How often have you heard this when talking to your colleagues about video:
“It needs to be shorter!”
We are here to tell you something really important: Running time is not an indicator of success. Shorter videos aren’t better. And longer videos aren’t bad videos.
To better understand this thinking, we need to wrap our minds around the fear that our content is boring. See, most brands believe that their content is just . . . content.
They don’t think in terms of story.
They don’t think in terms of narrative.
And they certainly don’t think in terms of creating drama.
All of these characteristics take time to unfold. We call it the “Short Running Time Lie.” It’s a lie because it insinuates that you can make a video "better" simply by making it as short as possible. This is not to say that short videos aren’t great. They have their place in our internet content ecosystem, too.
How do we overcome this running time-based thinking?
First: Put story ahead of all else. What do you want to tell and how do you want to tell it? Who is the narrator? And how much time does the story need to be effectively told?
Second: Stop applying the rules of marketing and advertising to the world of internet video. Instead, apply the rules of storytelling: Focus on keeping the audience engaged from 0:01 until the very last minute, no matter how long it lasts.
Finally: Embrace versions of your video. Maybe you create a long version and a short version. Maybe there’s even a 15-second trailer for your five-minute video. These are great strategies for making the most of your content.
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Internet Video Masterclass is Mighteor’s web show dedicated to helping brands, businesses, nonprofits, startups and everyone in between create more strategic and effective video content for the web. You can see the first season on YouTube and Vimeo.
Elizabeth Giorgi—whose Emmy-winning work has appeared on PBS, The Discovery Channel and more—is the founder and CEO of Mighteor, one of the world's first internet video production companies and a strategic video partner of MSP-C.
Read next: 5 Best Types of Content Marketing for Great Storytelling