When and why should you make a video tutorial?

Video is the most favored media form when it comes to communicating a message in a dynamic, compelling and engaging way. Research shows that video was the number one investment for content marketers in 2012 and this continues to grow. Today technology has made the creation of video affordable and the diffusion of it effective (due to the convenience of hosting and delivery tools), ensuring return on investment for businesses.

Proven benefits of video communication:

  • Wide distribution leads to a rise in sales figures.
  • Increased website conversion rate with a call-to-action.
  • The power to get your message across through storytelling.
  • Building brand awareness.
  • Differentiating your business from competitors.

The question, then, is when to make the investment in a video**. Here are some clues:

Don't create a professional video tutorial if:

  • Your communication is not yet mature.
  • The concept is easily explained with a picture or screenshot.
  • You want to make overly long walk-throughs of a service or place.

Usually a video helps to explain a product/concept that is quite innovative and/or difficult to show without seeing it. This is especially relevant for sectors like IT, consulting, pharma or other sciences. For web companies, videos are great tools to show how simple and intuitive your interface is. Companies that demonstrate concrete benefits to their clients usually have a great ROI on their videos.

Video is less demanding of the audience's time and level of concentration and helps to explain complex concepts.

Videos can focus on:

1) Informational content, like thought leadership content, a primary component of content marketing, tips, best practices, how to's and industry announcements.

2) Purely promotional material in an advertorial format focusing on specific products or services to convince viewers to purchase or take action.

11 Best Practices for Making a Video Tutorial

Videos are likely to fail when they are long, unattractive, overloaded with information, or have very detailed and technical content. The problem is mainly twofold:

  1. Conceiving a key message is an exercise that tends to be much harder than initially expected. People tend to make things way too technical and want to show off all the features they have proudly developed.
  2. The creation of the video requires a whole set of skills. Videos are multidisciplinary products that require the collaboration of about six different skills: copy writing, communication, visualization, design, creativity, voice recording, and technical producing (mostly adobe suite).

So, use these 11 tips to make sure your video project is a success:

1. Define Your Goals

The first step to creating your video marketing content is to define your aspirational goals and mission of the video; what you're trying to accomplish. This could be:

  • Promotional: Capture prospective clients, boost a new launch.
  • Thought leadership: Informing, teaching, positioning yourself as an expert.
  • Demonstration: Show the usability of your website, explain some features.
  • To convince investors.

Goals establish the right tone and theme for the video. Also, you should already start thinking about where the video will appear (home page, screen offices, social media, etc.). Use this as your steering mechanism throughout the entire video production process.

2. Identify Your Audience

Identifying the audience you are trying to reach is key. It will enable you to craft your video effectively for a particular group of prospective buyers. Identifying a specific target audience is essential as it will allow you to communicate a stronger message.

Think of your audience in terms of what they look like, how they behave and what their habits are. Some of this information you can find in the demographics section of a WooRank Project:

Visitor Demographics via WooRank Projects

Visitor Demographics via WooRank Projects

This should make it easier to develop targeted content. In particular, videos oriented toward 
a specific industry should take into account their unique challenges, needs and behaviour.

3. Structure Your Message in a Scenario

Getting a message across and making it appealing to an audience requires an interesting and well thought through scenario. Structuring a message is not straight forward, as you need to respect the short and concise video format. Great advice here is to think of your* *scenario in pieces or scenes to make it efficient and well structured.

Think of Your Video in Scenes

Think of Your Video in Scenes

The scene structure really depends on the goal of your video. Here is a scene-by-scene example of a company presentation:

  1. Customer problem: show you understand your clients and the current market setting.
  2. Aha! moment: introduce your brand.
  3. Service offer: explain your offer, your products, a viable solution.
  4. Proven benefits: how your product will change/assist your customer.

A well thought through scenario has links between scenes, for instance, in this example the service offer gives an answer to the previously explained customer problem.

The big advantage of breaking the scenario down scene by scene is creating a compelling overview of the structure of the message. Plus, working your scenario in scenes will help you later on with the storyboarding and visual thinking.

4. Scriptwriting: The Art of Storytelling

Storytelling is the art of capturing your audience; people listen and respond well to good stories. Storytelling techniques include the use of narratives, improvisation and embellishment, all used to capture audience attention. Storytelling is one of the world's oldest forms of entertainment and an educational tool.

The point here is to include an emotional tone in your communication to make sure that the viewer cares about the solution you are offering.

Make sure you:

  • Use a concise and clear script (between 60 and 90 seconds).
  • Use unique and interesting information (stay direct and relevant).
  • Use metaphors (connect viewers with their own experiences).
  • Focus on what makes YOU unique (think of your_ _USP).
  • Use common language and key terms that will resonate with your audience.

Tip: Ask professional copywriters or storytellers to review your detailed script.

5. Use a Call-to-Action at the End of Your Video

Once your message has been conveyed and hopefully resonated with your audience, it's important to have a plan to actually convert visitors. Engaging customers is typically done by adding a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your video. This is usually a button next to your video, and you can check out this blog on 5 Tips for a Great Call-To-Action to optimize it. Here are some ideas for CTA sentences at the end of your video:

  • Want to get started? Visit [WEBSITE] today!
  • Sign up today for our free trial!
  • Call [PHONE NUMBER] today!

