How to Turn Long Videos into Viral Shorts: The Ultimate Guide 2023
We talked with more than 60 expert video editors who charge more than 100 USD per hour, and did hundreds of social media tests.
This actionable guide will save you at least hundreds of dollars and hours spent on editing, and help you grow 10x faster organically.
Short videos are becoming increasingly popular. From TikTok, to Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, people are consuming more short videos than ever before. This shift in consumption patterns has made short videos a powerful tool for businesses and creators to grow.
However, creating short videos from scratch can be time consuming. That's where the art of turning long videos into short clips comes in.
By converting your long videos into shorter, more digestible pieces of content, you can reach a wider audience and grow your followers 10x faster.
Moreover, as more platforms are rolling out monetization programs, like YouTube Shorts revenue sharing and Instagram Reels Play bonus, creating short videos can help you expedite your monetization speed.
In this blog post, we'll teach you all the secrets of repurposing long videos into shorts that help you grow 10x faster. We will use examples and advice from the best video editors who charge hundreds of dollars per hour, so that you can become a short video expert yourself. Let's dive in!
⭐️ Turning videos into shorts has two crucial parts
Repurposing long videos into short clips can be divided into two parts: curation and editing.
- Curation: It involves carefully selecting the most valuable and relevant content from long-form videos to be turned into shorter, more easily digestible pieces.
- Editing: It involves polishing the curated short videos to ensure they look, sound, and flow perfectly and seamlessly.
Repurposing long videos into short videos follows the proverbial 80-20 rule: 80% of the effort is dedicated to curating, and 20% of the effort is dedicated to editing. And 93% of all successful short videos follow the structure of "hook-value bomb-CTA". Let's take a deep dive into what you should do in each step.
⭐️ Curation: The foundation of video repurposing
As mentioned above, curation is all about carefully selecting the most relevant part from your long videos suitable for short clips. In this part, you need to do research, reimagine, and restructure.
As the first step of curation, you need to conduct thorough research on two fronts:
1. Analyze what's trending on social media
Look for topics that are emerging across multiple channels, and pay close attention to any trending hashtags or keywords. This information can be extremely valuable in helping you create content that is more likely to be shared, engaged with, and ultimately, rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Once you have a good sense of what's trending, you need to analyze your video content in relation to the latest social and marketing trends. If your video touches upon any of the topics, great! This means you're already on the right track to creating content that will be relevant and engaging to your audience. If your video doesn't directly address any of the trending topics, you can add text and image overlays about trending topics into your videos to make them relevant.
2. Know your brand strategy & target audience
In addition to analyzing trending topics on social media, it's essential to know your brand strategy and target audience. Your brand strategy should inform the tone, messaging, and overall aesthetic of your videos. And knowing your audiences' demographics, interests, and pain points can help you repurpose content that speaks directly to them.
For instance, Alex Hormozi's short videos are consistent with his overall brand message of "hard work, discipline, and results." He emphasizes the importance of taking action, setting goals, and putting in the effort required to achieve success. This aligns perfectly with the values and aspirations of his target audience, who are primarily aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.
Based on our analysis of tens of thousands of short videos, short videos perform 74% better if the content isn't just one continuous sequence from the long videos. This leads to the second part of curation: When you repurpose a long-form video into shorts, you need to reimagine it based on your research insights.
"Don't just repurpose it. Reimagine it."
What does it mean?
It's important to remember that short videos are not simply truncated versions of longer videos. Instead, they require a completely different approach to storytelling. This means breaking the video up into smaller, bite-sized chunks that can stand on their own, while still conveying the overarching message of the video.
1. Divide the long form video into chapters
The most effective way to reimagine a long video is to identify content pillars and clip the video into segments based on these pillars. Content pillars are the main themes or ideas that the video is built around, and breaking the video up into chapters based on these themes can help create a more cohesive and engaging viewing experience.
2. Pick the chapters that would best fit the audience
It's important to keep in mind that not all chapters will work well as standalone videos. When selecting chapters to feature in your short videos, you should choose ones that can stand on their own, while still providing context and relevance to the overall message of the video. This may require some experimentation and testing to determine which chapters work best as standalone videos and which ones require additional context.
