How to Adapt Keynote Presentations to Short-form Videos

It is easier to retain information from short and succinct videos compared to longer ones

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How often do you watch TED talks? When was the last time you set aside time to watch one? While most of us can safely agree that the 20-minute keynote is an engaging educational experience, it's a time investment that many of us simply will not make unless we're deeply interested in the topic.

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It makes sense that in order to secure interest in a longer video, you need to hook audiences in with bite-sized teasers. The spread of short-form videos has made it necessary to condense the same high-quality information contained in a TED talk or keynote into a series of supplementary clips that support an overarching content strategy.

Different platforms are built for different purposes and are therefore optimised for different video formats. While the optimal length for a video depends on a number of factors, including purpose and audience, a telling sign of where content is headed is the downward trend in the average length of video content produced by brands.

According to the "2019: Videos in Business' report by Vidyard, the average video published by a business has dropped down from 13 minutes in 2016 to 4.07 minutes in 2018. Why? It is simply easier to retain information from short and succinct videos compared to longer ones.

This trend towards shorter videos fits snugly into the 3H (Hero, Hub, and Hygiene) content strategy that we advise our clients to adopt.

Using the traditional TED talk as an example, an informational video is an undertaking that requires multiple cameras to shoot and a significant time investment to watch.

It makes more sense then to shoot a separate interview with the keynote speaker who addresses the key points of their presentation, which can afterward be repurposed into short-form snippets of various lengths. In that context, a vox pop-style video presents a more efficient format for delivering information as the short Q&A format provides effectively retainable information in an easy-to-produce package.

The resulting videos would fall under the Hub and Hygiene tiers, which last around thirty seconds to a minute and are optimised for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, where people tend to spend a shorter amount of time watching videos on their feed. In contrast, presentation videos on YouTube fall into the Hero category.

We've found that Hub and Hygiene videos attract the most engagement when in a square format because they are easier to view on mobile. The basic logic here is to make it as easy as possible for the mobile user to consume the video and retain the information delivered, which is why we limit Hygiene-tier content to a few seconds using a single camera angle.

As we mentioned before, most people won't invest 20 minutes of their day to consume and digest a keynote unless it's about something they're deeply interested in. Long-form videos need to retain audience attention through the dip in attention that occurs in the middle of every clip, so they need more than one camera to take engaging angles of the speaker.

What does this all mean? It means that adapting informational videos and keynotes into short-form videos is absolutely achievable and desirable if the format and content strategy are mindfully chosen for effectiveness. To sum things up in five points:

  1. Film a separate vox-pop on the side of the main keynote with the speaker and/or on the same topic.

  2. Maximise the utility of a single roll by chopping it up into supplementary content that piques interest in the main keynote. Minimum effort, maximum output.

  3. Make sure to deliver bite-sized bits of valuable information containing one or two points at the most.

  4. Use a square format for Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and a landscape format for YouTube.

  5. Take advantage of the 3H strategy and keep your Hygiene-tier videos to under ten seconds. Short is simple, and simple is sweet.

And that's a wrap—a strategy to adapt keynote presentations to short-form videos, and promote them to boot!