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TL;DR: Five Reasons Why The Future Of Content Creation Is Short And Snackable

By , on December 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

To GIF or not to GIF, that is the question.

When we talk to marketers, one of the topics that comes up all the time is the role of long-form versus short-form content. That is, what sort of mix should a marketer seek between creating long-form content (lengthy blog posts, essays and whitepapers) and short-form content (social media posts, images, charts, GIFs and quick FYIs)? What works best for the audience? And what works best for the marketer?

While there should be some room in your marketing strategy for content of all sizes (I mean, we did write this all up in a blogpost, for example), we’re firm believers that you should optimize your attention and spending for snackable short-form content.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Everything Is Visual (At Least Everything Digital)

Both in presentation and in consumer behavior, folks are migrating to consuming and communicating in images: on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and whatever else the kids are doing by the time you read this. Why use words to communicate when you can use Emoji? We’ll stop somewhere short of categorically declaring that “People hate reading,” but we will note that image posts almost always do best on Twitter and Facebook. You can fight it or you can embrace it. We recommend embracing.

2. It’s A Mobile World, Which Means GIFs > Whitepapers 

If you’re consuming content on your phone (and with each passing month, more and more of your audience is), then you want short, snackable content. Sure, a lot of us will read in-depth articles, even books, on our phones, but more of us are reading Twitter, BuzzFeed, ESPN sports tickers or Snapchat messages. If it’s on your phone, you don’t have time for loading and scrolling. And mobile isn’t getting any smaller any time soon. Plan accordingly.

3. TL;DR

Even when we’re not on our phones, we see too much media in too little time. Truthfully, a lot of us are media-obsessed, leaving Twitter, Facebook and email tabs open at all times. When do folks have the time or will power to press pause read and dig in on longer content? Not as often as we’d like. (Maybe we’ll save the psychology behind this for another blog post; oh, and please don’t abandon this post! Not yet at least! We swear, not much more!)

4. Shorter, Better, Faster, Stronger

While think-piece factories like The Daily Beast, Slate and Salon make efforts to churn out responses to timely issues and events with long-form content on the fly, it’s not easy; the longer reactionary pieces that typically stand the test of fact-checking and additional thought are the ones that appear a day or week later. On the other hand, you can fire up a bare-bones and to-the-point tweet, image, meme or brief blog comment in minutes — and connect to what’s important to your audience right now.

5. Long-Form Ain’t Cheap

Sometimes it just comes down to simple logistics. Even if you wanted to ignore all the compelling reasons that your audience prefers short-form content, the reality is that long-form content is more expensive to produce, and extremely difficult to scale. You can shake your fist at these young kids and their short-form tweets and memes all day long, but these methods are simply easier and cheaper – and can be just as effective.

(The answer: To GIF!)

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Categories: Industry News