Here are five common types of content that would best attract the audience:
- Mindset: Content that probes into people's belief systems.
- Problem: Content that talks about issues people face and what they are trying to solve. Controversial problems usually attract more views
- Desires: Content that talks about people's goals and dreams, and how they are achieving them.
- Objections: Content that talks about why people are not doing something, or why people are opposing something.
- Method: Content that teaches valuable how-to tips and hacks.
3. Remember to consider which platform you will share the content
Another important consideration when reimagining long videos as short content is the platform on which the content will be shared. Different platforms have different requirements and limitations, and it's important to tailor your content to each platform's specific needs. For example, Instagram and YouTube both have a maximum video length limit of 60 seconds, while TikTok's maximum length is 60 seconds for most videos and up to 10 minutes for some content creators. By understanding the specific requirements of each platform, you can create short videos that are optimized for maximum impact and engagement.
Once you have selected the right clips, you need then to restructure everything, which is arguably the most important part of curation. 93% of all successful short videos follow the structure that includes a clear hook, concise body with a value bomb, and a strong call to action (CTA).
1. The AIDA storytelling formula
The reason why the hook-value bomb-CTA structure makes so many successful short videos is because it follows the AIDA formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
AIDA is one of the most standard and widely-used copywriting formulas. It's been used for direct mail, television and radio, sales pages, landing pages, and so much more storytelling.
This formula is effective because it utilizes behavioral psychology in every step: First, you capture the reader's attention, then pique their interest with some intriguing information. You then encourage them to learn more, and last, call the readers to take action.
And if you look closer, the hook-value bomb - CTA structure follows the AIDA formula:
- Hook is used to capture viewers' attention and arouse their interest
- Value bomb is used to deliver the benefits of your product/service/idea and proof that it does what you say
- CTA is used for a response from viewers, like subscribing to your account, or placing an order
2. Start with an attention-grabbing hook
The hook is arguably the most important part of your short video. Your video should go straight to it in the first 3-5 seconds to grab the audience's attention right off the bat.
Hook sentences should be straightforward and clear. They perform the best if they are controversial, motivational, intriguing, or relatable.
Here are 7 best-performing types of hook that make your audiences stay:
- Suprise/controversy: Present something unexpected, something that goes against common thinking, something that are controversial. This can tease your viewers and build anticipation. A good example is: Guns should be banned across the world.
- Questions: Human beings are always intrigued by questions. And you should use this psychological tactic in your hook creation too. A good example is: Do you know dogs are better pets than cats?
- Proposition for "YOU": People love seeing content that directly addresses to them, or "You". A good example is: A lot of advice will set YOU up for failure. These are things you should ignore.
- How-to: "How to" signals the content has something valuable to teach, and people love useful information. A good example is: Here is how to beat YouTube algo and make money on YouTube.
- Provide value: Your hook should have keywords that let the audience instantly know that you are providing concrete and actionable values. For instance: "Here are the secrets to xxx", "I'm about to share with you xxx", and "X simple steps/tips to".
- Negatives: Negatives tap into our insecurities in a powerful way. Using negative words like “stop” and “don’t” often work because everyone wants to find out if there’s something they’re doing that they should stop. A great example from John Harrison is: Don't make these LinkedIn algo mistakes to lose your clients.
- Numbers/"for free": Numbers work well in hooks because it's a form of factual knowledge and expresses predictability. And when you add "for free" next to numbers, you will hit the sweet spot. A good example is: I earned $1M+ last year in sales. Here are my free tips.
What should you do if you can't find a good hook in your original video?
Don't worry. Here are 2 free tips that have helped many creators create short videos with 100,000+ views:
- Add a floating title as the written hook. This would compensate for the lack of hook within the conversation
- Record your hook separately. In this great masterclass from Ryan Magin, a professional video editor running a world renowned TikTok agency that manages the TikTok accounts for famous influencers such as Grant Cardone, Alex Hormozi, Beard Brand, AppSumo, AlphaM and more, he breaks down a 9.1 million-view video, he explained that if you can't find the hook in the video, you might need to add that after the talking. And this tactic helped his video gain more than 9 million views.
