I’m a member of Dennis Becker’s awesome group
and he asked the question:
“Which is your preferred method of creating content?”
That inspired me to discuss the pros and cons
of the top 3 methods of content marketing,
written, audio and video, when the purpose
of your content is educative.
All these have their place and time and just because you have a favorite, you shouldn’t rule out the other formats for the reasons I’m about to reveal here.
Articles, comments, status updates or image descriptions…
Apart from thumbs up and down and other social sharing signals, you could say that Internet search engines rely solely on written words.
SEO – search engine optimization – and linking around to other websites increase your visibility, you get found.
Written words allow easy access because they don’t require much cyberspace. When it comes to blogs, articles and eBooks, you can edit what you wrote if there’s false information or you’ve changed your opinion and you can repurpose text multiple ways.
Written words also carry more perceived authority than appearing on video or audio (radio, podcast etc.), if you think about it: “Best Selling Author” always sounds like someone who knows their thing and has the guts to put it out there for good. (Books were here long before our time you know…)
Apart from blurbs, writing is however time consuming and if you’re uncertain about spelling or grammar, it doesn’t really work in your favor.
Technology helps here though. English being my second language, I for instance use word processor with auto correction and an online dictionary quite a lot, and sometimes write a sentence to Google to see if I should say “in” or “on”, just like I did with “work in your favor” sentence above.
I personally tend to write everything down first, often to a lot of detail, too, even if I convert it into an audio or video later.
Creating an audio is fast, because it takes about the same amount of time than talking. Grammar is no big deal, as long as they understand you, and audio is portable, too. You can download it to your iPod or mobile phone and listen to it when you have nothing better to do, or at least something that doesn’t require your full concentration: sitting in your car or on a long flight, riding your stationary bike or walking the dog for example.
The problem with consuming audio versus text is that skimming it is difficult. But then again, some studies show that people learn better by listening to an audio than just reading the same material.
Apparently it’s because of emphasis on certain words and hearing the emotions attached to them, so having a robot reading the text doesn’t work the same way.
There are several ways to produce video: Cartoon videos are very entertaining even if the topic is boring, you can do the “talking head” style video, screen capture video, demo video, or use slides or for instance host an interactive hangout.
Creating a video doesn’t have to take more time than creating an audio, and as a format it has the ability to connect you better with your audience, especially if you’re showing your face. They know you’re a real person out there.
But video can easily get distractive, too: There are all kinds of irrelevant items at the background or the host has annoying maneuvers, and if you only see slides, you may start to wonder what’s the point. And what about those screen capture videos when the mouse just doesn’t stand still for a second…
You’re stuck in one place, too, video files require a lot of space on your computer, and if you’re streaming them, they jam all the time.
So if the topic doesn’t absolutely require showing something on video, choosing another format may be a wise choice.
So which one is the best?
I wouldn’t know.
As you notice, all of them have pros and cons and you may also want to keep different learning styles in mind when creating your content.
More about that topic in another article though.
But I do have a question for you: As a consumer, which one is your favorite format and why?