What's the single most important form of content? Video? Blogs? Listicles? Infographics? E-books? Case Studies?
According to statistics, video is on the rise. But there's a more important question to ask...
How do you effectively employ different forms of content in ways that work together to optimize engagement?
Studies that compare the importance of different content forms can lead to a problematic misunderstanding of effective marketing strategy: By comparing different forms--blogs versus video, video versus infographics--they place these forms in competition, implying that marketing strategy involves choosing one content form over another. In fact, each form of content works as part of a team, an ecosystem in which you cultivate your brand. Effective strategy involves creating different forms of content in ways that mutually enhance one another. In what follows, I provide some explanations and tips and how to get your different forms of content to work together.
What is a marketing ecosystem?
You may have heard the term. In general, it refers to the range of interdependent platforms and channels through which audience interact with your brand. However, different forms of content can also work together to form another kind of ecosystem. The idea here is that no individual piece of marketing content—whether text-based, video, or visual (like an infographic)—works independently, but interdependently. In other words, the different forms of content in your marketing strategy should be considered members of a team. As on any team, each member depends on the other and can influence the overall success of the whole. No form of marketing is an island, unto itself.
When paired effectively, the right combination of written and video content can help drive traffic. The written content reinforces the story within a clip, and serves the purpose of helping that video become more searchable. Let me explain.
Have Your Video and Written Content Work Together
In practice, an interdependent content strategy means involves thinking of ways in which different forms of content enhance the impact of other formers. How, for instance, can your use of video enhance your long-form written content and vice versa?
As in any effective team, the members have to work together. If one team member is simply repeating (or worse, negating) what the other has said, your audience will grow confused, bored, and possibly even hostile.
Don’t repeat information across different forms:
In practice this means that your video shouldn’t simply the information presented in your written content. If the two forms merely repeat one another, they end up competing with one another. Instead of promoting deeper engagement with your brand, competing content simply one negates channel for another—like two outfielders reaching for the same ball. Your written content shouldn't just explain to people what they'll discover if they watch the video.
Write up the Big Ideas, Present Examples in Video
For example, create written content that will set up examples that are then proven in your video content. You could also you could write about a marketing strategy, then show a video demonstrating how this technique works in real time.
Consider Kissmetrics, a marketing blog that breaks down emerging trends in marketing, then shows real-world examples of the techniques they've highlighted in video. The long-form content builds authority, while the video drives engagement and optimizes the customer experience.
Short Video Coupled with Long Form Writing
In an age of distraction, even video can only effectively hold a viewer’s attention for about 4-5 minutes (max).—so keep it short. Videos are meant to be quick ways to convey a lot of information in an engaging manner. They're not supposed to be 30 minute epics that take you through the entire history of your topic. Even videos longer than 4 minutes place you in a danger zone of losing the audience.
Make Long-form Content Easy to Skim
Many times they'll come to a post just looking for one piece of information, though. It's easy to do this while reading, but you can't exactly skim a video to get to the part that's pertinent.
Topics that involve a lot of information still must be written down in a long-form post. Format long form with subtitled sections, so that it's easy to read, and only pepper it with video to elaborate on the most important or complex points. Your audience can scan if they want, or take the time to really hunker down and read what you have to say.
So yes, people will likely remember and talk about your video more – but video is also crucial for drawing audiences to the long-form content that builds real industry authority and long-term trust.