Videos: 3 ways to make them palatable for video-haters like me

I HATE videos. As a lover of the written word, it annoys the heck out of me when people share information only in video or audio. However, there are steps you can take to make video and audio more palatable to cranky folks like me. You’ll find three suggestions below.

Technique 1: Add minute markers

Looking for the easiest, fastest solution? Then, list your video’s major shifts of topic accompanied by the time the shift occurs.

For example, imagine a Q&A on investing in emerging markets. The text accompanying your video might look something like this:

00:00     Introducing Ms. EM Expert

00:30     What are emerging markets?

01:40     Reasons to invest in emerging markets

03:25     Risks of investing in emerging markets

This format lets me figure out what, if anything interests me. Then I can fast-forward to the good stuff.

Technique 2: Summarize the key points

A written summary of your video’s key points will make people like me even happier. However, you’ll find it more time consuming than Technique 1.

Your write-up need not be comprehensive. Just give me the highlights. For example, if we continue to use the emerging markets example, you could give a brief definition of emerging markets, followed by a list of the pros and cons of emerging-markets investing.

Technique 3: Provide a transcript

A transcript — a word-by-word record of your video conversation — is the most time consuming, but it also provides the most information of the three techniques I discuss in this blog post. I like that I can search the transcript for specific words and phrases.

You can make transcripts less time-consuming by outsourcing to a professional transcriptionist. To improve the transcriptionist’s accuracy, provide a list of terms and names that may not be familiar to someone outside your field.

Even with a list of terms, don’t expect your transcript to be perfect. Transcription isn’t easy. Also, human beings don’t speak in perfect sentences. You’ll need to review and edit the transcript word-by-word. This is why I’m not a big fan of publishing transcripts.

If your video features your voice exclusively, you may be able to get it transcribed using voice recognition software. Dragon Naturally Speaking is one option. Again, you’ll need to make corrections.

What’s your favorite?

Of the three options I’ve presented, #1 is my favorite. But I’ll be grateful for whatever you do to help me.

How do YOU make your videos user-friendly?

9 replies
  1. Ellen Friedland
    Ellen Friedland says:

    Susan: As someone who grew out of the world of writing, I understand your feelings about video. My career went from attorney to journalist to writer/producer of documentaries and corporate video production, and over the years I have really come to appreciate the value of video. In the business world, I see it as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, the written word. Sometimes there are messages that can be conveyed through well-edited visuals, sound, and graphics — all presented, of course, in a flowing, organized storyline fashion (i.e., a well written underlying layer is crucial) — that provides audience members with an attractive way of ingesting information. As an example, we often produce short (3 minute) videos for private equity investor meetings highlighting specific companies in various portfolios. Invariably investors later give multi-star ratings to these segments of the meetings, expressing their feelings that the videos gave them a hands-on feeling for the companies that they had not experienced previously. Further, these short videos are really intended only to open the door to interest in further information, which can be found in detailed written reports.
    Successful financial marketing via video has many other applications as well. I think each form of communication has a place. Certainly, video’s is growing, so harnessing this trend in the most effective and thorough ways is key!

  2. Blane Warrene
    Blane Warrene says:

    Susan – great advice for those of us who are exploring video as a channel (and trying to get better at it!). I love the idea of providing an outline (#1) – though I would also like to find a service that offers transcription from recorded audio – as this is something I still love about Meet the Press – that one can request transcripts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marie Swift
    Marie Swift says:

    Blane – you asked about a transcription service for audio and video clips. I use the Digiscribe service from Copytalk. The transcription is done by real people in a secure location on company equipment (English is their native language). I’ve tried other services but found that they sent the work overseas and the accuracy was pretty appalling. Copytalk’s Digiscribe service is consistently good.

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