Welcome on-board. Today’s content creation tip is all about video transcription. As we always do we are going to be turning this subject upside down and giving it a good shake to see what falls out of it??s pockets.

This tip is in the same family as converting speeches, presentations and lectures into website content. By this I mean it is another simple trick for creating content. Simple because you have gone to the effort of producing the content already so the next step is to put it on your site. Our last blog in this series was all about this exact subject – click here to track it down.


I am going to split this subject into two separate blogs as otherwise this is going to be one long blog and I€™ll be told off! The first section (this one) will be an overview of transcription as a form of content creation and then the second section will be tips on how to do it plus some tricks I have learnt along the way.

So without further ado lets take a look at transcription as a form of content creation€¦

When did it all begin?

Transcription is not a new technique. That is a pretty big understatement as its been around in various forms since the very first written records were made many thousands of years ago. Since then its appeared in all sorts of situations and probably most famously in offices, courtrooms and newspaper journalism.

In the online age the transcription method has its origins in the efforts websites have made to allow hearing-impaired people to enjoy voice-over/dialogue heavy video content on the web. This is not dissimilar to the use of subtitles on television and there are plenty of website that use subtitles as well. Transcription is generally used when the there is a lot of talking in a video and therefore it makes more sense to provide it as a separate block rather than in subtitle form.

As so often happens within the strange world of content creation, an approach setting out to do one thing inadvertently becomes a great way to provide written content for websites whilst continuing to perform the original role it was intended for.

Video is everywhere

There is such a range of videos on line now and clearly not all of them are suitable for transcription conversions. As much as I enjoy YouTube videos of amusing animals and daredevil humans this is not the type of video that would benefit from transcription. Examples of videos that we are concentrating on are interviews, tutorials and so called €˜white board€™ sessions.

These are the videos that are perfect for conversion into text as they have a lot of talking or in content creation terms – text potential. You don€™t have to search far to find examples of companies who have already cottoned onto the benefits of this.

Look no further

Take our site for example. Now I am sure your thinking that this is a big coincidence, which of course it is (!) but we use transcription for some of our blogs. Who would have thought it? OK we haven€™t been using it for long but the series of video tutorials that our e-commerce expert and newest member of the Teapot team, Nick Clemas produces harness transcription to great effect.

The latest one of these is a tutorial about adding new items to Prestashop 1.5  and it runs to some 23 minutes long. In transcription terms this is 7 full pages of text when typed out. Or another way of looking at it that is around about 3,000 words. A lot of content.

In part two (coming soon!) we will tackle how you actually turn spoken words into text but if you€™re worrying about this and lets face it this is the elephant in the room then its time to for some good news. You really don€™t need too panic. It is a pretty small elephant as it happens so relax, sit back and read on. All will be revealed in part two€¦

Another example for you

I regularly read the blogs from Koozai the online marketing agency. Their site was the first one I noticed using the transcription approach on a regular basis to accompany videos.

An example of a recent white board tutorial from Koozai that has the text underneath is here. Koozai use videos as a key part of their blog strategy and pairing up the transcribed text allows them to send the text out as an email with a link using anchor text back to the video on the website itself. A clever tactic.

And another€

Interviews have been transcribed from audio recordings since the creation of voice recording equipment. Nowadays with the ability to upload videos of interviews websites are able to move one step further and offer the transcriptions with the video. I didn€™t spend long on Google searching for examples of this format before I came across this one (External link no longer available). President Obama and Hilary Clinton might be two of the most important people in the world so a video of them being interviewed is going to be popular but interview transcription would work for mere mortal subjects just as well.

Which works best?

There is no outright leader as it happens. When it comes down to it is what really matters is the way the video is put together and the quality of the speakers delivery. In my opinion the transcript will work for all videos with lots of talking €“ either a single voice or various.

The key is to make sure that when the video is being made the speaker or speakers do so clearly and in a steady manner with as little waffle as possible. The more videos of any type that you create the better you will get at sticking to these simple rules.

Once this is converted into transcribed text the outcome will be clear, easy to read and follow flowing text. The aim is to produce something that on its own i.e. with no video €“ would make sense and be interesting and readable. This is not going to be easy to achieve first time but with practice you will improve.

The more videos you make and upload onto your site then the better you€™ll get at making transcription friendly footage.

Some robots can read

If you go for the transcription approach and the results are not as great on screen as the original video sounded then don€™t worry too much. Like I said practice will help improve things but also you mustn€™t forget that the search engine robots crawling your site for fresh content will be scurrying through the transcripts indexing it.

The SEO benefit of video transcriptions should not be dismissed for until videos can be crawled by the search engines this remains the only effective method for indexing the audio content of videos. The day will come when the search engines develop the technology to allow them to index videos but until then stick with the long cut. This may just be another reason to use transcripts but it is a good one especially if you are regularly using videos that convert well into transcribed text.

There it is

Transcription has been around for a long time and in the world of websites its not even particularly ground breaking but it is a great way of putting fresh content onto your site. With a bit of preparation and planning you can use transcription to generate content out of videos that you have no doubt spent a lot of time working on and get the double whammy effect maximising your cash and time investment in the video.

Part Two is on its way!

So, if this has got you thinking and you want to get a bit of advice on how to actually to harness the power of transcription and make it one of your content creation techniques then check out PART TWO which will be coming very soon. We will look into a step-by-step approach, the dos & don€™ts, whether to use a paid service or the DIY approach and a lot more. See you then.


IMAGE CREDIT – shutterstock.com


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