Friday, May 26, 2017

Should you be using video?

Personally, I'm not completely sold on the whole video argument.

image credit - pixabay

On one hand, there's a trend towards video by bloggers and emailers alike. I read an article recently from a prominent emailer extolling the virtues of video. I've spoken with a Realtor who was converting his email newsletter into a video-news-email.

Video is here to stay

Not to mention the general trend - more smartphones in more peoples' hands, all with better quality video with each new release. A generation of young adults who have grown up with Facetime, Hangouts, and Skype, and are completely comfortable with being on camera. Millions of hours of new video are uploaded to Youtube each day, and the social media giants all have a live-streaming option.

Let's face it - video is here to stay. And some folks are trying really hard to embrace it.

On the other hand, I'm not sure video is the right medium for most of us to stay in touch with our spheres of influence.

Video has drawbacks

Think for a few minutes about the types of video you watch - what ones do you like, share, and seek out, and which ones do you close without watching?

Me? I'll watch a video for 2 reasons: If it's entertaining, or if it's instructional (but only when I'm trying to learn something.) Recently I've watched videos for how to replace the freezer door on my fridge, how to program the homelink button in my new car, and how to mass-delete duplicate entries from a Microsoft Access database. None was entertaining, but all were helpful.

What I don't watch are videos where someone is just talking about nothing in particular, or an instructional video about something that I'm not working on at the moment.

Video isn't "scan-able" - you can't easily skip forward, read the headlines and bulletpoints, and catch the main drift in a short amount of time. It's more of an all-or-nothing proposition, and most people fall into two types:
  1. All - some people get "sucked into" a video stream, and will watch video after video. But let's be honest - is your video going to stand out from the crowd of all the videos these people watch?
  2. None - other people don't watch much video unless they are looking for something specific. (I fall into this group.)

How does this work for us?

Most of us are not wildly entertaining (at least not without a few drinks in our belly!), so sending a video out to our contacts isn't going to win them over with humor.

And if we instead shoot for "how-to"? Well, if I sent you a video explaining how to paint an accent wall in your kitchen, but you weren't interested in doing any painting, would you watch my video? I didn't think so, and I'm not holding it against you either.

It all comes back to email

Email isn't sexy. It's not new, hip, or social-sharing. But people are comfortable with it. They know how to read it - when to skim and when to focus. And they know how to save it for later if the content resonates.

Video might have a part to play in your marketing arsenal, and it might continue to make strides in the coming years, but for now I think you'll get better results from your contact list by using email.

- Chris Butterworth