Video Star Wannabe: How to Cook Up a Spicy Viral Short-Form Video


Our attention spans are getting shorter, and so are our videos. Today, short-form videos are the secret to winning the attention of your fans – and their fans. And the social media titans know it. From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, every major platform has rolled out short-form video functionality. Even Pinterest and LinkedIn are in on the game.

Done well, short-form videos are a great way to connect with fans, share information and build your brand. But like any new medium, a short-form video comes with its own tricks and challenges.

So how do you craft a short-form video that gets replayed – and re-shared? We’ve looked to the OG of short-form videos – the cooking world – for tips and inspiration.

Here’s our recipe for short-form video success.

Prepping the Ingredients

A bingeable video starts with some basic prep work. Here’s how to position yours for fan consumption.

  • Go shopping. Prepare the ingredients for your short-form video ahead of time. Know what you want the end result to be – and make sure you have everything you need to make it happen.
  • Plan your menu. Know what your audience is hungry for. Give them what they want, but don’t feel constrained. You can experiment a bit just so long as it’s to their tastes.
  • Work to a recipe. Short doesn’t mean free of structure. Craft your short-form using existing exemplars as a basis, and your finished product will go down a treat.
  • Add some spice. Bland doesn’t make friends – or get reshares. Spice up your video with a zingy insight or a fresh framing device, and you’ll make your mark. Fun is right up there with salt, fat, acid and heat!
  • Rise to the occasion. Go big or go home. You want to whip up something everyone’s talking about – and that everyone wants the recipe for.
  • Assign a chef. Too many cooks can spoil even the greatest video idea. Assign a head chef, a sous chef, and some kitchen hands – and be clear about everyone’s roles and responsibilities.

Tasting Notes

Today’s audiences have sophisticated palates. A one-note option will leave them unsatisfied – and going in search of a more filling choice. Here’s how to ensure a “bellissimo” experience.

  • Appetizers set the tone. Your opener cleanses the palate and primes people for what’s to come. What’s the best opener for your video?
  • Build anticipation throughout. Guide your audience so that they know the best is still to come. What will be your tour de force moment?
  • Finish with dessert. Save the best till last, and let it linger on the palate. What takeaway or understanding do you want to leave your audience with? You want your viewers to stop in their tracks.
  • Backstory adds flavor. Share some personal details – was the recipe cooked using home-grown ingredients or from your grandmother’s recipe book? A personal perspective makes for a flavorful video.

Plating It Up

Taste is critical, but the plating is what separates the good from the Michelin-starred. Here’s how to ensure that your video shines.

  • Let it rest. Don’t serve up your video right away. Sit on it for a bit to make sure it’s exactly how you want it. If not, re-edit or re-shoot.
  • Presentation matters. Expend as much effort on the presentation as on the cooking. Your video needs to look good just as much as it needs to be good.
  • Keep it snack-sized. Don’t supersize your videos. Portion them out so each video has one topic and one takeaway.
  • Finger food or sit down meal? Know how much time your audience has, and serve them accordingly. Multiple courses might be the way to go – or just quick drinks and finger foods.
  • Yesterday’s leftovers are today’s special. Video is expensive. Don’t throw out content when you can recut it or repurpose it for future videos. Keep your extras and reuse the crowd favorites.

If your first effort isn’t a smashing success, don’t fret. Chefs spend years of their lives perfecting their craft. But by taking your cues from others, being mindful of your audience and paying attention to both taste and presentation, you’ll be well on your way to cooking up a tasty short-form video that will get fans coming back for seconds.

Need some help shoring up your short-form video skills? Get in touch!

See Also:

Why You Should Embrace Video Now Rather Than Later

And, Action! How to Make a Business Explainer Video

How To Tell Your Brand’s Story

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