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May 6, 2014 (Updated: March 2, 2020)
Anyone who follows major content marketing and social media blogs has read about the importance of diversifying content. “People learn in different ways,” they say. “Video isn’t as expensive as you think,” they implore. While those are valid points, it’s sometimes just not realistic to create different forms of content, and that’s okay. You can still rake the skills that you have to create gold, all you have to do is change up the length.
Pixar is one of the most beloved examples of this. Not only do they create warm-fuzzy movies like Toy Story, Monster’s Inc. and Up, they also melt hearts with their short films. In just a couple minutes (and usually without and dialogue) Pixar can reduce an audience to tears or have viewers doubled over in laughter. This is because at its core, it’s a company that specializes in adorable animated films. It doesn’t matter if they’re two hours or two minutes long, the content is the same quality.
Pixar isn’t the only studio looking to shorten its content offering in order to diversify. Last week, DreamWorks announced its plan to create short form content which it will post to YouTube. This will both generate revenue in the form of ad sales and boost its social game. The content will feature daily vlog-like entries from much-beloved characters like Puss in Boots from Shrek, reports the Wall Street Journal.
DreamWorks also plans to create content with original characters as a way to test their popularity instead of creating major (high cost) movies and hoping for the best. This “beta testing” also allows DreamWorks to shift its revenue stream and not rely on silver scream blockbusters (like Shrek and Madagascar) to make a profit. The WSJ noted that three out of the last four DreamWorks films have been flops, which add up to major company losses.
Diversifying content length adds opportunities for an increased following, alternative revenue, and idea testing.
Many blogs believe a longer word count or video is better for search because it’s more in-depth and is relevant to the audience’s needs. This is true; however, short content is shareable and easier to digest. Challenge yourself to create original content on Facebook or Twitter that still helps and informs your followers. If you do video, experiment with Vine and Instagram video. Like DreamWorks, this will help your social media presence while diversifying your skill set and portfolio – without having to leave your comfortable medium.
Chipotle has had an active YouTube account for a few years now, and you can find interviews, promotional content, and videos explaining its food policies in the archives. The most popular of these videos have more than 100,000 views, with the 2011 “Back to the Start” ad raking in more than 8 million views. Chipotle’s YouTube presence is healthy, but it wanted to make a bigger impact and move from social media to native advertising.
Enter, Farmed and Dangerous. Chipotle paid to run a video series on Hulu that told a story of a corporate food industry cover-up and a whistleblower who exposes everything. The message was that major fast food meat providers litter their products with toxic chemicals and preservatives, while Chipotle only uses farm-fresh ingredients. While the video series had mixed reviews, it was a big step for brands that want to leave the short-form world of YouTube and create long-form, professional-grade content.
You don’t have to create and produce your own Hulu series to elongate your content. If you have a regular vlog series, try doing a webinar or interview and post the longer content. Follow the shares, views, and comments to see how it fares compared to the other content.
If you normally write short blog posts, consider creating in-depth guides or take your content and compile an eBook. This long-form content will continue to drive traffic months later if it’s a helpful resource that isn’t easily found or explained on the Internet.
While a children’s book by Pixar might be cute (as long as it’s original content and not a merchandise ploy) it doesn’t make sense for the company to diversify its product into written content. Diversification is good, it just doesn’t have to be as drastic as you think.
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