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The Ultimate Guide to Instructional Videos For Business

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In today’s digital business landscape, video content is being used in newer and more far-reaching ways.

Just as the automobile branched into sub-categories for different purposes, i.e. SUV’s, people movers, sports cars, limousines, and trucks, so too is video evolving into specific and highly valuable sub-categories and it’s a space that’s getting very interesting. 

Videos for marketing are commonplace and video content in training has been around for a while now. 

More recently, the revolution of video conferencing has become a reality with tools such as Zoom, while recorded video communications have been made popular by great software such as Loom.

But what about when you need to take recordings from those meetings or communication and create clear and effective tasks, so people know what actually has to happen now?

Or perhaps you need to create clear task instructions or recurring processes to support your team?

How about customer-facing product demos, onboarding steps, and equipment assembly and usage instructions? Or even instant in-chat help videos to reduce support time and improve customer experience?

There is a new evolution of video content for instructions, demonstrations, and process support and it’s called Instructional Video Experience. Or as we at Vidstep like to refer to it, “Video iX”.  

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What is an Instructional Video?

As its name suggests, an instructional video can communicate tasks, processes, and micro-training for your team, or provide demonstrations and support for customers and prospects. 

The formula of an instructional video must be such that:

  • It takes an extended video and breaks it down into segmented steps
  • The steps are clearly titled and explained
  • The sequence of steps can be followed in timing with the task being completed
  • Accompanying documents, checklists, and products or tools needed for the task are readily available
  • The instruction can be shared, but also permission controlled
  • The instruction must be found in the moment and place where it is needed (links, embeds, QR codes, social sharing, added to job and task management tools, links to workflows…etc)

The Benefits of Using Instructional Video

Most top-performing businesses already see high value for video, with over 75% of them using it for development and training. In addition, consumers prefer to learn about brands, products, and services in video format too. If video still isn’t part of your company culture and you want to do it right, below are a few ways we suggest you tackle video. 

1. Give Your Content a Better Home

People spend a collective one billion hours watching YouTube videos for primarily entertainment purposes each day—but public platforms like YouTube are also very distracting with suggested content and content from competitors on a similar subject matter, designed to be presented to the viewer to keep them there.

This has its place for sure, but when you want to send a team member or customer to a place to get the precise support content you and your business want them to receive, it needs to be all about you and that support only…nothing else. 

Ideally, just the relevant piece of content should be visible and playable, or if it’s a suite of content they need to access, your own branded environment with just your content must appear (and without a temptation to go scanning a public platform for alternatives). 

2. Secure Your Videos

Some businesses use video as part of training and development programs or to share information with other decision-makers. However, some of these videos may contain sensitive information that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands.

Dedicated instructional video software allows users to distribute content to the right people, with security and permission controls. You can limit access to authorised parties or secure video with a number of options.

3. Make Them Accessible Anytime, Anywhere

To be ultimately effective, video instructions must be available in the immediate time and place of need. To have to search for the solution risks it being ignored or overlooked altogether.

You could set up a link to the video instructions on an email for an ad-hoc task, embed a Vidstep on a job ticket for a recurring video process, or print out a QR code to scan in the conference room that teaches employees how to set up the AV for a Zoom call.

If you work in the trades business or have team members who perform a wide variety of services, you could even assemble a directory of QR codes and insert the appropriate ones to project briefs. Imagine sending your staff out to do repairs, armed with quality-assured instructions for every step of the way.

Whatever form you choose to give it, access to instructional content must be immediately at hand and readily available anytime.

4. Delight Your Customers

Instructional videos can do more than onboard new hires or communicate with warm leads. They can also be valuable assets for your customers.

Consumers respond very well when businesses surpass their expectations. 

When it comes to giving them instructions about your products, the usual booklet or manual could do the trick—or you could take things a step further and provide them with a convenient reference that comes with no risk of getting thrown out with the trash.

All the benefits listed in this article could easily extend to your customer service initiatives. Instructionals work well as supplements to instruction manuals, as learning options in FAQ sections or help pages, or even as rich media to give your blogs more value to readers.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using tools like Vidstep to satisfy customer needs or to go the extra mile.

Furthermore, design shouldn’t be an issue. As we mentioned in our last point, instructionals can be accessed through QR codes or shortened URLs. Since QR codes can be designed and URLs can be branded, you’d have plenty of opportunities to weave instructional videos into your product packaging.

Purpose-built for Instructional Delivery

Creating instructional video content can be difficult work. To produce an effective video, you need to hit a handful of targets all at once.

Instructionals need to be relevant and concise. They have to be easy to follow–especially when they’re meant to be guides to completing a task or process. Likewise, they need to be well-organised and suited for learners of different types.

Tools like Vidstep come with the advantage of having been built with those goals in mind. In this section, we’ll go over each of those goals and how best to reach them with the help of an instructional video platform.

Keep Things Short and Easy to Follow

Instructional video content should be short, clear, and to the point. Instructional video software makes it easy to cut your content into sections (ex. steps or sub-topics).

Added resources such as document downloads and lists of products or tools needed for the task should also be all available in your content environment. Platforms like Vidstep let you present necessary information without going off-screen to search for them.

Finally, it pays to make sure you work with a platform that plays your video in segments or steps and is designed to run in time with the task being carried out by the viewer. The options to play through all steps, pause and wait after each step, or repeat steps until the viewer moves on are value-added advantages of this type of content delivery.

Provide Context

The most impactful videos are valuable and relevant. Before anything else, you want to identify your topic and ensure that audiences receive the information they expect.

Think about the business problem you want to solve and what type of skill can help bridge gaps. When you identify the problem, consider your team’s current skill level. From here, you can develop learning objectives that will help you structure your video–and then communicate those objectives in a video description or info section.

