In case you haven’t heard, vlogging is the new blogging. Research shows that businesses are, on average, creating 18 vlogs a month.
Yep, vlogs. Sounds like a type of stocky space alien, serves as one of the most powerful tools for engaging your target market and generating leads. Just using the term ‘video’ in a subject line ups email open rates by 19 percent and clickthrough rates by 65 percent. That’s powerful.
Does this mean marketing teams have to give up brand blogs? No way. As web psychologist Liraz Margalit Ph.D. explains, both video and written content serve varying purposes. Videos are more on the entertaining end of the content spectrum. They’re a form of passive information ingestion and are ideal when a web searcher is in the ‘browsing state of mind.’
But – while those mesmerizing vlogs may excel at motivating engagement – consumers are 39 percent more likely to share video content and 56 percent more prone to ‘like’ it – they are not as effective with goal-oriented web searchers. When someone knows what they are after, whether it’s a solution to a problem or specific info on a product or service, it is the active info ingestion of written content that consumers prefer.
When to Blog, When to Vlog
So, vlogs aren’t space aliens and they aren’t going to take over the world, at least not this year. They do, however, provide another excellent tool for brands to leverage to connect with consumers. The better you are at determining when to publish a blog post on a subject and when video would work better, the more you’re going to get out of your content marketing strategy.
Here are the foundational rules to help you decide, blog or vlog?
- Humans prefer a passive cognitive experience. This means, all else held equal, video content is more popular.
- Text is more likely to yield a desired outcome when your website visitor has to make a meaningful decision. If you’re crafting content around the keyword, ‘what type of life insurance should I buy,’ or ‘what’s the best hotel for a weekend getaway in Prague,’ a blog post is the way to go.
- Rule number one is less relevant if your target audience likes to be in control when searching the web. Some people simply don’t like sitting back and watching television. It’s too passive. This habit doesn’t change online. Blogs, unlike video content, allow the brain to contemplate, question, and ideally be entertained as well, while also giving the reader control over their content experience. This holds true whether they want to skim key info, re-read parts, or call the shots in any other way.
Why Choose When You Can Have Both Types of Content?
Vlogging and blogging don’t have to cancel one another out. Nor is it about video eventually phasing blogs out. The trick to content marketing success, is striking a balance between the two – based on your metrics, market demographics, and what you’re selling.
Which Converts Better on Your Site?
A great way to help you determine which direction to push your strategy is to test out what your viewers prefer. On average, websites that lack video convert 2.9 percent of users, while those with convert 4.8 percent. This general stat implies some video is good, it doesn’t mean more video is better.
Conduct some simple A/B testing, giving site visitors the option between your blog and your vlog. Which gets the most views? The better engagement? Which one do people pay attention to for longer? Which converts better?
With an agile marketing approach, you could make examining the impact of blogging and vlogging an ongoing process with an ongoing response. As your audience’s preferences evolve, so too will your marketing. Now that’s customer centric.
Who Is Your Audience?
Who is visiting your site and from what device matters. To reach the all powerful Generation Y, which is expected to spend $200 billion every year from here on out, video is the way to go:
- Email Marketing. Half of millennials will read a branded email if it includes video.
- Social Media. Millennials follow more companies on YouTube and Facebook, the social sites with major video, than Twitter and Instagram.
- Mobile Optimized. When on a mobile device, 48 percent of millennials only watch video.
- Research. 4 out of 5 millennials feel that video is helpful for researching a purchase decision and 7 out of 10 are likely to watch a video online.
Got it, check, millennials prefer video content… unless they’re searching for the news. A Pew Research Center Poll found that of 18 to 29-year-olds, 42 percent would rather read the news, 38 percent would prefer watching it, and 19 percent opt for an audio experience. For 30 to 49 year-olds, 40 percent read the news and 39 percent watch it.
Wait, it gets more interesting. Those aged 50 and up, hands down would rather sit back and enjoy the show when it comes to getting their news fix. Another valuable bit of data – baby boomers consume the most content overall, and it’s on laptops or tablets, not mobile. A 2017 study by AdWeek found that this generation prefers written and video content.
What Are Your Marketing For?
Some industries need regular video content like a bear needs honey.
- If you’re trying to evoke an emotional response – nonprofits, lifestyle industries – video content is going to be a powerful medium for conveying your brand messaging.
- Likewise, visual heavy industries like real estate need high-quality video – a blog post just cannot do a well-staged property service, no matter how capable your writer is.
- Businesses that need to educate the general population with simplified information, such as healthcare and insurance, are also served well by a strong video presence.
And then, the entertainment factor. All industries can benefit from posting relevant, entertaining video content, from fashion and food to tech. Take for example Blendtec’s Will It Blend series. These videos are priceless.
Blogging is still the cornerstone of B2B businesses as it is an excellent way to educate about the benefits of your services and to express the personality of your brand. B2B marketers with blogs bring in 67 percent more leads than those who don’t. Both B2C and B2B businesses receive 97 percent more links to their site with blogs than if they existed in the digital world, blogless.
Brands with Balanced Content Are the Most Effective
Today, blogs are still the dominant force on the internet. Most brands already have a blogging content schedule in place, utilizing written content to connect with their audience, to generate traffic, and to stay relevant. They’re not going away, nor should they.
Vlogs are the new kids on the block and the vlogging crowd is still dominated by millennial publishers dishing out entertaining, sometimes meaningless content on YouTube – often with smashing success. But brands, from Google to Marriott, are starting to move into the vlog territory. They’re not just creating the occasional how-to or promotional video, but they’re also putting together a more consistent schedule.
Blogs and vlogs are both worthwhile. They’re both powerful. And each has its own unique role. If you’re trying to sell a product, or if you’re into affiliate marketing, you can put together a great combination of listing the features in a blog post and showing how it works in a video.
Businesses who manage to find the perfect medium between the two – their weekly blog and vlog post for example – are going to reap the benefits of both.