From the traditional classroom to virtual classrooms, our learning environment has changed dramatically in recent years. This rings especially true for methods that consumers use to obtain new information and learn how to do things.

6 steps to making the best instructional videos

Whether it’s putting together Ikea furniture or using a new software, YouTube users are 3 times more likely to watch online video tutorials about a new product than reading its instructions. Mobile learning and online instruction are more accessible than ever before, and students and professionals alike can even develop new career skills just by watching or participating in online courses.

There’s no denying that instructional videos have become an essential part of online learning and consumer purchase behavior, making it crucial in corporate training as well as marketing strategies for most companies.

In this blog post, you'll discover 6 steps to making amazing instructional videos:

1. Choose your instructional video style🍿

There are many different types of instruction videos out there and choosing the best one depends on your business goals. Ask yourself - what is the most engaging way you can present your unique information to audiences? Here are some of the most popular formats that viewers search for in great instructional content.

  • Tutorials

These instructional videos are highly versatile. They can be animated or live-action video, or a combination of both! Tutorial videos are a great way to teach viewers how to use a specific product or master a new skill by walking them step-by-step through the process.

  • Explainer videos

Break down your product explanation into layman’s terms. If consumers don’t understand what your company does--they probably won’t buy into it. Great explainer videos present the “what, how, and why” of your brand’s mission, and should finish with an easy call-to-action. Here’s our curated list of software to make explainer videos on your own!

  • Presentation videos

This is a great way to repurpose your live presentation as fully online evergreen content. Record a live presentation and redistribute the video across multiple online channels for viewers to discover or rewatch on their own time.

  • Screencast videos

This video type mirrors the instructors’ screen, making it perfect for technical explanations of online software and platforms. Teaching someone how to use complex software in person is already a challenging task, so teaching with the exact interface of the tool is the most efficient and effective method for

  • Webinar demos

Webinars are longer in duration than most other formats, the average video runs around 60 minutes long. Webinars are hosted live by one or more speakers, beginning with introductions, presentation of the subject-matter, and finishing with a Q&A session. Live webinars can be recorded and redistributed across multiple channels after broadcast.

  • Instructional course series

Some of the most valuable benefits of online teaching and learning is a self paced experience and increased accessibility to education. Many people who would otherwise be unable to attend in-person classes or commit to full-time curriculum can instead fit an online course into their schedule and budget.

2. Define your video concept 💡

In order to make your messaging as concise and memorable as possible, your video concept should be presented as a single theme. The content of the video can then be broken down into different parts and sections to cover each point on the subject.

It can be tempting to add lots of information to an instructional video. However, if you cram too many different topics into one video, viewers can get overwhelmed and retain less of the information that you conveyed—that’s counterintuitive for learning.

💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip

When developing your instructional video concept, don’t forget to take into account your overall business goal(s) and who your target audiences are. Is the goal to drive brand awareness, launch a new product, or gain new followers, for example? This order of thinking saves time and ensures that the video delivers relevant results that both you and the viewers expect.

3. Write a script and prepare a storyboard 📓

Writing a solid script is the foundation to creating any strong video. Here’s our full guide to writing a great script that keeps viewers watching.

Next comes the storyboard, an important step to creating and setting the flow of your video content. Lay out how you envision your video to look scene by scene, taking into account the design, voice-over(s), and transitions. Rearrange as necessary until the narrative is just right. You can draw out your storyboard or create slides in a presentation to share with your team - whatever strikes your creativity!

When it comes to effective script writing and storyboarding, remember that two key takeaways are:

  • Make sure your voice-over recording is well-paced and easy to understand. Avoid speaking too fast, and definitely no mumbling! You want viewers to remember what is said in your video.
  • Structure your content and story in an easy-to-follow outline. Keep it simple and short - adding too many different settings or confusing back-and-forth transitions can distract viewers from the main message that you want to get across.

💡PlayPlay Pro Tip

Not sure how to gauge the length of your video while you’re writing the script? Try reading voice-over text aloud at a natural pace and time yourself. This will help you determine approximately how long the final video will be.

4. Film a live subject, use screen recording, stock media, or a combination 🎥

When it comes to filming your instructional video, there are countless creative options at your disposal. To decide which types of footage you want, start by taking into account your budget, timeline, script, and storyboard.

