If the content world was like Hollywood, then short-form video would be this season’s It Girl.
You’ve seen it everywhere: on your Twitter and Facebook feeds, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and even posted to LinkedIn.
And there’s a reason creators and companies are hitting the record button: According to HubSpot’s original data, 57% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials prefer to learn about products through short-form video. It’s also the most popular format among social media marketers, and 83% say it’s the most effective type of content they leverage.
The data points to short-form video growing more than any other social trend in 2023, with 33% of social media marketers planning to invest more in it than any other format and 58% planning to increase their current investments.
To learn how brands and creators can use this trend to their advantage, we’ve tapped Diego Vetencourt and Danya Baratli, co-founders of short-form video content firm Shortzy. Below, they share their expertise and their biggest pieces of advice for getting your short-form content noticed in 2023.
1. Repurpose Your Long-Form Videos
The best way to get started with short-form video content is actually with your previously recorded long-form videos.
Rather than starting from scratch, Vetencourt and Baratli say that editing your existing content into bite-sized clips for sharing it on social is the method they use for their clients. For example: They work with Sam Parr to turn his full My First Million podcast episodes on YouTube into clips for TikTok.
The trick is in the editing: The co-founders say you need to pick only the most engaging, relevant clips from your long videos. And you need to keep them short: between 20 and 60 seconds, ideally.
“It’s probably the best thing you can do,” says Baratli of repurposing long-form videos. “One hourlong podcast can range from five short clips to 15.”
The founders suggest editing your videos yourself, if you can, hiring an editor, or even using an AI software like Castmagic to assist in finding the best clips.
2. Copy, Test, Learn, Repeat
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s also the most effective way to learn how to produce short-form video content.
“The easiest path is to imitate what’s already viral,” says Vetencourt. “If you’re a D2C brand, go to your verticals, see what types of videos they’re creating, and literally do the same exact video. Do not iterate or deviate.”
When testing new content modeled after other brands or creators, Vetencourt says to push at least one video out per day across all social platforms (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube) for 30 days.
At the end of the 30 days, see which post performed the best, and then post variations of that post for 30 more days. Continue iterating and A/B testing to see which types of posts perform well, and which don’t.
“Just imitate, copy, and push a lot of content out on a daily basis,” he says.
3. Follow a Formula
The co-founders break the recipe to a killer short-form video down into three elements: a hook, a value proposition, and a punchline.
“The hook is usually 1-4 seconds, and you need to tell people why they should watch the video. It should be engaging. Then you need to provide value and prove it’s worth it to watch the video,” says Baratli.
Video performance, unlike text or photo, is measured by how long a viewer is willing to watch. This means that longer content (60 seconds or, at most, three minutes on TikTok) can pay off massively, but only if your viewers are engaged enough to watch it to the end.
A 20-second clip doesn’t prove as much about the loyalty of an audience, but there’s less pressure to make every second engaging as viewers are more likely to watch to the end.
It’s important to keep the trade-off in mind when following the content formula: However long the video, the hook, value proposition, and punchline need to be effective enough to hold the viewer until the end.
4. Post Often Across Platforms
The founders recommend posting at least once per day for those just starting to build a following with short-form content: This will give you enough data to begin understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Baratli says that two videos per day is better than one, three is better than two, and four is better than three — but five videos are not necessarily better than four. He says it’s a fine balance, and it often comes down to resources and bandwidth of creators and brands.
As far as where to post, the ideal is everywhere. The founders say they advise clients to simply use the same video across all social media platforms, being sure to clean up the formatting where needed. While there are slight differences between platforms, they say it’s not often the heavy lift of re-cutting a video for each one.
Posting often across different platforms allows for additional data gathering and testing. You can also reuse the same piece of content — choose your best-performing video — many times over with minor edits to music and or format
“I work with a famous entrepreneur and have reposted a video of his from all different accounts almost 80 times, and it’s still working,” says Baratli. “In total this one video has gained hundreds of millions of views.”
5. Stay Genuine and Consistent
While there might be tips, tricks, and hacks to creating the best short-form video, the founders contend that short-form video succeeds only when it stays true to the ethos of its creator, and that brands and individuals should follow what feels natural for them and their audience.
It’s also about providing value: As best you can, ignore vanity metrics and a rising like count and instead focus on giving your audience content they care about — this builds community and ensures they’ll return for more.
“It’s ultimately about building community around the content you want to make and providing consistent content for free,” says Vetencourt.
If you want to stay on brand but are running short of ideas, experiment with different scripts or tools that you haven't used before. For example, you can leverage AI tools to write new content, test out new ideas, or repurpose old content.