When you sit down to write a blog, does your mind ever wander to doing video instead, because of the benefits of using video in marketing? Or when you record a video, do you ever think maybe you should be making it a blog too? How do you decide?
In large part, it’s your choice but there are some things to think about in terms of the medium itself and the advantages each can offer.
Video is Personal
I have to admit that I am video shy. Part of it is my nature, part of it is my lack of tech savvy, and yet another part of it is that I do something very non-visual. I write and edit text. So if it’s between a blog and a video, I go blog. (Hence you’re reading this page.)
But we can’t ignore the benefits of using video in marketing, and the staggering statistics that accompany them. It’s undoubtedly a way to go “viral” and while it fuels so much of social media these days, it’s good for businesses too. Depending on your source, you will see statistics that tell you anywhere from 72-86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and a similar number of consumers view their videos before making a purchasing decision. Videos step into our homes and show you exactly what you want to see. That’s why it’s a recommended addition to an effective inbound marketing strategy.
Video is Hot
If you’ve been watching social media, you know that video is lighting up cyberspace. We’ve all heard about TikTok. What started as a platform for ten second videos has now grown to three minutes. Also, according to a Wyzowl State of Video Marketing 2022 report, YouTube continues to be the most widely used video platform for marketers at 87%. Instagram, which has been a popular vehicle for video for the past few years, is on the rise and grew 12% in popularity. Yet one of the most effective vehicles for video marketing is the webinar. About 90% of marketers said it was their most effective tool.
However, video does have its drawbacks and can even backfire if not used correctly. Anyone using video on their website should observe best practices on the platform they are using, whether they’re posting it for social media or right on their webpage.
Interestingly, the best practices for the use of video should help you determine whether it’s the right format for you. For example…
- The right length for a video of any kind is no longer than two minutes. Even on a web page, where people may be coming for more in-depth information, we are still a society with a gnat-like attention span. Shorter video clips get more engagement and allow you to capitalize on the full benefits of using video in marketing.
The length of the video you produce also has to do with your medium. In social media, videos must be short and punchy. One of my social media mentors, Mary Wu, the “Social Media Maven,” is a LinkedIn specialist and recently did a poll of her followers about how they interact with video. She found that the length of a video is an overwhelmingly important factor for 93% of people polled, as to if and when they engage with a video. A small percentage answered they will watch the video if it is about a topic or from a person of importance to them.
People commented that they want to know how long it takes the video to “get to the point.” Which brings me to my next point…
- Cater to the impatient audience. This means get to the point and don’t ramble. Preparing ahead of time and knowing what you have to say is very important so you do not weary your audience, or worst of all, have them click away from your page! When someone clicks “play” they are looking for the information they need, and in many cases, what you promised to deliver. Don’t make them sit through sixty seconds of talking about yourself or how great your services are before you get to what was promised. Instead, skillfully blend that information into what you have to say, if possible.
- If you can, place chapters in the video. YouTube’s Creator studio has a way to easily add “segments” so people can skip to the part of your video they want to see most. This is particularly good for longer videos. If you have a YouTube channel and post the video on it, this is a great practice to follow. Again, this will be appreciated by those out there who want to find the information they need from your video NOW.
- If possible, add captions to your video. Captions (or subtitles) help people watch your video without headphones and in situations where they may need to be quiet (like in a library) or in a loud environment (like on a train). They are also wonderful for people who are hard of hearing. You can upload a caption file or edit the automatically created one from Youtube.
As you can see, videos can be made, following these best practices, on almost any topic. The statistics make a great case for video. So should you ever choose the written word over video?
When Writing Works Best
It’s true that nearly anything presented in written form can be presented in a video format. After all, a picture paints a thousand words, right? However, there may be some solid reasons NOT to do a video.
- When there’s no time or money for video. Sometimes budget or time simply does not provide for video production. True, fast videos can be produced on an iphone but it must be good quality. It may not be the best choice if you are selling professionally-done video services! In these situations, it might be faster and more economical to produce a written piece about a marketing message and a video can be completed later. Like most pieces of content I create for my clients, blogs can easily be repurposed into lots of other marketing collateral, including scripts (or near scripts) for a video that can be produced at another time. I often recommend this to clients.
