Do you recognize that old school technology in the picture? Video sure has come a long way since VHS! Yesterday, I read a web article touting the importance of Internet-based video within content marketing. While video is certainly a powerful business tool, after reading the article, I had to wonder: Why is a discussion about the importance of video, not presented in video format?
I think the answer is quite simple—the written word is still more convenient than video in many situations. I realize that some people will argue that video has the edge because you can multitask while watching a clip on your laptop or mobile device. And that is certainly true. However, I personally believe that videos are ultimately more time consuming because the average person can read approximately 250 to 300 words per minute,1,2 while most of us can only verbalize 150 words per minute3 –and obviously, you can’t listen faster than the video presenter is able to speak!
Video can also be cumbersome in certain environments where the audio may cause distraction or be difficult to listen to, such as shared offices or noisy commuter trains. Digging out headphones from the bottom of my purse while riding the Metra is a drag. (Not to mention the fact that wearing headphones in crowded spaces is a safety risk!)
So, when is video most effective? Video is excellent for tutorials and other how-to content because sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words, especially when you’re learning a new piece of software or installing a garbage disposal. Video is also a fantastic medium for sharing product demonstrations: Who doesn’t want to see that fancy widget in action before making a purchase?
In a perfect (communication) world, businesses would pair most of their videos with full-text transcripts or summary articles. This way, the audience has a choice to read or watch—and print, if need be. Also, transcripts and summary articles are a huge help for individuals with cognitive impairments who may have trouble keeping up with closed captioning.
Now, notice I suggested that businesses pair most of their videos with text—maybe you can skip the written summary of that clip featuring the entire office dancing “Gangnam Style.”
Erin Wright is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in general business content, marketing, blogs, web copy, and instructional material.