Writing – you either love it or loathe it. If you like writing, or employ writers in your organisation, adding written content to your website is not a problem. But if you dislike writing or cannot afford to hire writers, the thought of having to write more web content is very limiting. That’s probably why so many people prefer to record videos and upload them to YouTube. That’s so much easier than writing, it seems.
This is reflected in the sheer amount of video material uploaded each day. The latest statistics suggest that 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute of the day. If you were to watch just one-day’s worth of YouTube videos back-to-back, it would take you 49 years. Video is immensely popular. But as a website owner, is it valuable?
There is no denying that video is attractive. We love moving images – we are attracted naturally to moving things. So it might seem that the moving pictures on our website are more interesting and valuable than the static words of an article. We certainly find it easier to remember things from videos, and we can become more engaged with topics. However, there is quite a lot of evidence also in favour of text. Video content marketing is worthwhile, but we should not neglect writing. Indeed, if you focus on writing, you can use that to come up with several ideas for videos.
Writing attracts website visitors
Even though billions of hours of video is watched online, vast amounts of material are read. As you read this, hundreds of millions of people are currently reading other web pages too. Studies conducted last year showed that for marketers it turns out that articles are the best form of engaging people. Indeed, video came way down the list after lots of different kinds of written material.
Meanwhile, other research has shown that people really value articles. Some of the most shared items on social media tend to be lengthy articles and blog posts. Another study from the Economist Group, highlighted in the article “Why you should stop drawing and start writing“, demonstrated that people value written material more than visual content.
There is also a fascinating study from Spain that compared the value of video with writing in an online newspaper. The research found that the video content added no journalistic value at all. Indeed, the readers commented that they preferred to read the articles, rather than watch the videos.
A study from Korea also found that instead of replacing reading with watching videos online, our love of moving images on the web is simply replacing our watching of video content from other sources. People are viewing less cable TV, for instance, and watching more YouTube. Our love of online video has not replaced our love of reading.
What this means for website owners is that video is an enhancer to your website, but not a replacement for your written material. Video content is essential these days, of course, as your website can look old-fashioned without it. But replacing writing with video appears to be a bad idea. It is not doing one or the other, but doing both that matters.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+