In the early days of the Internet, modems of varying speeds and reliability meant content creators needed to be cautious with employing too much enhanced content on one page. With more reliable connection speeds and the rise in popularity of video and photo sharing services, the Internet has become a multimedia-friendly environment. Multimedia content can now coexist on a single page with minimal impact on page load times. Users now seek out multimedia content that is engaging and interactive.
What is Multimedia Content
Multimedia is a combination of different forms of content, including text, video, still images, slideshows, audio, infographics and interactive forms. Visual content enhances the written word by attracting viewers and keeping them engaged in the story or news item. Multimedia elements should provide content that is useful and complements the main text.
Interactive content drives the web today. Text-only blogs struggle against competition like image-heavy list articles and animated recaps of popular TV programs. Which means adding one or two visual components is vital to content survival. But it's not enough to attach a sensational unrelated photo to a blog post to ignite virality. To capture viewers, content must be legitimately useful, attractive and shareable.
When (and How) to Use Multimedia
Relevance is the key word in choosing multimedia elements to accompany textual content. Visual content must be relevant to and supportive of the text to be truly effective. An unrelated video or misleading image will frustrate viewers and discourage them from sharing content. Combining multiple forms of related media into one post will turn a blog into an evergreen resource.
What is the right balance of multimedia? A good rule of thumb is to use no more than three multimedia elements: text, a static image and a moving image.
Every blog post should have at least one eye-catching image. This image often accompanies the post's headline on linked pages. The still image should be placed within the body of the post, between the headline and the opening paragraph. When the opportunity arises to include multiple images, a slideshow will improve interactivity while cutting down on page size and scrolling. Slideshows are helpful for list articles that contain multiple recipes, travel tips or other short items.
Infographics are a convenient way to convey statistics and lifestyle tips. An illustrated image with valuable content is like a magazine clipping, easy to save and store for future reference as well as easy to share via social media. These images can be very large and may be tricky to fit with other multimedia content as well as lengthy text.
Embedded video needs surrounding text to increase SEO visibility and entice viewers to click play. If the video is the primary feature of the blog post, include a detailed description, if not a full transcript of the video's content. Tutorials offer an opportunity to employ video to demonstrate a project or process. If a video is unavailable, the post should include several step-by-step images to boost effectiveness. A tutorial that shows only a photo of a completed project is less useful than one that includes visuals of each stage of a project.
Don't overwhelm viewers with too much multimedia content. While the Internet may be able to handle serving up content more easily, Internet users cannot be expected to digest content at the same rate.