Philosophical differences of content types

Consider all the tools in your content creation toolbox
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The Power and Possibility of Content

I was interviewed by Tanya Smith on Stream Like A Boss TV recently and she asked why I chose livestreaming over other options, like a podcast, for example.

Well, spoiler alert: Even then I knew I had a podcast in me and it was definitely on the cards. I had produced another audio podcast some 18 years earlier.

The truth is, though, that I had to start somewhere, and livestreaming was the thing that caught my attention at the time. As someone of a certain age, the idea that I could essentially run an Internet TV show from my office seemed amazing to me. The tools and technology available to us today are so good.

But honestly I am a firm believer in the idea that there is power and possibility in all content types. Video, audio, text and graphics. They all have the potential to share your message, to convince, to educate.

In a perfect world, I’d encourage most people to do a combination of everything.

In the less-than-perfect world we live in, though, it may be better to pick one and work on getting that down to a fine art before expanding.

Think about different content types and formats as being different tools in your toolbox, or different colours in your palette. Depending on your goals some might be more appropriate than others.

The philosophical differences of different content types

Today, I want to unpack some of the philosophical differences between different content types.

Hi, I’m John Lacey, and this is Build A Presentation Muscle.

Video content

Video, whether live or recorded, gives your audience the opportunity to see and hear you. This is powerful.

Recorded video

Recorded video, produced video, edited video —this content type has a number of different names, but essentially it is something packaged up for easy consumption.

Recorded video gives you the ability to make edits. If you make a mistake, take a moment and say it again. Have a long boring sequence? Take it out with a couple of clicks with your mouse or speed it up.

You can show people the steps in a process in a recorded video. Even if you made your video short and snappy, the viewer can pause and scrub back and forth in the video.

Some things are too hard to capture well in a live setting or in a single take. Attempting this live, you could be looking at the software you’re demonstrating, trying to maintain some eye contact with the camera and managing the chat comments all at once. It can be a lot. If you’re recording and editing, you could do these things as different recordings.

Record the software demonstration. Record an introduction direct to camera. Edit it together in a cohesive package.

Long form horizontal videos are a great opportunity to tell longer stories and dive deeper into a specific topic. YouTube gives you the ability to include timestamp references within your video that will let your viewers jump to specific parts of the content that best meet their needs. (Giving these sections meaningful titles with keywords will also improve your video’s ability to be found.)

Short form vertical videos are a small hit of something —entertainment, tips and the like. While it is possible for viewers to seek out specific videos and topics, generally these videos will just pop up in front of the audience.

Livestreaming / Live Video

Your livestream is first and foremost about the audience members who have decided to join you live and participate in the chat.

Your live viewers can completely change the direction of your livestream. They are, in a literal sense, a contributor to the content.

You might have the intention of doing 10 minutes of tips on a focused subject, but your live viewers might want to know or share other things.

(It is a little paradoxical because when you start livestreaming you won’t have an audience. You won’t know that this will happen until it happens.)

Ignore your live viewers at your own peril. I have recently seen some video podcasts that were streamed just because they could be. The host and guest completely ignored the live comments, and the viewers were most displeased indeed.

Your live viewers will give you important feedback about your content and what they would like to see covered in the future.

If you’re livestreaming on a specific topic with the intention of repurposing your content, you need to spend some time on your topic and some time on your audience.

Sometimes this just means taking a couple of seconds between finishing your last thought and welcoming the person joining the chat.

You might like to set some expectations about when and how you will address questions in the chat too.

You can, of course, use recorded video in your livestreams, and turn your livestream recordings into edited videos later on. The possibilities are endless.

Audio podcasts

There has been a lot of debate about what a ‘podcast’ actually is lately as YouTube started using the word for their playlist integration. And as someone who has been listening to podcasts since the iPod Nano was a thing, I get it.

But let’s talk about audio in the broadest sense.

Someone speaking directly into your ears, via headphones or earbuds, is an incredibly intimate experience. It breeds familiarity and trust.

You can listen to audio podcasts while multitasking —walking the dog, doing the dishes, working. Podcasts can make chores less dull. This I can personally attest to!

Text content

Video and audio are exciting, but sometimes I just want to read something. I think one thing people forget is that so much of what we know as search is based on text input. Sure, you can (and should) add transcripts and captions to your content, but don’t overlook text posts.

Depending on where and how you post, you will have different options, but where possible:

  • Use whitespace, shorter paragraphs and (where supported) heading and list styles
  • Use the specific words and phrases your audience are likely to use

Image content

Images and figures are a great way of communicating moods, ideas, and directions for those who can see them.

The ability to annotate an image in software like TechSmith’s Snaggit or the free Greenshot utility program can quickly turn a screenshot into a series of steps or an explanation of the components of a program.

People who are blind or have low vision will need some support when it comes to your image content so be sure to include alternative (“alt”) text and image descriptions where appropriate.

Final thoughts

The beautiful thing is everything that you create can go into your content library, and be reused and remixed into other pieces of content.

Combine some text and images, add some narration, and some b-roll, and you have a video.

So start where you want to start, but think long term, and be strategic.

Remember for more information about today’s show, head over to

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