Since this is the last session before lunch, I thought I’d make you hungry. Macaroni and
cheese. Bread and butter. Peanut butter and jelly. Oreos and milk. Cherry on a
sundae……Videos and words. Words alone are powerful. Videos alone are also powerful.
Words and video together go beyond anything they could do alone.
If you consider yourself a writer, you may have found slides like these fascinating. For the
first few times. I know everywhere I turn, I see emails and webinars about video this and
video that. It’s like a favorite song that’s been on repeat one too many times. This slide was
my contribution to the bandwagon two years ago at LavaCon.
Videos are super-exciting and more accessible than ever thanks to improving technology
and software. You can shoot basic publishing-quality video using just your smartphone or
capture your screen (even with PowerPoint!), and edit it with programs such as Techsmith’s
Camtasia, Adobe Captivate, and more. Applications such as YouTube, Facebook, and Vine
use videos so much that people wonder what’s wrong if you don’t have a video
Even though our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, words are still
One statistic you see commonly thrown around is 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million
words. How did they come up with that number? It comes from the common saying, A
picture is worth a thousand words. You have 30 frames per second in standard video x 60
seconds per minute. That’s the number of pictures in a minute of video. Multiply that by
1000 words and you turn this common phrase into an internet statistic. Let’s find
something a little more scientific.
According to comScore, which measures online engagement and use, 45.4% of internet users
viewed at least one video online over the course of a month.
That’s 100 million internet users who watch online video each day. Some will be about cats,
but some will be looking for a product or how to solve a problem.
comScore also found that the average user was exposed to average of 32.2 videos per month
90% of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website said they find video helpful in making
shopping and buying decisions. Retailers who provide online video report that products with
video sell more than products with no video. (Of course, some of it depends on your product
and your audience. At the very least, you need some sort of visual, because…<next statistic>)
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. We understand images faster and
remember them better. They also affect us more emotionally. Ask anyone who is interested
in brand. And how much photos convey more than just text. Our eyes and brains are also
stimulated more by movement than by static images, which is why video is so effective.
75% of executives told Forbes they watch work-related videos on business websites at least
once a week. 50% watch business-related videos on YouTube. 65% visit the marketer’s
website after viewing a video.
But even with all this video watching, you still need to be able to cut through the noise. You
generally have about 3 seconds to grab your user’s attention, especially at the top of the
funnel. (“The funnel” is marketing jargon. The top of the funnel is the wide world in general.
You have user’s attention but not commitment in the middle of the funnel. At the bottom of
the funnel, the user is most invested in their relationship with the company.)
Boeing Creative and Information Services
For further reading:
The best and quite comprehensive collection set is from VidYard:
http://www.vidyard.com/guides/ and http://www.vidyard.com/video-marketing-institute/
Words have been around spoken even before they were written. Still, written language has
been around for about 5,000 years (or longer if you count mnemonic or symbolic glyphs).
What was the content of this earliest writing? Records. It would be about 500 years after
that when we started using writing to record stories and other oral knowledge for
entertainment or instruction.
Writing makes temporary thoughts tangible. The fixed nature of words on a page allows
your brain to slow down, think, and evaluate. The permanence allows information to
endure long after we are gone.
Reading words also engages different parts of your brain than watching a video. Yes, your
brain processes images 60,000 faster but reading is an active experience, not passive, and
gives you a richer experience. Your imagination is not limited by a budget.
Writing is important, and not just what you read. Even in this day and age of computers,
neuroscientists find that the act of handwriting helps improve memory.
Before we get to inserting words in videos and videos in words, words are the basic
element of videos because EVERY VIDEO NEEDS A SCRIPT OR STORYBOARD.
Note: No copyrights were harmed in the making of this presentation. There are much more
professional examples out there, but it’s sometimes easier to make my own than ask for
copyright permission. Also, I think it makes it more accessible to see what someone can
achieve relatively inexpensively at home without a big budget.
Every professional tells you this, but you’d be amazed at how often this advice is ignored.
Scripts and storyboards are a necessity, not a luxury. Since I’m sure you’ve heard this from
many other places, let’s go over some of the highlights:
• When creating simple videos, they prevent speaking unnecessary words. How many
times speaking do you say um or ahhh or another space filler? How many times do you
use unnecessary words when you’re just throwing things out of your head as you go
along? Write it down, edit it, and practice it. Caution: Speaking words from a script
sounds stilted. Practice the script so you’re rehearsed and you still sound like a human.
