When you break it down, there are two major ways to connect to an audience: text and visuals. For many, this involves deciding between blogging and YouTube. What brings in the better and more engaged audience?
That really depends on the content you deliver. Some topics, niches and industries just seem to perform better in specific mediums. For instance, recipes seem to do amazingly well on Pinterest.
Today, I’ll share my experience with maintaining both platforms for myself as well as my clients.
Where’s the Bigger Audience?
The short answer is that your content will determine where your audience lies. Some would rather read while others prefer to watch videos. However, the majority of traffic I’ve seen for channels supersedes that of blogs on average.
I know…that’s probably not what you want to hear. But in reality, it all depends on the topic of your material.
For instance, the Buy Me a Coffee blog post on WriterSanctuary.com gets far more visitor traffic than its YouTube counterpart. In this case, more people search Google for a BMC review.
On the flip side, the video about monetizing with Adsense gets nearly three times the visitors on YouTube than it does on the blog.
What this means is that even though you can narrow your niche of a website, the topic itself will play a huge role whether it works while blogging or on YouTube.
And it’s also why a large portion of my videos come directly from blog posts I’ve written. I want to see what my audience finds the most engaging on both platforms.
Similarities of Blogging and YouTube
Not everyone sees the similarities between writing content on a website and making a video. But in reality, they both are incredibly similar when it comes to attracting visitors.
In fact, many of the elements and metrics you use to collect data are nearly identical.
Success Relies on Content
As I mentioned above, the type of content you produce is going to vastly impact success. So, if you’re creating videos that have low click-through-rates or have a low CTR in Google search, look at the content you’re creating.
Is it something you want to write or watch, or is it something your target audience wants to consume?
Not everyone is going to have non-stop successful blog posts or videos. Even experts will have content that doesn’t measure up to other pieces. And that’s OK. These situations let you know what your audience wants from you.
Titles and Thumbnails
The titles and images of blogging and YouTube are similar in the grand scheme of things. Catchy titles get clicks, no matter what platform you’re using. And your thumbnail in YouTube is just as vital as your featured image in a blog post.
Humans are often more responsive to visual stimuli. This means your videos and blog posts need to offer something of a high visual quality.
Once you find that perfect flow that improves CTR, it improves how people interact with your content.
Content Descriptions for Blogging and YouTube
The video descriptions are similar to the excerpts and meta descriptions of a blog post. Both need to focus on what the audience wants to see or read while highlighting what the content is about.
And I’ve found that fleshing out the video description in YouTube vastly improves searchability on its system as well as showing up in more Google search results.
This is why I try to do between 200 and 300-word video descriptions using key terms and phrases of the content and focusing on SEO.
Watch Time and On-Page Time
When looking at the data, watch time for YouTube and on-page time for blogging shows whether a piece is engaging or not. If someone is only consuming less than 10% of the content, then you have a development problem.
For instance, it takes about 7 minutes or so to read a 1000 word article, depending on the person reading it. How long are people spending reading your blog material on average?
In my experience, people spend more time-consuming blog posts than videos…even though the blogging and YouTube content are nearly identical in terms of the topic and information.
Differences Between Blogging and YouTube
Even though there are striking similarities between the mediums, there are also incredible differences. And some of these differences are specifically why many bloggers don’t have YouTube channels.
However, even with all the differences, I still think adding a YouTube channel is worth the effort for marketing a blog.
Being on Camera is More Personable
First, being in front of the camera puts you in front of people. It’s more of a personal experience to see someone looking into the camera and talking than simply reading text on a page.
Sure, I can add pictures of me throughout a post or add my photo to the bio at the bottom. But in reality, it’s just not the same as experiencing mannerisms, voice, nuances and other personal traits.
It makes you seem more human.
Of course, this also means the video creator needs to reel in some of those “offensive” traits to keep an audience engaged. For instance, I doubt half the people who subscribe to WriterSanctuary would appreciate my sense of humor and vulgarity.
Reading vs Watching
Did you know that the majority of people prefer video content from brands they support? And when you’re a blogger or a YouTube creator, you are your own brand. So yes, statistics like this apply to you.
Video content is one of the most prominent forms of content on the Internet. It’s why YouTube is number 2 in visitor traffic on the Internet second only to Google. And it’s also why streaming services like Twitch, Mixer, and Facebook Live are even a thing.
But, this doesn’t mean there isn’t an audience for bloggers. As I said, some content will perform better written than in video format.
This is aside from the fact that most of the Internet reads blogs in some form. According to OptinMonster, at least 77% of people online will read a blog. This includes desktop and mobile views.
Editing Takes Time for Blogging and YouTube
When I write a fully researched and engaging blog post, it takes about two hours. This includes research, writing, images and editing. Of course, this also depends on the topic and length of the post.
But when it comes to making a YouTube video, it takes nearly twice that amount of time. Mostly because I have to make a lot of jump cuts as I am a far better writer than speaker.
Then, add in any graphics you want, video effects, images, rendering and uploading times. For me, the process is far longer to create a video than a blog post.
More Engaged on YouTube
In nearly every instance, videos get more of a response for viewers than a blog does from readers. Look at any video on YouTube and see the sheer amount of interaction in the comment section.
Blog posts rarely ever reach that level of engagement. Well, except for perhaps popular pieces that have been online for several years.
Regardless of the client, YouTube has always generated more of an interactive audience than blogging. Unfortunately, this also means more trolls flooding the section with questionable comments and reactions.
Why Not Do Blogging AND YouTube?
Yes, writing and producing a video is going to chew up a lot of your day. However, the overall impact it makes to your brand, ie. you, is worth the effort in most cases.
And depending on what you’re putting out there, it probably wouldn’t take much more time to create a video as it would a blog post.
Some Visitors Will Read AND Watch
I get a lot of visitor traffic from YouTube to the WriterSanctuary.com blog. In fact, out of all social media I use to promote the blog, YouTube brings in more traffic than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Plus, a lot of visitors to WriterSanctuary.com visit the YouTube channel through the social links on the website.
Embedding Videos from YouTube
YouTube videos are incredibly easy to embed, especially if you use WordPress. And the best part is that you don’t necessarily need a plugin. I’ll simply copy the embed code directly from YouTube and paste it into the text editor of WordPress.
This way, visitors have a chance to either read the blog post or watch the corresponding video. This actually helped me determine how similar posts and videos have a vastly different audience.
Expanding Your Reach
In truth, not everyone who watches YouTube bothers to search for the content in Google. And vice-versa. A lot of the people watching videos probably have no idea your blog even exists, but may show interest in reading.
Even if they don’t visit the blog, at least you’re reaching a wider audience regarding your specific niche or topic.
Think of your favorite drink. Is it served in just one location? Probably not, and that’s because of the location of the target consumer. Blogging and YouTube are the same way.
Blogging and YouTube Fills the Day
Like I said, writing blog posts and creating videos will eat up a lot of your time. This isn’t bad if you can make a living from doing so. But for someone like me, it takes a lot of effort to focus so I have time in the day.
For me, doing both is a way to keep me productive while growing my brand, gaining a larger audience and potentially making more money down the road.
It’s all about doing something that keeps yourself moving forward and growing as a professional, expert or just being a social butterfly.
Would you rather write or be on camera?
Not everyone is comfortable being on camera. In fact, I personally know a good writer who is incredibly shy when it comes to being in a video. So, it’s definitely not for everyone.
But if you are comfortable enough with yourself, blogging and YouTube can easily open a variety of opportunities.
For me, I just find it incredibly fun.