Won't be a jiffy
11th August 2017

Why written content still matters in the age of online video

Matt AyresMatt Ayres


If you spend any amount of time on social media, you’ve probably noticed an increase in the number of videos appearing on your feeds recently.

Online video is smokin’ hot right now. By telling stories via short and snappy clips instead of rambling blog posts or lengthy infographics, brands are getting their messages in front of internet users faster than ever.

It’s easy to see why videos appeal to modern audiences. Rather than squinting into your phone while slowly scrolling your way through articles, a video can deliver all the info you need in a matter of seconds. The recent trend of captioned clips means you don’t even need to turn the sound on, so you can avoid puzzled looks from your nearest and dearest while you watch the latest viral vid in your kitchen.

There’s no doubt about it: online video rules. Yet the format does have its limitations – in some situations, a good old fashioned piece of written content is still preferable. Here are a few of reasons why digital marketers shouldn’t forget about the importance of word-based content alongside video.

Google wants words



Search engines like Google are always hungry for websites filled with well-written, descriptive content. While video can be great for quickly conveying ideas to humans, the format isn’t so good at communicating with a search engine’s complex system of website-scanning crawler bots.

Populating your site with keyword-rich and regularly published content remains an irreplaceable strategy for rising through the ranks of Google. SEO-savvy content marketers can take advantage of regularly searched words and phrases within their copy, appealing to Google’s algorithms and reaching audiences in ways that videos can’t.

So, if you plan reaching people through the world’s favourite search engine (and why wouldn’t you?), it’s important to think carefully about your written content alongside other formats.

Good writing inspires trust



When you regularly publish knowledgeable, useful and well-written content, Google isn’t the only one that pays attention. By treating your website or blog as a resource for the people you’re targeting online and filling it with invaluable advice, you’ll help to build your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.

The result? Increased brand awareness and a deeper level of trust with the demographic you’re trying to win over.

Of course, an informative video series can also help to prove that you know your stuff, but writing directly to your audience allows readers to digest your ideas more slowly and purposefully. Some of your followers might even pick out key quotes from your articles to share via social media, championing you as an authority in your industry and helping others to find out about what you do.

Video isn’t for everyone



The likes of PewDiePie and Zoella might feel at ease uploading videos of themselves, but not everyone is. For some, the idea of chatting animatedly into a video camera is too awkward to actually follow through with. And while there are many alternatives to the traditional vlog format, the immediate conversational aspect of video is one of its greatest assets over other types of content.

If you’ve tried vlogging and hated it or simply don’t have the video production skills to do your ideas justice, blogging is a valid alternative. Writing things down gives you more time to compose your thoughts and create valuable content for your readers.

You don’t necessarily need a blog to publish written content, either – the rise of microblogging means social networks like Instagram and Facebook are being used as a replacement for more traditional blogging sites. This puts your content directly in front of your followers without them having to click through to a separate website.

Words cover all bases

From social media and blog posts to emails and memes, words are an essential element in almost every aspect of the internet. Even video and audio content require written content within their meta descriptions to allow users to search for them – the digital world has learned to give us what we want by recognising the words and phrases that occupy its infinite network of codes and data.

There’s no doubt that videos provide marketers with new opportunities to connect with the public, but failing to recognise the importance of words within digital strategy isn’t the answer. Instead, marketers should seek to combine multimedia with written content through their websites and social media platforms in order to create meaningful and lasting connections with their audiences.