A video without a strong CTA equals a missed opportunity for your video marketing. As a small businesses you have a limited marketing budget and you need to measure success in terms of ROI. This is one big difference from larger brands that can call a campaign a success with general measures, like reach, brand recollection, and impressions.

6. Choose a Design Style that Matches Your Identity

The choice of video type and design style depends on the video's purpose. Filmed video is great when it comes to client testimonials, factory visits, or pure TV adverts. Animation videos are powerful for explaining in a didactic manner. You'll need to reflect further on the graphical assets that will be most easily understood by the audience. Pictograms, for instance, are great for safety issues whereas icons would be preferable for the tech and IT industry. Your choice should be linked to your organization's visual identity.

Design Style Inspirations for Your Video

Design Style Inspirations for Your Video

Turning ideas into reality is the main task of visuals. Recognition and distinguishability is key when information is communicated visually. That's how people tap into iconic forms of illustrations that are deeply embedded in the human brain.

7. Process Your Visuals with the Help of a Storyboard

The best way to start thinking visually: a thorough brainstorm. Go back to your scenario slicing and think of each scene visually, keeping in mind that visual and verbal messaging need to work together. At the end you will transform your script into a storyboard.

Process Visuals with a Story Board

Process Visuals with a Story Board

Companies can either hire a professional drawer or designer, or look for visuals themselves. You can also look for royalty-free images and illustrations in the following places:

Make sure you also look back at graphics and images that have already been created for your website, flyers, or social media. They could provide compelling visuals for a storyboard, and subsequently for a video. A storyboard helps to make sure that the message is clear and in line with the suggested visuals.

8. Use Drafts when Producing the Video

This is the best way to make sure the video actually meets your expectations. Give feedback at each stage of the production on:

  • Visual assets.
  • Colors and lighting.
  • Element positions.
  • Transitions and animations.

9. Add Some Vibes with Music and/or Voice Overs

When used properly, music can add a whole new dimension to a video. This may be done in the audio intro/outro or as a background tune. Some of the best sites for finding royalty-free music are:

A voice-over is also often included in a video, to better explain what is being visualized. When making use of a voice-over it is important to pay attention to pace and tone, as they complement the feel of the video. If done right, the voice-over as well as the music can evoke emotion in the audience.

10. Choose Your Video Player Carefully

Posting videos onto video channels is fairly simple and intuitive but the difficulty lies in choosing whether to host it yourself or via a channel. It all depends on your video goals and objectives. Ask:

  • How it will look and feel/how professional the player appears.
  • Can you benefit from the channel's community.
  • What metrics and SEO benefits do each provide.

For look and feel, most people consider Vimeo to be best. For community benefits, YouTube is the unquestionable leader in online videos with four billion views each day. If following metrics is your priority, we'd recommend a paid solution like Wistia.

11. Sharing and Spreading Your Video

Once the video is created and ready to go, the next step is to share it with an audience. The great advantage of video is the fact that it is supported through many different channels, online and offline. Channel choice depends on the communication strategy that lies behind the initial campaign. Here are some ways to share your video:

  • Home page embedding: Including the video on your home page will give your website a modern, digital and interactive appearance. Videos have also been proven efficient to improve conversion rates and limit bounce rates.
  • Social Media: Online video is made for sharing. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Other major channels from the social media universe are also known to be video-friendly: Twitter with Vine videos, Facebook (videos played directly in news feeds), LinkedIn (videos in feeds and profiles), Google+ (unique SEO benefits), Pinterest (visually oriented), Stumbleupon, or Reddit.
  • Search optimization: Google loves online videos and regularly features them on the first pages of its search results. You can find some video SEO basics in this blog post A Guide to Video SEO. Besides the usual and important keyword consistency, pay attention to video Sitemaps and video rich snippets. For a video Sitemap, it all depends on your hosting choice (see this blog post for more information). To obtain "rich snippets" use microdata. See, for instance, .

Optimize Your Video for Search

Optimize Your Video for Search

  • Email marketing: Share your video in company newsletters and email marketing. Video is a great tool for promoting a product, sharing company details or announcing a webinar. Including video content basically guarantees to send your engagement through the roof.
  • Events and POS: Video is a great media to use for point of sale, events, company lobbies, etc. It should be used to draw attention, share news with the staff, or as an efficient tool for sales teams and representatives to initiate conversations, especially when shown on a tablet.

Video as Multisupported Tool at the Crossing of Webmarketing Channels

Video as Multisupported Tool at the Crossing of Webmarketing Channels

Organizations are always looking for ways to create dynamic communication, mainly though social media, websites, SEO/SEA and content marketing. Video is a medium that combines all these features and marketing tools.

Recap:

The video content creation process is very similar to other content marketing strategies: set goals, identify audience, create content, measure and track. What is trickier with video is the actual production, as it has a lot of moving parts (script, visual, animation, voice etc).

Remember: You can't just hire an artist or animator and say "make this great." It is critical that you understand that making a great tutorial video for your business is a collaborative effort. Make sure to be involved at each stage of the process to give feedback and direction. The creative people you are working with on the production are professional at what they do, not at what you do!