Am I content with content?

The world of video content is an ever-evolving one, and with a new year comes new trends. But instead of looking through my lens and attempting to predict what hot new trends lie on the horizon, I thought I’d create a sort-of wish list instead. What works well and should be done more? What isn’t being done as often as it should? What should we just get rid of altogether?



More long-form video content


In the current social media climate, “snackable” content is king. For me, as a content creator, that means my run time is mostly limited to 60 seconds, 90 at a push, and anything over that is considered to be on-par with the length of Ben Hur. While I believe that telling a story in a limited time is a great skill to have, it can sometimes feel a bit too limiting, and often means that a lot of quality footage ends up on the cutting room floor. Yes, stats on run-time vs viewer engagement should be taken seriously, but also with a pinch of salt. By limiting ourselves so rigidly, we’re not questioning our audience’s attention span, we’re questioning our ability to keep them engaged. So, if you have an idea that you truly believe in, rip up the rulebook once in a while and take the time to tell your story properly!



More episodic content


If you disagree with the above paragraph, allow me to suggest an alternative. Episodic video content (posted over a matter of days) will allow you tell a more in-depth story, give you some breathing room to get creative and give your audience more of a reason to come back. After all, a cliff-hanger is the oldest trick in the book to keep your audience hooked (and is the only reason I’m still watching The Walking Dead).

Take Snapchat for example. There are some fun story options on there that present themselves as an interactive, episodic game – and brands could take full advantage of this format to create something truly engaging. It would also provide a welcome alternative to my friends’ shaky footage of their entire night out.


Use the square format appropriately


Having video content in square format is a sure-fire way to help grab your audience’s attention as it takes up more space on a phone screen – but be mindful of when it should and shouldn’t be used. If, for example, you have a gorgeous shot of a view from a mountain top, give it the wide aspect ratio it deserves and let the image speak for itself. And, for the love of Spielberg, stop cropping movie trailers to square! I can guarantee the director didn’t shoot the film with the social media campaign in mind so stop tarnishing their hard work and the entire cinematic medium. Though having said that, it’s still preferable than taking a wide video and adding an annoying caption above and below it to make it square. While we’re on the subject…




Far less clickbait


This wholly unimaginative and lazy form of attention grabbing is, frankly, an insult to your audience and makes me want to vomit. You’re absolutely right, I won’t “believe what happened next” as I will have scrolled past your video and its contents will remain a mystery along with crop-circles and how Nicolas Cage managed to get so famous. Similarly, a video that tells me to “wait for it…” will be waiting indefinitely for me to add to their viewing figures.



More parodies


When executed well, a parody is a great way to create some immediate recognition in your video content, and thus keep your audience watching. Why else do you think memes are so popular? They are a constant parody of everything and anything that enters the public eye. At Brazen, we proved that parodies can be successful with our take on that infamous Levi’s laundrette advert – helping Dr Beckmann to attain national coverage. So, in this seemingly ever-miserable world, let’s give the people something to laugh about shall we?



Less “mobile quality” videos


I’ve seen a few articles recently suggesting that brands swap their professionally-shot content in favour of something more akin to smart-phone footage. The argument here is that it will help the audience will relate to the brand more, but MY argument is to stop that sh*t as I will quickly be out of a job if this becomes the norm. Brazen Live will tell me to Brazen Leave and I’ve had quite enough of “Leave” for one lifetime…


So, to sum up: while trends are a great way to see what’s popular and what’s not, don’t just blindly follow them. Remember that every trend started with someone deciding to go against the norm and break the mould. Why can’t that next big trend be started by you?


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About the Author

Matthew Rainford