The top 3 kinds of content to be looking at producing are audio, video and written text. That means podcasting, digital video and blogging. But if you know you can’t do all of them, which should you choose and why?
The power of video
Video is the most powerful of all the ways to communicate your content to an audience. If you’re speaking on-camera to an audience, you have subtitles and you really do have something to so that is important, it will connect you like no other medium can. We are evolutionally geared to seek out and respond to the human face. It’s why we see the Virgin Mary in burned toast and Jesus in the clouds. We seek human face patterns in those places where there are no human faces, because of an innate need to connect with each other. But for those who don’t have the confidence, equipment or are worried that their “look” will offend or just turn off people, video isn’t the easiest path to take.
While some are born for the camera, most are not, so they have to learn somewhere. And that’s usually done by imitating others who do what they want to do, or it’s researched and learned in a safe environment where someone can practice until they finally feel confident enough to succeed.
I myself do very little video because I feel stupid doing it. And I don’t like the way I look. It’s not that I can’t present myself; I’ve been speaking in front of people just about all my life. I just feel more comfortable behind a microphone than in front of a camera. Which brings me to the next type of content that connects.
Listen on demand
Voice content, usually in the form of a podcast, an audio serial or short sound bites connects with people, because some people just have a tendency to learn aurally. This is generally the theory behind why so much learning is done in universities via lectures. The lesson is delivered via voice, usually with visual cues on a screen to match what is being said aloud. But the learning is mostly done via listening to what a lecturer is saying or reading.
Of course, with today’s knowledge of learning styles and the rise of kinaesthetic or “learning by doing” there are whole schools that deliver lessons via multimedia presentations, not those old-style learn-by-rote techniques that we and our parents had drummed into us at school.
Creating a podcast usually involves a plan to cover a topic alone, or to interview someone who can bring insights to your audience. It can involve as little as your computer or phone to record the voice, but to be a truly good quality, a sound-calmed environment, quality microphone and editing software like Adobe Audition, Audacity or something similar can be used to create something that sounds professional enough to be on a radio station.
Unsurprisingly, podcasting is starting to take a big bite out of the listening of traditional live radio due to how quick and easy it has become to make your own podcast. But for those who can’t bear the thought of talking to a camera or a microphone, there is another option.
Putting it down in words
Blogging, or article writing, is the core of all content online. Long before we had radios and televisions we had books, scrolls and even stone tablets where we carved out important thoughts to be kept safe for the future. Google’s search is built, primarily around text. Their advertising system, is built primarily around text search ads. In fact, the whole world wide web was originally built around text on a screen that people could download and read.
As such, text is still the primary way that we consume important information on the internet. We read forums, group posts, stories, lectures, white papers and news articles. The words in these articles then form the basis of what is, then, searchable in Google.
Writing an article that contains a piece of your knowledge is a good way to communicate your expertise. And while this very article is being used to record a podcast, it was written, originally, as an article to be placed on a website. But naturally, there is already so much content on the internet. And so many articles. So you have to wonder whether writing and posting an article is even worth it anymore. And I say it is. Not for the instant impact of thousands of readers the day that it goes live, but for a bank of credibility that, over time, through consistency and perceived authority, makes you a safe and reliable place to go for good information on the topic you specialise in. Just be aware though, that Google loves specialised expertise. If you’re creating a site that has in-depth information about too many unrelated topics, your content will be less regarded than a site that has in-depth content about one or two related topics. After all, we already have one Wikipedia; we don’t need another.
One, two, or all three?
In reality though, to really cut through, we should be doing all these things. Equally in reality, most of us don’t have time. If you’re not shy, then do video first, maybe with a side order of blogging. If talking to a microphone is more your thing, then match audio or podcasting with blogging. Either which way, do one thing that connects with today’s audience on an emotional level, like video or audio; then do one thing that connects with their more intellectual centre, like an article or blog.