• Scripts can be passed around for input from other departments or sent to managers for
approval before filming is even started. Since scripts and storyboards take less time to
create than filming, time and money are saved.
• If you are translating to other languages, scripts allow your translation departments to
get a head start and work parallel with filming. Time and money, again, are saved.
• Not everyone likes to watch videos. Sometimes I use videos exclusively, but I can skim
read a document faster than I can watch a video. Users really appreciate having
something they can read. Two quick examples: TED and Lynda. Even though their videos
are the most compelling part of their content, they still make transcripts available.
• Transcripts also make your videos accessible, both for people with disabilities and also for
people who aren’t able or willing to use sound. The user might be in an office with no
headset and doesn’t want to use computer speakers, in a noisy environment, watching on
a phone late at night with a partner or child sleeping nearby, or even scrolling through
Facebook (autoplay is soundless). Paste it in to the description area of YouTube. Add a link
to a PDF on your website. Maybe even do subtitles or captioning. Even a focus word here
or there (rather than complete sentences) helps.
Script by Allie Proff
Storyboard by Allie Proff on https://www.storyboardthat.com/ Also try
I’ve often looked on YouTube for help with SharePoint or some other software tool. Your
audience may be searching for help from your company. Want to know what makes me
click? Knowing I’m not going to waste my time. That means knowing what the video is
about, and having it be short enough to cover what I think I need to learn. Maybe that’s 30
seconds, maybe that’s 12 minutes. It depends on the task.
Words on a thumbnail increase clickthrough rate. And because you wrote a script, you
know your video is concise, or how it fits into a larger suite of videos.
Here are some fun cheesy videos I created for LavaCon 2015, both with and without a
thumbnail title. Which would you prefer to click on?
Most every video (build empathy and connection, explainer video, instructional video,
advertisement, etc.) can benefit from having a few words here and there.
It gives the mind something to latch on to while sounds are flowing across our ears. You
also reach the visual learners in addition to the auditory learners.
In my video, I’ve laid out the bullets on the screen. But it can be just one word, and
sometimes one word is more powerful. Simple is often better.
Let’s say you want to embed a video in an email or an electronic document but you want to
stay away from large file sizes. Or maybe your video doesn’t play well in the medium you’re
trying to share it in.
Just like you’d link a simple image like this orange rectangle to a video, you can also use the
thumbnail you created earlier as a static image with a play button on top of it and link that
image to your video. It’s amazing how powerful the suggestion of the play button is. One
caution is that you have to make sure the video is accessible to your user, since the image
and the video are in separate locations.
At Boeing, we have a problem where video doesn’t play nicely with SharePoint. I help
support our communities of practice, places for people to compare notes and best
practices across programs. Over 150 of our communities use SharePoint-based sites. Many
of my community leaders get frustrated because they record a demonstration and then
can’t post it in the SharePoint site. This work-around has been super useful because we
have an internal social media-type service we call inSite. Community leaders upload their
videos to inSite, put the thumbnail on their SharePoint page, then link the image to
inVideo. It works really well.
At STC Summit earlier this year, I attended a quick presentation on how animated GIFs are
making a comeback. No, not the cheesy under construction signs from the early 90’s but
really quick ways for simple demonstration.
GIFs are nice because they are relatively small in size and shouldn’t require any specialized
player. They can make a nice addition to your written instructions (as long as your user isn’t
going to print out hard copies).
Does anyone remember the original Transformers combiners, where individual
transformers would come together to form one large super robot. Or maybe you’ve
watched Voltron, where five lion robot spaceships come together to form Voltron,
Defender of the Universe.
Your next project doesn’t have to be just words or just video, and it shouldn’t be. Like
Voltron or Transformer combiners, I hope you feel some inspiration on ways to use this
Word cloud generated at https://tagul.com
Words and video are each awesome in their own right.
They are more powerful together than apart.
Make a script or storyboard!!!
Use words in your video: thumbnail, focus words, script or closed captioning
Use videos in your words: “embed” the video, use an animated GIF
Thank you so much for your time and have an excellent lunch! I would love to chat anytime
about tech comm, videos, storytelling, and artificial intelligence.
You can connect with me via LinkedIn or Twitter. I’m currently relaunching my blog,
Technically Eclectic from free Wordpress to its own domain before 2016 ends!