Visual storytelling is arguably the most powerful medium used by creators on social media today. It has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its opportunities for enhanced engagement, audience building, brand building, and content versatility, and nearly every social media platform has taken advantage. YouTube Shorts, Facebook and Instagram Reels, and TikTok videos are dedicated to short-form videos that cater to their audience’s preferences for quick, visually compelling content.
Creators can experience these benefits by adding intriguing short-form videos to their content strategy. Carefully crafted videos generate additional interest in your book and brand by quickly grabbing your followers’ attention and introducing you to potential readers.
What Are Short-Form Videos?
Short-form videos are brief and simple content ranging from a few seconds to a couple of minutes long. On average, videos between fifteen and thirty seconds are most successful in delivering your message. A quick and engaging vehicle for communicating ideas, stories, and entertainment, short-form videos are a free promotion tool for online presence enhancement. Independent authors often use social media Stories, Reels, and Shorts to share snippets and quotes from their books, read their favorite excerpts, or offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into their writing process.
Read on for ten tips for making short-form videos work for you.
- Plan ahead by canvassing content.
Scrolling through your preferred social media platforms can be time well spent. You can use the search feature to find audio and visual content featuring the particular details or theme you’re looking for. Once you identify interesting Shorts or Reels with high engagement, you can save the audio files and templates under a labeled category or collection for later use. On Facebook and Instagram Reels, click on the music icon on the video’s bottom right corner to locate the audio source and save it. You also have the option of using the platforms’ built-in video templates. These templates offer a guideline for the length of each video clip to get the same effect without the need for extensive video editing knowledge.
- Record long-form content.
The benefits of posting long-form videos are audience relationship and loyalty building, higher conversion rates, and valuable core content that yields a higher satisfaction rate. Long-form content, such as podcast interviews and videos, is a great launching pad for harvesting ideas that can also be converted into short-form content.
Pro Tip: Long-form content is shot using a horizontal orientation, and short-form uses vertical. Zoom out when recording long-form content to allow room for cropping the video while editing. This also leaves space for adding a logo, text overlay, and captions on short-form content.
- Create a plan for repurposing your content.
Your existing long-form content is an ideal canvas for creating a batch of videos under sixty seconds. Sharing interview excerpts and key points from your book can create compelling visual stories. This time-saver is great for when you’re in a time crunch or creative slump. “Repurposing down,” a term used by digital marketing strategist Latasha James, involves breaking down your pillar concepts from longer content into smaller pieces to eliminate overwhelm surrounding content strategy. This is great for introducing your brand to your audience and sparking interest on a wider scale.
- Schedule recording and editing time.
Posting consistency helps build an audience and viewer anticipation for your content. To maintain a reliable social media presence, establish a consistent content creation and editing schedule. Once you decide on a daily, biweekly, or weekly posting frequency, you can schedule your content production and editing time. While short-form videos are typically spontaneous, planning and scripting can also help ensure your message is clear and concise. Outline the key points you want to cover, and practice delivering them naturally to make your videos more engaging and professional.
Pro Tip: It’s helpful to record themed content in batches, then schedule time for editing shortly afterward. You can release the videos as a series to build engagement. Depending on your posting schedule, you can release each video consecutively as part of your series.
- Use simple video editing software for branding features and a professional touch.
Producing eye-catching short-form videos doesn’t require complex production and editing skills, but it’s important to put effort into creating active videos that exercise your viewers’ eyes and keep them intrigued. User-friendly editing apps such as iMovie, Adobe Premiere Rush, and InShot can trim footage, add captions and text overlays, insert transitions, and incorporate music and sound effects. Most social media platforms also feature in-app video editing options that can help you produce quality content consistently. Use Canva to add customized branded messaging at the end of your video and drive traffic to your website or social media account.
Pro Tip: While you don’t need high-end equipment, ensure your videos have good audio and visual quality. If your budget allows, consider investing in a microphone for clear audio and lighting equipment for good visibility for a professional-looking video that enhances credibility and captures attention.
