Written content is superior to video most of the time. I know those are fighting words to some, but hear me out.
When people think of video they think of the elusive “viral video.” And of course, your written content has very little chance of “going viral.” The reality is, neither does your amateur video. Think about this: 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Even if you make the most incredibly entertaining video possible, there is so much competition out there that, unless you have a gargantuan marketing budget to promote it, your video will have a tough time being seen. Chasing the viral video fantasy is most likely a waste of your time.
Of course, not everyone agrees with me. Back in June Facebook cockily predicted that video would replace all text within 5 years on the platform. Even they knew that was BS when they said it. The platform itself was built on text, and text is how most people communicate on social networks.
The Business of Content
If you’re making content for business, it is my firm opinion that written content works best because it is easier and faster to digest. It also brings carries less risk for content consumers who are sneaking a peek at the web while working.
Think about it: when you read a business related post, what are you looking for? Usually, it’s information. Answers. Help with a problem, or possibly inspiration. There are people who can do that in a video, but not many. It’s why breaking into Hollywood is so hard. It is why becoming an international speaker is so hard. Not everyone can do it, and turning a video camera on yourself when you don’t have the skills to deliver verbally can be excruciatingly cringeworthy, or simply boring, for the viewer.
Years ago I started a small business and decided we needed videos – not to entertain or go viral, but to answer a question we got over and over again. I hired a professional videographer, Frank Deom, and he gave me a lot of instructions about preparing. I ignored him – I’m an experienced speaker. I’ve trained hundreds of people. Surely I could do it on video.
I was awful. Until I took Frank’s advice and practiced and laid out a strategy, but the process was painful. The video turned out fine. It did what it was supposed to do – taught our customers the thing we were tired of repeating in detail. But the only reason to watch it was to understand our process… if you really needed to.
The Written Word is Still Powerful
I am a writer, so of course I am biased about the written word, but I am also a Sales Professional and a tremendous consumer of content. For entertainment value I think the video is masterful, and I have some clients who are incredibly good when they create training videos. But for marketing your thoughts and ideas to the vast content consuming audience, you’ll be hard pressed to beat the written word for efficiency and longevity.
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