The Pros and Cons of Short-Lived Content

Short-lived content is everywhere, no matter the industry. But is the trend worth your time?

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Short-lived content is exactly what it sounds like: content that’s created in real-time, shared, and only available for a set period of time. When Snapchat arrived on the scene, more and more businesses started utilizing the concept of short-lived content. Now, Instagram has jumped on the bandwagon with their popular “Instagram stories” feature, and Facebook quickly followed suit with the ability for users to post short videos or photos available for 24 hours in “Facebook stories.”

As marketers, it can be tempting to focus on evergreen content, as in content that isn’t timely and can be returned to again and again. But short-lived content is having its day in the sun.

Short-lived content is spur of the moment, allowing for less planning and detailed strategy. It also goes away, meaning that it doesn’t all need a specific aesthetic, the way you need to make sure each Instagram post looks good in a feed. Snapchats or Instagram stories can be lighter, sillier, or involve mistakes—they aren’t permanent. Short-lived content can also be a fun way to show the behind-the-scenes efforts at your office and put faces behind products or services. The medium is currently used most by Millennials and high schoolers, so if you’re trying to attract a younger age group, hopping on the short-lived content train might be a great way to go.

On the other hand, there are a few issues with short-lived content, the first and foremost being the entire point of it: It’s short-lived. Creating something awesome on short-lived content simply means it disappears a bit later. There also isn’t much room for editing, save for a few filters, so you won’t come off as clear or polished as you may have hoped. And short-lived content also comes with strict time limits—you can’t post a 30-minute video to Snapchat. Having short content that goes away quickly may also mean a heftier posting schedule, which means taking more time away from doing actual work and devoting it to social media.

But overall, short-lived content has its place. Snapchat and Instagram both continue to grow in popularity, and our falling attention spans seem to give way to a serious short-lived content addiction. It’s definitely a marketing trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon—but it’s up to you and your business how much time and energy you want to pour in.