your posting schedule

Consistency in posting is key to building an audience and maintaining their interest in your content. You want to create a sense of anticipation and build a loyal following.

Top tips:

  • Create a content calendar to plan and schedule your short-form content in advance.
  • Monitor audience engagement metrics to identify the best posting times for your target audience.
a photo of a phone that shows the best short-form content platforms

Some of the best short-form content platforms

Short-form content finds a happy home on a variety of platforms, each catering to specific audience demographics.

TikTok

TikTok specialises in ultra-short content creation. Its intuitive design and innovative features have transformed communication for brands and individuals. The app’s brief video format fosters creativity, giving rise to viral trends and challenges.

TikTok’s algorithm ensures tailored content delivery, reaching the right audience. Brands harness its vast global user base to craft visually engaging, succinct content spanning tutorials, humour, and storytelling helping marketers to establish authentic audience connections with their audience.


Top tip:

  • Users on TikTok appreciate genuine, relatable content that feels organic. Engage with trending challenges creatively, infusing your unique brand personality into each video.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent platform for sharing industry insights, company updates and thought leadership pieces. When it comes to sharing content, make sure it is genuinely useful and professional. There are a lot of influential people on LinkedIn so you’ll want to present your brand in the best way possible. So no clickbait or inflammatory content!

Top tip:

  • Utilise LinkedIn Stories and native video features for short-form content delivery.

YouTube

With 2.7 million active users, YouTube is a powerful long and short-form video platform, offering a vast audience base and extensive reach. According to Think With Google, 80% of consumers say they switch between online search and video when researching products, and 50% say online video has helped them make a final purchase decision.

YouTube is great for helping customers solve problems, demonstrating products or services and telling the story of your brand and its people. For example, with your own branded YouTube channel you could serialise some how-to videos, serialise some event or behind-the-scenes content or introduce team members. Think about what your audience will respond to on an ongoing basis and try out some ideas.

Top tip:

  • Optimise video titles, descriptions and tags for search engine visibility.

Need inspiration or help creating videos? Check out YouTube’s Creators Hub.

Infographic about how online video research for products is growing

Instagram

Instagram holds its own in the popularity department with 1.21m monthly active users. Instagram, particularly Instagram Stories and Reels, is tailored for short-form visual content, making it ideal for visually appealing brands. As with the platforms we mentioned above, it’s about finding an enduring theme or compelling one-off posts and testing to see what resonates with your audience – so, don’t forget to check your engagement analytics regularly and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Top tip:

  • Leverage Instagram’s interactive features like polls, questions and countdowns to boost engagement.

Facebook

Facebook offers diverse content formats, including short-form videos, carousel posts and photo albums, catering to different audience preferences.

Top tip:

  • Utilise Facebook Live for real-time interactions and Q&A sessions with your audience.

Promoting short-form content

Effectively promoting your short-form content is crucial to reaching the right audience. Utilise social media platforms, employing paid promotions, hashtags and engaging captions to enhance visibility. Identify your audience’s active times on each platform and schedule posts accordingly, adapting your strategies based on engagement metrics and platform algorithms.

Try collaborating with influencers and like-minded brands to expand your content’s reach. Select influencers aligned with your target demographic and establish clear goals for a mutually beneficial partnership.

Infographic on how to use Instagram effectively for your content marketing efforts.

Analysing and measuring results of short-form content

Analysing the performance of your short-form content is crucial to refining your strategy and maximising its impact.

Metrics to track

  1. Engagement Metrics: Track likes, shares, comments and click-through rates to gauge audience interaction.
  2. Conversion Rates: Measure the percentage of viewers who took a desired action after engaging with your content.
  3. Reach and Impressions: Monitor the number of unique viewers and total impressions to assess your content’s visibility.

Tools for analysing performance

  1. Google Analytics: Utilise Google Analytics to track website traffic, user behaviour and conversion rates.
  2. Social media insights: Platforms like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics provide in-depth data on your content’s performance.
  3. SEO tools: Tools like SEMrush and Moz can help monitor keyword rankings and organic search traffic.

Tips for creating engaging short-form content

Creating engaging short-form content requires creativity and strategic thinking. Implement these tips to captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression.

Create captivating thumbnails

Thumbnails are the first thing viewers notice. Design visually appealing thumbnails that accurately represent the content and evoke curiosity.

Top tips:

  • Use high-resolution images and bold, easy-to-read text.
  • Maintain consistency in thumbnail design to establish brand recognition.

Include a killer call to action

Every piece of content should have a clear call to action (CTA) to guide the audience on the next steps.

Top tips:

  • Use persuasive language and make it clear from the get-go what you want your readers to do next; whether it’s like your post, click through to your website or subscribe to your newsletter.
  • A/B test different messaging to see what hits the right notes with different audience groups.

Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)

Encourage your audience to create content related to your brand. UGC adds authenticity and credibility to your marketing efforts.

Top tips:

  • Host contests or challenges where users can submit their creations.
  • Showcase UGC on your social media platforms to foster a sense of community around your brand.
a photo of a person editing the video to make it a short-form video

Short-form video production tips

As of July 2022, videos that are under 60 seconds made up 57% of YouTube views, compared to just 11% two years ago. Here are some production tips for creating compelling video content.

  • Create short-form videos under 60 seconds, emphasising a single message with quick cuts and dynamic visuals for engagement.
  • Repurpose long-form content into impactful standalone clips, adding captions for muted autoplay.
  • Adapt video orientation to different platforms: vertical for mobile devices and social media, horizontal for YouTube, using platform-specific editing tools.
  • Ensure good lighting with natural or softbox lights, and use external microphones for clear audio, minimising background noise.

How to repurpose long-form content into short-form content

Repurposing long-form content into concise assets is a strategic approach to engaging diverse audience segments effectively. By identifying key points or highlighting short quotes or statistics, you can create compelling short-form posts tailored to specific viewers. Use striking visuals and straight-to-the-point text to encapsulate the essence of the original content, ensuring maximum impact in a shorter format.

Additionally, maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged and leverage trending topics or challenges to enhance your content’s visibility and relevance.

The short route to content marketing success

And so, we reach the end of our guide on short-form content. To illustrate our point, let’s end on a nicely concise note. Well-crafted short-form content forms a highly valuable part of your sales and marketing strategy. Think about your audience, find the best channels, be innovative, be creative, be purposeful and be direct (in the best possible way). Good luck and let us know how you get on!

Want to increase brand reach, engage and convert new audiences and delight current customers? Contact our team today to find out how our talented freelancers can help!

Short-form content FAQs​

What is short-form and long-form content?

Short-form content is concise and brief, often under a few minutes or a couple of hundred words. Long-form content is in-depth and detailed, providing comprehensive information and analysis.

Why do people love short-form content?

Short-form content is loved because it caters to our fast-paced lifestyles. It delivers information quickly and succinctly, making it ideal for today’s busy audience.

Is short-form content bad for SEO?

No, short-form content is not harmful to SEO. Search engines value content relevance and user experience. If your short-form content is informative, engaging and relevant to user queries, it can positively impact your SEO efforts.

Is short-form or long-form content better?

The effectiveness of short-form versus long-form content depends on your audience and the message you want to convey. Short-form content is excellent for quick updates and engaging visuals, while long-form content allows for in-depth exploration of topics.

What makes a short-form video engaging?

Engaging short-form videos often have captivating visuals, concise storytelling and a clear call to action. They resonate with the audience’s emotions and provide value within a limited time frame.

Check out our latest report!

Read the 2024 localisation report here.

Email to colleague

Related Reads