Unless you’ve spent the past few years under a rock, you’ve come across advice to integrate video content into your blogging efforts.
Heck, Hugh and the Blogworks crew even gave you a very thorough guide on how to get video into your blog — more on that later.
But if you’ve been avoiding that advice, I don’t blame you.
Blog husbandry is hard enough. Creating an entirely new content stream in a new medium might seem like more work than you want to take on.
At the start of 2018, I decided to test using video content to drive traffic to my blog and grow my audience.
The test project was straightforward enough — I would interview experts about different communication issues, load the video up on YouTube, and embed it in my blog.
As simple as the project was, it would still take time – time normally given over to blogging. And search engines can’t crawl video, so I couldn’t not be creating written content.
What’s an overworked content creator to do?
A content lightbulb moment
The lightbulb moment came courtesy of a fellow speaker. I was chatting with her about my project, both bubbling with excitement and moaning about the difficulty of generating the videos while trying to keep up with my blog writing.
The genius of her recommendation was belied by her off-handed manner:
Make sure you get a transcript of the interview, then post both the video and the transcript to your blog. Google can search that text and it’ll give you a big SEO boost.
I could leverage video to create written blog content at the same time AND it was good for SEO?! Let there be light!
Dipping my toes into video content via interviews
It’s easy to go off the deep end when getting into video, and I wanted my foray to involve minimal headaches. That was why I started with an interview strategy.
Interviews are probably the easiest content to create and have several advantages:
- Having a conversation with someone is a lot easier than staring into a camera and babbling to yourself
- You just need to plan the questions and the overall flow instead of taking time to write out a full script
- Interview videos are forgiving – you don’t need to use lots of fancy cuts and audiences don’t expect you to edit out every stammer or awkward statement
- A 20-minute interview can net you thousands of words of text for some serious Google and SEO juice.
One of my earliest interviews was with Hugh himself. Check it out here, and you’ll see what I mean about the ease and enjoyability of conversation (and how you don’t need to worry about editing out the occasional stammer or non-sequitur).
Getting going with video doesn’t need to cost a lot
You don’t need to break the bank to try the video + transcript combo on your blog.
Here’s what I use:
- Video conferencing software: I use Zoom for video conferencing and recording.
- An HD webcam: Don’t get sucked into the pro vlogger DSLR camera vortex. Get thee a good HD webcam and call it a day. I use a Logitech C920. It cost about $100
- An external microphone: Don’t rely on the webcam microphone or your computer’s integrated microphone, but don’t go crazy here, either – a cheap lav mic ($10 – $25) or even the headset that came with your latest smartphone will probably do. If you’re feeling more gung ho, or already know you want to do a lot of these, you can spend more. I use an ATR 2100 USB mic ($120)
- Lighting: If you have access to a room with bright, natural lighting, great – you might be able to skip this part. But my office is a dungeon. I solved the lighting headache with a $125 Neewar ring light I bought from Amazon. You could also cobble together your own lighting from what you have on hand, as long as you can get it good and bright.
- Video editing software: I do very little editing in my interview videos. I splice in a pre-recorded guest intro and some branded intro/outro clips, and chop out the first few minutes of chit-chat that always happens. You can likely do most of this with freebie video editing software, but I prefer Camtasia. You can also go totally hands-off and outsource the editing.
- A transcription service: Transcribing the interviews is the one thing I always outsource. Rev.com gives high-quality transcription with quick turnaround at $1 USD/minute of audio.
A simple process for distributing video content across multiple platforms
Uploading videos on YouTube is easy – there are a million video tutorials out there, and BlogsWorks has a great guide on how to put your video into your blog.
I’ve discovered doing everything in a certain order makes it all much easier.
Here’s my posting process (after I’ve recorded and edited the video):
- Do the video stuff: Upload the video to YouTube. Enter the title, description, and put in a whole bunch of relevant keyword tags. Publish the video.
- Then do the blog stuff: Start a new blog post. Re-use EVERYTHING from YouTube in your blog – the title, the description, the tags. Except for minor tweaks, don’t re-invent the wheel, just copy/paste it all into your blog. Embed the video, then copy and paste the transcript right under the embedded video. Hit ‘publish.’
- Last, the newsletter stuff: Copy and paste the title, description, and a link to the blog post containing the video and transcript into Mailchimp (or whatever newsletter system you use). Hit send.
Boom. Done. I’ve got the whole process down to less than 45 minutes.
While we’re on the subject, here are some other tips for writing blog posts better and faster.
Audiences and search engines love the video-text combo
Once I started posting the interviews (and later expanded to Q&A videos) along with the transcripts to my blog, 4 things happened:
- My website’s organic traffic started to go up
- My click-through rate on my newsletters went up
- My social media engagement went up, especially on Twitter and YouTube. Granted, YouTube is where I host the videos, but the video posts generate more likes, shares, and comments across all my platforms than my text-only blog posts do.
- My newsletter subscribers told me that they liked the videos and really appreciated being able to skim the video transcript on the blog. They were getting the best of both worlds.
Yes, creating the interview videos take a little more time and resources than writing text-only blogs, but I find the process feels easier and more satisfying. Especially when I record the interviews in batches and create several months of content in a few days.
Videos + text + blog can create some real magic. Don’t worry about being perfect, just give it a try and see where it takes you.
Lauren Sergy (@lsergy) is a self-described public speaking and communication wonk. She’s professionally obsessed with helping people level up their speaking and communication skills. Click here for more communication-related insights.
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