Video content has become a prominent part of every aspect of our lives. YouTube is used by billions each month, with videos of every stripe being viewed. In schools, video is used in an educational format, providing a new dimension to learning. In the boardrooms of businesses, video is used to break down ideas and visually portray statistics and other information. While these are three prominent examples, video content is used in a wide array of other areas. One such example is instructional videos. A leap away from user manuals, instructional video offers a new method of learning new skills. While a somewhat new concept, it has seen extensive use in many fields. Instructional video is included in eLearning, video marketing in the form of explainer videos, and employee training videos.
Instructional video is clearly a versatile tool capable of serving many interests. Though this is the case, creating a stand-out instructional video is easier said than done. For best results, there are a few key aspects you should keep in mind. In this article, we will break down instructional videos and how you can start making them.
What is an instructional video?
Instructional videos are simply a type of video that aims to teach new skills. They tend to take the form of step-by-step instruction, guiding people through the process of a skill, or through the levels of proficiency of a certain skill. Exactly how can be quite open-ended, with some showing a demonstration accompanied by a narration, others using timelapses, and others still slow-motion footage.
Let’s consider an example. Suppose someone wanted to learn how to change a tire. In the past, they would likely have read a manual, watched a demonstration in person, or simply employed trial and error themselves. Now, they could fire up YouTube and watch one of the many instructional videos online. Given the convenience and effectiveness of instructional videos, and video content in general, the format is likely here to stay.
Creating your instructional video
To create the best instructional video, you must focus on several aspects. Planning and storyboarding are just as important as the creation of the video itself, and distribution will often determine how well the video performs. For a top-quality instructional video, you should focus on three main categories.
In order to create an excellent instructional video, you must first lay an excellent foundation. In this case, your foundation will be an extensive plan, which should take into account several factors.
First and foremost is to know your audience. Broadly speaking, your audience will decide how well your video does, showing their interest and engagement or lack thereof. To ensure your instructional video hits its mark, you need to understand what your audience will receive well, and what they won’t. To do this, you should conduct customer research, either speaking to your audience directly, or examining how they react to a competitor’s videos. If it’s a positive reaction, your audience is likely to follow suit, given the overlap between audiences within the same niche.
When you’ve identified what your audience wants to see, you should centre your video around an appropriate topic with a clearly defined goal. This goal could be to teach how to accomplish a particular action, or to provide enough information for a beginner level. Whatever your goal, ensure it is followed closely. Attempting to tackle too many problems often ends in achieving nothing.
Once your topic is chosen, you should plan out certain parameters. Set a budget, a length for your video, and assess what style would best fit your video. Once you have your outline done, you can move on to planning the video itself.
Scriptwriting and storyboarding
Once you’ve drafted your plans, working on the foundations of your video is the next step. Write your ideas into a script, which will serve as the foundation for your storyboard later on.
When writing a script, you should consider the type of video you’re creating. Short videos can benefit from snappy graphics and animation, highlighting important information you want your audience to retain. For longer-form videos, storytelling is a must. Stories can do wonders for keeping your audience’s attention over time, helping with the understanding and retention of information. Similarly, including humor in your instructional video is a great idea. People appreciate a laugh or two, and it will likely stick in their minds for longer. Once your script is done, it’s time for your storyboard.
If a script serves to organize your ideas, a storyboard gives them visual form. It serves as a guideline, so don’t panic if your artistic skills aren’t up to scratch.
When you’re creating your storyboard, keep your script in mind and make sure you signpost the direction of the video to your audience. Narrative whiplash can snap viewers out of your content, whether in entertainment or marketing. Similarly, by adequately signposting, the animation process will be streamlined. With the completion of your script and storyboard, it’s time for the creation of your instructional video.
Creating your instructional video
With all the planning done, it’s on to the production phase. This is arguably the most chaotic part of the process, as plans are notoriously unable to account for everything. As such, your focus in this phase should be to keep things running smoothly.
One method of ensuring a smooth production is to hire professionals. Good video producers, animators, and narrators have a wealth of experience, which can help your video production and even bring new ideas to the table. They will also bring a level of quality to your instructional video that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.
To ensure your video is well received by your audience, consider adding interactive features and calls to action. This gets your viewers involved in your video, rather than simply sitting back and watching it play out. By the same token, it’s important not to overload your viewers with too much happening at once. Accompanying the main thrust of your video with overbearing music and on-screen effects will only serve to distort it, making it tough for your viewers to follow along. When in doubt, keep it simple.
With that, your instructional video is complete and ready to be distributed. Distribution can be considered a fourth phase, and as aforementioned, it is often an integral part of the process, determining how well the video performs. To extend your reach, consider uploading your instructional videos to social media, forums, and embedding them into emails. Your website doesn’t have to be the only place to showcase your content.
Instructional videos are an excellent method of bringing a message to an audience. It can be both educational and entertaining, a powerful blend for teaching new skills. But, like any type of video, there is something of an art to creating them. By using the tips in this article, you will be creating great quality instructional videos in no time, allowing you to reap the benefits of the format. To add a new frontier to your marketing strategy, get started on your own instructional video today.