Video marketing is enjoying a heyday. Cheap data and fast internet speeds mean that anyone can watch videos on mobile devices and desktops alike. Marketing video often comes in short, digestible chunks of two minutes or less that are easy to fit into a busy schedule. And humans are visual creatures — we tend to find imagery more engaging than a long block of text.
According to Forbes, video content enjoys 135 percent more organic reach than photo posts, and including a video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80 percent. Video informs purchase decisions, encourages sharing, and enhances social networks, and marketers have taken notice.
The problem is, video is expensive and time-consuming to create. If you want to shoot your own videos, you need the equipment and talent to do so. If you want to create videos out of graphics and photos, you’ll still need skilled designers and editors to put them together. And if you don’t have the staff on hand, you’ll have to hire a videographer for upwards of $50 an hour.
Lots of small brands don’t have the time, team, or money to put a consistent video strategy together, so they stick to written content. Written content isn’t going away, by any means — more than two million marketing blog posts are published every day.
That said, you might have to work a little harder to make written content stand out. Here’s how to do it.
1. Strategy is Everything
It’s tempting to just start writing on whatever topic seems relevant and interesting to your customers, but don’t get ahead of yourself. How sure are you of what your customers want to read? Do you know what questions they’re asking before they buy a product like yours? Do you know what their biggest reservations are?
It’s imperative that you plan your strategy before you start putting pen to paper (figuratively speaking). Tools like SEMrush can help you find the topics that your future and current customers are most concerned about, so you know exactly what to write about to draw in the right readers.
The details matter, too. Should you frame your blog posts in the form of a question? Should you set your articles up as numbered lists? What kind of imagery should accompany your blog posts? Where should you be promoting them? All of these questions need answers before you really dive into content creation.
Finally, you need a promotion strategy. Most content marketers agree that you should spend more time promoting your content than creating it — some suggest up to an 80-20 split between promotion and creation. Take the time to find out where your customers spend their time online and plan to promote your content on the appropriate channels accordingly.
2. Tell a Story
If you want content to really grab people’s attention, telling a story is the best way to do it. Obviously, not every piece of content lends itself to an engaging narrative — some of your content is purely informational — but your goal should be to write with passion and excitement about a topic that genuinely interests you.
That means writing about people, not just topics. Frame your content around real people that have real problems they’re trying to solve. Tell the story of how your existing customers used your product to improve their workflows or personal lives. Use real world examples when you can — it’ll make your advice seem more relatable if you can show that it’s actually being used.
3. Volume, Value, and Variety
The biggest benefit of written content is that it’s cheap and easy to produce — one good copywriter can put out 50 or more blog posts in a month, whereas a single two-minute video could cost more than $10,000 and take weeks to turn around.
Volume when it comes to written content is important — companies that put out 16 or more blogs a month get nearly 350% more traffic than companies who only write between one and four posts in that time.
Putting out a high volume of blog posts has several benefits. First, you can remain relevant in your readers’ eyes by continuing to provide useful content, especially on timely subjects. If you only publish something once a month, they’ll start to look elsewhere for their information.
A high volume of posts also allows you to write on more specific topics. Rather than writing one broad, 2000-word post, split it up into three 600-word posts that dig into the details. Three posts means three titles, three sets of keywords, and three slightly different audiences — all good news for your SEO rankings.
Variety goes hand-in-hand with volume. The more blog posts you can create, the more you can mix up how you create them. Some of your posts might be strongly visually-oriented — a post titled “The 10 Best Places to Elope” had better contain some striking images of the places you mention.
On the other hand, some posts might contain a lot of dry data and statistics, better suited to a bulleted list or an infographic. Explore different formats and topics to keep things interesting.
The value of your posts is priority number one. It can be tempting to focus on volume above everything else, writing about anything that seems remotely related to your business just to get your numbers up.
The problem is, Google sees right through that tactic. If you write posts that your audience doesn’t care about, no one will read them. If no one reads them, their SEO value will drop. And if their SEO value drops, your site as a whole will be dragged down with them. Google won’t rank your new posts well if you have a history of poorly ranking posts, and that’s a hole that’s difficult to climb out of.
At Madison Taylor Marketing, we’re big fans of buyer personas — fictional versions of your ideal customer. Take the time to create a picture of the person you want to buy your product, then tailor your content to that person. With every post, think to yourself, “is this information that my customer needs to know?” More importantly, is it information they want to get from you?
Remember, the endgame of content marketing is to drive sales. Attracting attention from people that have no interest in your product doesn’t do you any good, because they’ll never convert to customers. Keep your posts focused, relevant, and useful to the people you want as customers.
The Bottom Line: Writing Isn’t Dead
Even if you do choose to incorporate video and photos into your marketing strategy, written material can be a helpful complement to everything else. Sometimes people can’t watch videos because they don’t have the bandwidth or don’t want to play audio in a crowded place. Sometimes a written list of instructions is easier to read than an instructional video. Some people simply prefer to read.
Written content also carries a huge benefit when it comes to SEO. For the time being, Google’s algorithms can’t tell what’s in a video simply by watching it — though we’re sure they’re working on it. Your video content might be top-shelf, but if no one can find it, it won’t matter. Written content alongside the video will bring in the traffic your video needs to really make an impact.
Video might be enjoying its time in the spotlight. But it’s written content that put it there, and it’s written content that will keep it there.