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Why Video IS Worth Experimenting with On Your Blog

Earlier in the week I wrote a post arguing that Text is King in the online space which caused some interesting discussion (both in the comments and on Twitter).

While I did try to qualify the post by saying that I do think video has its place and that it’ll continue to grow as a medium, particularly in some demographics, some people saw my post as me ‘writing off’ video.

So today I wanted to write a short post giving three reasons why I do believe in video and will continue to use it on my blogs. I won’t do it exclusively (ie I’ll primarily be investing my time into text) but I do believe that it’s a great compliment to the written form of communication that I focus upon.

  1. Video Gives You a Voice and Face – perhaps the biggest thing that I noticed when I started posting videos here at ProBlogger was that I noticed readers interacting with me in a different way. Suddenly the emails I received had a more personal edge. Strangers started emailing me using a tone and language that was more familiar – as if they knew me. At first I didn’t realize what was happening – but after a while I realized that people felt like they ‘knew’ me. This happens with text as well – but video has a way of showing your personality. It shows your face and lets people hear your voice as it really is. This ‘personal’ aspect is powerful.
  2. Video Connects with Different Personalities and Learning Styles – another thing that I noticed when I started using video was that I started getting comments on video posts from people I’d never heard of before. I started getting comments that would start with – ‘I’ve been reading your blog for 12 months but never commented before but just wanted to say…..’. We all have different learning styles and personalities – some of us learn better by hearing and seeing – while others by reading. Video appeals to a different crowd and can potentially widen your audience.
  3. Video Opens Up Opportunities to Illustrate Certain Principles in Creative Ways – some things are very difficult to communicate in the written word. There are just some times when you need a tone of voice or body language to be able to ‘show’ people what you mean. Video allows you to do this. It also opens up different ways of illustrating the principles you’re talking about. For example in my last video on First Impressions I started the video with a little sequence that illustrated what I went on to talk about – that sequence was commented upon by many and wouldn’t have been achievable with text (or at least not in the way I did it).

Should you write off video? No way! It is definitely a medium that I feel is worth experimenting with (and so far it seems 67% of you have been doing just that if our latest poll is anything to go by).

I guess all I was trying to say with my last post is that just because video is on the rise doesn’t mean that Text is dead. I think it is here to stay and will remain ‘king’ for quite some time yet!

Text, Video, Audio and other forms of communication online all have their place and can all be powerful. I find them especially powerful when you combine them rather than focus upon one – (but that’s partly just my style). Choosing your mediums and working out how much to focus upon them will probably come down to weighing up a number of factors including:

  • Your topic
  • Your audience and what mediums they’re most comfortable
  • Your personality and how you best communicate
  • Your skills in presenting, speaking, writing etc
  • Your resources and access to cameras, bandwidth etc

OK – so that is enough of me – what do you think?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Matthew says:

    Video is definitely more engaging as it appeals to visual and auditory senses. Definitely have a place in blogging. Just ake it interesting for your viewers.

    Matthew
    http://twitter.com/MatthewSM1

  2. I’ve never done a vlog post before. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it, because you can’t do links and stuff, it doesn’t seem like your readers will get as much out of it. Though I will have to try it out once and see what sort of success I get. Bloggers like imwithjoe seemed to have had success with it, so we’ll have to see. Giving your blog a face is always a bonus as well.

  3. Elliot says:

    Only just started to use video myself, strange at first which is probably why my first video took about a week to edit, now I’ve done a few I can get them done much quicker, don’t try to be perfect, just make sure the message is their and that you understand it, and as always try to give good content;).

  4. Very Evolved says:

    I agree video can be very powerful – us humans are very visual creatures. It can be a very effective way to connect to people emotionally as discussed here.

    Darren I like your video – it’s not the standard talking head vlog posts we always see. I’m concerned that a poorly made video however will turn more people off than bring them in.

    Perhaps you could do a post on keeping your videos fresh?

    Patrick

  5. Chris says:

    I agree with your stance, Darren. Video has its place, but it should be used as a tool to augment the text. Unless you’re doing a vlog specifically, text should be the meat and potatoes. As you mentioned in the original post about it, text is easiest to produce, and its the easiest to digest.

    Just like images though, video can be a great way to spice things up. I’m going to look into some software that will capture on-screen stuff, and maybe put together some videos. See how they turn out.

  6. çiçekçi says:

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  7. I agree… I have been experimenting with video from time to time for the reasons that you listed. My blog today is a video blog!

  8. Great post! I do use mixed media quite a bit. However, I do not use videos exclusively in a blog post. I use video to compliment my text. And, yes, I absolutely agree that text is king. But, video has its place and does have some extremely appealing qualities.

  9. Tumblemoose says:

    I guess I’d be inclined to give it a try, if only to try and stay fresh. I’m curious about what kinds of examples there may be for things that would work best in a video format. Maybe I’ve not had enough coffee yet but I can’t think of one.

