Video has long been established as a professional media format for the web industry. Beyond the average consumer dose of cute cat videos and big brand advertising, videos have become the norm for case studies, interviews, demonstrations, how-tos, and much more. They’re a great way to hold visitors’ attention, convince them of your point of view, and reach an entirely different audience (that would be the audience that skims and scrolls through articles rather than committing themselves to your content).
But on the downside, videos are a commitment. They require good animation and/or design skills, investing in a decent camera and mic, post-production editing skills, a good topic and/or script, at least one willing victim (participant), and lots of practice. And that’s the minimum. When you start factoring in music, licensing, a content marketing plan, and endless other factors, video starts to seem like a huge challenge.
Which is why, by the time you’ve finally finished one, embedding it in a blog post is an afterthought. You just want to get it live and published, and so you write a couple of sentences, include the embed code, and hit ‘Publish’. Job done.
Or is it?
Since you’ve put a ton of work in to even get to this stage, it seems crazy not to make the most of your video in every way possible. Aside from ‘translating’ it into different formats (infographics, slide decks, even images for posts and guides), the post itself needs to sell the video and make people watch it in the first place. Following on from a brief intro, and your video itself, it’s a great idea to include a transcript of your video.
Which brings us to the core of this post: why include transcripts for your videos?
1. Appeal to a wider audience
Some people like video. Some people don’t. Added to that, it also depends heavily on a given person’s location or situation. If they’re at work, it may be impossible to watch a video (because of speakers/sound issues, because they are constantly interrupted, or for myriad other reasons). If they’re on the go perhaps they don’t want to kill their data allowance, or maybe they’re just impatient and prefer text.
Giving users options mean they can enjoy your content in the way that they prefer, making them much more likely to engage and share.
2. Improve accessibility
Sometimes it’s not about choice for users, but need. Making your content available across multiple formats means that those who have sight or hearing problems can still benefit from what you’ve produced. Accessibility is a huge deal to many people out there who struggle with what they can physically use and constantly get frustrated because the type of content provided doesn’t suit their needs. By providing both video and transcript, you’re accommodating blind and deaf users accordingly.
3. Take advantage of search engine optimisation benefits
Search engines recommend that posts and pages be a certain length in order to provide value and enough information on what the page is actually about. A minimum of 300 words gets bandied around a lot, but personally we prefer 500 minimum.
A transcript is an easy way to add more text to your post with almost no effort, helping you reach that minimum length when you’re tired and want to hit complete on your video project. It’s also a great way to add keywords into your post naturally without resorting to repetitive fluff.
4. Make it easier for people to engage with your video
Even the best introduction in the world doesn’t mean a user will necessarily find the video worth watching. Hitting play on a video is a commitment to your content, and the first few seconds are crucial. It’s hard to tell from a paused screen and a couple of sentences whether or not a video will tell you anything interesting or be useful in any way. However, providing a transcript directly underneath your video means your indecisive visitors can skim a few sentences before they decide whether they’re willing to commit or not.
In most cases, they are more likely to either carry on reading or hit play on your video because they understand more about what they’re getting and you’ve made it easier to help them make a decision.
5. Show that there are no tricks
On some websites, people are wary of hitting play because they think they will encounter adverts or be marketed at. A transcript shows that you have nothing to hide and that they can rest assured there will be something valuable in it for them. Plus, there’s no chance that your hard work will be accidentally mistaken for a video advertisement.
But isn’t typing up everything that’s said in the video a lot of work?
If you already created a transcript for filming purposes, use that. If you don’t, there are plenty of free services online which will provide a full – and more importantly, accurate – text transcript of your video, either online or via a software download. Here are some links to get you started.
Test it yourself to see if it works for you by tracking the ‘Time on page’ in your analytics software and split testing video pages with transcripts and pages without. Don’t forget to compare their search engine rankings too.
Do you use video transcripts? If so, what are your top tips? Drop us a tweet and let us know!