- Use captions for wider reach.
Many viewers surf social media while doing other tasks and may not be able to use sound. In these instances, they rely on captions and text overlays to engage with your content. Others prefer to use captions while interacting with content for enhanced comprehension and to remain engaged. Using these features helps effectively convey your message to a wider audience and ensures your content is accessible, consumable, and understood.
- Experiment with trends to discover what’s working well for others.
It may be in your best interest to stay up to date with popular audio clips, trends, and viral challenges. This helps create fresh and relevant content for your audience. It’s common for social media users to explore several videos using a theme or audio clip they find interesting. So creating trendy short-form videos helps provide opportunities to tap into a wider audience, boost visibility, and increase your chances of connecting with your target readers.
Pro Tip: Consider collaborating with authors and members of similar industries to create videos that entertain and inform your audience. Fellow authors, influencers, and experts in related fields are all great resources for collaboration who will attract new followers by allowing you to tap into your partner’s audience. Hosting lives together or collaborating on Reels adds variety to your feed and expands your network in the writing community.
- Cross-post your content.
Posting videos across social media platforms can help you reach a wider audience and leverage your existing audience on one platform to drive traffic and engagement on another. This helps you build a strong online presence across multiple platforms. Before cross-posting, be mindful that each platform has unique features and audience preferences, so be sure to evaluate how you can adapt your content for the overall best fit. This may include resizing videos or images for varying display formats and aspect ratios, reformatting captions, or making adjustments for character limitations. Some platforms may restrict or limit views of your content if there is a watermark from another platform displayed. To be safe, be sure to remove any watermarks before posting—a quick Google search will lead you to several programs that can do the trick. This attention to detail enhances the viewing experience and makes your content more professional and visually appealing.
Pro Tip: Online graphic design tools like Canva make it simple to resize images to fit Instagram’s square format or edit videos for TikTok’s vertical orientation, though you must have the paid version of Canva to resize images.
- Analyze your results and test for success.
It’s important to regularly analyze the performance of your short-form videos to ensure you’re maximizing your reach. Familiarize yourself with the engagement metrics, views, comments, and shares of your content. Once you identify successful patterns and trends, you’ll understand which content resonates most with your primary audience. This feedback is valuable for guiding your video creation content and establishing future content strategies.
Pro Tip: Business Growth consultant Alex Hormozi suggests testing all content on TikTok and X, formerly known as Twitter, because each platform judges content engagement independently. This means that each post on these platforms is immediately shared with the user’s audience as opposed to on other platforms, where algorithms analyze the performance of a user’s previous posts before showing new content to their followers. Hormozi then suggests only posting the content that yielded high engagement on TikTok and X to Instagram and YouTube, which judge content based on overall watch time before making your content available to viewers.
- Create “sticky” content that prioritizes your value add.
Short-form videos are best at informing and entertaining viewers. Whether your goal is to engage or convert your audience, hold their attention by providing catchy content that entices them to learn more about you. The first few seconds of your video are prime real estate, so start them off with an intriguing scene, question, or hook to entice viewers to keep watching. As an author, storytelling is your forte. So utilize your storytelling skills to create captivating short-form videos. Share brief stories related to your writing, books, or creative journey. You can also try sharing a quick tutorial, briefly expressing your perspective on a topic, theme, or event that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about, or create a listicle for quick consumption. As long as you show up in a way that adds value, odds are you’ll attract those who are interested in learning more about you. Include clear calls-to-action to prompt engagement by asking questions, encouraging comments, or directing them to your website or book listing. This helps viewers feel like they’re a part of your community. By providing rich content, you can establish yourself as an authority and build on the trust you’ve developed with your audience.
Remember to be authentic, experiment, embrace creativity, and have fun. Short-form videos can easily help you showcase your unique writing style while introducing your author brand to a new audience and, hopefully, new readers.