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SPI 682: Short Form Content Is a Waste of Time

If you’re trying to build a brand using short-form videos, I’m worried about you. This goes against most of the advice you’ll hear these days, but I’m taking a stand because long-form content is a much better way to build a loyal audience. Listen in and hear me out!

In this session, I’ll walk you through the thought process and experiences that led me to this conclusion. In fact, I recently spoke on stage at Social Media Marketing World on this very topic, and the feedback so far has been incredible.

You see, Shorts are a lot like eating snacks that ultimately leave you unsatisfied. Is that what we want to provide as content creators?

I want to be the chef at a restaurant where you go for an unforgettable experience. At the end of the day, that’s what future superfans are more attracted to!

So join me today as I make the case for long-form content at a time when everyone else is falling short. (See what I did there?) Anyway, tune in and enjoy!

SPI 682: Short Form Content is a Waste of Time

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he’s been recently called the Dad of the Pokemon Creator Community, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: I recently spoke on stage, a big stage, actually, Social Media Marketing World 2023 here in San Diego. It’s an event that I go to every year. It’s in my backyard, so why not? And I love the conference. It’s amazing. Michael Stelzner does an amazing job. And thankfully this year Michael invited me to be on the big stage to do a keynote.

In fact, it was the closing keynote of the event. And what was really interesting about this was he really wanted me to come on and talk about long form content because. I was a guest on his podcast recently and talked a lot about my success with Deep Pocket Monster. We started getting into Shorts versus Longs and he said, pat, why don’t you come to Social Media Marketing World and, and make your case for long form?

And what was interesting is when I got to the event and I opened the program, yeah, I saw that I was the closing keynote, which is always fun and exciting. And I kept a program for keepsake for later, but I also looked at all the other sessions that were happening during the event. And all the ones about video, or at least 98% of them were all about short form content.

In fact, the closing keynote on the first day of the event was Miss Excel, the woman who has millions of subscribers and millions of views for sharing really cool Excel tips. And I was just like, okay, well I gotta tall order here because I have to basically convince everybody that everybody else was wrong.

But I did it in a kind way, right? I, I wanted to make a strong case for long form and less put down short form. And, and like, I’m not putting you down if you do short formm, but I want you to put down your short form content. And what I mean by that is I’m very, very strong, very, very much at the camp, and I’m taking a stand on this.

I’m planning my flag that short form, I’m, I’m worried about you if you’re doing short form, and I would recommend you focus your energy and effort into long form. Yes. With short form content, you can get in front of a lot of people. Yes. With short form content, you can gain a large amount of subscribers over a short period of time, but it’s not the same kind of subscribers as you would get with your long form content because long form content allows you to attract the people who are gonna be superfans, loyal, long-term superfans customers, students who are gonna wave your flag really high. And I wanna share with you an analogy that I used on stage that got so much feedback, I had so many people come up to me, even still today, people who were in the audience. There was maybe 1500, maybe a thousand cuz it was the last day. Some people leave, but a thousand people, let’s say in the audience still today people messaging me, saying, man, that that analogy, that that metaphor you made with short form versus long form really made an impact.

And I shared a YouTube video about this as well, and that got a ton of feedback and a lot of positive feedback, but also a lot of discussion that that was the beauty of, and I, I talk about this all the time, right? The idea that you gotta take a stand, you got to have a position in this space that you’re in because if you don’t have a position, you’re just moving around, you’re floating.

Nobody really knows what to grasp onto. Nobody knows what you are about because you keep floating. And so I am here today officially here on the SPI podcast, taking a stand that long form content is better than short form. If you are doing short form content, I would say okay, like that’s, that’s okay.

But I think you’d be better off creating long form content. I think you would get much more ROI and with where things are going in the world with short form, yes, I know attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. TikTok reels, shorts, et cetera. But let’s talk about reels really quick before I get into this metaphor.

Instagram will soon be favoring photos again because they went to, this is was an announcement from Meta. A K A, the artist formally known as Facebook. They said that they put too much effort into Reels, and yes, Reels are getting a lot of views, Reels are getting a lot of minutes, reels are getting a lot of attention from people.

But that’s not converting into dollars. And if it’s not converting into dollars for the larger company, it’s also not gonna convert into larger dollars for you. And it’s not just all about the money, right? But as maybe we’ve seen in the past when a larger company whose sandbox you were playing and decides to move or shift their focus elsewhere, your work there changes.

As a result, your reach changes, the algorithm changes, right? I mean, even TikTok, TikTok is now opening up, what, 3, 5, 10 minute videos. Now they’re, they’re trying to come into YouTube land. This is so great because I’ve been doing longform YouTube videos since 2009. I dabbled in short form. I even did a little experiment.

I didn’t like, it didn’t feel good and I didn’t get any waves. And, and here’s the thing, when you, when you hit a wave on short form content, like let’s say TikTok, I mean, you gotta, you gotta keep feeding the machine or else the machine will stop feeding you. And that’s not a great place to be versus a lot of YouTube videos that I filmed even over a decade ago.

Still continue to get views, still continue to gain subscribers for me and still continue to pay me. Can’t say the same about shorts or reels or tiktoks and yes, again, you can get in front of audiences and yes, those people could potentially convert into customer subscribers, students, et cetera. But the type of subscriber, the type of customer that you want is one who is loyal, long term, feels like they’re a part of a community.

Short form content is like a snack. It’s like you’re offering a little snack, a little piece of candy for people to consume, and then they want consume another one, and then they want to consume another one. And that’s like a person swiping to the next one, into the next one. All of a sudden, a person’s two hours in.

