Under Pressure: Creating Impactful Short-Form Content in a Fast-Paced World

Speaking to the New Audience

Do you listen to music? I would wager that no matter what genres you listen to, you’ve heard Queen’s 1975 hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It’s been infinitely parodied, covered, and cemented in stone as one of rock and pop’s most well known hits. What’s always gotten me about it, is that despite how well-known each part is, it clocks in at nearly six minutes in length. Another example of this is the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”, another song in the cultural pop canon which is over seven minutes long. Don’t even get me started on “Free Bird” or “Stairway to Heaven”. All of these songs have another thing in common outside of their length–they’re over 40 years old.

The truth is: Songs are getting shorter, and that trend isn’t likely to change any time soon. In my view, music has become less about defining the current culture, and it’s become more about defining the current moment, even if that moment is only a couple of weeks. Have you felt out of touch recently? Trends are coming and going at a pace so rapid that it’s having real-world implications on not just our wallets, but on the environment.

The grand takeaway for a lot of people is that this practice is unsustainable, and while that may be true, there are ways to leverage this dizzying new way of life to your advantage, especially if you’re a business owner. We can return to the musical analysis at the top of the page to understand this easier. Let’s go back to “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” video. I have never seen four dudes more locked-in than this.

Is This Real Life? Or is this Fantasy?

It took Freddie Mercury seven years to write “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It was recorded on a 24-track analog tape. It features 180 vocal overdubs. Is Queen my favorite band? No. I don’t listen to Queen–but I know “Bohemian Rhapsody” because it’s a technical marvel. Mercury is likely going to haunt me after writing this post, and to avoid that, I want to assure the reader (and his ghost) that I am not reducing this to content. This is Opera, and Opera is not content.

What I’m getting at here is: “Bohemian Rhapsody” was an immense undertaking, and while it paid dividends in every department, it was a huge swing that had a non-zero chance of failing. There were millions of songs produced from the 30s to the 80s, and this one broke through in a seemingly impossible way. This is not normal, obviously. I struggle to envision putting this much time and energy into something in today’s age, only for it to be covered by Vice on a Wednesday and forgotten on a Friday. Thankfully, we don’t need to spend seven years to tell a story. When telling stories on social media, a quick cultural turnaround can actually have a positive purpose. 

If trends die faster, that means people are seeing more new things on a daily basis, which opens more doors for creators to own a moment. 

Queen may have served us a meal on fine imported china, but what most of us are serving now is something quick and easy, distributed on a paper plate with a red solo cup to match. For many viewers of quick content, that’s exactly what they want. The process becomes less important than the message. We’ve omitted the romance in favor of the flavor, and this has its benefits to the viewer and the creator.

Taking Advantage of The Times

The most viewed videos on TikTok range from illusions, to dancing, to lip-syncing, to a video of strawberries with chocolate on them. I would guess that the majority of this content was free to produce, with much of it likely taking less than 24 hours to shoot and edit. I doubt that any of these creators thought this content would wind up on this list. There is a lot of research on this topic, but at the end of the day, there are no guarantees in either direction that any content produced will become a hit or a flop. The good news is that, with shorter, easier, more raw content, you have more opportunities to strike gold. Here’s some of the methods we’ve used in our video content to capture short-form, engaging moments that keep people glued for sixty seconds or less.

  • With something so brief, you don’t have much time to tell a story–which is why you have to show it. Capturing the highlights of live events is a great way to build FOMO in a landscape that rewards the Fear Of Missing Out. Filming a sizzle reel is a great way to show your social media following what they’re missing out on. These videos can also serve as identity content that establishes size and scale in the real world, because sometimes it’s hard to tell just how “real” something is, right? This content has to be snappy, fun, and have footage that keeps people engaged. I have filmed and edited hundreds of these in my working career, and it’s an affordable way to make a quick and easy splash on the feed.
We work with Navy Federal Credit Union to help transform their efforts into scroll stopping short form content.
  • When you don’t have the ability to show.. Teach your audience with podcast-style content. You know what glues me to my phone? Seeing an expert speak for thirty seconds about a topic I’m interested in. A way that we’ve transformed hour-long conferences into short-form content is by asking our client to send us their favorite timestamps. We’ve then sleekly cut them down and re-edited segments into bite-size moments that can capture the attention of interested parties. Farming from longer videos is a great solution for this, because when someone is thirty minutes into a conversation, they loosen up. They speak with their chest. That authenticity is the very essence of what people like about social media content.
  • We don’t all have the ability to dance or sing, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make engaging short-form content. I’d like to show you Krispy Kreme’s TikTok account. All of these videos have a variety of views, some just a few thousand with others nearing a million. The thing that unites all of this content is that it feels like it was made by someone who is a huge fan of the product. The videos are engaging, simple, and most importantly, they make you want a doughnut. There’s nothing tongue-in-cheek about it. They use what they have to make short skits, highlight celebrity encounters, and vouch for their products like they’re their own kids.

Doggie Doughnuts are BACK starting Sat 8/26 for #NationalDogDay with NEW Pup’kin Spice flavored treats! 🐶🍩🐾 ALL details at the link in bio. #KrispyKreme #dogtok #pumpkinspice

♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio

Songs in the Key of 👍(Like)

Where people get tripped up making social media content is that they believe they’re working on “Bohemian Rhapsody” when they really should be working on sneezing panda. How does one work on sneezing panda? Well, as a start, you can try to authentically teach or entertain in the most concise way possible; A way that should be relatable, engaging to an interested audience, while being accessible to brand-newcomers. The goal isn’t to reinvent the wheel or record 180 vocal harmonies. The goal is to, regardless of viewership, continue to believe in what you’re doing and show it to the world in a way that feels genuine to you.

It’s not about defining the culture. It’s about stealing a moment.

When your event looks great on social media in an easily digestible and fun clip, people are going to come to the next one. When your ideas are eloquently expressed by a passionate authority on the topic, people are going to listen. When your content is coming from the soul, and people can feel your passion for your own product, people are likely going to be compelled to try it.

You don’t need six minutes to convince someone you’re worth their time. You only need fifteen seconds.

We Are the Champions: Winning with Short-Form Video Content

Ready to transform your brand’s story into captivating short-form content that resonates with today’s audience? At Priceless Misc, we specialize in crafting videos that not only capture attention but also turn fleeting moments into lasting impressions. Partner with us and let’s create content that rocks your audience’s world. Contact us today to start your next unforgettable project!