Why Video Blogging Hasn’t Taken Off

By all accounts, video blogging should have taken off big-time by now.  Consider:

  • Digital video cameras are dirt cheap
  • Video hosting is free and high quality
  • The platforms are simple to use
  • High speed internet access is common

It seems like all the elements are in place.

But while there is no denying several people have made it big in this space, video blogging has not achieved anywhere near the scale and recognition of text-based blogging and communications.  Try and think of 10 popular video bloggers.  You may be able to do it – but it probably wasn’t instant.  Now think of 10 popular text-based bloggers.  Exactly.

Let’s consider what is holding video blogging back:

It’s time-consuming to produce compelling video

I’m not saying it doesn’t take time to produce interesting copy, certainly it does.  However, producing watchable video is an entirely different skill-set that requires you not only to prepare content beforehand, but there are production elements required even after filming.  Also until you become proficient with video-production software, editing isn’t a quick task.  Getting to the end result is a multi-step process and could potentially involve multiple takes.  Producing text – while also requiring talent – is just much more efficient.

Professionals still have a huge leg up

In text-based communications, professional writers don’t have a leg up against amateurs anymore.  In fact, amateurs are in many cases more compelling than the professionals of yesterday because they are not bound by rules that constrain and constrict the emotion possible through words.  What we have seen regarding text is we’re not so much interested in refined, polished content – what we want is emotion and passion, polished or raw.

That’s because text is all about content, it’s that simple.  Got opinions?  If you’re sharp enough, you could disrupt your local newspaper’s editorial section with just your brain and an internet connection.  The only advantage they used to have is distribution,  but now anyone with sustained effort can acquire that.

Newspapers also enjoyed a monopoly for a long time, while TV and video producers lost their monopoly ages ago.  Consider how many different choices you have had through cable TV for years, yet for your choice of daily newspaper there were only one or two options in most places until the internet became ubiquitous.  Video producers have been forced to advance their skill sets and be ultra-compelling.  It’s hard to compete against professional personalities who have honed their skills in a competitive environment and have sharp writing and production staffs behind them.

We grew up with a text/image-based web

Thus we’re most comfortable producing text and image-based content.  For this reason, we have evolved the web to give precedence to text and image communications before video.  Perhaps the next generation will reshape the web with a stronger focus on video, however as it stands today we are still reinforcing the value of text as king.

Tough to quote from videos

If a blogger writes something interesting, it’s simple for me to get a quote from it.  I’m not going to transpose what someone says on a video – and while it is possible to embed video, figure out the exact time segment and cue it up, most probably won’t.  It’s just not as simple a process as hitting ‘control c’ then ‘control v’ – and on the web simplicity wins.  Plus email subscribers might not even click through to watch the video.

We’re just not used to being on video

Most of us simply aren’t used to being on video.  It’s not something that we’re trained for, and it’s something which has a learning curve before you start to get comfortable or become watchable.  Writing words is natural for us, whereas video can be intimidating.

Text translates

If you develop a popular blog in one language, it’s relatively easy to translate content as a slew of free tools such as Google translate make this simple.  Even if the tools aren’t perfect, they are close enough to at least make it readable for people who speak different languages.  Video content doesn’t translate.

Video isn’t searchable

Yes, I’m aware YouTube is the second largest search engine.  But besides the title and description, the content itself isn’t searchable unless transposed.  A nice chunk of search traffic discovers blogs via content and phrases within articles themselves.  The very nature of blog content incrementally adds more potential entry points from the addition of unique content.  Unless you are transposing content, this is not true for video.

Videos take time to watch

We’ve been conditioned to scan web content, and videos just aren’t scanable.  We can scan a page and get the value from it relatively quick, wherein watching a video is a larger commitment.

With all of that said…

Video blogging hasn’t taken off at the level of scale as text has for both individuals and businesses, however that’s exactly why it is a huge opportunity for you to be a pioneer in the space.  If you’ve got the skills to be on camera (or are willing to develop them) and are able to put in the effort you could be a breakthrough hit.  Especially in niches with a dearth of those producing video.

As it stands right now, if you already have a text/image based blog, adding video into the mix is a way to get the best of both worlds and potentially help you stand out.

image credit: Leigh Prather via Shutterstock