Why Written Content Is More Important Than Ever In 2018

Michael Brenner on Apr 2, 2018 in Content Marketing

The rise of video has dominated the content marketing industry for the last couple of years. But there’s increasing evidence that many people still prefer written content.

Here we take a look at the many reasons why written content should be an essential part of your content marketing mix in 2018 and beyond.

Some people still love to read

We hear so much these days about how video is taking over the internet. People have shorter attention spans, and most of us would prefer to watch a video than to read written text.

But often times we are not able to listen to video and for many types of content, we still prefer to read.

Written content is cheap to produce

Cost is a major factor in any company’s marketing budget. It’s true that the cost of video production has come down – these days anyone can shoot a basic video on their phone. But the quality is likely to be poor. This can seriously harm the credibility of your business, especially with so much competition online.

A basic, professionally-produced video of one to two minutes long, without motion graphics, will cost on average $5,000 – $20,000. And its not just about budget but also time. Having created quite a bit of amateur video myself, I can tell you it takes me about a day just to shoot around 15 minutes of video

That just doesn’t scale.

Compare this to the cost of a written blog post. (Nothing, as long as you have a computer or phone with a word processing package.) As long as your written content is good, it’s a wonderfully cheap way of generating interest in your business.

I offer my clients a package of strategy plus 100 blog posts for around $35,000.  That’s less than sponsoring 1 industry event. And we’ve already settled that you need to frequently publish quality content. So what are you waiting for?

A mixture of content helps your SEO

I call it the 3 Vs. You need volume, value, and variety to rank for your customer’s important search terms. Something that most of the top-ranking websites have in common is a wide mixture of content. A successful content marketing strategy will involve a variety of different content types, including written blog posts, videos, infographics and webinars.

Offering this variety has a number of important benefits:

  • It offers something for everyone, whatever type of content they prefer, so visitors to your site are likely to stay longer. This gives a greater amount of time for your brand message to get through.
  • It boosts your search engine rankings by increasing the number and variety of keywords on your site.
  • The more content you have, the more links you are likely to generate, which also boosts your SEO.

The more appealing you can make your content, the greater number of people you will reach. This generates interest in your business and demonstrates that you are a leader in your field when it comes to providing quality information. In turn, this boosts trust in your brand.

Written content helps your videos rank higher

Search engine bots these days are very clever – but they can’t read a video. They still rely on written words to help them rank each piece of content, including videos, for relevance in search results.

This is why even videos need written text in order to secure their search engine rankings. YouTube, which is owned by Google, likes at least a 200-word summary explaining what the video is about. This needs to be clear, unique and well-written.

Without this, even the most informative video can disappear into obscurity online.

A written article can inform you more quickly

This may sound strange, as online videos tend to be short. But a well-written article can give you the information you need more quickly.

This is because written articles tend to be easy to skim through, so you can quickly and efficiently find the information you’re looking for. If it’s well constructed, it will be divided into concise paragraphs under clear headings, making it easy to find the parts that are relevant to you.

This is an advantage that video simply doesn’t have. You need to watch the whole thing to find out exactly what information it contains, as it’s easy to miss something when you’re scrolling backwards and forwards along the time bar. This can take up huge chunks of time out of your day – and these days we’re all too busy for that.

Written articles can boost sales

Different types of content each have their place in the sales process. Video is great for generating initial interest in your product. But video is generally seen as more entertaining than written content. Because of this, it can also be thought of as more “trivial” – people are likely to take it less seriously than the written word.

This makes written content invaluable when you have a lead that you want to bring further through the sales funnel. People want to think seriously when they’re making a purchase decision, particularly an expensive one. They need the features and benefits of the product explained to them in detail, in a format that they can spend time digesting and save for future reference.

Providing a detailed, written description explaining the benefits of your product might be exactly what you need to turn that prospect into a sale.

Written text doesn’t have sound

Video content can be highly intrusive due to the noise levels it contains.

Most of us have experienced this inconvenience at some point. Perhaps you’re working on a really important project when your colleague at the next desk starts re-watching a training video at full volume, breaking your concentration. Maybe you want to read the news online when you’ve just got the baby to sleep, and the news site starts auto-playing a video. Not ideal.

There are many situations where reading is easier and more appropriate than watching. After all, some things just don’t need to be shared.

Reading is becoming more popular

Yes, it’s 2018, and we’re all tech-savvy and looking to the future. But sales of printed books went up 1.9 percent in 2017. They have risen every year since 2013.

This trend isn’t a blip. It shows us that reading is becoming more popular, and written content won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

After all, you’ve just read this article, haven’t you?

So what are you waiting for. Contact me today and let’s get started?

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 8 comments
  • Carolyn Smith

    Michael, thank you for this insight. As a business writer, I am confronted by clients who have little patience for the written word and think videos will solve all problems. This post gives me splendid ammunition to strengthen my arguments for written content even better. You are a treasure in the marketing world and I value your high-quality output everyday.

    P.S. I charge $300-350 per blogpost. Your 100 blogpost package lets me know I am on track with pricing. Thank you, again.

  • Niel Malhotra

    You’re right Michael. Look at the rise of Medium, a text-based social network.

    I wonder if I’m the only person that doesn’t like video or podcasts. Text is so much easier to consume.

    Obviously, video has worked for some people, but text is still king. My analysis showed that most viral pieces of content are not videos.

    • Michael Brenner

      Hi Niel, I’m definitely a text person. I do like video but don’t find myself consuming a lot of it. And I don’t really listen to podcasts. But I do know that a lot of people do. So you’re not alone.

  • Heidi Cohen

    Michael–I love your ode to text content and the fact that book sales went up in 2017. I’d add that LinkedIn Publishing and Medium are text content as well. Happy Marketing, Heidi Cohen-Actionable Marketing Guide

    • Michael Brenner

      Great point. People continue to spread this myth of information overload and yet the amount of content we consume continues to rise. We’re just better at filtering out what we don’t want.

  • Jotham Mwale

    I’ve been recently inspired to go the route of thought leadership and mental digital shift, in terms of my consultancy services. I stumbled on your work as I started my research online. It’s great content and I’m totally inspired. I’d love to learn more.

  • Roger Wood

    I believe a variety of content marketing remains the best option. Creation, production and testing works the best on any market. I witness some Generation Y who never read and only use video and image based social media. While older generations use a combination of tech and traditional media.