A colleague and I recently put together a talk on white papers done as videos and slide shows.
Apryl Parcher is a white paper writer and social media expert from WhitePaperResults.com.
Apryl and I wanted to respond to the new formats for white papers we’ve seen cropping up, especially videos and slide shows.
We present a few samples of so-called “white papers” formatted as videos and slide shows, and make some observations about their effectiveness.
Click on the screen below to watch it (9:47 minutes).
A video white paper usually involves a talking head delivering content at a fixed camera angle for 7 to 9 minutes. There can be extra text or a transcript of what the person is saying to the side of the screen.
A slide-share white paper looks like PowerPoint. But instead of short paragraphs or bullet points, all the content is on the slides.
What’s the point?
A video or slide show can benefit marketers in two ways:
- It can be good for SEO. If you repurpose a white paper in these formats and attach a transcript populated with SEO keywords, that will be indexed by search engines.
- You can attract people who don’t read. But how solid is a prospect who won’t bother to read a few pages on your offering? Just asking.
Do these formats work?
Ultimately, I don’t believe white papers formatted as video or slide-shares are as effective as white papers distributed as traditional PDFs.
The slide show white papers I’ve seen look like complex text dumped on to slides. They’re tough to read, tough to scan, and tough to search.
And from the samples I’ve seen of video white papers, the video medium adds nothing to the effectiveness of a white paper. Not to say that it never could.
But what B2B marketing team has the budget or the skills to make a fabulous production, like something you might see on the Discovery channel?
More likely, we’ll be stuck with talking heads, like this example.
Will videos and slide shows replace white papers?
When executives meet around a boardroom table, they need information to share with one another.
I don’t think either video or slides are effective for communicating the complex information that prospects want to see in a white paper, especially when they need to back up a costly business decision.
It’s more likely that videos and slide-shares will serve as light, interactive introductions to the deeper content of a white paper.
So visitors to YouTube or a slide-sharing site will be able to find relevant white papers by searching, viewing some basic content, and then deciding if they want to download an entire white paper.
What do you think?
It will be interesting to see if video and slide-share white papers evolve to become more effective, or simply fall by the wayside.
What do you think? Will these non-traditional white paper formats stick around? Please leave your comments below…