Video & Audio

7 Tips for Crafting an Engaging Video Tutorial

Want to know how to make a video tutorial to engage your audience? From developing your message to nailing your set, here are 7 top tips to reel in your audience.

Portrait for Lada Bakanova By Lada Bakanova
Posted 13 May 2021
7 Tips for Crafting an Engaging Video Tutorial

In the world where information is provided and consumed in a multitude of formats across a variety of channels, your content needs to be original to stand out from the crowd. You can’t simply play by the rules – you have to think outside of the box too, and video tutorials are no exception. If your tutorial is engaging and catchy, then your audience will want to watch it – they’ll be attracted by your product and your brand for years to come.

So how do you craft a video tutorial that your viewers will want to watch? The seven tips below will tell you just that. From developing your message to delivering it through the medium of video, these pointers will help you keep your audience hooked on your tutorial from the intro to the final CTA. 

1. Know Your Audience

It all starts with the viewer. Who will watch your video? Where do they work and live? How do they consume content? 

The more you learn about your target audience, the better your content will be. So before creating your first video tutorial, you should do extensive research into your prospective and current users. Here’s what you can do:

Create a Survey

Ask your audience about their needs. Your survey can be anonymous, or you can collect each responder’s name and email address so you can follow up with them and ask additional questions if needed.

Tools like TypeForm or SurveyMonkey will help you create a survey that not only gathers whatever info you need, but also represents your brand through custom background, logo, and corporate colors. You can also use survey templates available on Envato Elements to save time. 

Interview Your Customers

An interview is probably the most personal and human way for a brand to connect with its customers. Set up an audio or video interview, ask your questions, and hear out the suggestions or concerns your audience might have. In fact, a good video tutorial will respond to what your customers might not understand about your product, so try to get to the core of their problems during your interview, and then cover them in the video. 

Email Your Audience

Not everyone will be open to a survey or an interview, so you can simply shoot them an email. Include 5–10 questions in it, or ask for their feedback around a certain topic. Use whatever they share to form a deeper understanding on what kind of videos will help them get to know your product better.

In the end, you probably already know how to reach out to your audience and request their feedback. Just make sure the feedback is topical and relevant to the videos you want to create. The better you answer your viewers’ questions, the more likely they are to watch the tutorial from start to finish.

2. Find Your Voice

It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it – and how you show it. Your brand voice should be clear throughout your video tutorial.

How You Say It 

Make sure the words you use correlate with the content on your website and in your product. A perfect script will reflect your brand values and house style. Include subtitles to cover a larger segment of your audience: people with hearing impairments, those who prefer to read rather than to listen, or those who aren’t native speakers of the language in your video. You can also add subtitles in other languages, if you have an international audience.

How You Show It

It’s vital that your visuals represent who you are as a company. That’s why the graphics you use in the tutorial should be in the same recognizable color scheme as the graphics on your website, blog, or social media accounts. Don’t separate the user experience on the site from that in the video – turn it all into one interconnected story with a clear message.

If your tutorial comes with a screencast of your interface, the story doesn’t have to be a boring step-by-step guide. You can easily take bits of your interface that you need to focus on, and enhance them graphically. Use highlights or vector images together with supportive graphics and animation. Single out specific elements, for instance, by zooming in on them, and show them to the viewer for better understanding. Monday.com applies some of these ideas in their video tutorials, creating videos that instantly identify as part of their corporate story.

7 Tips for Crafting a Video Tutorial Your Audience Wants to See
Source: Monday.com

Also, along with deciding how you show your message, you should think of the overall format of the tutorial. Is it a graphically-enhanced screencast with audio instructions in the background? Or will a person be facing your audience and explaining everything to them one-to-one? Choose whatever approach will best support your narrative.

3. Find an Actor

TV presenter talking to camera

Once you’ve settled on a format, it’s time to find a suitable actor for your tutorial. Don’t underestimate this step: sometimes a poor actor choice is what affects the views and reach of your video tutorial.

If an actor, or perhaps a colleague, will be speaking in front of the camera, explaining the ins and outs of your product, you have to consider various factors before you make a decision:

Decide On a Number

How many people should be the face of your tutorial? Perhaps you want not one, but two experts teaching people about your product? Then follow the lead of Constant Contact. Their insightful tutorials are hosted by a powerful team of two.

Prepare the Set

Even if your actor is sitting in front of a camera in Zoom, the corporate background should look cozy and welcoming. The same goes for what the actor should wear. It might be a good idea to get acquainted with color psychology before shooting.

Consider Personality

Of course the personality of the speaker, and their voice, should be friendly. Smiles, laughter, engaging narration – those are the ingredients of a successful tutorial.

The rules are quite similar for voice-over actors, with the exception of having to set the scene. You just have to make sure the person dubbing your tutorial sounds genuine, friendly, and open. And most importantly, they should seem confident in what they’re saying – no meaningless, emotionless instructions! If they sound like they know what they’re talking about (and perhaps even love it), then your customers will want to hear what they have to say.

