Video. If you listen to any of the marketing experts today, you’ll hear them preach how video is the “next big thing.” Even though it’s pretty much been a big thing since the advent of television.

Video is important to marketing for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the shortest route to storytelling. You can say what you need to say in :30 seconds, whereas it might take considerably more time for someone to read the same content. Time is the most valuable resource we have. Video helps get to the point quicker.

Second, it gives you the opportunity to add a human element to your brand’s story. You can load up your blog post with static pictures of people around the words, but it just doesn’t have the same effect as when the people are actually moving and talking.

Which isn’t to say that video is better than words on a page. Just different.

I was a Literature major in college. Loved stories, but hated the process of reading. For an ADHD person like me, reading has always been a chore–sitting still to engage words on a page (after page, after page, etc.) for hours just feels unnatural. Plus, I learned about deconstruction in college, and so I’ve become a very deliberate reader–always looking for the meaning behind the meaning. Granted, most of what you read online these days (especially branded content) has no deeper meaning, but that hasn’t changed the speed with which I read. I read slow.

As a result, I’m a big fan of the movies. I know that when I go to the movies, in two hours (four, if you’re into Peter Jackson) I’ll be told a story from beginning to end, while also enjoying some delicious popcorn. Even when the movie doesn’t live up to the book, I’ll have learned enough about the concept to decide whether I enjoyed the story–in a fraction of the time it would have taken me to read the book.

The irony here is that I’m a writer. A copywriter by trade, which plays well into my ADHD, and someone who has to write every day to feel alive. Earlier this year I published my first novel. I had been writing it for more than a year and had to get away to the mountains alone to finish it. Now, of course, I expect everyone to read it. To spend their precious time turning 187 pages of story I conjured. Perhaps one day they’ll make it into a movie, but until then the words are all I have.

And words alone are sometimes all you need. After all, “the book is way better than the movie” is the mantra of readers everywhere.


But I digress. We’re here to talk about SEO. Which brings me to the biggest reason why video is not the best marketing thing ever.


Google (and other search engines) use robots to index websites and blogs. These robots constantly search sites for phrases and words that help the search engine determine whether the content is authentic. When the content you publish reinforces who it is you say you are, you score higher on the search engine algorithm. And ultimately, rank higher.

Only, video isn’t indexable. Sure, you can add links from a video back to your website, but it’s not the same.

So while video is a great way to tell a story to your audience, its value kind of ends there. Until all video comes with a complete transcript, it will fall short in the SEO game.

I’m not saying video isn’t important. It is. But sometimes, the book is better.



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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.