It seems there’s a “how-to” video for everything. But what if you need help creating your own “how-to”? We’ve got the tips for a great tutorial video here!
There’s that classic laugh around not reading the instructions. But seriously, who actually does read the instructions? They’re boring and wordy, no matter what they’re for. Unless it’s for flat pack furniture, then it’s too far the other way. Try assembling this 2 metre tall display cabinet just using primitive hieroglyphics… No, thank you. The majority of people will jump straight online to find a tutorial or how-to video. It makes sense that having a visual reference to follow along with, plus verbal instruction is going to make whatever process you’re attempting easier.
So, if you’re planning on selflessly sharing your wisdom with the world and creating a tutorial video, heed these handy tips.
Viewers are going to be looking to have a specific question answered by your video. Whether it’s how to format a document or build a spice rack, they’ll want to know immediately that they have come to the right place. So, from the top, clearly state what your video intends to do and what the end result will be. You don’t necessarily need to have a radio presenter’s slick voice, you could always add subtitles to your YouTube tutorials.
A great how-to video strikes the balance between speedy and informative. You don’t want to skip over too many key points, but you need to remember to keep it short and sweet – otherwise people may as well have read those instructions!
Know Your Audience
Of course your video is likely to draw in a wide range of people, but there will be an element of targetting to consider. For example, filming a tutorial on how to adjust the truss rod of a guitar is relatively niche, so you can begin to paint a mental image of your possible viewers. How-to videos still need to be entertaining and watchable, so do try and appeal to your chosen demographic and keep them hooked.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re prepared to give a demonstration on how to do something, chances are you’re pretty confident with the task at hand. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a run-through before shooting. Rehearsing will help you figure out a good flow for the video, and help eliminate any previously not considered hurdles you could encounter. This will also give you hints as to whether you need to make your voice more animated, or cool it with the hand gestures.
People can only take in so much information before it starts going in one ear and out the other. The short-term memory is a very much limited space, and so you want to avoid overwhelming it. This means gauging the experience level of your viewers, and how much prior knowledge you expect them to need or have in order to follow. Accounting for this is a fantastic way to signpost viewers to other tutorials you might have on offer, and that you feel they may benefit from watching first.
Of course the content and substance of a tutorial is vital. There’s no point having a great looking video if it doesn’t teach anyone anything. But equally, it’s not great having a super informative video that is boring or even difficult to look at. It could cause viewers to look elsewhere and cost them more time. So, if you’re going to be screen recording then make sure the image is crisp and clear. And if you’re filming then ensure you’ve got some decent equipment. You can create professional looking videos on a budget, so don’t panic and buy all the highest spec gear! A great final edit will also help your tutorial feel professional and seamless. Check out these free video editing classes to get you started.