If you’ve seen the term “short-form content” floating around the Internet but are not exactly sure what it really means, then this guide is for you. We’ll touch on short-form written content, but the main focus of this article is on short-form video content like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook Reels, as well as YouTube Shorts. We’ll talk about what they are, how to use them, and provide some tips on how your bank should be thinking about creating short-form content to reach, entertain, and educate your customers. Read on for more information!
What is the Difference Between Short-Form and Long-Form Content?
Let’s start by first defining what long-form content is, and then we’ll describe what short-form content looks like and how it’s different.
Long-form content mainly consists of whitepapers, ebooks, articles, how-to guides, and blog articles. The length of this type of content typically starts around 2,000 words and goes up from there. Long-form content is highly-detailed, can be somewhat technical in nature, and provides a lot of information in order to get the ideas across to the reader. Often long-form content can be “gated” - meaning someone is willing to provide a name and email address in exchange for the information because of its comprehensive and valuable nature (a great source for lead generation).
Long-form videos fall in the 20-30 minute range and are equally informative and more detailed than the average short-form content. Good examples of long-form video content include Ted Talks, videos by Gary Vee (just be sure to listen with your earbuds in), and lastly, live (or recorded) webinars.
When thinking about short-form blog articles, these are typically close to 1,000 words or less. Other good examples of short-form written content include social media posts and emails. For videos, however, you have a much shorter period of time to work with, and that’s what we’ll cover here.
Short-form videos range anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes and are designed to quickly grab the viewer's attention and provide something of value in a short amount of time. What does this mean for you? You must provide a “hook” at the beginning and keep them around long enough in order for the content to make sense to the viewer. Short-form content doesn’t allow you to go into detail much - but it does allow you to convey your message in a way that caters to rapidly-decreasing attention spans. That’s why this type of content is oftentimes referred to as “snackable” - since you consume it in quick, “bite-sized” chunks.
Short-form video content is what platforms like TikTok thrive on, and those platforms are arguably the future of marketing itself. Check out the following examples of short-form video content for more information!
TikTok: The Standard for Short-Form Content
As we mentioned, TikTok is taking the world by storm, making it a valuable tool for marketers. TikTok allows you to record videos anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes and users of the platform are gobbling them up...To learn more about the huge impact of TikTok, read our article about how bankers can leverage TikTok’s popularity.
One of the unique things about the TikTok app is you can download it and start browsing videos without having to set up an account. However, we recommend you have an account so that the platform can get a sense of what types of content you prefer, and their algorithm will tailor future videos to suit your interests. For that reason, no two people have the same TikTok feed, as the content becomes very personalized over time.
But as mentioned above, you don’t have to have a TikTok account to browse the videos, but it’s much better if you do. The first benefit is that you can choose your username (if you’d like the one that’s customized to you instead of a random “user” followed by a string of numbers). You can change your username by tapping the icon in the right bottom corner and hitting “Edit Profile.” You can also adjust your privacy settings. Do this by tapping the three dots in the top right corner of your profile.
Once you’ve set up a profile, start watching your feed. The primary default is “For You,” which is a feed of videos generated by the algorithm based on videos you watch and engage with (clicking the “heart” shows the platform that you like a particular type of content, and over time you’ll likely see more of it in your feed. By clicking “Following”, you’ll be directed to videos from people you chose to follow. These are the other two benefits of creating a profile!
To post videos, tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and you’ll see a red record button. You can add a background song to go with it or use some of the many filters TikTok has to offer to make your video entertaining and interesting.
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Once you’ve gotten the hang of TikTok, making the move to Instagram Reels will be easy! Instagram (and Facebook) Reels function much the same way, but here are some Instagram- specific tips for you:
- You can search for a song from the Instagram music library or use your own audio by recording a Reel with it. As with public TikTok profiles, sharing a Reel with audio will allow other users to create Reels with your audio as well!
- You can select several effects created by Instagram and creators to record a lot of clips with different effects.
