How To Easily Curate Short Form Video Clips In Order To Rise Above The Noise Of The Internet
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Over the last four months, I’ve found, produced, and published 100+ short videos. These clips have reached 2.6M+ people on LinkedIn and now 55,000+ people daily on this newsletter.
I’m now convinced that curating short form video presents one of the best opportunities for thought leaders that has existed in the last 10 years. And, I don’t say this lightly. Over the last decade, I’ve done a ton of experimentation, which has given me a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Here is a summary of my experiments…
Organic content and ads (I spent $100,000+ on ads)
Many platforms (millions of views on LinkedIn, Quora, Medium, YouTube, Twitter, etc)
Many mediums (visuals, videos, text, audio)
Many formats (quotes, memes, graphs, video clips, vlog, questions, podcast, etc)
Many lengths (quotes, 400-word posts, 1,000-word posts, 2,500-word posts, 5,000+ word posts)
With that context, this article is split into three parts…
The power of short form video
The power of curating video clips
How to find hidden gem, viral video clips (for paid subscribers)
Let’s jump in.
7 reasons why I think short form video is a once in a decade opportunity
Below is a summary the top 7 reasons:
Editing video is way easier than you think
Social media algorithms love short form videos
Short form video is a limited-time opportunity
Short form video is engaging to consume
Short form videos can be combined into longer videos
Short form video helps you research longform content
Finding video clips is way easier than you think
With this context set, I’m going do a deep dive on each reason…
#1: Editing video is way easier than you think
One of the reasons I put off learning video for so long is that I didn’t want to have to learn yet another medium and set of tools.
But, when I came across Streamlabs Podcast Editor, all of a sudden I was producing video in minutes without training. And I realized that my assumption about the difficulty of video was just plain wrong.
Editing video with Streamlabs’s tool is like editing text in a word processor. For example, to edit the video below, I just edit the text on the left and then the video on the right automatically updates. More specifically, if I delete a word from the transcript, it automatically clips that part of the video. If edit the spelling of a word in the transcript, it updates the subtitle in the video.
#2: Social media algorithms love short form videos
All of the social media platforms are competing against each other to have the best newsfeed algorithms.
Therefore, when a new format starts working on one platform, all of the other platforms copy it. So when TikTok went from nothing to 1+ billion users in just a few years, the other social media platform took notice.
In 2020, the two other big social media platforms (YouTube and Instagram) copied TikTok and made short form videos a key part of their algorithm. In other words, they gave a boost in newsfeed reach to short form video and decreased the reach of other formats accordingly. Today, all of the other platforms like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter have also hopped on the short form video bandwagon.
The #1 content creator in the world, Mr Beast, explains what a unique moment this is in the clip below…
#3: Short form video is a limited-time opportunity
Make hay while the sun shines.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve created content that has gotten millions of views on Quora, Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and Twitter. Having this much successful experience across so many platforms has given me a unique perspective.
More specifically, I now understand that once something unique works, the advantage you get from it disappears in 2-3 years. The reason is that once everyone knows that something works, there is a mad dash to do it. As a result, it gets crowded. What once used to be a unique advantage becomes table stakes for participating. And the effectiveness of the approach goes down by 3-5x.
While there are hundreds of millions of people now creating short form video, almost all of it is either for entertainment or for general inspiration. There are only thousands of niche experts (if that) who regularly create short form videos.
One of the great social media content creators over the last 15 years explains this at a deeper level…
#4: Short form video is engaging to consume
With video, you can see and hear the person speaking. You can hear the tone of their voice. You can see their body language. You can see their micro-facial expressions. This makes content more compelling and easier to consume.
Not only that, it’s possible to watch video or listen to the audio of video while doing other things like cleaning, driving, exercising, or water).
Finally, short form video is powerful because it cuts out all of the fluff and gets right to the most interesting and important part.
All of these benefits combined drastically increases the size of your audience.
#5: Short form videos can be combined into longer videos
Let’s say that you collect and post one short video clip per day for an entire year.
So, let’s just pretend that you have 365 videos on 4 topics from 7 people.
You can now think of these videos as “lego blocks” which you can use to create longer videos. For example, you could create the following longform video compilations:
[PERSON]’s Top 10 Mental Models
10 Hacks On [TOPIC] From Experts
How To Get [BENEFIT]
The top video clipper that I’m aware of who is doing this at scale is Evan Carmichael. Here are two videos of his so you can see what the longer form videos look like in practice:
Carmichael’s YouTube channel now has 3.66M subscribers.
#6: Short form video helps you research longform content
You might be saying to yourself, “I don’t want to create short form videos of other people’s idea. I want to create longform blockbuster articles with my own ideas.”
That’s great. So do I.
But, here’s the problem with research. In my experience, to create a blockbuster, viral, research-backed article takes dozens of hours of research. Not only that, I don’t end up using most of the research in the actual article.
Video changes the equation. As I research, I can post something everyday. Therefore, I’m now using 90% of the research I do on the day I find it. More specifically, every time I learn about a topic or person that seems important to know, I scour YouTube for relevant interviews and speeches. Then, I publish the best, most relevant clip.
The mental model at work here is called Selling Your Sawdust. With this approach, you take the byproduct of your idea creation workflow that you’d normally throw away, and you turn it into its own product.
