"How To Best Utilize Video" OR "When Or When Not To Utilize Video"

by Todd Rogers
(Sacramento, CA, USA)

Question: I will soon be starting a series of How To Manuals on copyrighted materials that I have developed over time.

I want to utilize embedded video of my own creation in a way that makes my ePublication part webisode or video podcast or some similar genre in the How To Niche.

My question is this:

Would it be a good idea to use video in, say, a 30-page report whereby the video is the primary driver of the report and the audio is merely transcribed underneath the embedded video allowing the reader to follow along...


Would it be better NOT to utilize video in my ePublication, opting instead for words only?

My desire is to make my reports interactive for maximum retention but tell a story in the process with a bit of age and morally appropriate humor added in when available.

Answer: What you have to consider here is what would give the most value to your customer. And for that, you have to know who your customer is and know your product thoroughly. Since I know neither, I can only give some general suggestions.

People who are readers often prefer text because it takes much less time to read something than to listen to it being read aloud. Such readers have no interest in following along. They will likely turn off the video and read ahead.

On the other hand, if what is being taught is material that is difficult to visualize, where visual aids - particularly moving images - would help with the understanding, then a video would make sense. There's no point in having a video of stationary images, for example, or a talking head. You may as well just include diagrams or leave out the video altogether.

Now, it is true that some people are visual or auditory learners, but I wouldn't simply make the video a retelling of the text. Rather, I would suggest you use video for supplementary material. Have the videos expand on the report, demonstrate how to apply the information in the report in specific cases, or what to do in different situations the reader may encounter. Make the videos "bonus" material that add value, while making sure the report itself fulfills the promise you make to the buyer.

Making the text simply a transcript of the video would run the risk of making the material seem very thin. You'd be giving the same information twice, undermining the perceived value of the product.

To my mind, that would risk creating a dissatisfied customer.

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