One of the hallmarks of video content is educational videos, which have long proven to be fantastic for views, engagement, and as lead generation opportunities for further learning. We’re going to break down how to create high-quality and effective education videos. This includes everything you need to keep people watching. These lessons can be applied not only to YouTube videos but also to mediums like online courses.
What kind of educational content do you create? Leave a comment below! Cover photo by: Jeremy Enns
Determine the Ideal Length
YouTube videos tend to perform best when they are only a few minutes long. But longform content has its place, and educational content is one of those places. When it comes to learning, most viewers will seek out a long and detailed video so that they don’t miss anything. This is especially true if a video claims to be a complete guide to a concept. If the video is long, it’s a good bet that the content will be dense and detailed.
On the other side of the coin, there is such a thing as too long. Many popular tutorials brag in their titles about offering a complete guide “in under 20 minutes”. Some people just don’t want to watch a long video, even if it’s a detailed tutorial. Just know that a tutorial under 20 minutes (for something complex, such as Adobe Premiere Pro) will likely be a surface-level and rather basic.
Other educational content can be just a couple minutes long if it’s a short guide about a single concept.
Know Your Audience
The point of the above breakdown is to say there is no ideal length for all educational videos. In general, this kind of content should be as long as you need it to be. Cut or add time where needed based on the audience. If your audience is total newcomers, spend more time on the basics. Don’t go in-depth about anything, or you’ll risk confusing them. If your audience is already familiar with the concept, don’t waste their time with basics. Instead jump into the meat of the content.
For example, if you want to create a recipe video for a pasta dish, ask yourself if this is a beginner or an advanced recipe. If it’s an advanced recipe, you can skip the details of how to boil noodles. But if it’s a beginner recipe, then take the time to explain the ideal method for boiling noodles, in case an amateur cook is still confused on this topic.
If you’re making an explainer for your product in a video, is it aimed at people who are looking to purchase the product, or do they already have it? Missing the mark can result in lower views, a lot of dislikes, and plenty of unhappy customers.
To ensure that you effectively communicate everything you need in your video, start by creating a checklist with everything that viewers should understand by the end of the video, then make sure that’s the case. Your goal is to truly know your audience, and identify a plan for building it.
Writing a script is very important for educational videos because it can be easy to go off on a tangent otherwise. If you’re making a video about how to change the ink in your printer, you might notice one of the buttons and make a comment about how the button is in a strange position on the printer. This has no value to viewers who just want to know how to change the ink. Too many distractions like this will annoy them. Stay on topic, because no matter who your audience is, they want only the important information. No need to confuse people by mentioning something that’s not actually important. One easy way to stay focused is to decide the topic that you want to focus on and don’t deviate from that!
While writing a script can be critical, don’t worry too much about being perfect. Keep it casual! The content is more important than saying everything perfectly.
Some people learn just by listening or reading, and others prefer to learn by example. Augment your verbal explanation with plenty of examples. This might sound ridiculous depending on the context – can you imagine a woodworking tutorial without an actual demonstration? But an educational video about a marketing strategy may not really mean much to a viewer unless they see an example of that strategy in action, whether it’s a real scenario or something made up for the sake of illustration. This gives viewers the chance to mimic the example if they’re still struggling, and work through it on their own.
Understand the Learning Process
Whether your video is a beginner tutorial or an advanced lesson, you can get more engagement with your viewers by understanding where within the process of learning your video resides. You can recommend other videos that sit in a similar area, or next steps. Guide viewers through your content, because they may not find it themselves. Clearly label your videos if they’re in a series, and give good, descriptive titles. When narrating the videos, keep in mind what you’ve already covered. Will the lessons you’re talking through make sense to viewers who have only seen your content and know nothing else about the topic? These are important points to consider when creating an educational video, otherwise you will risk confusing your audience.
Use the Right Tone
Educational videos are best served with a conversational tone. If you’re too monotone, your video will be boring. If you’re too excited, you can come off as annoying.
Avoid being condescending. Try not to use words like “easy” or “simple” in case a viewer actually finds an “easy” concept difficult. What is easy to you as the teacher may not be as simple for someone who is brand new.
Create a High-Quality Production
It should go without saying, but good educational videos need to be high quality. A high-resolution screen capture, a crisp in-focus camera, and a noise-free audio recording can make your video more appealing than someone else’s. When it comes to a long, detailed video, most people would rather have a good viewing and listening experience. If you can provide that, you’ll be in luck and will have minimal complaints in the comments section.
While educational videos need to be high quality in terms of audio and video, focus on the content first. Some of the best tutorials on YouTube are 15-year-old videos recorded in incredibly low resolution! The standards today are much higher however, so aim for a good mixture of video quality and content quality.
Hire Others When Needed
When creating any kind of video, you should know your own strengths and weaknesses. There may be some parts of the process that you can handle just fine and others that you can’t. For example, can you do a good voice over? If you can’t record a high-quality or easy-to-understand narration, then consider hiring or asking someone else to do it. You want your end product to be as high quality as possible so don’t cut any corners by trying to do something you’re not very good at. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Putting it All Together
Educational videos are great pieces of content. Depending on your ultimate goals, they can be quite useful. If you’ve created a helpful video that viewers get a lot of value out of, you will certainly rack up views on your YouTube channel or online course. Undoubtedly if someone sees your video and sees that you have other similar content, they will subscribe to your YouTube channel or purchase your course. This can lead to modest revenue if you monetize your channel or charge for your course.
Go combine these tips to create an effective educational video, and teach the world what you know!