- When lists or complicated information is involved. Although there are plenty of “top 10” videos out there, if you are imparting detailed information in list form, sometimes it makes sense to use a written blog. That way, nobody will ever have to “take notes” or download/request a transcript after watching the video, in order to capture all the information they need. Sometimes complex information can be presented more clearly in video format, but other times, the written format is appreciated to describe different scenarios or “show the work” of solving a problem, step by step.
- When a still photo would be appreciated as much as a moving picture. Any computer program or app has information online for customers to find and troubleshoot their problems or learn how to do things easier. Although video is often used, so are series of still photos and directions. Being able to reference something still makes it easier to follow along. There are also many videos out there that illustrate the same thing, but depending on your audience, giving the information in a written format may be easier to use.
- When the delivery method is odd for the audience. Video can be a welcome, disruptive way to gain your audience’s attention. Or, if you are reaching an audience who is accustomed to receiving information in a written format, video can be unnerving, and even annoying. Know your audience and if a disruptive delivery of your message would help or hinder your relationships. The benefits of using video in marketing only manifest if your audience is receptive to the medium.
- When it’s just you and you are uncomfortable on camera. There are people who make their living coaching others on public speaking and presentation. My hunch is that most people putting out personal videos do not use them to help with their inflection, facial expressions, and gestures. Some people are charismatic and just have a knack for speaking to the camera and keeping the audience engaged. Others do not. The point is, whoever delivers the information about your products and services should be just as exciting as the products and services themselves. Are you the best spokesperson for your product or service? Or would your content be best delivered by someone else? Make an objective decision.
- When the only way you can do a video is a one-camera, straight-on shot. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine to just look at the camera, talk to your audience, and make a video (especially if it’s under two minutes). But if you are doing a series of videos like that, you might want to consider some ways to make your video more engaging for your viewers. To compete with other similar videos in your space and make your video as engaging as possible for some audiences, chances are you will need to get creative. Effects like changing camera angles, adding images, infographics, or even simple on-screen text can help get your point across and keep your audience focused on your message. An example of this is a video by RAI Jets, who turned a press release about their COVID precautions into a video. And they didn’t even have to hire a voiceover actor!
- When your only choice is to record in a video unfriendly environment. If you record a video in a loud or cluttered space, the message can quickly get lost as your audience struggles to hear your audio, is distracted by your background, or has to wonder why you bothered to record at that particular location. Even more, you may come off unprofessional and turn off your audience. This problem can be remedied with a temporary relocation to a quiet space. But if it continues to be an ongoing issue for you and you cannot find a permanent relocation for your takes, writing might be a better option.
Do both video and a blog?
It’s become more and more popular to see both a video and a blog on people’s website. But PLEASE don’t just post an unedited, direct transcription of the video. Yes, it’s quick and easy but the fact is, our oral communication doesn’t always translate well into writing for many reasons. First, when we speak we use idioms, incomplete sentences, and jargon that we may not define. We also use nonverbal communication like voice inflection, facial expressions, and gestures (not to mention props and whiteboard lists) that help our audience understand our meaning. These cannot be properly transcribed. Nor can sarcasm and innuendo. In writing, communication must be crystal clear because there is no nonverbal communication to accompany it. Finally, a translated speech is most always unnecessarily longer and more rambling that a well thought-out blog. Once again, that’s because of the nonverbal nature of videos. There are more ways to communicate, and the person on camera often takes advantage of this.
In writing, communication must be made crystal clear because there is no nonverbal (inflection, delivery, gestures) to go with it. So if you can manage to post a video and an accompanying blog, you will capture both types of audiences: the ones who prefer to watch a video and the audience who would rather read. Publishing both on the same page like this company, with the blog being different than an actual transcript, is a good practice.
So now it’s up to you. Will you write a blog, earn the benefits of using video for marketing, or do both? Regardless of your decision, if I can help you get either off the ground, I’d love to help. Contact Karen Dix at 630-778-6182.