Please Don’t Make That Video

Video MarketingOkay, I’m not stupid. I know video is the hottest thing going right now and that there are 72 hours worth of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. (Yikes!!)

But I’m begging you: please don’t do that video you have in mind. Or if you must — if it really is an appropriate subject for video — please make sure that you create a textual version of your important message as well. Or outsource a transcript before going live with it.

Why?

Because it’s important. Isn’t it? Your message, that is. And if it’s important, you want as many people to see it as possible. That means you should include a text-based version.

BECAUSE SOME OF US FRANKLY HATE VIDEO! (Ohhh, I so wanted to use a different f-word there, but I really ought to keep this is a family-friendly site.)

Back to video. What do I hate about video? Nearly everything, that’s all.

First and foremost: I can read way faster than you can talk. That means, you’re wasting my time — by definition!

Not only that, but if I have a text-based version, I can print it out (even if I have to copy and paste to do so), mark it up with my excellent notes or my highlights to your excellent points and clever insights, underline and star to my heart’s content, flip back and forth to find the part I wanted to review, take it out to the back porch with me (without changing devices), and so forth and so on. Can’t do any of that with a video. I can barely — with effort — advance or rewind to try (emphasis on “try”) to find that particular point I wanted to go over again.

All those are really important to me.

I also think I just absorb better from text instead of audio. We all have different learning styles, or preferred learning styles. Some people are actually kinesthetic — need to be moving to learn. (That should set off a few lightbulbs in a few heads, either about themselves or kids they know — or perhaps parent. It’s a big deal, frankly.)  Others are visual learners — that must be me — and some are auditory learners.

So the bottom line is that those who desire to impress or persuade — or teach! — should employ as many learning styles as possible while attempting to convey their message.

But that’s still not all I dislike about video. I’m often distracted by you — or your presentation. If you appear onscreen, I will probably start to analyze and, yes, criticize your performance. Or your dress. Or hair. Or all of the above. Even though I do not consider myself a shallow person, and no one I knows would think of me as shallow, what you’re wearing or the mess your hair is are going to be distractions no matter what. In a few cases I’ve found them so distracting — and downright offensive — that they’ve turned me off to the marketer totally.

That could be  considered counterproductive.

I have a huge secret to share about that problem of (inadvertently) judging on appearances: I may be in the minority (or perhaps more self-aware than most), but I’m definitely not alone.

So if you are adamant about creating a video and starring in it yourself — trying for those Know, Like and Trust factors you’ve been told would skyrocket for you with video — then for heaven’s sake dress for the part.

I’m not talking coat and tie — although what would be the harm of that? — I’m talking something other than your undershirt, something other than a baseball cap turned backwards, something other than your faded ’97 concert t-shirt, or that t-shirt with the offensive saying on it, and your bed-head hair.

And that’s not the only thing you should do, either. Make an outline of exactly what points you want to cover so you don’t go off on time-wasting, boring, unnecessary tangents. And it wouldn’t hurt to actually practice a few times before you decide you’re ready for prime time, either.

In the final analysis, it’s about respecting your audience, aka: your customers and would-be customers. DO you want to waste their time? Then don’t. DO you want them to think you don’t care enough about them or their opinions of you to dress like you want to make a good impression?

And speaking about respect for your audience and their time, when you use video for nearly everything you do, you shift the burden of time required for the 2-way communication process to your audience.

Instead of taking time yourself to craft your message and make it presentable, too many marketers simply sit down in front of the camera and start yakking.

Not only have they given no thought to creating and following an outline of the points they want to make, they also relieve themselves of the hard stuff: the WRITING (and rewriting, and editing, and proofreading). IOW, all that work making sure grammar and punctuation and spelling are correct, and that it reads well and actually makes sense.

With video, you’re relieved of all or most of that hard stuff, the work. To a certain extent, the visual content keeps people from noticing some of the faults and failings of your presentation.

And if you love the sound of your own voice — as far too many video marketers seem to do — you will have a hard time deciding when enough is enough (time-wise and no doubt in other ways) and eventually people will get turned off to your narcissistic self.

So, when you’re preparing to do a video, ask yourself:

First: Is video really the best medium to use?
Hint: video is best for demonstrations of software — though not necessarily tutorials of software, or at least not without accompanying user manuals w/screenshots; music or other performances; live action — y0ur dog doing tricks, your interview of someone; how to’s such as knitting, crocheting and sewing techniques and the like; and so forth.

Is the video I’m planning to do and the way I’m planning to do it respectful of my audience — their time, attention, needs, considerations?
Speaks for itself.

And:

Is the way I plan to do it making this easy on them, or easy on me?
The point of nearly my entire post, so also speaks for itself.

Be honest with your answers.

Oh, and if you’re doing video sales letters, if you don’t give me a way to (a) turn the volume down, (b) stop the video entirely so I can answer the phone or the door or go to the bathroom, and (c) know how much of my time you’re demanding of me — then I won’t be watching it at all. And I encourage every other video-viewing potential customer out there to do the same.

Now, having said all that, watch for my next post on this subject (there’ll be others in between) which will include some great resources for producing and sharing videos. Yeah, as much as I dislike them, I recognize there is a place for them, especially since most people — but definitely not all — seem to love and prefer them.

Shrug. Just not me.

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