This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren
Welcome back, my blogtastic friends! As you may have gathered by now: Every week, we use Regator‘s blog trends to show you what the blogosphere has been writing about during the previous seven days (click any trend to see posts about that story) and I give you a few blogging tips to go along with the trends. Speaking of which, I just finished watching the first, second, and third groups of videos that Darren gathered from readers who had tips to share, and I’m both impressed and inspired.
That’s why I thought we’d use this week’s trends to talk a bit about videos in posts, namely why and when to use video. The “Tips From Our Readers” video series as well as Darren’s weekly video posts are effective because they not only convey information but also use video to strengthen the community and to help readers connect with Darren on a more personal level. Building community and helping readers connect with you as a blogger are two ways of ensuring repeat visitors and higher traffic. Let’s take a look at this week’s trends and how a few specific blogs used video to add to these stories:
- Gulf of Mexico/Deepwater Horizon – In “Video of Oil Rig and Fire Rescues” The Lede features five separate videos of the oil rig fire in the Gulf of Mexico. These videos are used to convey the drama of the event and play into the human fascination with disasters. In general, don’t write about a tornado if you have video of it. Don’t describe an explosion if you can show it.
- Goldman Sachs – The Consumerist‘s “Senator to Goldman Sachs: ‘Why Did You Push a S#!tty Deal?” uses video to show rather than tell readers about this altercation. Using video this way is a good alternative to transcribing long passages of quotes and also provides readers with nuances such as body language, facial expressions, and linguistic quirks that can be important in circumstances such as this.
- Kentucky Derby – Videos can be used to add humor to your blog. In “The Late Movies: Horse Racing Hijinks,” Mental Floss does this by providing a series of videos showing commentators struggling with unusual horse names during the Derby. (The Aaaaarrrr! video is priceless, but makes another point because the 1:34 second video only gets going after the 50-second mark. Don’t be afraid to edit videos down to the relevant bits. The internet has a short attention span.)
- Gordon Brown – Gordon Brown’s recent gaffe, in which he insulted a woman while his microphone was unintentionally on, is a perfect opportunity to use video to illustrate a controversial moment. The author of Britannica Blog‘s recognized this and inserted video proof of the incident. Covering stories such as this one without video simply feels incomplete.
- Born Free – Rather than simply showing M.I.A.’s controversial banned-on-YouTube new video for “Born Free,” The Daily Swarm used it, along with other recent music videos, to highlight a trend in its post “Why the Event Video Is Back.” If you’re handy with video editing, you can also create videos that demonstrate trends by showing that multiple people taking part in a particular activity, wearing a particular fashion, or using a particular phrase, for example.
- Times Square – When timeliness matters, you might be able to cover a breaking story more quickly for your readers by posting video of a press conference than by writing your own analysis. Towleroad’s “Car Bomb Scare Shuts Down Times Square” quickly summed up the story with quotes from major news outlets and video of the mayor’s press conference. You can go this route to keep your readers informed then go back and write a more detailed post later.
- Bret Michaels – TV Squad uses video to provide additional commentary and opinion on Bret Michael’s medical condition from a public figure in “Did Trump Inadvertently Spoil ‘The Celebrity Apprentice?'” Using video in this way helps add additional voices and color to the post.
- Stephen Hawking – Video can also be used to add pop culture references to your posts. In “Stephen Hawking: ‘Don’t Talk to Aliens,’” The Seminal uses amusing video clips from movies to indicate that Hawking thinks aliens are more like the crazy attack aliens from Independence Day than friendly E.T.s from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Arizona Immigration Law – Liberal U.S. political blog Crooks and Liars uses video of protests against Arizona’s new immigration law to support its viewpoints and take readers to the scene of a story in “Tens of Thousands March in Major Cities for Immigration Reform.” Taking your own video at a drama-filled event gives your readers inside access and puts them in the moment.
- Sandra Bullock – In “Sandra Bullock Paparazzi Feeding Frenzy Videos: Pure Chaos,” Gawker used video when words might’ve fallen short. The scene is so chaotic and overwhelming that video was, very likely, the best way to quickly communicate the situation.
Do you use video for any of the reasons mentioned here (to build community, to convey drama, to show rather than tell, to add humor, to illustrate controversy or chaos, to show a trend, to cover breaking news quickly, to add voices and commentary, to add pop culture references, or to take readers to the scene)? How have you used videos on your blog? Please share your experiences in the comments!