After you've finished choking on your Red Bull, we can begin today's lesson. Darren Rowse over at Problogger recently posted about why he always transcribes his video's on his blog.
And judging by the response he got, many people feel the same way about the need to always provide a transcription.
Rowse's three main reasons were:
1: Accessibility: Some people simply can't consume video, whether it be from technical reasons or disability reasons.
2: Learning Styles: Some people just don't like videos, or prefer other ways of getting their information.
3: SEO: Search engine obviously love textual content.
Rowse's post highlights a bigger issue in that the explosion of online video is being greatly abused by many people. While video is a powerful means of communicating, it is not a magic solution for all your online marketing desires.
Video Abuse Will Cost You Customers
In fact ill considered use of video can actually lose you customers.
There are many reasons why online video can hurt your online marketing efforts apart from the above.
Here are a few more.
Some people aren't in an environment where they can't watch and listen to an online video. (EG A busy or shared office space.)
Some people don't have the time to watch it, regardless of how short it is.
Others just want the facts, now.
When people first come to a website they make up their minds to stay or go within a few seconds. Video simply can't load in that time. So if you're relying on video to solely communicate any sort of key message, you've blown your opportunity.
Stop Forcing Yourself on Your customers
Video adds an extra friction point for the potential customer. You're asking them to make another decision to engage with the site and click the play button when they just got here.
If you force that customer to make that decision you're more than likely to forcing them to leave.
They don't know anything about your business yet, so why should they waste time watching a video?
Video works against the very nature of the user experience on the web.
Web users are actively engaged in their experience of the web and your site. They chose to come to the site and they control the experience with their mouse. It's not a passive experience. The web is not a broadcast medium.
Demanding that they sit and passively watch a video for a few minutes is taking away that control. They will resist it. They will only watch the video if it's something they really want to know more about. And the only way they can tell that is if you either give them a transcript or a breakdown of the key parts of the video. (preferably with time stamps.)
(In fact the very nature of video's passive involvement may be one of the reasons it's so popular with many uneducated marketers. That is, it promises to bring back the "command and control" aspect of outmoded marketing practices: "Sit still while we blast our message at you.")
It's just not going to work.
Do You Look Professional or Like a Punk?
The other glaring abuse of online video is how "unprofessional" much of it is.
Sure phones and flip cameras have made it possible for every man and his dog to shoot video these days, and it shows. So many online videos look like they were shot in someone's garage or lounge room.
It just looks tacky, cheap and unprofessional. If that's the look you want for your business then good luck.
If, on the other hand you want to communicate a sense of competence and professionalism, then get your videos professionally made. Or at least make them look like they were.
Use a script and know exactly what you're going to say and cover. Too many videos are full of waffle. Get to the point. Use diagrams, graphics, images to illustrate your point.
Do You Have the Face for Video?
Time to check your ego at the door and consider if you really have the face and voice for video. Professional broadcasters have had years of training and experience on how to look and sound on camera. Plus they have a whole technical crew to help them.
The only way you can compete against this, is if you have some really compelling information to present to them. If not, then there's really no point to having a video.
It's in the Way That You Use it
As I said, online video can be a very effective means of communicating when it's done properly. Unfortunately I see very few examples of where it is done properly and too many of where it isn't.
It's hard enough to get customers to your site, so you don't want to be actively forcing them away as soon as they get here.
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