9 Tips for Shooting Instructional Videos That People WANT to Watch
Many niches are perfect for successfully producing and selling how-to instructional videos. Not only do these types of videos lend themselves to straight forward shooting, they also target most audience’s sweet spots: giving them information that helps them achieve what they want.
Due to the popularity of this type of video on free sites such as YouTube, it’s easy to get discouraged about making money on the information you are giving them. Because of this, you have to up your game. Ask yourself the following questions. Are your instructional videos shot well? Do they offer detailed original tips, images, b-roll, insights, case studies, or analysis? Or did you just throw your videos together without much forethought, were you sloppy in shooting them or have you only provided regurgitated or vague information in an effort to chase after some hot niche?
So what can you do to produce instructional videos that benefit viewers and your exposure? Here are 9 tips to make sure you get it right.
- Give Quality Content – Provide viewers helpful, quality, and detailed information that gives them solutions to their needs and wants. Avoid regurgitating existing content you find on others videos or the Internet. Make your video comfortable to watch and to listen to.
- Get Prepared – Write well-designed, detailed video scripts even if you’ve been instructing and presenting on this topic for a long time. Once you get on camera, it is easy to forget key elements or fumble. If you don’t catch the errors until you are editing, it may be impossible to reshoot. If you are able to reshoot, it will look odd if most of your footage has a different look and sound than the previous shots. It’s tough to make something like that look planned or seamless.
- Explain in Detail – This is another good reason to prepare scripts beforehand. Your viewers mainly want the “need to know” details relevant to achieving their needs or wants. Avoid complex industry jargon to make sure your most basic viewers will understand. (Of course this depends on your intended audience.) To set yourself apart and to ensure your unique content is clear, you want to include specific steps, guidelines, precautions and your best tips. This is what will show your authority and expertise.
- Instruct Clearly and Patiently – Clearly guide your viewers through each corresponding step so they can follow along without having to revert back to a previous step. Start by telling them what they are going to learn by outlining the fundamental steps you’ll be covering in a sequential order, then go through each step. Finish the video by going over what they learned. Talk clearly and slowly but do put your personality into it so you don’t come across in a dull monotone delivery. If you are going to use a teleprompter, practice with it first so that you won’t look and sound as if you’re reading a script.
- Get Them Involved – Provide an exercise or two for them to do on their own. This can be a problem to solve, a fun activity, a survey, or steps to follow to achieve a desired end result. (The National Geographic show Brain Games does this well.) These don’t have to be on camera, in fact, if you offer them on your website, you give your viewer a reason to go there which not only helps your traffic, but is a good showcase for your authority on the subject. Exercises or assignments really help them solidify what you taught and gives them a direction on where to start.
- Leave the Fancy Shooting and Editing ALONE – Leave all of that for the movies. Stick to a basic shooting style, especially if your shooting skills aren’t that polished. People want your instructional video to help them, not overwhelm them. Also limit the amount of fancy editing tricks and font types. Your video will end up looking fragmented and amateurish.
- Share Yourself – Use your own experience when describing an instructional process. Think about the best ways you would follow through with your plan and be precise in your directions. Separate your ideas from the standard “industry ideas”, so your unique content makes an impact.
- Send Them to Your Website – Your instructional video should stand on its own; however, you can entice the reader to visit your website for even more in-depth information in the form of guides, diagrams, other videos, etc. by adding a call-to-action near the end.
- Include References – Your original content needs to be unique and the star of the video, but if it’s related and helpful, include other references. The instructions you give can be your own spin on a basic principle and having that backup to reference will give your viewers some assurance of your credibility.
An instructional video’s primary purpose is to educate people in a short and concise way that conveys useful information to support concepts and procedures. Cut and dry technical videos can be incredibly boring for both the viewer and producer. Use the above list to deliver unique instructional content that’s engaging and never leaves your audience hanging.
Now, back to the challenge of standing our from the ever growing library of free videos online. You need to package and promote your video as a professional product that rightly should be paid for. I pay for online guitar lessons all the time, even though there are plenty of free lessons available. The difference is in the way they are marketed, the quality of instruction and the fact that the instructor is a recognized expert. If you emulate this formula it will go a long way to making your products stand out. You can learn a lot more about marketing your video in our book, Shoot To Sell, Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos.
What do you do to make certain your instructional videos are engaging, unique, and assert your credibility? Share your tips in the comments section below!
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