4. Use the Right Tools

Let’s get technical. Clearly, to craft a video people want to watch, you’ll need various video tools to polish it. We’ve made sure you don’t lose focus when creating your video. Just pick a suitable tool from the list below:

Script

Like it or not, if you start working on a video tutorial, you have to become a writer, too. When your script flows, so does the viewer’s attention. Avoid stylistic errors in the whole story and grammatical errors in your subtitles. Make sure any captions appearing on the screen are correct as well. Grammarly, especially with its cool tone detector, will guide you toward a well-crafted script that will convey your message exactly how you want.

Screencast

Almost every video tutorial requires a screencast, if you offer software as a service (SaaS). Camtasia, created by TechSmith, is a pretty straightforward and user-friendly tool that will help you shoot the on-screen manipulations with your product.

Animation

You will want your video to stand out and attract viewers, and motion design is just the thing to consider. Add animated info bubbles for instructions, animate parts of your interface, visualize every click of a mouse, highlight what’s important. Adobe After Effects can do all of the above and more.

Sound

Adding sounds to your video tutorial is a must. Choose a background audio that won’t be an attention hog but a supportive guide though your story. Throw in some sound effects here and there as well to surprise your audience. Envato Elements is a wonderful fit for these purposes – you’re sure to find the right music and sounds in the platform’s expansive library.

5. Show and Tell

It’s important to remember that you’re making a tutorial. So your on-screen guidelines should always be accompanied by some kind of a voice-over. And remember to always show the interface you’re referring to – as well as highlight the elements that the viewer should look at. Or even take each element out of the interface and demonstrate it against a simple background to draw focus to what’s important. It’s something Zapier does a lot in their tutorials.

apps - Facebook, Mailchimp, Gmail
Source: Zapier

The trick to a great video tutorial is to show every step in detail and tell the audience about what’s happening on the screen, and what value it brings them. This way, they’ll be able to receive your message whether the sound is on or off. And even if they’re simply listening to the instructions while actually working with your tool in a different tab, they’ll still know where to click and what to do – all because of a tutorial done right!

6. Stay Focused and Logical

Stick to that one story you’re telling in that one video. Yes, your product is fantastic, and you’d like to point out every feature in it, but that’s not what the viewers opened your tutorial for. They came to you to find an answer to a specific question, so your job is to give them that answer. Don’t steer away from the subject matter unless it’s essential for the story.  Video templates are a great and easy way to keep your video on track – check out some of the video templates available on Envato Elements below!

Also, make sure the story itself moves naturally from one point to the next. For example, if you’re talking about a feature in your product interface, don’t begin the tutorial with clicking around the feature’s settings – start a little further back instead, explaining how to get to those settings within your interface. 

Segmenting your video tutorial might be smart as well, especially if you’re covering a complex task in it. Break the task down into several logical steps and use separate titles for each step to let your audience know you’re moving on to the next part of your video. 

7. Deliver the Message

Once you’re done with the first draft of your tutorial, ask yourself: “Does it deliver your message or should I tweak it some more?” Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the creative process and overlook the issue at hand. And with video tutorials, the issue is always whether or not your customers will get the answers they seek.

Here’s what you need to double-check before moving on to uploading your tutorial to the web:

The Story

Is everything clear? Do you go from one point to another logically or does the script need improvements? Some things can be hard to notice without a complete draft in front of you.

The Visuals

See if you’ve focused on the right things. Ask yourself whether there’s too much animation or not enough. And the most vital question is this: do the visuals support the story? Not only should they correlate with each other but also be timed perfectly, so that you and your viewer are always on the same page.

The Audio

Are all the sound effects in the right places? Is everything pronounced correctly? Make sure your actor’s tone of voice is a perfect fit, too.

The Message

There’s a good chance you’ve started your tutorial with a promise: to answer a specific question or address a specific concern in your video. So do you deliver on that promise? Check and see if you’ve missed something important.

Everything Else

Your message often hides in the details, so think those through as well. The title and the description of your video tutorial should convey the main idea in it. And of course, the preview image should reflect the contents of the video as well as be visually appealing so people would want to hit the Play button. For instance, the previews for tutorials by FlippingBook always have some graphic elements used in the video itself.

FlippingBook video
Source: FlippingBook

Wrapping Up

Video tutorials are essential for clients to understand you and your product better, so it pays to put that extra effort into crafting your tutorials. And if you’d like to make tutorials that people will want to watch from the first second to the last, use the tips above as your guide

We hope this blog helps you put your video tutorials into motion! While you’re at it, check out our 7 Top Video Trends for 2021 as well as our 10 Hottest YouTube Trends to Watch in 2021!

Lada Bakanova is Head Content Marketer at FlippingBook. The company offers a family of tools that convert PDFs into engaging online flipbooks. Among Lada’s passions are marketing, writing, traveling, and her corgi pup. You can connect with Lada on LinkedIn.