Sahail Ashraf posted on 29 November 2017
If you are involved, in any way, with social media and branding, you will be fully aware of the pressures that writers are under right now. Okay, they may not be showing it, but they are expecting something big to happen to written content.
When social media channels start to ask for more video, and writers see that the content that gets the most engagement tends to be video content, you can understand the unease among professional writers.
These are the guys and girls who write website copy, social media posts and headlines. And now, they’re looking down the barrel of what seems to be nothing less than impending obscurity. Do we still need good writing that engages, when we have video that does that in half the time?
First up, bear in mind that, while social has very much become a visual medium, this does not mean that writing is dead. It is very rare to find highly visual content that doesn’t have any text on it. Your words are still needed.
This is exactly the same message to a writer in a digital agency, and a writer who happens to own a brand. Words are still powerful, but it may be the case that you have to change (just a little) the way you write.
Now, before we all become a little nervous about how we change the way we write, just remember that some of the best marketing in history contained expertly crafted words. Think Nike. Think McDonald’s.
What makes written content even more powerful are the words themselves. If you are a content marketer or if you’re a manager for a team that is creating content, remember that one single word, in the right place, easily beats a long blast of content that is, at best, going to be skimmed through.
This doesn’t mean that writing has now been reduced to a couple of words, and we aren’t trying to make that point. What we are saying is that good written content can now be enhanced by the visuals around it. Whether this means the subtitles on a great video, or a written explanation of a product, text is perhaps even more powerful than before. And if it’s brief, cool. Great content marketing is concise and effective.
Some of the best videos online have subtitles. There’s a reason for this. Think about the times you spend watching a video online. Chances are that most of those experiences were being had with the sound off. People don’t want to suddenly have video busting out of their phones and into everyone else’s life. It just isn’t classy, and it can ruin someone’s mood.
That’s why subtitles are now being used more than ever on video. Content creators know about the lack of sound so they make sure their videos have a real ‘story’ to them. Written content has a part to play here. And it can be very high quality too, so you make an impact with words that resonate with the audience.
Strong imagery and strong, moving words beneath them add up to a moving experience.
And when you think about it, providing a narrative on video is just a modern way of telling a story. Bear in mind that most videos are watched without sound, and you can expand what a content writer does.
Content creation, and content marketing, used to be dominated by text. Now it is sound and vision. At least on the surface. But someone has to create the story for the ad. And someone still (at least until we are watching videos in our mind or something) has to provide the subtitles that pull the audience along.
Okay, writing content is something that is losing a little bit of traction, but it is not going away. Just like real books haven’t gone away in the face of e-books. You can still write for every single social media platform out there, not one platform rests solely on imagery and video. Not one.
However, this still means that you have to know the arena inside out. If you’re creating a post for Facebook and the client wants the best, most impactful posts ever, and wants the words to be perfect, don’t ramble.
You’ll find that Facebook isn’t a big fan of words on images when you’re doing ads, and if you have over 20% of the image consisting of words, the algorithm will stop the post from getting anywhere useful in people’s feeds. This is a real thing, so watch yourself there.
Also, have you ever sat through a video and then wished you hadn’t because it took up five minutes of your life? We all have. And wouldn’t it be better to have a long-form blog post to sink your teeth into, so you understand what the whole thing is about?
People still like to read. And they like to read when they are trying to learn something. You couldn’t explain the concept of a sales funnel, for example, in a five minute video (well not effectively anyway). And anyone who is watching a video on Facebook (and don’t forget this) is not expecting to stick around for any longer than a couple of minutes.
If people want to learn, let them. Give them high quality written content that complements your video and so on. And when they want to play, have a bit of fun or just start their day with something that provokes thought, create a video that does that.
If you need to show your client how amazing the work you’ve been doing on social is, you need a platform that provides you with the best data ever. Try Locowise for free, we’ll give you seven days to test-drive it. We think you’ll be happy.