We are always talking about how versatile the video medium is for targeting and communicating with specific audiences. Not all videos are made for promoting products and services, of course.
Another good use of video is for explaining and demonstrating to your customers how to use your products, such as setting up and operating a machine or appliance, or assembling a piece of furniture.
Let’s face it, exploded diagrams of how to put together a flat pack wardrobe never seem to be straightforward. Most people find them confusing and frustrating! It’s much easier to follow someone going through the step-by-step process on a video.
A How-To video should be professionally filmed and edited so that it not only compliments and endorses the quality and performance of the product but also engages the viewer. Keep it simple, rather than adding lots of bells and whistles. Viewers want to watch, listen, and learn, so it is best to plan the content and narrative of the video as if you were planning an e-learning tutorial.
A carefully written and honed script and storyboard is the first step in making a successful How-To video.
The simplest way to create a script for a How-To video about operating an appliance, for example, is to use its printed instructions as the basis for the script and storyboard (what will be said and shown). Adapt and develop the written instructions into a voice script and make it easy to follow and understand. Read the script out loud to a colleague and ask them to judge whether it works.
Your video producer can write the voice script, of course, when they develop the visual storyboard for filming each step in the appliance’s operating procedure. The visual demonstration (often a mix of a master shot intercutting with close-ups) and synchronised voice-over should work in tandem to clearly demonstrate each step to the viewer. Keep it short and sweet, so that the viewer can easily follow everything. Captions are often used to highlight key points and features.
The viewer may wish to pause the video after each step so that they can try it out on their own appliance, and then play the video to watch the next step. So, it is a good idea to put pause points in the video.
Sometimes, a How-To video is divided into short chapters – depending on the complexity of a product’s operating instructions.
EXAMPLES OF HOW-TO VIDEOS
Rug Doctor Quick-Start Guide
When Rug Doctor launched a new machine in their carpet cleaning range, we were asked to create How-To videos for the UK market – including a quick-start guide and a troubleshooting guide.
Home User Guides
House builders such as L&Q, Barratt and Wates are creating Home User Guide videos to demonstrate to residents how to operate and maintain all the features and utilities in their apartment or house.
Usually delivered as a set of chapters on a USB stick, the video guide is the ultimate instruction manual for residents of all ages. It is the perfect way to show, for example, where to find the boiler controls and water stop cock, or how to set up the central heating programmer. And they show how to care for and safely maintain the equipment.
Providing residents with a walk-through experience saves them time and empower them to resolve small issues themselves.
Another type of How-To video is a walk-through of the navigation, key pages, and interactions of a website. We created this video for Tank Storage Intelligence’s new website – the “number one data source for tank storage industry professionals”.