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SVG Sit-Down: Team Whistle's Noah Weissman on the Rise of Short-Form Video, Social Strategies

19/01/2023

SVG Sit-Down: Team Whistle's Noah Weissman on the Rise of Short-Form Video, Social Strategies TikTok, Meta, YouTube all lean into short-form; successful content is about more than trimming long-form By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director

Thursday, January 19, 2023 - 1:32 pm

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When it comes to social-media content creation and monetization, Team Whistle does it all. Its publisher business is focused on competing with the likes of Bleacher Report or Overtime. Then there is branded content, helping clients spread branding across different types of content. And Magnet is a full-service agency launched last year to focus on social content. SVG Executive Director, Editorial Ken Kerschbaumer sat down with Noah Weissman, EVP, content, Team Whistle, to discuss the latest trends in social- and digital-content creation.

Team Whistle's Noah Weissman: We have very specific format types that work for each platform. There's a sweet spot for that 30-second piece of content that works well for YouTube, Meta, and TikTok.

What are some of the trends you are seeing across your business and clients?

I think Meta, crypto, Web 3.0, and NFTs, all of that stuff is fascinating for us even with the economy shifting a bit. We are gonna keep our eye on that in terms of innovation and keep working there.

For us as a media company in the sports and entertainment world, it's all about shorts. It used to be, we [would] make 200 episodes of an eight-minute show. Now we make 200 episodes and 800 pieces of content that are 30 seconds long. And we're shifting and even trying to hire creators full-time. We're also working on a creator fund ourselves to kind of build out freelancers to make content for us.

One thing to watch is that YouTube shorts are going to start to get monetized in February, and that will be a complete game-changer. When YouTube flips the switch, it will be like a Floyd Mayweather punch to the face: Hey, TikTok creators, that's cute to get a million views, but wouldn't you rather also get $1,000? It's going to be really interesting for us, and one of the reasons we have been intentional on dialing up the shorts creation.

Making shorter content is harder than making long-form. What are some effective ways to approach creating short content that hits all the notes?

It's not a completely different thing: you need a compelling hook and need to get people to tune in and keep the energy in the right place throughout the whole video. It's not necessarily like reinventing the wheel.

There are, however, bespoke nuances. Watching TikTok on your phone, where the algorithm feeds you content, is very different from [watching] YouTube. But the same kind of general themes and science works on both platforms.

One big change is that, five years ago, you would need a team to create graphics and now TikTok has a whole suite of tools for anyone to be a creator. But you need the same ingredients that are in place for long-form documentary, like the story beats and the hooks. You just need to be very intentional on how exactly you're positioning it and use things like jump cuts.

If you are shooting something for mid- or long-form, you need to intentionally set aside 30 minutes to make some sort of short-form content for TikTok. It's not just cutting down assets.

So it's not Hey, let's shoot for 30 minutes and then clip stuff out. You need to spend time creating the concept as opposed to just seeing what happens.

Yeah. A big model for us is planning the work and then working the plan because then you're ready. In that 30-minute segment, we'll even beat out scripts and five different things that the subject can choose from. It's like a content buffet where you have a menu of five things that you might want to work on. Being flexible to work with the talent and then taking multiple at-bats at shooting the video is imperative for us.

TikTok serves the viewer the content that its algorithm suggests the viewer wants, instead of the viewer's making a choice. How does that impact the way content is created to reach the audience you want?

Each of the big platforms on social media is best in class, and it's all about packing the algorithm and understanding how to reverse-engineer it. One thing about TikTok is, they don't punish for frequent publishing so you can publish 10 times, 100 times, even a million times. They're just gonna take the content and serve it to who they think wants it.

It's a little Black Mirror in that it will start to serve you content that you want, and it's fascinating how it works because it's a little bit different from the notification style around YouTube. TikTok is really dialed in on what you like. I don't know how they're scraping the data, but they serve you the right content.

As a publisher, we are dialed in to that and taking as many at-bats as we can, posting 10-15 times a day because it's not hurting like it would on Instagram. In three months, TikTok may change the algorithm, and we'll change accordingly as that's kind of the game there.

Social-media platforms seem to have different sweet spots in terms of age. How can you easily serve out content that works for different demographic groups?

That's one of the biggest challenges that we think about: you and I might have a different consumption habit from a 13-year-old fan that wants to see something different.

We have very specific format types that work for each platform, and, to be honest with you, there's a Venn diagram with a sweet spot for that 30-second piece of content that works well for YouTube, Meta, and TikTok.

Green screens make it easier for TikTok users to create viral videos.

So let's say a player has a great night. We'll go i
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