- Setting a timer will allow you to record your clips without pressing the record button the whole time. This allows you to make any clip hands-free.
- The align function allows you to line up objects from previous clips to ensure your transitions are seamless. This is great for everything from adding friends to your reel to outfit changes!
- You can speed up or slow down the video or audio. This feature is very helpful if you want to stay on the beat or make slo-mo videos.
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It is no surprise that Facebook Reels have the same look and feel as Instagram Reels, primarily because Facebook owns Instagram. They allow you to share a Reel using a description and adding hashtags. One of the features that sets Facebook Reels apart from some of the other options is the ability to select a default audience to share it with. Reels are set for creators over 18 by default, but those settings can be changed at any time.
Reels will show up in your followers’ news feeds and in the dedicated Reels section in the news feed for those who aren’t following you. You can even recommend Instagram Reels on Facebook as well, to reach more audiences.
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While you have probably heard of TikTok and Reels, YouTube Shorts is a relative newcomer to the short-form video world, rolled out in the U.S. on March 18, 2021. However, given that YouTube is the #2 search engine on the planet (with #1 being its owner, Google), this is likely a platform you should also be paying attention to! Users can string multiple clips together, record with music from a huge library of songs, navigate speed controls, enable color correction, and use a timer and countdown to ensure they meet the mark. Creators often use their phones to capture these catchy videos.
If you’d like to view YouTube Shorts, click on the YouTube app on your phone and scroll down a bit until you see the “Shorts” section. To watch, just click on the thumbnail of the short you want to see. You can like, dislike, share or comment on the video as well (although commenting and sharing will pause the video). You can also search for #shorts on YouTube when viewing on your browser and that will find videos designed for this short-form format.
If you want to create a YouTube Short, click “Create” (the plus-sign icon on your phone) and then hit “Create a Short” to be directed to the Shorts creator tool. Shorts can be up to 60 seconds long, so make sure you know what you’re going to be talking about before hitting the record. If you’re using third-party music, however, videos can only be up to 15 seconds long.
Tip: Be sure to add #Shorts to your title or description so Google will recommend them across YouTube! For more on Shorts, click here.
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Ways to Make Your Bank Marketing Videos Pop
Without further ado, here are our tips to jumpstart your bank’s video marketing efforts:
- Use plenty of hashtags. Hashtags are always a great way to get your message across, so be sure to use them as much as possible. Hashtags also provide another opportunity for your video to be visible to different audiences. When using a hashtag your video goes into a repository of other videos that used the same hashtag, which offers great visibility to creators. Some platforms have character counts, but make sure you include at least one hashtag per video. Think about topics that you’d want your content to be found for, or use a unique hashtag to help measure your video’s reach.
- Get insight from a “younger” banker. Find a member of the “TikTok generation” at your bank to help you record videos. It’s a great way to make it more relevant to the age group you’re targeting, and the younger banker may have great ideas on new video trends.
- Decide what level of professionalism you want. Banks thrive in a professional working environment, but platforms like TikTok are meant to be more personal and free-spirited. You can still make quick tutorials without participating in a TikTok dance challenge, but plan content in advance so that you are at least posting videos that have your likely audience in mind.
- Focus on what makes your bank special, and have FUN with it. Are you an agriculturally-focused bank? Shoot some video outside at a community farm or duet with some (friendly) livestock. Consider highlighting a special event and give users a sneak peek beforehand.
- Hashtag Ideas:
- Content Ideas:
- Finance tutorials
- Event reminders
- Highlight your local community
- Talk about fundraisers
- Celebrate staff members
- Feature customers (with their permission, of course)
Still, Feeling Lost? Let WSI Help!
If you still feel unsure of where to begin when it comes to short-term video content, we’ve got great news: it’s what we do. Here at WSI, we’re happy to help you navigate the new-to-banking waters of short-form content creation. Book a call today and we’ll talk through it together!