Here is the data: An average person spends about 11 hours a week consuming digital content. Much of this is in the form of videos. During the first quarter of 2022, Facebook lost substantial market capitalization and the lack of sufficient video content is cited as one of the reasons for its decline. It’s no surprise that until now, Facebook remains largely as the reading medium. Facebook’s initiatives to include videos has not provided the expected results.
The writing on the wall is clear. Adults spend nearly six hours per week watching videos. As of last count, a total of 1.3 billion people use YouTube. About three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And more than five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day.
During much of last century, the world was getting their learnings, information, news and entertainment through reading. Parents actively encouraged reading habit in children. Adults who read voraciously were widely admired.
Today, a voracious reader may appear outdated. And justifiably so. There are more exciting ways to learn or to be entertained today than ever before. Videos lead this list.
However, when everyone is producing videos, how do we make ours stand out? We all watch so much video these days that many have developed video-fatigue. So, we need to find ways to make our content stand out. It is time that we raised the bar on our training content, because let us face it. Remember: we are no longer creating training content; we are creating training experience.
Let us look at some simple approaches to achieve this:
Define action-driven topics. Titles such as ‘Key Features of Compliance-based Business Framework’ is unlikely to work. ‘Running Your Business per the Law of the Land’ is more direct and engaging. Work passionately on defining action-driven topics. Even a generic topic can and should have a clear action.
Format and length
Videos come in different formats. Image animations, illustrated animations, white-board animations, and action videos. Each topic requires its own format. Of course, some such as the white-board animation have become outdated, and no one enjoys them these days. Today, human action video combined with image or illustrated animations seem to work better.
Also, the length of the video is as important as the video. We don’t want to present a 3-hour training video, unless what we are producing is a scholarly video intended for serious researchers, no one wants to spend that kind of time. Keep the videos short and nuggetised. Even four minutes might draw some yawns.
In any case, the format and length depend on the topic. As they say in Harry Potter, ‘The wand chooses the wizard,’ here ‘The topic chooses the format and length’.
Write before Shoot
Reading may be becoming extinct, but the writing isn’t going to be. The content must have a script and the script needs to be a detailed one. As they say in the movie industry, ‘one needs to have a bound script’. The complete video or all video nuggets need to be planned and written down to the minute details.
As before, the content dictates the script – whether we want animations, comic strip, graphic novel, illustrations, etc.—all become the board on which we present our training video. We can even innovate and come out with a totally new approach. People have been innovating every day on video styles. One way is to stay on top of YouTube. There are many channels that teach how to produce best and most modern videos. They help.
Gone are those days when videos used to be only passive. We can embed interactions within the video content and make it more engaging and immersive. There are tools such as WireWax, Vidzor, and Storygami that help create interactive videos.
Finally, there are quite a few options, strategies, and tools available for designing, developing and deploying videos. A simple Google search will open the door for great learning on how to create and deploy great video content. Creating a video has never been easier, and the world is producing thousands of hours of content every day, a lot of them being instructional videos. No wonder people have stopped reading and have turned to watching. True enough, 21st century belongs to watching people. It’s time we start respecting voracious watchers. Of course, what we watch matters, but that is another topic, to be reserved for another blog.