A plea to people making howto and informational videos: Give us a transcript!

Video content is here to stay. As a text-based person with a face for radio, I’ve come to grips with it. But that doesn’t mean video alone gets it done.

If you’re producing video content, please also share a transcript of the video. I realize some people love video, and that’s fine – but it’s not that much harder to include a transcript and it’s much more inclusive and potentially more effective.

  1. Most people, I believe, read faster than people talk. Listening to an interview, for instance, is slow and feels like it takes forever.
  2. Text is easy to consume on mobile and at times where video is inconvenient. (Think about second screen browsing and how many users find a video when it’s not convenient to watch and never return… you’ve lost them entirely.)
  3. I can skim content to see if I’m interested. If it’s video-only, I probably won’t get any value from your video because I probably won’t watch a 20-minute video just on the off chance there’s a nugget or two of interest.
  4. To be candid: Too many producers/hosts + guest speakers are wooden and boring. It’s painfully obvious when you’re just reading a script so… just cut to the part where you share the text?
  5. For many of us, most of our meetings and such are via video calls. Watching a video is like yet another meeting with the added “bonus” that you’re not even participating!
  6. SEO: If the answer to my question is buried in the video without text for a search engine to index, I may never know it exists.
  7. Translations: Machine translations can help people if the video isn’t in their native language, or it just may be easier to consume in text.

Note that this isn’t limited to external content. If you’re doing internal comms? Provide a transcript too. If it’s worth doing any kind of video, it’s worth doing a transcript.

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