Rounding the corner of ten months stuck at home, the general public is still keenly interested in picking up new skills. Sites like Udemy and Skillshare are seeing booming numbers of new tutorials and how-tos posted each month. If you have a skill or are an accomplished hobbyist, there’s almost guaranteed to be someone out there who is interested.
But your tutorials have a lot of competition. Some 300 hours worth of video gets uploaded to YouTube every single minute — and that’s just one video platform! Not only that, but statistics also indicate a high bounce rate for videos — about 20% of viewers will back out of your video after just ten seconds. So your introduction, your content, and your production values are all imperative to keep your watchers watching and your viewers viewing.
How can you ensure a high level of professional quality in your how-to videos? You don’t need to be a professional yourself, and it doesn’t need to break the bank.
Let’s take a look at three main areas:
- Content creation
- Photograph and production values
- Editing software
Creating content for your videos is usually more than just stringing still slides together — or it should be, at least.
Videos are more likely to get attention (and retain it) when there is action going on, not just a series of still images with a voiceover.
What you actually include within your video content will vary depending on the purpose for the video and what you’re demonstrating. But a few important factors apply across the board.
- Scripts need to be well-written and clear.
- Voiceovers and acting needs to be top-notch. Speak clearly, but don’t be stilted.
- Tools should be appropriate to the trade, hobby, skill, or market.
- Write and record for a specific audience, ie., beginners, intermediate, skilled, expert, etc.
- Don’t allow your video to be overwhelmed by whimsy, humor, or entertainment; how-tos and tutorials are primarily created to educate. It’s great if they are also engaging or even entertaining, but that should never overshadow the primary purpose.
It can be easier to spot an amateur video than to really pinpoint what makes a professional tutorial video. Let’s take a look at this how-to video by Logo Design and analyze specific features of the video content that marks it as both effective and professional.
As you watch through the video, you’ll notice these features that promote professionalism in the content quality:
- There is a branded intro, including a logo and music cue
- A clear title is given to the video, including a breakdown of what will be discussed
- The video’s maker has an authentic voice, using vocabulary that matches the genre
- The script is written for the expected audience, which is graphic designers that are newer to the game but have some experience
- There’s a good balance between giving information at a reasonable pace and not allowing the video to drag on
- The screen is recorded and shared clearly, allowing the audience to see the process, not just the results
- It’s a step by step process
- Names of elements are used to provide options to designers interested in those specific fonts, etc.
- There’s a branded outro, with music cue, as well as both links to other videos and social media links
The intro and outro are especially important to the professionalism and quality of a video. A good intro tells your audience what to expect, and a great outro bookends the video and provides a finishing touch, as well as encouraging further engagement from your viewer.
Photography And Production Values
The bulk of the how-to video we just discussed switched between screen capture and first-person discussion with the creator. Both of these illustrate how important it is to maintain high photography and production values, regardless of the type of tutorial you’re creating.
If your video is mostly face to face discussion with a creator, a steady camera angle is important to keep the focus where it should be. If you’re planning to create more than just a few tutorials, or if it’s going to be an ongoing project, it’s worthwhile to invest in a decent camera that will elevate the production values of each video.
Yes, it’s going to be an investment — you can expect to spend between 300 and 700 for a mid-range camera — but in the long run it’ll be worth it. You can explore some recommended possibilities in this video.
Another important feature for video tutorials is the screen capture software that you use. There are dozens of options, ranging across a variety of price points. Some of the more popular and easy to use choices are ScreenFlow, SnagIt, OBS Studio, and Screenium.
Some editing software contains screen capture capability within the same dashboard.
Select Your Editing Software Carefully
Speaking of editing software, choosing yours carefully is a final key area to creating a professional-looking video tutorial.
These days, it’s almost impossible to find a movie that isn’t made up of a long series of jump cuts. Though that’s a popular trend, it’s not a good idea for a how-to or tutorial video.
It’s less important to make your tutorial “cinematic” and more important to ensure that it is simple and easy to follow. Effectiveness is more valuable in a tutorial than any flashy effects.
Adobe Lightroom is an ever-popular editing software, though it does tend to run a bit more pricey than some options. iSpring Suite offers several different features, and Lumen5 is often listed among the best user-friendly editing interfaces for newcomers to the tutorial arena.
As you select your tools and use them to compile your how-to video, remember that experience isn’t the important thing — your videos can be made to look professional, even if you yourself are not. In a world where sharing skills and hobbies is ever more popular, that’s a saving grace for those of us who want to create tutorials but need help to do so.
About Veronica Johnson
Veronica likes reading, writing and exploring through her travel. With her freelance guest writing, she hopes to achieve both her passion and career in online content marketing. She writes on topics like business, advertising and digital marketing