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In our recent webinar, Skilljar’s VP of Marketing, Michael Freeman, hosted a discussion with Matt Pierce, Learning and Video Ambassador at TechSmith. Matt shared best practices for making great product tutorials; choosing a type of video; lights, audio, camera; and everything else to up your customer education content game — no matter your level of expertise or budget.
View the on-demand webinar or read the recap below.
Product Demos and Tutorials – Good Enough Can Be Great
“Whatever you’re making, you have to define what is good,” according to Matt Pierce. Sounds basic enough, right? But how do you define “good”?
Matt said, “You have to define that for yourself, for your organization, for your customer education group.” In short, it has to be good enough, based on your needs. You do not need to be thinking about Hollywood quality. As for YouTube quality? It runs the gamut, but the quality may not matter if the video does what it is supposed to do.
Matt is an advocate of “picking up the phone in your pocket and using a piece of software that will allow you to record for very low cost. And you can make really good content that is going to serve that purpose, whatever it is you’re creating.”
The key is to solve the customer’s problem. What do they need? How do I log into my dashboard? How do I add an administrator? Only focus on one thing in a video, one thing they need. And then solve it.
Do you also need to engage viewers? Yes! Because you want them to stick around long enough to see how you’ll solve their problem. This can be small – one question, or big – in which case you can build a learning platform like TechSmith Academy, with a little help from Skilljar. The key is relevancy to the viewer.
You don’t need to focus on special effects and cool animations. Instead, focus on the basics — a solid script, and making sure you understand who your audience is and what their problems really are.
We’re making instructional videos for customer education content for us, because we are problem solvers. You want to get that relevancy lined up with your audience. Video is really good at this. — Matt Pierce
What Format is Best? Video Types
So you’ve got your process down. You’re thinking about the questions you need to answer about why you’re making the video. Now, you get to think about video types!
There are so many things you can do in video and there’s really no right answer as to what format to choose. It’s all about making good combinations (feel free to mix and match video types), and using elements that feel natural and don’t get too out of hand.
Screencasts are great for creating video tutorials. This is simply where you record your screen to demonstrate how to do something.
A Powerpoint slide show can be turned into a video. You don’t have to include the entire presentation, just use snippets if it’s too long.
If it’s going to take me more than a minute or two to write out an answer to a customer’s question, I’ll do a screencast or I’ll do a selfie video. And let me tell you, people love it. — Matt Pierce
See a full list of video formats, including Tutorial-focused, Marketing-focused, Webinars & Live Events, Support, HR & Onboarding, Internal Communications and more.
Audio! Lights! Camera! Authenticity!
Matt said, “You can go out and spend thousands of dollars on cameras and lights and microphones. And if you don’t know how to use them, you’re not going to get a good outcome.”
One of the reasons people stop watching your videos is poor audio. So if you can only invest in one thing, make sure it’s the sound, according to Matt. Next, is lighting. Your camera loves light.
If you’re still at all skittish about creating videos to help support your customers’ questions and provide instruction for customer onboarding, training and education, here’s the bottom line from Matt:
I would much rather have you as an employee of your company talking to me authentically and with a little less quality in whatever format you’re choosing, because it’s real. And it’s relevant and answers my question. — Matt Pierce
Other Tips From Matt:
- Don’t fear the selfie video.
- The secret to a good script is cut, cut, cut.
- Not everything needs to be a video. Ask yourself: Do you need to see it to understand it?
- If you’ve got a smartphone in your pocket, you’ve got a very powerful camera.
- Think about creating videos for “micro-topics” – when something needs a very specific, detailed, and focused answer.
- You don’t need more money to create great videos. You just need more time. And the more you do it, the less time it will take.
- Make your video as short as possible, but as long as needed. (TechSmith research shows that for instructional videos, three to four or five to six minutes is the preferred length.)
There was so much more Matt covered in just one hour. For the complete “video” experience…