Talking Head vs Interview Style Videos: Which is Best for Your Video Marketing Efforts?
If you’ve started to embrace video-based content in your organization then you’ve very likely had more than one conversation as to the ideal “style” the video should be done in. And although there are many actual styles you could choose from, the two most common are:
- Talking head (or just having one person talking on screen)
- Interview style (two or more people having a conversation about the subject matter)
So in this article (and video), we’re going to discuss this subject, and analyze the pros and cons to each.
Talking Head Videos Pros and Cons
The power of the talking head is their potential efficiency. If you truly have a subject matter expert on the screen, and he or she knows how to carry him or herself well on camera, then your ability to plow through multiple videos is very, very high.
Assuming the video is unscripted, and the subject matter expert is truly “talking” (or teaching) – the video itself can have an easy, natural flow to the message, and therefore doesn’t risk coming across as “cheesy” or “forced.”
The reality is, most people aren’t great by themselves on camera. This doesn’t mean they can’t be over time, but it’s just the way it is. This is also why forcing your employees to do a video by themselves on the screen can backfire, and lead to multiple takes without any good footage to show for it. (and fear of ever getting in front of the camera again)
Most people, and certainly anyone that is a subject matter expert, suffers to at least some degree or another from the “curse of knowledge.” In other words, they assume the viewer understands what they’re saying, even though the viewer is unclear on what was just communicated. Great communicators rarely if ever allow this to happen, but these types of people are simply in the minority when it comes to most organizations.
Interview Style Videos Pros and Cons
The major benefit of interview-style videos is the fact that you can take someone who isn’t necessarily strong on camera, and with the help of a good interviewer turn them into a true subject matter expert with the viewer.
Because you can get more employees involved in these interview-style videos, it has a greater impact on company culture and builds more employee brands and brand allegiance in the process.
With a great interviewer asking great questions, the learning experience for the viewer can actually be much stronger, as the interviewer is essentially saying/asking exactly what the viewer would be thinking/wanting to know in that moment.
When done poorly, interview-style videos can seem rehearsed and cheesy—which is why true conversation is critical.
Sometimes proper eye contact with the camera can be an issue with these types of videos. Both the interview and the subject matter expert need to know to look at each other, as well as the camera, throughout the interview process.
Unless you have someone that truly knows how to listen, and think like a viewer (or consumer), the interviewer will fail to deliver a powerful experience for the viewer. In fact, the person doing the interview is arguably more important than the subject matter expert.
So Which Style Does Your Organization Choose?
The obvious answer here is that you’ve got to text both of these styles out. In fact, you may find both work well for your organization. But remember, embrace the messy. Be willing to fail forward often.
Over time, you’ll develop a style that fits your brand and team—and also builds your bottom line, which is what this is all about.