Short Form vs Long Form Content – Which One Do You Need?

When it comes to setting up a content marketing strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind before you can hit that “PUBLISH” button. This includes your brand’s voice, target audience, goals, and even budget. 

From there – and once you’ve outlined the so-called basics of content marketing for your business – you then need to start thinking about the type of content you want to produce.

Do you want to write blogs? 
Will you try your hand at creating infographics? 
Do you have a soft spot for YouTube videos? 
Or, hey! What about filming TikToks? 

Or… what about a combination of all of these? 

The question we often get from brands, thought leaders, and Creators who are just starting or working on reshaping their content strategy is: What’s going to work best for my business?

And the answer is… that depends! (Sorry, you know we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all here at The Quirky Pineapple Studio HQ!).

To us, it all boils down to strategy. Specifically…

Are you creating short-form or long-form content?
Or maybe you’re considering a mix of short and long-form content?

Ready to dive into the world of short-form vs long-form content? Curious to see which one will benefit you, your brand, your community, and your goals the most? Let’s do this!

Understanding the difference between short-form vs long-form content

Before you decide what you will be focusing your time and energy on, it’s important to understand the difference between short-form and long-form content, and how each one serves different purposes and engages your audience in unique ways.

That way, you’ll have a much easier time choosing the right content type to match your marketing goals and audience preferences. 

So, let’s check them out one by one:

What is short-form content?

Put simply, short-form content is – like the name implies – anything that’s easy and quick for audiences to consume and engage with online.

A few examples of short-form content include the following:

  • Short video content (Reels, TikToks, and Youtube Shorts)
  • A quick meme
  • Short blogs (less than 1,000 words)
  • Infographics
  • Repurposed podcast clips
  • Stories on social media platforms
  • Quick email newsletters
  • Tweets (Exes?)
  • Or quick-bite social media posts

In most cases, brands choose to share short-form content because it’s more shareable and can quickly capture and retain audience attention – especially nowadays when peoples’ attention spans seem to be shrinking by the second.

Tips for creating great short-form content

Despite its name, short-form content isn’t necessarily something you can throw together quickly. 

On top of this, just because the final product feels short, it doesn’t mean that less thought or creativity went into its creation either.

With this in mind, here are some quick tips to help you create short-form content:

  • Focus on a single message or idea: Keep your content focused on one key point to ensure it’s easily digestible and memorable.
  • Hook your audience from the get-go: Use eye-catching graphics, bold colors, and engaging visuals to grab attention quickly.
  • Optimize for each platform: Tailor your content to fit the format and audience of each social media platform or content channel you’re using.
  • Be timely and relevant: Tap into current trends, events, or conversations to make your content feel more relevant and urgent.
  • Test and iterate: Use analytics to see what works and what doesn’t, then adjust your strategy accordingly.

What is long-form content?

On the other hand, long-form content is more in-depth and detailed, which means people need more time to consume it. Think of it as short-form content’s big sister – it dives deeper into topics, provides comprehensive insights, educates the audience, and builds authority, all while engaging readers over a longer period.

Some examples of long-form content include:

  • Detailed blog posts (more than 1,000 words)
  • White papers and research reports
  • E-books
  • Guides and how-tos
  • Long-form videos (documentaries, tutorials, webinars)
  • Podcasts with in-depth discussions
  • Case studies
  • Courses and online workshops
  • Interviews with industry experts

Long-form content is more about establishing expertise than quick engagement and entertainment and providing value to help you build a deeper relationship with your audience.

Tips for creating great long-form content

A great tool for thought leaders to use (spoiler alert!), long-form content can help you establish your authority in a subject area and, at the same time, improve your SEO rankings.

Here are several tips to help you create compelling long-form content that your audience will enjoy and find useful:

  • Always do your research: Before hitting pen to paper, conduct thorough research to gather all necessary information, statistics, and insights to ensure your content is accurate and informative.
  • Focus on quality and depth: Go beyond the surface. Try to provide your audience with insights and in-depth analysis that readers can’t just find anywhere else.
  • Throw in some visuals to help break it up: Spice things up with some eye-catching images, infographics, or even videos to split up the text and keep your readers hooked.
  • Optimize for SEO: Use your keywords wisely to ensure your content is getting ranked (and seen) by search engines. However, be careful with keyword stuffing – that can end up hurting you in the long run!
  • Promote your content: Share your long-form content across social media, email newsletters, and other channels to reach a wider audience. 

10 questions to figure out which type of content is for you

Deciding whether short-form vs long-form content suits your brand best can feel like a guessing game. 

Don’t worry, though – we’re here to help.

PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to get your audience involved in this process! Create a survey, ask questions on Instagram stories,  or send out a newsletter, and let them tell you what they hope to see!

Below are a few questions to help you pinpoint exactly which type of content will hit the mark:

1. What’s your audience’s preference? Do they spend their time swiping through quick posts or do they deep-dive into topics of interest?

2. What are your marketing goals? Are you aiming for quick engagement and shares or looking to build thought leadership and detailed insights?

3. How much time and resources can you commit? Short-form content can be quicker to produce but requires consistent output. Meanwhile, long-form demands more in-depth effort per piece.

4. What’s the nature of your message? Is it straightforward enough for a quick hit or does it need more space to unfold?

5. How does content fit into your SEO strategy? Are you looking for immediate traffic boosts or aiming to rank for competitive keywords with in-depth content?

6. What’s your content distribution strategy? Do your content marketing channels favor the brevity of short form or the detail of long-form?

7. What format does your content naturally take? Are you more comfortable producing snappy, visual content, or do you excel at crafting comprehensive guides and articles?

8. How do you measure success? Is it through engagement rates and social shares, or through lead generation and time spent on a website page?

9. What’s the competition doing? And, more importantly, how can you differentiate yourself? Can you fill a gap with either content type?

10. What does your content creation bandwidth allow? Considering your team’s skills and capacity, which content type can you consistently produce at a high quality? Or if you’re creating content alone, what are your skills and capacity?

By mulling over these questions, you’ll be in a much better place to choose a content strategy that doesn’t just appeal to your target audience but also supports your business goals, vision, and mission.

Tackling content marketing for your business 

At the end of the day, deciding between short form vs long form content boils down to understanding your audience’s preferences. It’s also about aligning with your marketing objectives, and efficiently utilizing your available resources and capabilities.

In some cases, short-form content might be the best thing for your brand because your audience prefers quick, digestible insights and engaging visuals that fit into their fast-paced lifestyle. 

Meanwhile, in other cases, long-form content will help you establish thought leadership and provide comprehensive solutions – both of which your community prefers over superficial explanations.

And – here’s the kicker – some brands actually need BOTH types of content to engage their audience fully. While the shorter types of content capture immediate attention and drive engagement, the longer content builds deeper relationships and credibility. And that’s where their sweet spot lives: in between capturing fleeting online attention and establishing a trusted voice in their industry.

All of which goes to say…

The key to successful content marketing lies in being open to experimentation and willing to adjust your strategy based on what works – so don’t be afraid to mix things up, try new formats, and ask for feedback. 

Stay curious, stay adaptable, and let your audience’s engagement guide you to your own content marketing sweet spot.

Looking for brand strategy or copy support?

Schedule a call to learn how we can help you with brand messaging, copywriting, or content marketing!

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We’re a brand strategy & copywriting studio for mission-driven, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and Feminist-run brands and businesses who want to increase their visibility and connect with their communities through the power of story and content. We share tips & advice on how to make marketing (and business) fun!

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