Video content is another medium you can use in a content campaign; like written, visual, or short-form content, it can cover any number of different topics, offers a reasonable degree of creativity, and can be published almost anywhere. But up until now, video has been one of the less popular content marketing mediums. There are several reasons for this:
- Search engine crawlers focus on text, making word-rich written articles hypothetically more valuable for SEO.
- Videos are perceived to be time- and budget-intensive, making them more difficult and expensive to create than other contemporary mediums.
- Videos haven’t traditionally been as easy to access as written material online.
- The returns on written content have been sufficient to sustain most campaigns.
Now, in 2016, video content is rising in both popularity and importance for content marketers—but just how important is it going to be throughout the year (and beyond)?
Rising User Interest
The most important factor you have to consider is user interest. After all, your content strategy is almost exclusively focused on appealing to what your users want and need. If they want and need more video content, it’s in your best interest to supply it to them.
There’s no question that user demand for video has grown steadily over the past several years. Some estimates are predicting that up to two-thirds of all online traffic will be intended for video as early as next year. It’s hard to measure this level of interest objectively, but take a look at the growth rates of popular video platforms, and how many people you know post and share video content more than any other medium. The prevalence of Wi-Fi and mobile Internet access is also making it easier for users to access videos at any time, furthering the popularity growth spurt and extending it deep into the next few years.
We know that written content is valuable for SEO because it provides lots of indexable material to Google and informs search engines about your area of expertise. Videos don’t function the same way, but they do provide a number of direct SEO benefits:
- Your video’s title and description add to Google’s understanding of your brand and site.
- Your video can be indexed as rich content, displayable above the fold on SERPs.
- Your video content library’s popularity, likes, and comments, can contribute to your brand’s overall authority.
- Viral videos can earn you tons of backlinks to increase the domain authority of your site.
- Your video can rank in platform-specific search engines, like YouTube search, giving you more web real estate.
This hasn’t changed much in the past few years, but the accessibility of videos makes these benefits even more appealing.
Because so many business owners are worried about producing videos (whether it’s the perceived cost, the lack of familiarity, or just a general fear of change), there’s a significant gap in the content market. There’s certainly no shortage of written content, which has started to approach the brink of oversaturation, so if you want an easy way to stand out, video content gives it to you almost immediately. If you’re in an industry that seldom uses video, this benefit is even stronger—differentiate yourself from the competition by staying ahead of the curve.
Increased Developmental Focus
There’s also a host of new technologies in development or recently released that increase the availability, popularity, or ease of creating video content. For example, Facebook and Twitter have both released features that allow the auto-playing of videos in users’ newsfeeds upon scrolling in the past year. New video-streaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat have exploded in popularity. Even Google’s getting more into the video game with video-based ads in search engine results (still forthcoming on a large scale as of the writing of this article). This is more than just an indication of where the market is headed—it’s an access point for those unfamiliar with video production. These social apps and tools don’t require much in the way of technical expertise or professional polish, but they can help you create video content that people want to see. The rest is up to you.
It’s also worth mentioning the longevity of video content. Like written content, most video content can be uploaded and archived for a near-permanent value on the web. Visitors to your site five years from now will be able to look at your video history all the way back to now, and as user interest (presumably) increases, that archive of content will only become more and more significant. The only kind of video that doesn’t offer a permanent archival value is real-time streaming, which is incredibly popular today, but don’t write off that content’s value—it’s extremely useful for audience building if you use it correctly.
The Bottom Line
It’s difficult to say exactly how “important” video content is this year, since “important” is a subjective term, and each business is going to have unique needs, a unique audience, and unique factors influencing their decisions. What I will say is this: video content is more important and more valuable than it ever has been before. It presents many competitive opportunities, SEO advantages, and long-term benefits that written content can’t offer alone. I don’t recommend you abandoning any of your other existing content strategies to go “all in” on video content, but I do recommend you considering incorporating video into your campaign.
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