You’ve heard us say it time and time again: when it comes to Internet marketing, content is king. But lately there have been some revolutionary voices in the streets, shouting that “The king is dead! Long live video!”
Can it be true?
Here’s what we know so far: for at least the last three decades, the trend in American culture has been away from reading. Now, we’re not bashing the educational system for failing to teach reading, nor are we saying that the U.S. public has grown stupid or lazy. We’re not even going to take the easy route of blaming quick-cutting television, movies, and personal electronics for withering the American attention span.
In fact, we’re not going to point fingers at all. Just take it as a given that about one-third of adult American men (and a slightly smaller fraction of women) do not read even one book a year on average. Circulation numbers for general interest print magazines and newspapers are at historic lows. Public surveys find that a large proportion of Americans no longer think it’s important or worthwhile to read for pleasure.
When reading becomes a burdensome task for many people, the challenge of effective Internet marketing rises exponentially. How can you coax potential customers to view your website content, learn of your expertise, and convert to enthusiastic clients? Does the shift in public tastes mean doom for strategic online marketing?
“Video Will Save Us All!” the Revolutionaries Cry
The “new guard” of marketing experts—well, that’s how they see themselves—are happy to go along with the trend away from the written word. They believe that pictures and video transmit information faster and more efficiently than text. They dismiss writing as artificial, static, and boring. Video communications, in particular, are seen as a natural fit with social media exchanges and mobile communications. The marketing revolutionaries believe that text is dying, and they want to be the leaders of the new video marketing transformation.
Let me make a prediction: ain’t gonna happen.
Video Is Indispensable
We should not lose track of the fact that video is content, too. Video has an immediacy that grabs attention in a way a static text page cannot. Instinctually, we’re drawn to motion and activity. Video is lifelike and vibrant and compelling. And with video, you don’t have to fret that punctuation mistakes or spelling errors will cloud over your message.
But video is so much more than a brightly colored plastic toy dangled over the crib to amuse the baby. Today, video is an essential component of online marketing efforts. By seeing your face and hearing your voice, potential clients gain an emotional connection to your business that pages and pages of text cannot duplicate. Video humanizes you and also enables customers to gain confidence in your expertise.
Yes, there are pitfalls to adding video content to a website; nobody promised that success was going to be easy. But we all know that professional video companies such as Foster Web Marketing know where the hazards are and can lead you along a safe path to website success. So doesn’t that mean video is going to win the content war?
“Indispensable”: I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think it Means
No, sorry. Video may be indispensable, but so is text.
While video shows the advantages of instant attraction and emotional connection, text wins on tests of complexity and comprehensive coverage. Sure, a practical how-to video can teach you to bake a cake or assemble a do-it-yourself bookcase. But text beats video in teaching general principles of complex, technical issues, including most concepts in law and medicine. There’s a reason why medical and law students spend small fortunes on textbooks and study guides instead of watching a few DVDs, and that’s because text can cover all the aspects of a complex field with written materials that reward repeated study.
Anyway, what’s all this talk about a content war between text and video? Why must one win and the other lose? The bottom line is each component is absolutely required for a well-rounded commercial website. In turn, that implies that any site favoring one over the other is bound to underperform.
Given consumer reluctance to read, video has become a crucial icebreaker: a compelling video presentation will reassure the potential client and encourage him to engage with your written text. That text, packed with the crucial information the reader thirsts for, persuades the potential customer to make contact with your office. Video and text, together, work in tandem to accomplish what neither could easily do alone.
For practical ideas about how video and text can act as best buddies to revive an underperforming web site, give us a call or use the contact form on this page. We also welcome comments to this article for your stories about your successes (and flubs) in finding that perfect balance between video and text marketing.