The metaphor comes from lumber mills selling the sawdust on the ground after cutting wood…
It’s also called Using The Whole Buffalo…
Let’s do the math of what Selling Your Sawdust means at a tangible level.
More specifically, let’s say that it takes 50 hours to publish a blockbuster longform article. That’s…
10 hours to write the article
40 hours to research the article
Now let’s say it takes 2 hours to find and produce a single video clip and the publish it on 3 different platforms.
This means that after 50 hours, you wouldn’t only have one finished article, you’d also have 20 videos, which means 60 pieces of high-quality video content.
Granted, it would be more like 60 hours, because this approach does require time producing the video clips that doesn’t directly help the longform article. On the other hand, you can actually embed many of the video clips in your longform article.
#7: Finding video clips is way easier than you think
With all of the AI tools, Chrome extensions, and search filters, finding video clips is way easier than it sounds. Here’s why…
You can search for clips directly. With TikTok and YouTube Shorts, you don’t have to watch an hour long video to find a 2-minute clip. You can search for clips directly.
YouTube often highlights the most watched part of clips. Therefore, rather than watching clips start to finish, you can jump to the parts o the clips that other find most engaging.
You can watch video super fast. With the Video Speed Controller Chrome extension, you can watch video at 2-3x speed. This feature is incredibly helpful for skimming long videos to find the clips you want to go slower on.
Many of these tools just became accessible in the last 1-2 years.
Now, that you understand the power of short form video, I’d like to make the case for why I’m a huge fan of clipping expert videos rather than creating my own from scratch (at this point)…
The Overlooked Power Of Clipping Other People’s Videos
You might be wondering, why would I want to clip other people’s ideas when I could just share my own? In this section, I share why I think clipping other people’s videos is so powerful (even for established experts)…
Clipping the best ideas of the best experts helps you skip years of trial-and-error
Clipping videos is easier than producing your own
Clipping helps you take advantage of the Celebrity Effect
You can use clips to support your ideas
Clipping helps you become great fast
#1: Clipping the best ideas of the best experts helps you skip years of trial-and-error
Nearly 1 billion videos have been posted to YouTube since it was created. In addition, 720,000+ hours of video are uploaded every day.
As a thought leader, you can think of each video that someone else has posted as an experiment. And you can think of YouTube as a platform that reveals the results of all of these experiments publicly.
This is a big deal that’s often overlooked.
What this means is that rather than you having to do trial & error with the odds against you, you can find the very best video clips that have ever been created in your niche that have been proven to resonate and go viral. Then, you can improve them by:
Improving their production (subtitles, b-roll, audio, clipping out fluff, etc)
Providing context (summarizing, reviewing, applying the ideas in the clip)
Creating a better hook (title, thumbnail, trademark idea)
As a result, rather than failing to gain any traction, you can easily 5x your reach off the bat.
#2: Clipping videos is easier than producing your own
Producing your own videos involves additional skills, time, mindset, and tools:
Skills (verbal communication, video prescence, backdrop staging and lighting, personal style)
Tools (high-quality video camera, high-quality microphone, background staging equipment)
Time (doing your makeup, shaving, dressing up, etc)
Mindsets (comfort and confidence speaking in front of camera)
Clipping is a much easier way to get started and build momentum and skills. As you gain more traction, you’ll be able to transition into being in front of the camera seamlessly.
#3: Clipping helps you take advantage of the Celebrity Effect
Given two people sharing the same idea, if one is a celebrity in your niche and the other is a stranger, the version with the celebrity is going to resonate at a much deeper level. This is because of the power of familiarity and authority.
So, if you want to gain traction, a proven way is to borrow other people’s celebrity. This is why blockbuster films have many celebrities, and it’s why companies have celebrity spokespeople.
You can do this by clipping videos.
#4: You can use clips to support your ideas
Video clips can also be used to build up your ideas in several ways…
Case studies and examples of why your ideas works
Reasons why your ideas work
Research on why your idea
How to advice on how to apply our idea (mindset, hacks, workflow, etc.)
A common progression is something like this…
Clipping other people’s video and contextualizing with text
Clipping other people’s video and reacting to it on video
Creating your own stand-alone video with your own ideas with other people’s clips as supporting footage
#5: Clipping helps you become great fast
Ira Glass, creator of This American Life, has an amazing video where he talks about the gap between taste and talent that creatives face. He says…
Nobody tells [this to] people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.
We get into it [creative work] because we have good taste, but there's a gap.
For the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good. It's trying to be good. It has ambition to be good, but it's not quite that good.
The brutal reality is that it can take years to bridge the taste-talent gap. What this means is that you’ll have enough taste to recognize that the quality of your work isn’t up to what you’d like it to be. But, not enough talent to bridge the gap.
The beautiful thing about clipping though is that it eliminates much of this gap. Rather than waiting for years to produce something you love, you can use your taste now to find and share amazing video clips.
Below is the full 2-minute video…
Now that you understand the power of short form video and the power of curating video clips, let me help you overcome the #1 challenge people have to getting started with video clips…
How To Find Hidden Gem, Viral Video Clips (for paid subscribers)
The very first step to using short form video is finding video clips. After spending thousands of hours perfecting a research process, here are my tips to help you find two amazing video clips every hour, which is my current rate. And more importantly, this strategy will make sure that you NEVER run out of interesting clips, no matter how small or “boring” your industry is…