Did you ever play with invisible ink as a kid?
If you did, you probably thought invisible ink was pretty cool stuff.
You’d write a secret message on a piece of paper with a “special” pen.
Of course, no one could see the words.
The words were, um, invisible.
But, hey, hold that invisible ink under an ultraviolet light and, “Voila!”
The words magically appeared.
Your invisible words became visible.
The ultraviolet light “decoded” your words.
What does this “decoding” stuff have to do with content marketing?
When creating content, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll need to talk to someone for background information or to appear in a final production. Maybe you’ll have a phone call. Maybe you’ll interview someone through video.
Listening to information is one thing– remembering it accurately is quite another. Hmm, remembering it word for word? How is that possible?
Ta da! Transcripts to the rescue!
Transcripts are like a “decoder.” Transcripts turn your “invisible” spoken words (from your conversations and interviews) into “visible” words on paper.
A transcript is simply a written record of your audio/video conversation.
The audio from the conversation is converted to text: word-for-word, so you have a complete record of what was said. Knowing exactly what was said is important as you begin writing or editing your multimedia project.
Why are transcripts important to use?
Transcripts are important to use for three reasons. Transcripts help you:
- Eliminate guesswork.
- Save time.
- Speed up client approval.
1. Transcripts eliminate the guesswork out of what was said.
Imagine this scenario.
Your interview guest is on a roll answering a question. As they’re talking, you’re feverishly scribbling down notes so you don’t forget their points. Think it’s possible to write down everything they say? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a risk.
Your listening suffers
Even if you could take accurate notes, chances are pretty good you’ll miss cues to ask important follow-up questions. You’ll be too focused on taking notes. You’ll zippity doo dah right on to the next question on your list. And there’s a good chance your guest will feel like they’re talking to themselves while you’re taking notes.
Now imagine a different scenario.
Imagine you knew ahead of time that your interviewee’s exact words would appear on paper.
Imagine how your frame of mind might be different during the conversation:
- You can listen with 100% of your energy.
- You can keep consistent eye contact (if you’re on video).
- You can ask interesting follow-up questions because you’re fully engaged.
Quite a difference, right?
Knowing that everything is captured on paper for later reference frees you up to be fully engaged and in the moment with your guest. (And your guest will see, hear and feel the difference!)
2. Transcripts save time.
If time is money, you’ll almost certainly have someone transcribe the conversation. It’s a slow process. While you’re waiting for the transcript to be returned to you, you can be off getting other things accomplished. Having someone else transcribe your material frees you up to keep your projects moving forward– um, like your billing, for instance!
There’s also a side benefit in having someone transcribe your material: you won’t become tired of hearing the interview over and over– this helps you keep a fresh perspective on your project.
3. Transcripts can speed up client approval.
Let’s say you’re interviewing someone for a multimedia project or even a print project.
Instead of using rough notes from a conversation (and crossing your fingers hoping everything is okay), why not use the exact quotes? The exact quotes will also help you create a script, outline, etc. in the order you and your client want– before you dive into the audio/video editing process or begin writing the print document.
Need a different quote than your original plans called for? No problem– you can quickly find another one and send it off for approval.
Need approval of your script ahead of time before you begin writing or editing? Again, no problem. The quotes you intend to use can be copied to a new document and sent to your client for approval. This sure beats having to re-edit the project!
It’s tempting to save money and not get transcripts
Perhaps the conversation will be short. You’ll remember what the other person says, right? Can’t you just work from memory and perhaps a few brief notes? Maybe, maybe not. How sensitive is the material you’re working on? How sensitive is the person you’re interviewing? Would using a few different words here and there make much difference? Just ask anyone who’s been misquoted. That should give you the answer.
(Don’t get me wrong — you can certainly transcribe the interview yourself. Just know ahead of time you could spend quite a bit of time transcribing. Some professional transcribers take three to five or more hours per hour of audio to transcribe, depending on a number of factors.)
The choice is yours
You can send your interview to a service or transcribe it yourself. Either way, it’s a smart move to have your interview transcribed. If you send the interview out to a service, having a pro handle your transcripts is worth every penny in the long run.
Hey, you many not be a kid anymore decoding invisible messages
But you can still have your own secret “decoder.” (Heh, heh.)
Over to you
I hope these tips helped you to think about using transcripts in the future.
Do you have any tips or secrets when using transcripts to create content? If so, we’d love to know about them. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.