Short form video content is any piece of video that is less than roughly five minutes in length. Think TV commercials, viral videos in your timeline, Instagram videos, movie trailers, music videos, etc. Besides being brief in duration, short form content is also defined by the fact that almost all of it, in one way or another, is an advertisement. The commercial advertises a product, the trailer advertises a film, the music video advertises an artist, and so on.
As a short form content creator you are asked to make thousands of decisions a day, but despite how complex short form content creation can be, you will be on the road to making a successful piece of social media content if you manage to accomplish just three simple, interrelated objectives.
1. The first objective a piece of short form needs to do is attract attention. This step is quite crucial, as you could make the most beautiful short form content in history, but if you fail to get viewers’ attention, you’re doomed.
Example: Watch the Deadpool trailer:
2. Once attention has been acquired, the next objective is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. You need to do so in order to retain attention—any piece of content that fails to make viewers feel something is going to have a hard time keeping them hooked—but also because of the pivotal role emotions play in the buying process.
Example: Watch the Campbell’s This One’s for Mom video:
3. The third objective a piece of short form content needs to accomplish is to shape perception and motivate action. The way this would look is that a viewer sees a trailer on YouTube and decides that the movie looks good (perception being shaped) and then goes out and sees the movie that weekend (action being motivated).
Example: Watch Beyonce’s Ivy park video:
Achieving these three objectives simultaneously is what separates “Epic Split” from most of the rest of the content flooding YouTube. Its not an easy task, as many decisions have to be made correctly in order to accomplish these goals, but keeping a firm focus on these objectives throughout the conception and production processes is a good start to making effective short form content.
Example: Watch Volvo’s Epic Split video:
Bryan Cook is executive content producer and director of multimedia at Team One, Saatchi & Saatchi’s fully integrated luxury, premium and aspirational agency. He is the author of The Art of Short Form Content.