Is writing history? The rise and potential fall of video
There was a time, not so long ago when the hardest decision to make regarding web content was how to tell a stakeholder that we as web editors would be cutting down, stripping away, reformatting and transforming the lengthy text they had supplied in pdf format. We would turn this unimaginative document into a digestible piece of marketing material that could be read online.
A few years on, and we find ourselves in the same boat. Albeit, the boat is now cruise-liner.
Steering those that are to deliver the academic promo videos into the clear blue water of engaging content as far away from the dull monotony of static talking head videos is increasingly difficult. Whilst many contributors have fully accepted visitors to a website will not read realms of text, they still have a tendency to feel the need to talk for 7 minutes for a talking head video. Do they feel this would not have the same affect on the audience as a 7 page pdf document?
It is predicted that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. Can we infer that video is the future of content marketing? Possibly. If this is the case, we will need to radically adjust our approach if we are to engage with the wave of new audiences.
Universities are spending more time and resources filming and editing promotional videos. If this is the case, should we be employing more video production specialists? Possibly not, if the web editors are educated enough to understand their consumer and audience.
In order for the video to content to work in tandem with the written content, the editors need to be bolder in their decisions to what will be filmed and what will suffice with text on a page. We need to remember the decisions that were made all those years ago about how to display the content. University websites still require written content that needs to be displayed in a variety of formats. In order for all content to succeed, the diversity of the audience always needs consideration.
Video is easy to produce and share and as a result, it could be said that it is overdone. Web teams are constantly receiving requests to film and edit video material where text would convey the message just as effectively, if not more quickly. Lengthy talking head videos will only detract from the useful content that already exists.
If video content is not to act as an anchor, we all need to consider our post production strategies and be mindful of whether the video has a use or whether it is merely a vanity project for the academic being filmed. If something is deemed worthy enough to be filmed, it should be worthy enough to be written.