It’s great to think outside the box, and it’s also important to plan properly and maintain realistic expectations so you stay on budget to complete the project.

Here are valuable tips and common mistakes to avoid when filming different footage styles:

  • For filming a live subject: Live-action videos work well because they can be highly relatable and emotive while bringing your brand to life. However for that same reason, it can be tricky to control all the elements in the scene while recording. Here’s a tip: Organize the frame of every scene so your viewers’ focus is kept on the feature product or concept that's being explained. You don’t want their attention wandering to the scenery in the background, regardless of how pretty it may be.
  • For screencast recording: This may seem obvious—but don’t leave personal or non-related tabs open during a screen recording. Many people still make this mistake, especially when using their personal computers to screencast. To avoid having to re-record your video multiple times, close all tabs and programs that aren't necessary in your instructional video, well in advance.

💡PlayPlay Pro Tip

Add a branded background to your desktop to make the aesthetic of your screencast video more professional.

  • For stock media: Stock photos and video can be such life-savers, especially when we’re on a tight budget or deadline. Just make sure you use high-quality footage, or it can reduce the overall quality of your own instructional video. Consistency and quality in video footage is more important than quantity of different shots.

5. Choose a video creation tool 🎬✨

Depending on your experience level in video creation, there are a plethora of different video making tools and production agencies available on the market. Choosing the right one can feel overwhelming, and we’ve made a guide to help you do just that.

However, if you're a beginner or looking for a DIY option to make your instructional videos, we recommend choosing a tool that's simple and intuitive to use.

PlayPlay is the one of the simplest video maker tools, which saves you time (and money!) with its easy-to-use features, guides, and professional video templates to choose from. It’s appropriate for both professionals who’ve never made a video before and those who regularly make video content, but want a quicker and efficient way to make more videos for their company.

Click here to try PlayPlay free for 7 days!

6. Edit your video ✂️ 💻

The editing phase is the magic that really pulls your instructional video together into one cohesive piece of content. Here are key takeaways to remember when you’re chopping and cropping your footage:

Work on the narration of your video

We’ve already mentioned this once before in this post, but it’s for a good reason. Voice-over won’t be used in every video, but when it is, make sure the person reading is clearly understandable. Do multiple recordings, and don’t be afraid to edit together versions of different recordings to create the best final result.

Add catchy music to your content

Adding an appropriate track or melody can really enhance the effect of your instructional video. Choose a track that matches your video's mood and draws viewers into the story—but make sure it doesn't distract them from your key message.

Embed captions in the video

A report by Verizon and Publicis Media revealed that 50% of consumers said captions are important because they watch videos with the sound off. With an increasing number of consumers watching videos on mute as the default, adding subtitles to your videos is a must. In the same report, they found that adding captions actually boosted ad performance, with a 10% increase in ad memory quality and 13% increase in brand linkage.

Add video transitions

Adding transitions to your instructional video isn’t just for vanity and aesthetics. They determine the pacing of the video, and good video transitions will grab and hold viewers attention until the very end of your story. Motion design transitions are popular and provide plenty of creative freedom to use with different video styles.

Use creative effects

Even if you’ve picked great music and used amazing voice-over talent to narrate your video, the truth is none of that matters if consumers watch with the sound off. This means viewers need more context and visual clues to help them…

  • Understand the video content without sound
  • Keep them highly engaged

Great news is that you can easily do this by adding dynamic text overlays, colorful illustrations, or other graphic designs to highlight the main content and explanations in your instructional video.

Finish up with a great call-to-action

This point applies to all marketing videos, not just instructional videos. Your video should end with a strong, simple, and compelling call-to-action. Depending on what your business goal is, examples of great CTAs are:

  • Visiting your website
  • Downloading branded content
  • Contacting a customer service or sales representative
  • Subscribing to the channel and sharing the video with your network…

Ready to create?

Now that you’ve learned about these 6 steps, you’re well on your way to creating amazing instructional videos that viewers will be searching for.

Want to jump right into it? Sign up now to try PlayPlay's 7 day free-trial to make your first professional instructional video (and more!)