Cater to Your Audience

So you know what you want to communicate to your viewers, but how you deliver this information matters too. Think about who will be receiving the instruction, do they have previous knowledge of the topic, or are you starting from scratch? 

The content delivery platform must also cater to all learning styles. This means delivery of the instruction must cover visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and digital communications. 

With technology such as Vidstep, the viewer can watch the content, listen to the instructions, see the task performed step by step, and read the titles and descriptions. In addition, checklist functionality and step tracking provide interactivity.

Getting to know your audience can also help you decide on a video format, tone, and timelines.

Work with Scripts and Storyboards

While videos shouldn’t necessarily feel scripted, it doesn’t mean you should forgo the process of outlining. Create a clear path from point A to point B before you hit the record button.

Outlining your video can give you a better idea of the overall duration and keep you from getting sidetracked. 

Post-it notes, point-formed notes, or a workflow diagram using tools such as Lucidchart can be very helpful.

Include a Strong CTA

Despite its title, an instructional video should still have a clear and robust call to action for either the internal team or external customer. For instance, if your video aims to teach audiences how to use a new computer program, your CTA might be to access the link to the software or download it within a specific time frame.

Purpose-built to Scale Your Video Content

We’ve established that video content is well-worth integrating into your business strategy. But as your business grows, producing instructionals to match your ever-growing list of use cases is a serious challenge of scale.

If you’ve ever been involved in creating video content, then you know how much effort can go into a single piece of quality content. 

Luckily, the benefits of working with an instructional video platform like Vidstep go beyond creating great output: it makes the creation process itself go by smoother, and for lower costs.

Instructional video software makes it possible to keep your spending and operational capacity manageable, all while creating stellar video content. For this section, we’ll move from how your videos could perform to how easy they could be to create.

Video Hosting and Management

While platforms like YouTube and Vimeo allow you to host videos, they’re designed to work best for people who create longer-form content. Because they earn most of their revenue through ads, their software isn’t optimised for users looking for focused instructional experiences.

This reflects in how easy it is–or rather, how challenging it can be–for the average business to work with their product. There are documentation pages dedicated to walking users through managing their accounts: a clear sign that things are more complicated than most would need.

Instructional video platforms like Vidstep take a different approach.

Simple account UX

For starters, these platforms are built with business users in mind. Since the goal is to save you time and mental resources, they’re built around the principle of keeping account management, permission sharing, and collaboration as seamless as possible.

Easy navigation

From there, your software should also make it easy to navigate your library of uploaded videos, sort them into categories (ex. teams, audiences), and assign permissions.

Frictionless uploading

Better still, instructional video platforms have focused user bases–in contrast to platforms like YouTube that cater to the whole Internet all at once. This means that YouTube requires its users to take certain regulatory and compliance measures that Vidstep doesn’t. In short, we keep the upload process quick and easy.

Valuable analytics

Finally, platforms like Vidstep come with analytics functionality because understanding your videos’ popularity and how viewers engage with them can lead to big improvements over time.

So what about scaling?

While most people view scaling up as a matter of increasing production, it’s also a matter of maximising the value of the output you’ve created so far.

The right hosting and management features can expand the value of your instructional videos. This leads to better returns (like better-trained staff or more convinced leads), which in turn gives you more resources or reasons to invest in production.

Sometimes, the most important step in scaling upward is figuring out the right time to do so. Working with instructional video tools like Vidstep means you’ll find yourself with success worth multiplying.

Built for Shorter, More Effective Content

Vidstep and similar platforms offer users a way to scale by shifting the focus to concise content.

Most of the business world is focused on engagement and virality. A lot of effort goes into visual effects, editing tricks, and other gimmicks meant to compel people (i.e. emotionally) rather than inform or educate them

On the other hand, instructionals care about getting information across as efficiently as possible. You want users to follow you across multiple steps or through complex ideas–meaning that shorter, simpler, and less complicated videos are a sign of success.

Ultimately, this makes it much easier to scale with a strategy that leans on instructional videos than with a strategy that resembles modern video marketing.

Working with Vidstep and similar tools means adopting a very focused and outcome-driven strategy. It sets excellent conditions for scaling up by keeping your regular output manageable without sacrificing impact.

In sum, you get to do more and drive better results–all while using up less time and effort.

With that said, there’s nothing stopping you from using the platform to host instructionals with high prod value. There’s room in the instructional video space for awesome audio and visual editing, but take it as a comfort that a leaner budget can get you superb results in our niche.

Cost and Value

It goes without saying that any effort to scale will involve managing costs and resources. 

Since instructional videos are lean, meaning they don’t eat up a lot of computing resources, providers like Vidstep can afford to let enterprise users upload an unlimited number of videos without length restrictions.

It completely eliminates the problem of costs associated with video hosting, while continuing to offer full access to features like editing into steps or attaching listings.

At the end of the day, a single price tag worth around $75 USD is an easy cost to absorb in return for a full suite of instructional video hosting and management functions.

As the proverbial icing on the cake, the costs behind video production will also be quite manageable given that we know instructionals are a niche of videos that are typically leaner, and can do very well with minimal editing.

The Bottom Line

While many people look at video content and see a bright, fast-paced, and expensive business strategy, it can also be a way to supplement your training processes and pass along information with greater efficiency. 

Through scalable video instructions, you can clearly and concisely communicate tasks or concepts to new hires, prospective clients, or an entire organisation. With it, you can reduce misunderstandings and human error while increasing efficiency. 

Software like Vidstep keeps your information bite-sized, accessible, and easy to follow–so if you’re looking for a way to improve your onboarding and customer outreach processes without burning through money, give us a free trial today.

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