    Cheers

    George

  10. Bea says:

    I agree that video is a good thing. I just wanted to note that sometimes it can backfire on you. I used to follow a blog because I admired the person and thought we’d be friends if we lived in the same town or had some opportunity to meet. The first time she posted a video on her blog, I completely changed my mind about her. Her voice was annoyingly high pitched (and I think she forced it even higher to sound “cute”), she was timid and basically not who I thought she was. She wasn’t someone I’d want to be friends with after all.

    Now, of course, you are who you are and you shouldn’t hide that or change your personality for a blog video. Usually your personality comes through in your writing. Also, I’m sure it’s a minority of people who will be turned off by a personality from a video. But it happened to me and I unsubscribed from her blog. I wouldn’t avoid a video just because someone may not like you, but not everyone will continue to feel a personal connection anymore. Just something to keep in mind, I guess.

  11. It’s really interesting that you should post about this topic right now. With the beginning of the new year, I decided that I wanted to shake things up a bit and implemented my first video feature, which I hope to do about twice a month. The response was amazing! My readers LOVED it. I want to do one again right away but am holding out for my twice a month stint. It was fun and brave. I felt like it breathed some new life into my blog.

  12. I’m very much on the fence about video blogging. Some people say it is the future, but I just can’t see how it can outweigh the SEO that can be achieved through text.

    My guess is video will soon be included in the price of entry into the blog game and those blogs that have it will thrive at the expense of those who do not.

  13. I run several “How-To” blogs, and actually find that my audience is thrilled and have fewer questions when video steps are used. The same goes for full video guides.

    It’s not entirely the same thing as you talk about (you seem to focus more on a direct connection with the readers to form a relationship) but maybe it’s worth mentioning that teaching can be made easier through videos.

  14. Lin Burress says:

    I’ve personally never done a video post and I don’t know if I ever will.

    I do occasionally listen to a vlog post, but not if the only thing in the post is the video. There has to be at least a short bit of text telling me what I’m going to learn or discover by listening to the video in the post.

    Before I invest my time into listening to a vlog post, I want to know WHY I should watch and listen to the video. Otherwise I hit the back button real quick.

  15. I’m working on a video to welcome folks to my blog. My goal to make this with a few scenes, exciting transitions and short enough to give positive, welcoming message. Your post here encourages me. Thanks so much.

  16. Tim Otis says:

    Hi Darren,
    You’re a busy guy… TwiTips and all.

    I do have to say video is going to become a very important aspect of the blogosphere world, because people following other people’s blogs for years will eventually get sick of just the voice and want to see the face. It’s funny– vlogging really allows readers to see who you truly are. You can hide behind words.

    I’ve been seldom impressed with a lot of social media enthusiasts who write posts and then when you see their vlog or their YouTube video (with 50 views), you come away with an icky taste in your mouth, realizing they’re really all words and no show.

    We are starting to experiment with vlogging on our blog, so we’ll definitely keep these things in mind.

  17. Greg Magnus says:

    Thanks Darren,
    I haven’t started using “personal” videos (me in the video) but have started using basic videos made up of photos, text slides and music.

    The most useful videos I’ve found on blogs generally explain a process; how to use a complicated WordPress feature or how to build something. I think the “content” should drive whether you choose video or a text post. If the concept requires lots of explanation, then a video definitely makes sense over text.

  18. Rahul says:

    I too believe that video will help more to any blogs too.

    Since, it is said a picture speaks a thousand words. then a video will speak millions.

  19. Funny timing on these posts. I’m just starting to experiment with using video on my blog. My first video post isn’t much to speak of, but the second is something of a rant. Since, as you say “…video has a way of showing your personality…”, I better get something up a little more friendly so people don’t get an idea of me as just being a hothead!

  20. WOMWON says:

    The most important factor to add to those last points at the end, is the level of traffic. Usually video clips favors sites with great mouthwatering traffic..

  21. Darren, I do agree with you arguments. I recently started a second blog (in English) and I was already planning an experiment with self-made videos (how-to, tutorials, etc.) although it’s also very time-consuming. I’m very curious what the reactions will be on my first video post.

  22. Hello from beautiful Montana:

    thanks so much the post. We are just doing a book trailer and wondered about how much to add to website.

    As a parent educator, I see so many children being lectured in schools and mislabled as “dumb” when they just learn differently.

    Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship coach and author
    http://www.ArtichokePress.com

  23. Big sky Chef says:

    This may be relative, maybe not…but thought I would bring a twist to consider when using Video. I read all your blogs on my Google Reader and enjoy everything.

