When you’re creating your video marketing campaigns, there’s a lot to keep in mind. You have to orient your business goals, the soundtrack, the emotional appeal, and all the stunning visuals that will keep users engaged. And while you’re focusing on bringing your vision to life in the form of a video, you’re likely not thinking about getting the dialogue in the video recorded into transcriptions.
The idea of needing video transcriptions sometimes baffles marketers and businesses until they realized, after multiple videos or campaigns, exactly how much they could benefit from having them. Transcriptions are particularly crucial for longer videos, though you should consider leveraging them for all of your video content.
Wondering exactly how you can use video transcription services to make your campaigns more impactful? A lot of it comes down to closed captions that can improve the user experience and help you maximize your results, and in this post, we’ll show you how.
Why Subtitles & Closed Captions Are So Important
Closed captions and subtitles are the text displayed along the bottom of a video that put the narration, dialogue, and even sounds into written words for the audience to read, and they’re increasingly important in the world of online video marketing.
Subtitles make your videos as accessible as possible. Someone may have a hearing disability, or even be in a place where they either can’t hear the content clearly or can’t listen with sound on. Regardless of the reason why they can’t hear the video, subtitles help ensure that you can keep them engaged and provide them the context they need to take away your desired message in the video.
It’s not overwhelmingly surprising, therefore, that more than 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. This is partially thanks to the autoplay feature, though it’s also due to the fact that users (88% of them, to be exact) are spending more time on mobile devices and are therefore on the go.
Subtitles, if created correctly, can also provide immense SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits. When you’re using an SRT file, for example, it’s like a transcript attached to the video itself, which is crawlable by search engines. This can help your video to appear in more search engines results and have better visibility, attracting new customers to you.
What Are SRT Files?
SEO benefits aren’t the only reason that you should be using subtitles and closed captions in your videos. That being said, those benefits can be hugely advantageous, so we’re going to take a look at why exactly SRT files are so helpful here.
SRT files are the text files most often used to add subtitles to videos. They contain the subtitles that you want to appear on the screen alongside the timestamps of when you want the subtitles to show up in your video.
They’ll look something like this:
SRT files, unlike most native manual caption tools, are crawlable by search engines, allow users to turn on or shut off closed captions if they choose, and can be added to videos on different platforms. You can, for example, upload SRT files alongside your videos on platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
How You Can Create Subtitles for Your Videos
When you want to create subtitles for your videos, you have several options that you can choose from. Not all are created equal, and it’s important to look at the pros and cons of each before you decide which method is right for you.
Let’s take a look at three of the easiest ways you can add subtitles to your videos.
Use Video Editing Software like Camtasia
Video editing software can range from very simple to very advanced, almost all of them will allow you to add subtitles to your videos. This can take a little while, and it requires you to watch the video as a whole, and then individual sentences and phrases to see where you want to break down the text on each screen.
Once you decide this, you’ll pause the video, enter in the subtitles, and have them appear for the same length of time that the text in the subtitles is being spoken aloud.
This method is relatively easy, and it can save some time when you’re uploading the video to multiple platforms. There are two big downsides, though. The first is that users don’t have the option to disable closed captions if they want to here, because the text has become part of the video itself instead of an add-on feature. The second is that this isn’t an actual SRT file, so it isn’t crawlable, and you lose some of that SEO potential.
Create Your Own SRT Files with Text Editing Software
This is typically the most complicated way to create SRT files. Some advertisers and video production companies prefer it, so we’re giving you the option here, too.
You can any use text editing software available to create SRT files manually. If you want to opt for free software that you likely already have, check for Notepad if you’re on Windows and TextEdit for Mac.
Aside from the time consuming nature of getting the transcription right, the trickiest part here is going to be getting the formatting of the file exactly right.
The subtitle must be formatted accordingly:
[The number of the section of the subtitle]
[hours]: [minutes]: [seconds], [milliseconds] → [hours]: [minutes]: [seconds], [milliseconds]
[Subtitle, with full punctuation]
All together, it will look something like this:
Once your subtitles are complete, make sure you save the document as a plain text document and save it as an SRT file. Proper formatting is essential here, and while it is more than possible to get it right, it can be a little tricky, so many brands prefer to use more automated tools instead.
Which brings us to the last option…
Use YouTube’s Closed Caption Tool
YouTube is a free resource that can give you the best of both worlds: ease of use and all the added benefits of that SRT file, and I like to use it as a great shortcut to get those subtitles up and running.
For this part of the tutorial, we’re going to assume that you’ve already decided to get a full transcript of your video ahead of time, and all you need to do is copy and paste directly into the video itself.
You can use YouTube’s manual subtitle tool, copying the subtitles and closed captions into the “subtitle creator box.” Ensure that it’s syncing up with the voiceover narration here by listening carefully, and then going back and listening a second time. If any of the subtitle doesn’t line up with what’s being said out loud, you can edit the timestamp easily.
YouTube does a lot of the timestamp formatting here for you, which is a huge advantage, especially since you can actually download a perfectly-formatted SRT file directly from YouTube once your subtitles are complete and published. This allows you to only create the file once, and you can then use it to create dynamic subtitles on your videos when you publish them to other platforms, too.
Transcription: The Secret for Ensuring Closed Caption Accuracy
If you’ve never tried creating an actual transcript (even without syncing it up to text), you’ve likely discovered how challenging it can be. It’s easy to mishear words, or to get them a little jumbled while you try desperately to type fast enough to keep up with the video. This can lead to inaccurate subtitles, which can reduce the effectiveness of your video content.
Instead of trying to create subtitles in real time, most creators have found that outsourcing the transcription work is their best bet, especially for longer videos that go past a minute long. Auto-transcribe tools, after all, typically do a horrific job when it comes to accuracy, and that effect only worsens when even the slightest accent is thrown into the mix.
Hire professional transcriptionists (like Ditto Transcripts!) to create full transcripts of your videos. You can attach these transcripts in the descriptions of your videos if you’d like, which many professional courses do (including Hubspot’s certifications, shown below), or just use them to create closed captions. They make it easy to create guaranteed-to-be-accurate subtitles, which can easily be copied and pasted into the right time frame for your .SRT files.
When it comes to transcription, it’s always a good choice to hire professionals. Agencies like ours guarantee up to 99% accuracy on all video transcriptions, and all you have to do is send us a video or audio file and let us know how you’d like us to proceed. Since we’re taking this time-consuming task off your hands while ensuring great quality, it makes it easier for you to scale your video campaigns overall, which can help you maximize their results. Interested in learning about the best type of transcription jobs? Click here.
Even if you had video scripts, you should still create video transcriptions after the almost-final product has been created since changes happen regularly during production. Sending your video files to a transcription agency like ours is quick, easy, and affordable, and we’ll be able to give you the transcriptions that you need to create .SRT files, closed captions, and subtitles to help take your content to the next level.
You’ve likely invested a great deal into your video campaigns up to this point. We want to make sure you’re getting the results you’re hoping for.
Interested our video transcription service with 99% guaranteed accuracy? Call today or fill out the contact form anytime.