Contrary to widespread belief, text rules online

If you want to make a lasting impression through your online marketing efforts, you’d better use text.

The inspiration came to me in the form of Mark Palony’s blog post The Rebirth of Written Communication. Before the time of online tools that allowed you to be in touch with and found by practically the entire world, written documents were pretty much all historians could rely on to put together a picture of famous personalities, major events and so on.

The telephone posed a threat. How can you trace telephone calls made years ago? There’s no trace in history about what was said during those potentially revolutionary discussions.

We’re in exactly the same situation today.

Video is touted as the number one traffic generator to your website. Okay, that may be so. But if you’re going to enjoy the proverbial 15 minutes of fame, will that be enough? No contemporary search engine knows how to index that video of yours for posterity (that’s the 15+ minutes most of your customers will find themselves in), however ingenious its content. And whatever indexing they do, it’s based on—you guessed it, text.

Also, not everybody looks or sounds good on video. Do you really want the entire world to know you have a lisp, or that you speak with a horrible (to natives) accent? Who wants to see yet another talking head anyway?

I’m not trying to play down the efficiency of video or audio, don’t get me wrong. But the old adage still holds: it’s words that sell. In the online world, words are not spoken but written. For the search engines to pass along. For people to understand your thoughts are important, whatever you look like or however you speak.

Now hit that comment button to let me and the world know what you think. (That’s text, too…)


  1. Bob Scheier - 2012-09-14 @ 00:24

    Couldn’t agree more — video drives me nuts when I’m trying to learn something quickly and have to wait for the speaker to get to it. In fact, I’d suggest there are specific cases where video does and doesn’t work. For more details…

    • Kimmo Linkama - 2012-09-14 @ 17:12

      That’s exactly what bugs me most about video: waiting for the nugget that may appear at a later time. Plus if you miss something, you have to rewind back to where you think that particular item is instead of just scrolling back to a section of text. Then again, the points you make for video in your link are spot on. Thanks for your insight!

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