From tutorials to instructional videos, 72% of people say they prefer to get their information through video. YouTube confirms this. Searches for how-to videos have gone up by 70%, with viewers consuming more than 100 million hours of how-to videos a year in North America alone.
Creating a how-to video is a great way to demonstrate the benefits of your products or services without being too sales-y. Instructional videos are also ideal for educating employees on new processes and everyday tasks.
You can also use how-to videos to establish yourself as an expert in a certain area, build an entertaining and informative YouTube channel, or get the word out and reach a new audience
Wondering where to start? Here are our top tips for creating how-to videos.
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What makes a good how-to video or instructional video?
There are tons of great tutorials and how-to videos out there. So how do you make your instructional video stand out?
Unless you’re creating a video about a very niche topic that no one else has covered, you’ll want to take a unique angle. A very targeted how-to that covers a key area does better than something generic. For example, a video titled “How to make vegan, gluten-free cookies” is more likely to do well than “How to make cookies.”
If you’re wondering what words to use in your title, consider doing a quick scan of Google to see what keywords are doing well. Looking at the top search results in your specific topic can help narrow your focus to what people actually want to watch.
Once you have your topic, you need to hit the perfect balance between engaging and informative. The best instructional videos strike a middle ground between visually interesting content and a topic that can be broken down into bite-sized pieces for your audience.
Keep your video to-the-point, use an engaging title, and consider adding captions or animations for audiences watching without sound.
Pro tip: Creating a how-to video for employees? Read up on how to make training videos, then start with one of Biteable’s training video templates for surefire success.
Creating your own how-to video in 5 easy steps
Creating how-to videos isn’t actually all that difficult, especially if you’re an expert on the topic you share. Follow these seven steps when you make your own instructional video.
1. Refine your topic
As we mentioned before, the best instructional videos are under two minutes long. You can cover a lot of ground in two minutes of video, but making a how-to video this short still takes a little planning.
First, winnow your topic down to something very specific. For example:
“How to make a video” = topic is too broad
”How to make an explainer video” = topic is just right
If your topic is too broad, as in the “how to make a video” example above, it will take you way too long to instruct viewers in just a few short minutes. A subtopic, like “how to make an explainer video” is just right.
Another option is to create an instructional video series. This allows you to tackle a larger topic without making your videos too long.
2. Write your “script”
Notice how we put “script” in quotation marks? You can create a great how-to video without shooting any footage. Pre-made animation scenes, combined with on-screen text make for a highly effective instructional video.
So when we say “write your script”, we really mean plan the sequence of video scenes and write out the words you want displayed on the screen. Or if you do want to go all-in with video footage, do write a real script in this step. A script will help you keep your video short.
3. Record video clips (optional)
Like we said in step two, you don’t need footage to make a great how-to video. But shooting footage is definitely an option, especially if you want people to associate a human face with your business.
A good middle ground is to shoot short, a short first-person video clip of someone introducing the topic and then combine that with animations and on-screen text during the actual instructional portion of your video. Add a second first-person video clip at the end to thank people for watching and you should be good to go.
Pro tip: With Biteable’s Record feature, you can record a first-person video clip on your webcam or phone camera directly in the Biteable app. Add the clip to your how-to video in a single click, no uploads necessary.
4. Assemble your video
Now it’s time to assemble your instructional video. Since you’re creating your how-to video out of premade scenes, animations, and (maybe) short video clips, this is actually one of the simplest steps in the process.
Think of it like making a PowerPoint in a moving format. It’s really that easy.
Whether you start with a template or choose the “create your own” route, it’s all a matter of putting the pieces together. Tweak the text, colors, and animations in each individual scene much like you would a PowerPoint presentation.
You can rearrange scenes by dragging and dropping them in your timeline. Add new scenes, animations, or scene transitions with a few simple clicks.
5. Brand your video
Branding your instructional video is an important step, regardless of whether it’s intended for internal comms or an external audience.
At a minimum, include intro and outro scenes that feature your company logo. For the best outcome, go a step further and use your brand colors throughout your video.
Pro tip: Use Biteable’s brand builder to automatically apply your company colors to any brandable video template or scene.
Examples of good how-to videos
The best how-to videos keep it simple, short, and sweet. You don’t need to use high-tech techniques to get your point across. Here are some examples of how-to videos that are both effective and engaging.
How to Fold a Fitted Sheet
For anyone who’s ever struggled to fold a fitted sheet, this how-to video is a godsend. It’s a simple task, but injecting the video with lots of personality makes it extremely effective. It’s secret relies on Martha Stewart and her guests laughing at themselves and having a good time while demonstrating how to resolve a common problem threatening your linen closet.
This type of lighthearted instructional video is perfect early content for anyone starting a YouTube channel.
How to Escape Quicksand
What are the chances you’re going to need to know how to escape quicksand? Slim, probably. Nevertheless, this instructional video from Tech Insider showcases the best elements of creating a how-to video.
The title draws viewers in immediately, while the captions and animations clearly explain a complicated concept. The real show-stealer? The video doesn’t require sound. Keep in mind that most people on social media watch videos on mute. Cater your content to viewers on mobile or at the office with subtitles or captions.
How to Blow Out Curly Hair
The title of this instructional video is perfect: lots of people would Google this specific phrase. Bustle made a how-to video showing viewers the best way to DIY and save money. In this way, they covered the two main motivations viewers have for searching out this kind of content.
It’s also a how-to video on the shorter side. Research shows that videos under 2 minutes get the most views. This video combines text with a script, keeping it easy to follow and straight to the point.
The best templates for making how-to videos
One of the easiest ways to create a video for your business with a how-to focus is to start with the right template. Here are three of our favorites instructional video templates:
How-to explainer video template
With this instructional video template, clear and simple steps take center stage. You can add in graphics, photos, and other visuals to make your presentation pop. This template gives you a great foundation to start building your narrative without getting complicated.
Instructional presentation video
For a short-and-sweet mini-training, combine first-person footage with onscreen text. This gives your instructional video a personal feel without running on too long.
Learn more Need to show your colleagues how to do a task at your next meeting? Read all about how to embed a video in a PowerPoint presentation.
Business explainer template
Not interested in a straightforward how-to? Consider using an explainer template to jump start your instructional video and walk viewers through your specific area of expertise. Instead of steps, list tips; you’re still walking someone through a process, but with a do’s and don’ts approach rather than a prescriptive list.
Create a how-to video the easy way with Biteable
Creating instructional videos is easy with Biteable, the world’s simplest how-to video maker.
Get started with hundreds of video templates and pre-made scenes to jump-start your “how-to” creativity. Add flair to your instructional video with a library of over 1.8 million stock clips, images, and one-of-a-kind animations. Put the finishing touches on your how-to video with Biteable’s intuitive, “done-for-you” editing workflow.
When you’re done, copy and paste your video link from Biteable directly into all your platforms. Track your success with Biteable’s video analytics and watch your how-to magic soar.