Who hasn’t encountered the hype about online video?
Many of our digital pundits have been waxing lyrical about video and its various attributes for many years now.
And why wouldn’t they? Online video is accessible, is now cheap to distribute globally, gets serious search engine brownie points and is unparalleled when it comes to demonstrating products and services in action.
Online video and its biggest accomplice, YouTube, are indeed wonderful allies when it comes to relatively affordable ways to give your product and service some viral love.
But how often is it used appropriately?
Is video really the best medium to convey your message in?
Slow and cumbersome video
Last week I was researching an IT topic, and like many journalists and bloggers, time was of the essence.
Sure enough, there was a piece about the topic from a video blogger. And my problem was, I didn’t have time to sit and watch a talking head.
And therein lies the key problem of sacrificing static text and images for video.
Communication at the speed of your sound
Unlike text, video is delivered at the pace of the spoken word delivery it utilises to convey many messages.
And unlike video, you can’t scan, speed read or even cut and paste a quote into your document.
It was simply too slow and cumbersome for the fast research I, and presumably others, needed to conduct.
So I quickly moved onto the next website in search of the information I needed.
A lost audience
This is not an uncommon scenario. And following on from the theme of posts from the previous three weeks, it’s a case of a technology tail wagging the content dog.
Businesses and individuals often use video when a written piece is far more effective and accessible for its audience.
In this case, one reason for delivering the piece on video might have been simply fascination with video technology. And possibly the assumption that the audience would spend the additional time it takes to watch the video instead of reading the content in their own time and pace.
A talking head does not and never has made good video. And it has all the aforesaid issues compared to the written equivalent.
The golden rule is, if creating a video adds nothing to what you can deliver in good old text and static images, don’t do it.
When video rules
On the other hand, in the right context, nothing can be more applicable, demonstrative, emotive and powerful than a well-produced video.
And when this is the case, it will always be more effective than its written equivalent.
A video of a cricketer demonstrating a bowling technique will always be more effective than describing it in text and static images.
Of course there’s no reason why you can’t present in both mediums, or even more (e.g. an audio ‘podcast’). By all means create your video for those that are prepared to sit through it. But include a transcript or associated article for those that simply don’t have the time.
So it’s important to understand the right medium for your communication piece. Or risk losing your audience before you’ve even had a chance to appeal to them.
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.