Video is the hottest form of content because it engages audiences—but doing it effectively requires work.
Anyone tasked with training, educating or engaging employees should be creating instructional videos as part of their company’s corporate learning program.
With that in mind, here are six steps to create sleek, seamless training videos:
Step 1: Pick your topic.
Define who, exactly, your audience will be. Do you want to educate new employees, or are you trying to reach your entire workforce? Is your topic relevant to just a handful of departments?
If internal training is your assignment, conduct interviews with employees to understand their preferences, interests, frustrations and knowledge gaps. If you’re creating documentation for external users or a larger audience, then a survey might be a better way to collect information.
You might also peruse online forums to home in on hot topics.
Regardless of your audience, whittle your topic down to a single, focused idea. If you have multiple topics to cover, consider creating a concise series of specific, hyper-focused training videos.
Step 2: Choose a content format.
Different types of training videos require varying levels of time and effort to complete. Here are some formats you might choose for your training video:
- A screencast, or a recording of your computer screen, is a simple way to educate employees.
- A microvideo is a very short video—five to 15 seconds—that demonstrates a single process or idea. Microvideos often use visuals or text on the screen instead of narration.
- Presenter videos work well for live trainings or product demos. You can always edit the recording afterward and use it as part of your learning program. In these videos, someone usually acts as a “host” and shows viewers how a particular product, service or process works.
- In role-playing videos, a scenario is acted out to help viewers handle interactions or problems they’re likely to encounter. These pieces are helpful to recreate sales calls, technical support processes and other interactions.
- Animations or explainer videos use text and graphics to get messages across. These pieces require technical and artistic knowhow to create, but they’re great for engaging audiences.
- Interactive videos are a new, engaging format. Think of “choose your own adventure” videos, where viewers are asked to respond to situations to see how their decision affects the ending. Interactive videos are a great way to get your viewers involved.
Step 3: Script and storyboard your piece.
Don’t just hit “record” and see what unfolds.
Start with getting words onto paper and into the approval process. After scripting, create a storyboard—which demonstrates the visual sequence of a video through simple sketches or images.
Capture a few screenshots or take pictures to get a concrete idea of what you want to show in your video. Your storyboard shouldn’t take long to put together, and you don’t need to agonize over sketching anything beautiful. Stick figures work just fine.
Step 4: Record, edit and polish.
Now you can hit “record.”
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a video pro to capture great video. You probably have all the technology you need right in your pocket.
Once you’ve recorded your footage, there are many ways to edit, enliven and polish your video.
Step 5: Review and seek feedback.
Once you’ve got an early draft video, ask colleagues or other stakeholders review it.
Seek honest feedback to learn whether you’re on the right track or if crucial changes are necessary. It’s always easier to make changes earlier in a project, so don’t save this step for last.
Fresh sets of eyes will help prevent obvious mistakes or design flaws in the final product, so take your time on this step.
When reviewers have provided feedback, incorporate their comments and suggestions. Let your reviewers have one more peek at the new version of your video.
It may make sense to go through it two or even three times to make sure your video is just right.
Step 6: Produce, host and distribute your video.
Producing your video renders it from the video editor into a video file—the most common and widely used being MP4. Unless you have a specific reason not to, I suggest producing your video as an MP4 at the same size you edited it.
Once the video is produced, it’s time to host it. YouTube and Vimeo are examples of hosting sites, but there are many other ways to host a video, and it’s important to choose the one that works best for you.
If you want to make your video public, use YouTube. If you want it to be available exclusively to people at your company, consider hosting it on your company’s intranet or internal website.
A version of this post first ran on the TechSmith blog.