    I Blog for fun, friends, and family. I only have a Net Zero dial-up at home and follow about 150 blogs in my reader. I find myself starring posts that have a video I want to watch, or pass it up as it takes way to long to load. I revisit these starred posts when I’m in a hotspot if I find time, so I do miss out on alot of great information.

    I also have family members still on the old WEB TV connection, and I try not to post to much video on my Blog as it frustrates them to be “left out”.

    I know I am probably in the Minority with the snail connection but wonder if this is something to think about when using Video. Maybe Obama will put in a network for us all in his infrastructure plans. Don’t hold my breath as that would make alot of providers upset.

    Have 2 video posts from my blog. Here’s the one I made on Moviemaker. I posted it from Starbucks.
    http://bigskychef.blogspot.com/2008/08/lifethe-movie.html

  24. arshad says:

    I would love to see more videos being posted by you Darren.The last video that i remember seeing on your blog was the one that you had used to show us why you do not use adsense.I still remember that .But one thing i hate is video buffering endlessly [although i have a 2 Mbps broadband ].

  25. Jeff Mueller says:

    This post was perfect timing for me. There are just certain topics that can be communicated better through a video post rather than the written word. There is nothing wrong with posting a video about a certain subject that you are passionate about.

    This post has affirmed my intentions to do some more videos on my blog.

    Thanks!

  26. tucchus j0hnson says:

    this post would’ve been an apt opportunity to make a video to better illustrate your point.

  27. I have done a few bits of video in the past, mainly when I am demonstrating something that I have touched on in my blog.

    I feel that it is a great tool and another method to draw new traffic and new readers to your blog. personally I enjoy blogs with video because sometimes I am just to lazy to read the article. You also get to put a face to the posts. when you listen to the radio you always imagine what the people look like.

    I also think it is easier to showcase your unique personality, and differentiate yourself through video

  28. Without online video, I’d probably be living in a Van Down By The River!

  29. Kayla says:

    I agree with all the benefits of video in a blog. In my last comment I preached with you about how text is king, so I still agree than any video blog should have a good share of text in the blog, even if only to explain what the video is about.

  30. Many are still “camera shy”, but I am sure in the not-too-distant future, almost everyone will be forced to get into using video on their blogs. Thanks for sharing this, Darren.

  31. I commented on your previous post about this subject, but I wanted to add that videos will have to get more sophisticated because web users will demand it.

    At present some of us may be content with watching someone telling us something; but eventually we will demand, through our choices, that the video producer give us more than just a person talking in front of his or her fireplace.

    It is easier to produce a sophisticated piece of written material than a sophisticated videos. Creativity in video requires many more skills and resources. Perhaps that is the reason why many movies based on great novels bomb at the box office. You would think that starting out with wonderfully written material would give the movie an advantage, but it doesn’t.

  32. AlainP says:

    I think you are forgetting one of the biggest advantages of video: it keeps your visitor on the page the length of the clip. Well, maybe not the full length but much longer than if you had the same content written in text. Staying longer means that you break their navigation flow and once the video is completed they might take a second look at the site instead of just clicking the back button as they would have done with a normal article.

    I believe strongly in video (of course, that the raison d’etre of my website) and I try to use it as much as I can when it is relevant for the visitors. The challenge is to keep it interesting enough to have them watch it until the end.

    The problem, of course, is that search engines can’t index video (yet).

  33. Gary S. says:

    Video is still in in its infancy. Think cell phones twenty years ago. It simply is just too difficult to produce a good piece of video for most people, myself included.

    Sure almost anyone can hack together a pathetic response to a YouTube video but to do branding quality video is not easy, intros, outros, voice over, recording that don’t have too much background noise…

    Plus as our new Pres has pointed out the U.S. is way behind in broadband infrastructure. Without a significant improvement in our broadband infrastructure video will still be useless to large portions of our population.

    While I enjoy a good video most of what I get in my inbox is nothing more than video spam. Sure Frank Kern produces a few videos that are worth watching but most of them are nothing more than talking head spam.

    BTW, Perry, your videos as pretty good and fun to watch along with videos done by Rex Harris but its because you don’t take yourself too seriously. Humor goes a long ways towards making even an average production quality video watchable.

    If I’m going to take the time from my schedule to watch someones videos they either need to be giving pearls of usable wisdom or a window into their personality that make e say “I’d like to go to a BBQ and have a couple of beers with this person.

    End of rant.

  34. We have done several, although when you run a travel site and have to collect video from around the city and merge them together it can take a seriously long time – I have spent hours on a 40 second movie! But from an SEO point of view we have found providing both videos and podcasts very effective. We don’t personalise them, though – personalisation is fine when you live in Australia or America, but being in the Middle East we prefer to remain anonymous.

  35. Jean Ghalo says:

    well It makes sense, as video communication is one of the best and easier to deliver a msg, especially that most of the ppl don’t like to read or they are bored reading the whole day, so video blog posts will be a time for them to relax their eyes while not loosing much time.

