How to Create Oscar-Worthy Instructional Videos

If you've ever tried to learn a new skill, get your head round the finer details of the latest bit of software, or even figure out a complicated recipe, you’ll know that watching a video of somebody else doing it first can be much easier than trying to follow written instructions. But there’s a knack to getting these types of videos right. So if you decide to make one yourself, how can you make sure it’s more Martin Scorcese than Alan Partridge?

The 39 Steps

The first thing to do is break your instructions down into bite-size steps. Then write a script. Even though you know your product inside out, writing it all down will mean you cover everything you need to say. Keep your sentences short and to the point, and make sure you use real words that people actually say. Think about how you’d explain something to a friend or colleague. You’re much more likely to say something like ‘Make sure you've typed in your password first’ than ‘Ensure the password has been entered before proceeding’. And while a little bit of humour can go a long way, check it sits well with your brand. If you’re a high-end make-up shop demonstrating the latest catwalk looks, then Benny Hill-esque humour probably isn’t the way forward.

The Invisible Man

If you can, have an actual person on screen rather than just a voice-over. Real people make us seem more sincere – not to mention warmer. And while they’re demonstrating your product or service, you might not want them to cover every tiny detail. You can probably assume your viewers have some knowledge which means you can skip over the really obvious stuff. So if you’re an artisan grocery showing people how to make something with ingredients you sell, it’s most likely safe to assume they know how to boil an egg or finely chop garlic.

From Here to Eternity

Don’t ramble on for hours. Try to keep the whole thing to under a minute – if you have loads to say, chop it up into different chapters. That way you stand a fighting chance that people will stay until the end. And mix things up. Add in screenshots or graphics to keep it interesting. Once you've filmed your video and you’re happy, test it on as many people as you can. Ideally, make sure they can do whatever you want them to at the end of it. Whether that’s being able to format a spreadsheet or craft an origami swan.

The Social Network

There are a lot of video sharing sites out there like YouTube, Vimeo or Yahoo! Video. So how do you decide where to put yours? What about on a branded website which can host all your instructional videos in one place? That means one link for your staff and customers to remember and no need to spend time searching through millions of videos for the right one. With our video hosting software you get just that (and a lot more). Get a 30-day free trial to find out more.  

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