Short-Form Video: The Next Crop of Storytellers Are Homegrown

It’s no secret that today’s younger consumer is cut from a different cloth. They don’t want as much TV as their elders – they are focused on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. The evolution of media has helped mold a new generation that demands a constant flow of smart, snappy content, and frowns upon advertising and naturally blocked online ads. This shift in behavior is, in large part, why brands are focusing more and more attention on short-form digital content.

And let’s not forget, large segments of these homegrown influencers are already in the workforce, making waves in our industry and possibly even sitting at a desk a few feet away from you. By simply growing up when they did, our younger colleagues have received an education in storytelling and how to create compelling, short-form video content for digital platforms. Better yet, they’ve embraced a scrappy, authentic style.

Here are four simple ways to capture an audience’s attention and increase engagement with short-form video:

1. Know your platform.
 Video generally outperforms other content types, but that doesn’t mean your video strategy should be a one-size-fits-all approach. Facebook audiences are eager to learn about brands, so videos on the platform should be informative and have a higher production value. Also, approximately 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed without sound, so captions are a necessary component. A platform like Instagram, on the other hand, is better suited for first-person scrappy videos that humanize a brand or showcase a product. Before you start filming, think about the platform you’re targeting and the type of video that would perform best.

2. Keep. It. Short. And. Sweet.
 Regardless of platform, your video shouldn’t be longer than a couple of minutes. Again, with subtle variances depending on the particular platform (Snapchat = shorter, YouTube = longer), but in general audiences don’t want to wait around to be wowed. They would rather keep scrolling to find something else worth watching. Reel them in early and give them a payoff before they lose interest.

3. Not now, but RIGHT now. 
Use social listening tools to create content that taps into what your audience is already talking about and sharing. Brands need to adopt an always-on strategy, which allows for creative ways to join a trending conversation. Whether it’s to sell a brand message or simply heighten visibility, brands must be able to react in real-time and produce content within 24 hours.

4. Going live in 3… 2… 1.
 Some moments in time happen at the drop of a hat, some call for that “what is it like to actually be there” feeling, others are opportunities to offer that sneak peak behind the scenes that your community loves. All can be fantastic examples of when live streaming comes into play. Going live is an increasingly popular content strategy for brands looking to drive engagement, gain trust and capture the attention of customers. A live-streamed personal message or real-time event can provide authenticity and credibility for a brand you can’t find anywhere else.

At Ketchum, we understand the need for responsive, agile content, which is why we are so excited about our next generation of talented superstars that create cinematic magic in less than 24 hours: Short Cuts!

We recently shot the video below for our friends at Harpoon Brewery, who are known not only for their great line of beers, but also for their buzzy and fun social content. With summer kicking off, we produced a series of Short Cuts featuring backyard games that pair with seasonal summer brews. This example shows a do-it-yourself, Harpoon twist on the popular game Jenga, filmed in just a few hours and edited in a few more.

Watch them in action!

Within the first 12 hours of being published on Harpoon’s Instagram channel, the video has EARNED 3,500 views, 400 likes and close to 10 comments.