    Also at the end of the day writing is still one of the top communication mediums, and ppl not always want to watch and hear, they like to read, so we cannot drop it at all.

    I am curious to try it out, and i think i am doing it half while posting a movie with a text supporting it.

    cheers!
    Jean

  36. Gert Mellak says:

    When users can easily navigate through a video by going directly to certain sections explained in the blog post (with direct links or information on minute and second) I believe that videos can greatly increase a blog’s quality.
    However, if there are two important frases in a whole video and I have to watch the whole 10 minutes to find out about it, I feel the blogger is just wasting my time.

  37. Jonathan, you can provide links within videos. If you host it on YouTube, there is a new “Annotations” feature that allows you to insert links and comments. Try it out!

  38. Amanda says:

    Ok. You’ve officially pushed me over the bump. I’m in on adding video to my site.

    What always held me back is that I don’t want to be in the video. You look good in yours, Darren, and your blog is half info/half the personality of Darren. So it makes sense.

    My blogs are not set up that way.

    Recently, however, I have noticed in some sites (like the Happiness Project) when the author of the blog doesn’t like being in video, or sound good in it – or whatever the reason – it prompts some even more creative use of video. That’s where I am at – I don’t want to be the star of the video, but I can see that it has a real use for the readers.

    So now I have to figure out useful things to video to add. But you’ve officially got me committed to doing so now!

  39. Funny how this wasn’t a Video post :)

  40. Ian says:

    Thanks for the thoughts. I keep thinking about experementing with video blogging, just haven’t been quite ready to make the jump. Good to know the benefits.

  41. The voice and the face. People can’t help but connect with a face. But always give me something to skim.

    Good follow up post.

  42. i-trepreneur says:

    As far as blog SEO goes it is probably very early to talk about text posts being dead. Right now you need a video description at least for your page to get found on SERPs. But when Google figures out a way to index graphics and flash video format better, then eventually text will begin to die out.

  43. It’s obvious VIDEO is a great tool. I’ve been using is for the past 20 years in television and 5 years online.

    For the shy:

    It doesn’t mean you need to put your voice or your face in front of the camera, simply a good edited piece with pictures, titles and music can make take your point further. At first when starting, I wouldn’t recommend anyone jumping totally into video podcasting but into complementing their written posts with a few videos here and there.. Watch your readers response to it. I’m sure it’ll give you the push you need to continue and perhaps show your face one day.

    Steve Wozjobs
    Apple Game Shop Blog
    http://www.applegameshop.com

  44. Razib Ahmed says:

    Darren,
    I know that you are always right and I agree with you about the usefulness of video in promoting a blog more effective. I just like to share two concerns here:
    If most your blog readers are from rich countries (USA, Europe, Australia, Japan etc) then no problem. They have access to very fast Internet connections and they can enjoy your videos. However, if a good part of your visitors are from not so rich countries then adding videos can backfire unless you put enough text to explain what is in the video.
    The second concern is that many bloggers want to hide their identity in Internet. It perhaps happens more to female bloggers. So, these bloggers would not be keen to add videos.

  45. Curt says:

    I’ve been considering adding video to my blog, but adding video come with it’s own risks. What if my readers don’t like what I look like or how I sound? What if my readers were expecting something else?

    I guess these are the risks you take and that’s why it called experimenting. But, I don’t see a way out. Once you do it, it’s out their and your readers will probably expect more – not less. Before you know it you are teaching a series of videos about a specific topic. And then you start to lose your base of readers that are primarily interested in written content. It’s a slippery slope.

  46. Great article & discussion on content & video. Content is king but video is the fastest way for your audience to get to know you.

    Gail Barsky, Esquire
    Social Media Marketing Strategist
    http://profitsmakeover/twitter
    http://myspace.com/profitsmakeover

  47. Tom Hanna says:

    On the other hand video may not be for everyone because “Video Gives You a Voice and Face”. Ever heard the expression “He’s got a face for radio.” I top that off with a “Voice for print.”

  48. The Fit Dad says:

    I agree that you need to test with video. I’ve polled my readers and more of them want video.

    Maybe it’s due to my niche (fat loss) and maybe it’s just that people want to see more of my pretty face.

  49. Hi Darren likeyou I believe in text first as a way to express a view or opinion. But then using video as an enhancer to the content. I understand different people have different taste.

    Or the ways they process information is different depending on how they learn and process the information. Text is 1 video 2 and then audio 3 this gives the opportunity for everyone to pick what they feel will serve them best.

    Gary McElwain

  50. This is actually something I’ve been thinking a bit about lately, and I’d love to try it out, I’m just not sure what I’d want to do a video about quite yet. My boyfriend is actually a freelance filmmaker by profession, so it would be easy enough to produce, once I find the right idea.