Captioning Videos: The Step Most Video Creators Overlook with Meryl K. Evans @merylkevans #vcbuzz

Captioning Videos: The Step Most Video Creators Overlook with Meryl K. Evans @merylkevans #vcbuzzVideo marketing has been growing fast for the past few years now. Most brands, big and small, invest into video creation to build dome presence on Youtube and Facebook.

Video creation is hard enough: You need to come up with your own style, invest in good software, get help editing, etc. etc. With so much going on, it’s easy to miss smaller, yet crucial elements, like video captioning.

You may think it’s not important, but after investing time and money into a video, can you really afford letting it fail because you failed to take care of the basics?

Let’s learn why and how to caption our videos.

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About @merylkevans

Meryl K. Evans @merylkevans is an experienced digital marketer, social media and business process pro who develops, executes, and evolves social media and content marketing plans and strategies.

Please connect to Meryl K. Evans on Linkedin

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

Thanks for asking! After welcoming my second child in 1999, I took online classes at NYU to earn a certificate in Internet Technology. My original plan was to do web design. I was working for a telecom company at the time.

After fiddling with web design, I decided it wasn’t for me. Too Type A and no eye for design. Was a big fan of a web design email newsletter that accepted articles. Entered one and they published it (Still online!)

Slowly, I got more writing jobs and eventually became a guide for @pearson’s @InformIT. In 2002, I connected with an email marketing company where I learned about content marketing before it got a name.

By 2005, I had enough work to leave my corporate job for full-time writing and digital marketing. Been doing it ever since.

Q2 A few weeks ago you did a great article on captioning videos. Why do you think it’s so important?

I’m biased because I’m deaf. But captions in videos benefits so many people. Not everyone can have the sound on. It also helps search engine optimization if done right.

Here are some stats that show the benefit of captioning videos: 41% of videos are incomprehensible without sound or captions. 80% of viewers react negatively to videos autoplaying with sound. So social media outlets autoplay videos on silent [Source: Facebook]

And the whopper! 80% of people who use captions aren’t Deaf or hard of hearing. [Source: Ofcom]

My awesome @cityofplanotx captions #Plano City Council mtgs … LIVE. Then they add captions to recordings. Director of Marketing @shannahhayley explains benefits go beyond the #deaf and HoH here.

Q3 How can one create good captions for a video?

For me, the first rule of good captions is readability. If you have white text and the background is light and things move … it strains viewer’s eyes to follow the captions. Generally, captions with a black or slightly transparent background and white text work well .

The downside of using a background is that it blocks anything behind it. The pros (network TV) briefly move the captions up when the credits appear at the bottom. So another best practice is to avoid blocking any text that appears in the video.

This thorough guide of best practices for captioning is well done — it’s missing a couple of things like colors and contrast.Thanks to telling me about it.

I would add colors and contrast to that guide. A big problem in captioning especially when it’s just words and no background … the words blend with the video.

There’s also a tricky one … sometimes a person uses an accent or imitates a famous character or actor … or their voice changes and you need this information to understand what’s going on or get the joke. See the following two video examples.

Thank you! Got lucky I watched it this weekend and knew I had to share!

Q4 What other basic video optimization tactics people are usually missing?

The biggest one is contrast and readability. I rarely see other issues. Most captioned videos post one or two lines at a time and that’s good. When possible, avoid scrolling / moving captions like you see on live TV for Awards shows. Those are an exception.

If you plan to publish the live video for later viewing, try to change the captions to one or two lines. I’ve seen network TV do this when they replay a live musical. Captions scroll in the live version and don’t scroll in the re-aired version.

The captions have different font styles based on the sound … the move around … it’s so distracting and takes away from the user experience in viewing the show.

You betcha! It was uncomfortable watching it … felt like vertigo and nausea were about to hit.

Great way of putting it! Cute doesn’t accomplish the most important thing … helping the viewer read the text

Q5 What are your favorite content and video marketing tools?

Fave #video tools:

, captioning, Movie Maker (I know, I know … old and not compatible with everything). For Macs: iMovie.

I haven’t created very many videos. Been shy about that (trying to change that), but I’ve captioned the ones I do.

Content marketing tools:

Google Keyword Planner .

Generally, I use what my clients use, but these stood out for me.

In short, it pays to caption your videos whether on YouTube, Vimeo, or LinkedIn. It’ll increase the chances of your video going viral! Thank you for having me!

Our previous video marketing chats:


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