Sep 7th 2018

The value of video

Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me from such Babel blogs as ‘Krusty the Clown’s greatest PR missteps’…  Okay, so that’s not a real Babel blog, but chances are if you’ve ever seen The Simpsons, then you probably started reading that sentence in Troy’s distinct voice. That’s how memorable a simple video clip can be if delivered with the right tone, right message and to the right audience. It sticks.

The irony of creating a written piece of content to explain how valuable video can be isn’t lost on me. However, this blog isn’t intended as a ‘copy is dead, long live video!’ war cry; a well-written article or whitepaper is still an absolute home-run. Today, companies who want the media’s attention need as many weapons in their arsenal as possible.

Standing out from the crowd and making sure your voice is heard is a bigger challenge than it’s ever been. The only medium consistently stemming the tide and stopping audiences from switching off and scrolling on is video. Journalists want more video content because their readers want more video content, and major creators like the BBC are increasingly turning towards video news stories online. When you’re not only trying to get your message across, but also trying to make sure people stay tuned to hear it, then video is one of the best not-so-secret weapons there is.

The numbers don’t lie

95% of a message is retained when we watch video content, versus only 10% when reading text. That’s a huge difference. It’s almost certainly why 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service, and why 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page.

Add to this a couple more facts – a third of all online activity is spent video-watching; people stay on pages longer when watching video than reading text; and videos get shared more by internet users than other types of content – and it becomes obvious why this media is so appealing to publishers! And now for the real kicker: 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video. That’s a pretty strong business case for investing in visual!

Let’s forget the numbers for a moment, and consider the personal and emotional element of video content. In a time of globalisation and corporate clichés, building trust, authenticity and one-to-one relationships with an audience isn’t easy. Sometimes there is no more genuine way to read a person than by being able to hear their voice and see the whites of their eyes. This is connection you can only get – bar face-face interaction – through video.

A simpler view

So how can you use it? Any way you see fit to be perfectly honest. One of the best uses though, particularly in the often-technical jargon-filled tech space that we operate in, is explainer video. This kind of short-form content (often animated) can be used to simplify and clarify a complex idea or solution in a more digestible way.

Trying to explain to my very non-technical parents some of the concepts that we work on (how a mobile signal reaches their phone, how our WiFi works, how computer viruses spread etc), can feel akin to trying to finish a thousand-piece puzzle wearing boxing gloves. However, a video that can demonstrate something in action or bring a metaphor to life through animation works a lot better.

Explainer videos are an ideal way to convey complicated ideas to consumers and technical experts alike, but they’re not the only type of video that’s effective. A simple video interview, taking the quotes that are already getting used in written copy and giving them some personality, is a simple but effective means of spreading your message with the media, and maximising the value of content.

It’s important here to also bust a bit of a myth that video content is ridiculously expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it can be costly if you want a really detailed animation full of graphics and snazzy effects, but if you’re putting together some straightforward visuals with a talking-head spokesperson then it needn’t break any budgets. Everyone and their dog has a smartphone nowadays, which means that that most of us also now have a video camera sitting in our pocket which is more than capable of capturing a crisp HD frame. Add in some affordable studio lights and a decent mic and you can produce something high-quality for a low spend.

Of course, you get out of video what you put into it, but the point here is that you don’t need to be Steven Spielberg and rent out Pinewood to produce effective content that appeals to the media and could sit comfortably on their website.

The media landscape is a visual one, and video content is only going to become more important in the coming years. Getting to grips with how video can improve visibility is a must for any business wanting to gain media traction. And funnily enough, I know an agency who can help… contact us to find out more.


Declan Bradshaw
Declan Bradshaw CAMPAIGN MANAGER