YouTube Videos Replacing The Printed Manual

youtube videos replacing printed manualsThere’s no denying video is huge—consider, for example, that 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. This sort of rich media isn’t just a vehicle for hilarious cat videos or an effective addition to your integrated marketing strategy. Videos might just be replacing printed manuals as customers turn more quickly to online resources to help them solve problems and find answers.

Eloqua’s recent chart of the week (pictured below) shows just how often viewers turn to the Internet for documentation videos. And more importantly? YouTube is undoubtedly dominating this market. In October 2012, 51% of viewers directly searched YouTube for video tutorials available in Eloqua’s channel. In a distant second, 32% of viewers discovered videos from mobile sources or a direct link.

how video users search

On a personal note—just last week in we were trying to figure out how to do something on a project for one of our clients and one of our staffers popped over to YouTube, viewed a video and walked back triumphantly with all the answers we needed. Oh, and her comment was totally salient …. “What did we ever do without YouTube to show us exactly what we need to know?” Has that happened to you? If not, we’ll bet it has and does happen to your customers and prospective customers on a regular basis.

Sure, these stats are compelling—but they hint at a larger, more important lesson for your business. Ready? Video is key. And whether your business involves a product or a service, you should take this to heart. The power of video is great and increasing at a rapid pace. Take advantage of this opportunity and use video to not only better serve your customers and prospects, but to create a competitive advantage for you and your business.

Not only will consumers likely respond favorably to these videos—they’re a great source of content for your company, too. You can use videos not only on your company YouTube channel, but also on your website, in your email marketing initiatives, for sharing in social media channels and in your corporate blog posts.

Effective content is entertaining and informative. Great content also serves your audience by identifying their pain points and solving their problems. The more resources and support you give your audience, the more likely they are to return to your website, YouTube channel or and social outposts. And isn’t that how great relationships are borne?

One more video-related tip? If you’re hesitant to get in front of the camera, knock it off. You don’t need to be an Academy Award-nominated actor or actress to create a great video. Instead, plan out what you want to say, grab a video camera (or, heck, a video-enabled mobile device, tablet or laptop) and start recording! You can always edit when you’re done—but don’t worry about a few stumbles or other imperfections. After all, we’re all human—and the more personable and relatable you are, the more effective your content will be. And if you want to know more, grab the best resource on creating video that I’ve read, my friend Steve Garfield’s book Get Seen. Steve is awesome and his book is the perfect resource to guide you to creating the best possible video content.

What about you? Do you personally use online video as a replacement for user manuals? If so, how are you translating that for your own business? I’d love to know more.

Image by jonsson via Creative Commons

  • GringoViejo

    Hardcopy manuals may be a thing of the past, but I wouldn’t write off electronic print media just yet.

    BTW, YouTube is looking for technical writers.

  • ShellyKramer

    Agree Gary. I’m not writing off electronic media at all … but I do think printed manuals might be something that fewer and fewer people use.

    Thanks for coming by – appreciate your thoughts!

  • http://www.engag.io/Abdallah Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I am all for vidoes but I think higher quality ones (in terms of recording) will have a big advantage. So if it is important to you, it might be worth spending some money! The same is true for podcasts

  • ShellyKramer

    Agreed :)

  • http://www.i-want-to-know-marketing.com Paul Profitt

    I use YouTube a lot, because I am a visual learner. I have also made, and uploaded over 50 videos to my channel. I recorded most of them with Jing screen capture software. But I have recently started to use Screencast-o-matic because it has more advanced features

  • http://www.engag.io/Abdallah Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I was just in the process of writing you a message about the article that I submitted to you and saw your email response. You guys are quick!! Thanks and I hope you do like the article.

  • ShellyKramer

    Thanks! I’m sure it’ll be great!

  • andreasandreou

    I use You Tube,because i think is all the pack in,visual,colors,meaning.For me it’s like examples and learning methods.

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