To balance out our last blog about Long-Form content, it’s only reasonable to discus Short-Form content, which is an article around 1,000 words or less. Short-Form content is easy to write, it’s making it valuable that can get tricky. When your readers’ attention span is hard to keep, it’s pretty much necessary to get down to it and write “quick and dirty.”
This type of content is made for quick viewing, sharing, is mobile-friendly and more often than not, fun. Short-Form content has to be fun or it’s not worth reading, because at this point, just about every topic has been talked about one way or another. Creativity is key to getting your content viewed and shared.
So you’ve got 45 to 60 seconds to engage and educate your reader? What can you do to make the most valuable use of that time? Let’s jump right in!
- Define the Goal or Purpose
Short-Form content should have no more than two goals, maybe three if you’re really talented. You need to clearly define those goals and what you want your content to accomplish before you even start creating it so that you don’t include unnecessary facts or details. Having a clear end in sight will ensure your content is focused and fulfilling.
- Keep It Simple
Avoid big words, long sentences and lengthy descriptions. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. You’ve got antsy readers who know what they want, and if you don’t give it to them easily and quickly, they will go somewhere else—and fast. Get your point across from the first sentence.
- Use Bulleted or Numbered Lists
Organize your points and data in short bulleted or numbered lists for quick reading and fast learning. You could have 10 valuable facts in a bulleted list that would take a quarter of the time it would take to read the same 10 facts written out in complete sentences. Use lists for facts and data.
- Use Numbers & Quick Facts
When time is short, use attention grabbing facts and numbers. Detailed sentences are great, but simply stating something like 10,000 people injured from flooding in 2014 packs a pretty powerful punch on its own.
- Tantalizing Titles
Give some major love to your titles and subtitles. These are the first things readers see when they are browsing for something worth their time, so if you can grab them with a pithy and inviting title, you’ve got them! Make your title a top priority and don’t leave it as a last minute task.
- Tone it Down, Up, Left or Right
Your industry and desired audience will impact the flexibility you have with tone, but if you can get away with it, try to grab your readers’ attention with comedy, shock, happiness, despair and any other powerful emotion that is bound to leave a personal imprint on their minds. Emotions are powerful, so if it’s appropriate, write the content with a specific tone. Laughter is loud, so take a crack at being comedic. If a reader can connect with you, then you are more likely to make an impression and encourage them to either read something else or take a desired action on your site.
- Make it visual
If your point(s) can be made into a visual element, do it. Infographics are easy to read, quick to view and more fun to share than a simple blog post. If you’re handy with Adobe, use InDesign to create a uniquely branded graphic that can say everything you want with images and icons. If you’re new to design, or like me are not so visually inclined, subscribe to a program like Piktochart and use drag-and-drop templates to craft something fun yet informative.
Have other Short-Form content tips to add? Comment below with your own tips.