Update: OK. I was wrong.
I‘ve tested video, podcasts, webinars. Here's what happens:
Firstly, you do lose some people. Some people just won't watch videos or tune in to webinars.
Secondly, text really is better for communicating most things.
But – here's the rub – videos and webinars have more impact. You might get less people but you build a better relationship with them, faster.
So I'm using video and webinars a lot more. I'm still doing plenty of text blog posts so that everyone gets something. But video and webinars have the biggest impact.
Here's the original post…
I like to think I keep up with the times. I'm PDAd-up, work a lot via mobile broadband, and of course, run a blog.
But one thing I just can't get the hang of is the increasing use of multimedia resources on business websites.
For me, text works brilliantly. I can quickly scan it to see if I'm interested (and ignore it if not). I can jump ahead to relevant pieces and backtrack to things I want to review – all incredibly easily. I can read at my own pace – taking more time over difficult concepts and speeding up through things I already know. Of all the valuable business resources I have found on the web, almost all of them have been text (with maybe some pictures thrown in).
But nowadays there seems to be an increasing trend to put business resources into video format or run live webinars. And it just doesn't work for me.
Of course, video is great for some things. Instructional material for manual processes can be much better done in video for example. But concepts and ideas?
I almost never join webinars. The thought of sitting in for half an hour or even an hour of my life not knowing whether what's coming is going to be of value fills me with dread. I can't scan ahead, I'm restricted to listening at the pace the presenter is speaking – I can't get him to speed up or slow down to the pace I'd like to be at. I can't backtrack to key points (even on a recording I have to guess where the key points may be timewise).
And it just takes longer. I can read at roughly 3-5 times the speed someone can talk at. So in reality I'll be multi-tasking during a webinar and probably miss the key points anyway. Honestly, who in the real world with a real job really has the time to listen in to webinars and watch videos?
Sure, webinars give a chance for interaction and asking questions – but this can easily be done by requesting questions before writing an article – and that gives more time for deeper thought about the answers than answering on the spot in a webinar.
Video resources are little better. For the explanation of concepts and ideas a talking head (which is most often what it is) is rarely a good substitute for a written article.
So why the move towards the use of video/webinars? Well in my view there are two reasons.
Firstly, people think it's trendy and they're moving with the times and so providing a better service. I wonder if they would think the same if they actually asked their readership whether they preferred webinars/videos to text.
But in reality, I think it's mainly because it's easier to organise and do one than it is to really sit down, organise your thoughts and write in a clear, lucid manner. Of course, you should do this before a webinar or a video too, but frankly it doesn't seem to happen often, What we usually get is a stream of consciousness rather than a well thought out, structured presentation.
So please, to anyone thinking of doing a video or setting up a webinar to cover a business oriented topic – think about whether you could just write about it instead. I'm sure that for most of your potential “customers” it would be far easier and more effective to receive your content in good old text.