There’s no denying that video is a popular marketing tool. It’s now easier than ever before to create and share videos. As a result, more and more businesses are being persuaded to ‘do video’. You only have to scroll through Facebook or LinkedIn for a couple of minutes to find dozens of promotional videos and vlogs. Some are brilliant, some are terrible and most are somewhere in between.
If video is so popular, does that mean that written content is on its way out? Should you invest your time and effort into creating videos rather than writing content for your audience?
I think the answer is no. I might be a little bit biased since written content is what I do best, but here’s why I think you should keep on blogging.
Reasons to stick with written content
The written word will never die out
Written communication has been in use for hundreds of thousands of years; think cave drawings, hieroglyphics and ancient languages etched in rock.
The way we receive written content may have evolved from stone carvings right through to e-readers and mobile phones, but the concept of sharing ideas through text has survived for centuries.
Reading will always be a useful skill to have. We read dozens of things every day without even thinking about it; ingredients, menus, street names, social media posts, contracts, shopping lists and so on.
Until we no longer need to read at all, the skill will always be passed from one generation to the next. While there are still people who read, there will always be a demand for written content.
Text is easier to scan
Video content might be more appealing to those who don’t enjoy reading, but text is easier to scan.
When you open an article, news story or blog post, you can instantly see how long it is and skim it for the key points. Most good articles will be written with subheadings or key information in bold, so you can scan it and get an understanding of the main points. With a written article, you can see at a glance how in-depth it is. You can tell from the first few lines whether it is written in a style you enjoy, and whether it will be too basic or too technical for your needs.
Until you watch a video, you can’t tell if it is going to give you the level of detail you want on a subject or if it will be presented in a way you understand. It’s pretty frustrating to watch a fifteen-minute video that doesn’t deliver what you hoped it would. There’s no way of knowing in advance at which point in the video (if any) they will discuss the information you want.
People want quality content
Too many businesses are jumping on the video bandwagon without really considering what the purpose of their video is. There are far too many videos which don’t seem to offer any value and just clog up social media feeds.
Fair enough, this point can be applied to written content too. There are undoubtedly some badly written articles that have been produced purely for search engines, or with very little regard to actual fact, or with no thought given to the people reading it.
The point is, whether you create written or video content, it needs a purpose. That could be to entertain, to inform, to educate or to inspire. Without purpose, it really doesn’t matter if you produce video or text because you won’t get the engagement you want. Equally, if you are offering valuable content, people will engage with it regardless of the format.
We all have different preferences
We all have different preferences when it comes to how we like information to be presented. Some people love to relax with a good book, whereas others prefer to stick on a boxset. Some people like to watch the news at ten, others prefer to pop the radio on during their morning commute, while some people still religiously read their daily newspaper.
Online content is the same. Some people will always prefer written articles and email newsletters whereas others will prefer to watch YouTube videos. Present your best content in a variety of formats rather than limiting yourself to one.
You’re reading this article
The fact you’ve clicked on this article is proof enough that people are still engaging with written content. You may not have read the entire article; you may have just skimmed the headings until you reached this point, but you’ve still taken the time to click a link and scan the article for useful information.
People will read your written content too if the subject is of interest to them. That really is the most important point to remember when you’re creating content – it has to be of interest to your intended audience.
Blog or Vlog – which is right for you?
We’ve looked at all the reasons that written content is still relevant, but that doesn’t mean it will always be the best format. The quality of your content should be the priority; the format in which you present it will depend on a number of factors.
The type of content
The type of information you are presenting will often dictate which format is most suitable. For example, a make-up tutorial will work better as a video than as written step-by-step instructions because the viewer can actually see how the make-up is being applied in a video. However, a complicated recipe may work better as written content so the reader can follow it one step at a time rather than having to keep pausing and rewinding a video.
Think about the type of information you are providing and what the best way of presenting it would be.
The type of content you create should be content you feel comfortable with. If you’re awkward and monotone in your videos, your message will get lost and you won’t get the engagement you want. Equally, if your blog posts are badly written with poor spelling, grammar and punctuation or overcomplicated language, readers will click straight off your site.
When it comes to creating content, play to your strengths. If you are good at writing but struggle with presenting, then written content might be better for you. However, if you are charismatic and engaging when you speak, a video blog might be a better option.
Alternatively, you might find it better to outsource content creation, freeing up your time to focus on running your business.
It is possible to create decent videos on a low budget, but many businesses fail miserably. Wobbly images, poor sound and boring content don’t present your business in a good light. Live videos without scripting or editing are better for capturing spontaneous events rather than sharing a valuable business message.
If you want to create video content that is useful, then at the very least, film in a quiet location, use a microphone or have a basic script to work from. Otherwise, you may just end up with a hard-to-hear video, jumpy images and a load of stumbling over words.
If you want to create good promotional videos, then it is worth investing in some professional filming and editing.
The most appropriate type of content will depend on the resources you have (time, equipment, money) and the level of quality you want to put out.
Key things to consider
Regardless of whether you want to create written content, audio content or video content, you should be creating it for the right reasons. Content marketing is an excellent way of building relationships with potential and existing customers, showcasing your expertise and increasing your online presence, but you need to do it with a strategy in mind.
There’s no point filming a load of videos just because ‘everyone else is doing it’. Before you create any content, you should:
- Identify your intended audience
- Decide what content will be useful or interesting to your intended audience
- Choose the most suitable format for that content
Remember content marketing is about your customers and clients, not you. If you create content with the audience in mind, you’re more likely to get the results you want.
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