As a writer, of sorts, I hate it when people look me dead in the eye and proclaim, ‘the written word is dead’. When I hear it, it feels like all of my career choices up to this point have been nullified by those who prefer to absorb information in other ways, and believe communicating is a ‘one or the other’ exercise.
But there’s no reason to feel like this! Even in this day and age, written content still plays an integral part of business, news and information.
The difference is that written content need no longer stand alone.
Incorporating videos into online content is a great way to add another layer to your message. It’s a tried and true approach for many organisations, bloggers and news providers.
But do not be fooled into thinking that it’s a simple matter of pasting a YouTube link into your text. As writers/content creators, it’s up to us to understand the ‘sweet science’ behind intermingling the magic of video with our craft.
Create a symbiotic relationship
It all begins with a symbiotic relationship. Before you can add videos to your work, an environment has to be created where your words and your videos earn their worth by relying on each other.
- A good video can help illustrate and visually stimulate the point you are trying to make, in ways that even the most coherent text cannot do on its own.
- Well-written content provides appropriate context to a video which would otherwise be pointless imagery.
Keep videos short, sharp and to the point
Including a 10-plus-minute video in the middle of a 400 to 600-word blog is rarely effective. However relevant, a long video with rich and captivating content will command readers’ full attention, and it pulls concentration away from the content you worked so hard to develop.
A video should be used as a quick illustration. If it’s too long, people could start losing interest or they may start to believe your written content is irrelevant. But we’ll get to that…
Keep videos relevant
While people are viewing your content, the accompanying video needs to support what they just read. It should provide imagery that helps a reader on their path to better understanding your content, and therefore should be relevant. Adding a video to your content just for the sake of it can hurt your message, especially if it has nothing to do with what you’ve written.
It may be tempting to add a video to your content because it looks cool, or fun, or it shows that you’re ‘with the times’, but pointless videos distract, undermine and generally get in the way.
Never let videos outrank your content
Typically a video should complement the content, not overpower it, and should only take centre stage in an online piece in certain and rare scenarios.
A well-edited video may lead people to think they can get all the information they need from its entertaining imagery, which will make what you’ve worked hard to create seem redundant and irrelevant.
But there’s a problem with thinking that an in-text video has all the answers: By forsaking the text, the key points are sometimes missed entirely.
Videos should always be regarded as merely a tool to assist your content – aiding where necessary so your content can achieve its objective in the best way possible.