Industry trends

Death of the writer?

Death of the writer?

According to Forbes magazine, 87% of online marketers now use video content to aid their promotional campaigns. When you look at the figures, it’s hardly surprising. Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in the way people absorb information. Social media, YouTube and mobile apps have made content shorter, snappier and, most importantly, more visual. It has been recorded that one-third of online activity is spent watching video and that 45 percent of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.

So, how has this affected the way businesses are interacting with their audiences in 2017? Well, it is estimated that almost half of SME owners and marketers will have put money behind video content on Facebook this year, and that video traffic will make up almost 70 percent of all global consumer internet traffic. By 2019, this number is expected to rise to 80 percent.

Still reading? I’m impressed.

Competing mediums…

With these sorts of figures, you’d be forgiven for thinking that written content is on the way out. But this isn’t the case. Watching a video and reading an article demand separate cognitive functions, and it’s important for businesses to understand the differences, particularly before making that decision to cull print content in favour of video.

Reading an article involves more active participation on behalf of the audience than watching a video. This means we don’t just read the words on the page; we create individual thoughts about the content. Written content also tends to necessitate a larger time investment, meaning readers have more time and space to develop emotive responses to stories. On the other hand, video is more passive and requires less participation on behalf of the viewer. It also allows less opportunity for expanded thought.

… or a powerful combination?

While video is good for creating intrigue, showing personality, and highlighting a few key facts and figures, written content is still king when it comes to exploring deeper issues and explaining complex topics.

Take Volvo Construction Equipment (one of our clients) for example. A brief, well-shot, tightly edited video might work well to tease the release of a new product; in fact, it’s a fantastic way to kick-start a marketing campaign. But when it comes to purchasing new machines, customers need to base their decisions on substantial and clear documentation.

The key – like with many things in life – is striking a balance. Many believe that video and written content are competing mediums, when in fact they can be an effective double-act. Tease a topic with a 30 second to two-minute short, and then back it up with a longer form document that explains things in greater detail. This powerful combination can achieve effective results.

So, is video content important? Most definitely. But is it replacing written copy? No chance.

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