Maybe you’ve experienced this before. I know I have. You’re two hours into a TikTok rabbit hole and you just feel bloated with stuff, not really satisfied, and you’ve just wasted all this time going from one video to the next. To the next, and your brain is all mushy. And one video, you’re happy, another one you’re sad, another one you’re curious, and it’s just going boom, boom, boom, boom.

It’s like eating snacks. Right. As the content creator, I don’t wanna give those snacks. I wanna be the chef or the restaurant owner whose patrons come in, sit down and have an experience. They have a several course meal. They dine with other people who are there. They have drinks, there’s appetizers. They love it.

They savor it. Then there’s dessert at the end and the stuff in the middle. And it doesn’t matter what you like to eat, you want to be full. You wanna have nutritious meals, and that’s where long form content comes in. It is the full course meal, the one that delivers a lot of value that takes a person through a story or through enough information that can help them move forward.

And yeah, we get these little tips here and there, but again, those are like snacks. Those are like snacks and I don’t want to be the, it’s like the equivalent of a house that gives away Halloween candy, right? Kids come over, ding dong, trick or treat, and it’s like, okay, they get the candy and you could, you could have the best candy on the block.

You could literally have the best candy on the block. And yes, every year a person might come back and wanna get that same candy, but guess what? If your house were to change or you were to move, or no longer give away that candy, well, a person’s just gonna move on and get candy elsewhere, right? They’re not going to riot because you don’t have any more candy to give away, or you’ve stopped giving away that candy.

They’re just gonna move on. And that’s what happens when you stop creating on these shortform platforms. People just move on, their lives keep going versus. The restaurant that you’ve been dining at for years, you’ve taken your friends to you, all of a sudden it’s going to shut down. You’re gonna fight for the life of that restaurant.

You’re going to start a almost said OnlyFans, but that’s not what I meant. I meant a what’s the, oh my gosh, GoFundMe. Why is my head with OnlyFans? Oh my God. I guess I’ll keep that in here. This is real life people. Never been on OnlyFans. Anyway, a GoFundMe, right? Save this restaurant. That’s what’s gonna happen because you’ve, you’ve had patrons and fans, super fans fall in love with the kind of dishes or the more than that, the experience that you’ve offered them.

There’s only so much experience you can offer somebody in a 60 second or less clip. So this metaphor, this analogy, if you will, I keep using those things interchangeably, even though I know there’s a literal difference. I don’t know it off the top of my head, but what I do know is that this comparison, there we go.

This comparison of short form versus long form or snack versus full meal really resonated with people at this event. It really resonated with the YouTube audience. You saw my video on the Pat Flynn YouTube channel, and I hope it resonates with you and it’s great because I’ve, I’ve seen a lot of people ever since I’ve taken a stand on this, thank me for taking a stand, people thinking the same thing, but not really having anybody of any authority to base this off of this decision of theirs.

Unless you have that. Sometimes we feel like we have to keep doing it anyway, so I’m giving you permission to tell beautiful stories with long form content, and that could be podcasts. Why? Probably I love podcasts so much. It could be a YouTube video. Long form content creates long term fans. Now, fun fact to finish off here.

Guess where I got that comparison from ChatGPT. It’s probably the most helpful thing that so far ChatGPT has offered, and it’s something that I’m using that tool for all the time now. Metaphors, people love analogies and metaphors. It’s a quick and easy way to understand new things. And ChatGPT just has this wonderful way of coming up with different ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of myself.

And I’m not afraid to admit that I didn’t think of that. I thought of the prompt. So in a sense, I was the root for that thought. Or could we even call it a thought? A the, the prompt, which then created the list of 10 different analogies that I then borrowed one from to then use at the, in the presentation.

And I’m not afraid to admit it, because guess what? It’s made an impact. It’s made an impact and hopefully it’s made an impact on you. And the cool thing about this again, is that this has started discussion. I’ve noticed that on that YouTube video that I published, there were a lot of people who disagreed with me, and you might disagree with me as well.

And that is okay. That is a beautiful thing. Because there is a line in the sand, we can now have a discussion on either side, hopefully respectful. I wouldn’t imagine anything else with a person who’s listening to this audience, and hopefully you wouldn’t imagine anything else but a respectful conversation with me in person.

And if we do disagree on something, then great. We could both learn how each other thinks. It allows us to better understand our position. I’m not gonna try to change your mind, but I will better position myself. To make the case and I will be open to other other things. I know Keenya Kelly is probably screaming at me right now who is a person who I’ve had on the show to talk about TikTok and reels and shorts quite a bit.

Brock Johnson perhaps is also screaming at me, but they’re screaming respectfully. That I know because we’re friends and they are on their side of their line, and I love that too. So anyway, that’s my side. What do you think at @PatFlynn on Twitter or Instagram. Let me know what you think. Thank you for listening in on this Friday episode where we like to go a little bit deeper, a little bit more personal, not interview like we have on Wednesday, but we do have an interview coming.

So if you haven’t yet, hit subscribe. Hit subscribe. You’ll hear from me every Friday. Sometimes we bring some guest teachers here on the podcast as well. Maybe one day that could be you, but check out SPI Pro. That’s where we get ’em from. That is our community of people who have businesses who are wanting to connect, network, and share ideas with each other, and mastermind with each other.

To go to, you can find that. Or if you want some amazing courses and access to all of them, hit up our All Access Pass. You will not regret it, I promise you. Cheers, everybody. Take care. I’ll see you the next one. Peace.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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