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How To Make Instructional Videos For Just About Anything

A shot looking over Adam's shoulder at the Viddyoze Youtube channel. This is shown on a laptop.

So, you want to learn something new – what’s the first thing you do? Chances are, you open up your web browser, type in some words that include “instructional videos”, and then hit search.

Boom. Hundreds of videos and articles telling you exactly how to do what you want to do. 70% of YouTube searches are exactly this. People looking for help with a problem.

If you’re reading this, then you’ve obviously got some skills you want to share. Maybe you’re an expert gardener and you want to show people how to re-pot a plant. Perhaps you’re a rock star gamer showing people how to survive a Fortnite battle royale. Know how to fix a leaky tap? Coding wizard? Share your knowledge and expertise with a range of instructional videos.

Read on for more.

What Is A How-To Instructional Video?

Put simply, how-to instructional videos (sometimes known as tutorials) are step-by-step guides to a problem. They’re the most popular type of tutorial on the web – so that’s what we’re going to focus on in this guide.

These videos provide a start-to-finish solution to the task at hand. Done right, they’ll answer your viewers’ questions and help position you as an expert in your field.

Why Make An Instructional Video?

First and foremost, to help people. Secondly, to create engaging content. These types of videos are so popular because they’re super easy to digest – if you do it right, that is. They can help build brand awareness, show off your personality, or even sell a product.

Here are 4 simple steps to making your own instructional video.

1. Know Your Audience

If you don’t know who your audience is, making a helpful video is pretty much impossible.

Before you do anything, ask yourself two questions:

  • What is this person’s problem?
  • Why are they watching your video?

Once you have these answers, you can start to flesh out your audience with other key bits of information, such as age, interests, and geographic location. If you don’t have this info already, take a look at similar videos on YouTube – what’s the look and feel? Who would like this content?

2. Keep It Simple

How-to videos don’t need to be overly complex or flashy. The most important thing is to make a simple video that’s easy to follow.

The best approach for an awesome tutorial is “step by step”. Break it down into concise bullet points, and use this plan as the basis of your video. This plan will be the core of your tutorial.

It should also serve as the goal of your video. When you’re coming up with your bullet points, always think about your end goal and the viewer. What are they getting out of your video? Is it clear at every point? By the final point, will the viewer have the answers you’ve promised?

Viewers have landed on your video for a very specific reason

3. Write A Script And Decide Your Video’s Length

Once you’ve got those steps nailed down, write out a script to flesh out the video. Try to make it engaging without taking away from the core content. While the odd joke is great, viewers have landed on your video for a very specific reason – so don’t try and cram an entire stand-up routine in there.

The key to a good script is simplicity. Write it as if you were explaining the idea to a friend. We recommend starting with an intro (here, you’ll explain what your video is about), then following up with your steps, finishing with a quick summary at the end.

To help keep things tight, decide on your video’s running time here. Think about where you’ll be sharing this and the depth of detail you’ll need. For example, at Viddyoze, we explain some fairly complex videography, so it’s not uncommon for our content to run over 10 minutes.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be posting predominantly on Instagram and TikTok, your videos should be much shorter.

4. Film Your Instructional Videos

There are two common ways to shoot instructional videos:

  1. Using your own footage
  2. Using screen capture

Of course, you could even use both techniques (as we do quite often at Viddyoze). Either way, here’s how.

Shooting Your Own Footage

Most instructional videos are made up of two types of shot: headshots (you, onscreen, talking directly to the camera) and action shots (a fixed shot of you carrying out a task – for example, fixing a leaky tap).

For this, you don’t need much more than a camera or smartphone, and a tripod. It’s pretty simple. Set up your shot, hit record and stick to the script. Here’s a bit of advice on buying your first camera.

Shooting Screen Capture Footage

If your explainer involves software – or something digital – you may need to use screen capture to record your demo. This essentially replaces any action shots you’d make for a physical concept.

There are a few ways to do this. Using a Mac, simply press “Shift + Command + 5”, and a mini toolbar will appear. Select the “record full screen” option and you’re good to go. On Windows 10, you’ll need to use Game Bar, which you can learn more about here.

Alternatively, Vimeo has a free tool that allows you to record your screen quickly and easily.

Out of these options, Vimeo is the only one that allows you to record sound at the same time. However, it may be better to record that later and add it in on your edit. Check out our video for more tips on editing, and this one on choosing the right software.

And there you have it. A super simple guide for making your own instructional videos. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel, where you’ll find loads of helpful tips for making awesome video content.

Or if you want to carry on reading, feast your eyes on these hits from around the blog:

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