3. Add a value bomb to the body
After you start with a strong hook, you need to continue with a concise body that provides context and value bombs. Specifically, you need to:
- Remove all the redundancy and elaborations that seem to be saying just the same thing.
- Provide value. This might involve sharing information or insights that are relevant and useful to your audience, or providing an entertaining and engaging experience that keeps them hooked.
4. Use CTA to end strong
Finally, it's important to include a clear CTA at the end of the video. This might involve directing viewers to a specific landing page or website, inviting them to follow you on social media, or encouraging them to leave a comment or share the video with others.
⭐️ Editing: Make your videos clean and engaging
After you have a well-curated short video that has a hook at the beginning, a value bomb in the middle, and a CTA in the end, you then work on editing the short videos to ensure they have maximum impact and engagement.
🧻 Clean up the cut
It's important to clean up the cut of your video to ensure that it flows smoothly and looks professional. This might involve removing any awkward pauses or mistakes, or adding transitions to help the video flow more seamlessly.
👀 Add visual elements
To make your short videos even more engaging, you should consider adding visuals like subtitles, emojis, and B-rolls. These elements can effectively help break up the video and make it more visually interesting, while also providing additional context and information to viewers. They can also increase your engagement, specifically:
- Captions increase watch time by 45% on average
- Highlighted keywords can keep your audience engaged and increase watch time by 65% on average
- Emojis increase numbers of views by 42% on average
To get inspiration for how to use visuals effectively, it can be helpful to look at celebrities like Alex Hormozi, who are known for his engaging and visually appealing content.
Let's take a look at another great example from Ryan Magin, who posted a TikTok video earlier this year that hits more than 1 million views. In the video breakdown where he dived into the reasons for virality, he said that using relevant images and GIFs that compliment his content really helped with virality. For instance, when he mentioned the movie Fast and Furious, relevant images and b-rolls showed up on screen. These visual elements not only capture viewers' attention and provide additional context, they also leave a lasting impression on viewers and make Ryan's videos more recognizable.
⭐️ Rebrand: An often overlooked tactic
Aside from what's mentioned for repurposing long videos into short videos, one tactic that's often overlooked is rebranding.
Rebranding is about taking a piece of content that's performing and recreating a video with the same idea but with different presentations. This might involve using a different format or style, adding new visuals or graphics, or incorporating different music or sound effects. By experimenting with different approaches to the same content, you can easily ride on the wave of your past video, keep your audience engaged and interested, while also reaching new viewers who may be attracted to the new style or format.
This is a time-tested tactic that many creators have used to succeed, including Gary Vaynerchuk.
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Over 200,000 creators, podcasters, editors and agencies are actively using Opus Clip to make viral short videos in 1 click. Opus Clip is an AI video editor that helps you create viral short videos in 1 click. You can find how creators are using Opus Clip to create, grow and monetize here.
Opus Clip is an AI-powered video repurposing tool that turns long videos into high-quality viral clips for you to share on Tiktok, YouTube Shorts, and Reels to increase social media reach. It leverages big data and the most advanced GPT-3.5 Turbo to analyze your video content in relation to the latest social and marketing trends from major platforms, picks the highlighting moments of your long video, rearranges them into a viral-worthy short and polishes it with dynamic captions, AI-relayout, smooth transition to ensure that the clip is coherent, attention-grabbing, and can go viral.
You can go to www.opus.pro, simply enter your YouTube link, and click "Get clips" to have your clips created for you in minutes.
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About the Author
Rebecca Xu is the Product Marketing Manager at Opus, and a professional simultaneous interpreter. She is a story teller, food lover, globe trotter, and sarcasm connoisseur. She loves learning new things through reading, traveling, and exploring. Most of the time, you can find her either in an ice-cream shop, or on her way to an ice-cream shop.