Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a significant upward trend in the number of people engaging with training videos from their mobile devices. This isn’t surprising since the workforce has continued to evolve as we move deeper into the 21st century.
The message behind this is that companies need to improve their video creation game to meet the ever-increasing demand for meaningful material. Where are companies supposed to start? The best way to learn is to see who’s doing it best and simulate their methods.
For decades, marketers have crafted videos that captivate an audience. They do this by weaving storytelling into their videos to make them a memorable experience for consumers. Expert marketers understand that by creating an experience through video, people are more likely to remember the product or service being advertised.
It makes sense to borrow some of the principles used by marketing agencies and use them to create a high quality training video. Here are some of the best practices from video marketing that can be applied to create a highly effective training video.
Start with a Concept and Work from There
All expert content creators start out with a concept before they even think about putting a script together. Assuming you already have a target audience and topic in mind, write out a bulleted list of essential concepts that the video must cover. Think of this list as being the compass that will keep you pointed in the right direction.
Next, consider ways you can put those points together to take the viewer on a journey from one step to the next. I don’t mean PowerPoint presentations and a dry voiceover. Everyone has been forced to sit through these types of videos. Instead, create a main character that will walk the viewer through each step of the journey.
Look at how children’s videos use creative characters to provide important lessons. Sesame Street, Blues Clues, and Reading Rainbow are three classics that teach powerful lessons. They take the viewer on a journey, tell a story, and then drive the lesson home.
Once these concepts are in place, then you can write a script.
Personalize Training Videos With a Target Audience in Mind
Marketing experts have always emphasized personalizing their entire strategy. This is done to ensure they connect with consumers on a personal level. Every stage of the process, from first contact to sales, is catered to a specific segment of consumers by creating a profile for the ideal target audience.
The same rule applies to creating an engaging training video. Create videos that to focus on the learning experience rather than having someone read content that bores the viewer. Interactive videos are a great way to achieve this.
Videos Must Align with your Brand
All content developed should align with your brand’s culture. Learning videos are no exception. If a new employee is watching the video as part of their training, they are also learning about your brand as well. Instill this in them right from the start.
Avoid using only stock video footage since the overall training goal is to remain authentic and resonate with learners. It’s okay to keep videos casual, especially when you’re using them for training and not marketing. In fact, some of the best training videos I’ve seen use humor as part of the journey when that humor is focused on the learning point.
That brings us to talent. Don’t overpay a voice actor when there is probably someone close to your brand that is passionate and knowledgeable about your brand.
Consider Creating an Interactive Training Video
Creating an interactive training video is easier than ever with today’s technology. For example, Camtasia has a lot of amazing tools to help, as does Articulate Storyline. There is no greater form of engagement than getting learners immersed into the content through interactivity.
A simple example of this is having a pop quiz in the middle of each video an easy way to work interactivity into videos.
Videos that don’t engage the learner are not going to have a lasting impact. Dry lists of facts and information never convert well into making them interesting for learners. People have trouble staying awake, zone out, and then forget most of the message. Sure, one or two points might stick but that’s not enough. Engagement creates a memorable learning experience.
Focus on Storytelling
Marketers discovered that storytelling is the best way to get through to their audience. When creating videos, they don’t base the core video concept on simply selling the product or service. Instead, sales are a result of their approach but are not central to the theme of their pitch.
Effective videos are created with a core concept that is designed to resonate with consumers. Instead of trying to get a single sale, they are focused on brand building. Marketers discovered that presenting consumers with an interesting narrative converts higher sales than a bland sales pitch.
Training videos should follow the same approach. Rather than creating a video where the viewer is lectured at, take them on a journey to discover the key learning points themselves. Immersion reinforces the learning points and creates a more memorable experience.
For example, I made a live-action training video that showed an engaging “dating in the workplace” problem. This video had a much more profound impact than a simple compliance video. The “dating-gone-awry” story engaged learners enough that they remembered the topics and understood the reason why dating your subordinate is against company policy. The storytelling approach conveyed the lesson in context.
Pay Attention to the Learning Experience
Brands have discovered that emphasizing the brand experience is far more valuable than trying to sell each individual product or service independently. Every video they release centers on the consumer’s experience of using the product or service.
When you sell a product, you might get a few short-term sales. But when you sell brand experience, you get long-term customers who make several purchases in their lifetime.
Learning videos should follow this same concept. Learners need to understand the context and rationale of what they are learning in order to retain the information. By giving them an experience, learners will not only learn the process but actually understand the concepts . Learners who understand context and the bigger picture will be adaptable to future changes.
Creating an engaging training video requires you to ensure that each element of the learning path provides clear and consistent messages.
Micro Videos Have Taken Over the Market
Marketers discovered that short videos convert at a much higher rate than their longer counterparts. That would explain the popularity of social media platforms like TikTok and Vine. In fact, 20% of users will click away from a video if it’s longer than 10 seconds.
Of course it’s not realistic to create training videos that clock in under 10 seconds. But this fascinating trend tells us that short, concise videos are more appealing to a generation that lives life at lightning speeds.
Create videos to engage the audience rather than having a training video of 30 minutes reading through long, boring bullet points to teach a lesson.
The best approach is to create a series of short videos where each video focuses on one key lesson that is appealing to learners so they can digest the information in small doses. It makes it easier to create engaging content.
Follow the Show, Don’t Tell Approach
Videos are a visual medium so why use words to describe a step when it can be shown visually? Many companies just toss text on-screen and have a monotonous voice recite it. Then they wonder why people are dozing off while watching. There’s a reason we don’t see this with top marketing videos.
Use visuals to get your point across whenever possible. You don’t need actors to do this. Animation is an affordable option that works wonders in training videos! Another option is to use a combination of voice-overs, b-rolls, and stock video to engage the audience.
Of course, everyone learns differently so you should also include accessibility options such as closed captioning and descriptive captioning to compliment the visual content. In fact, many learners prefer closed captioning as it makes it easier to absorb the lessons. Furthermore, if the video is being posted online then you should also provide a transcript so that readers who are better at learning from text or a screen reader are able to follow more easily.
Putting it All Together
When planning a training video, everything boils down to playing out lessons in a way that people can understand, engage in, and ultimately learn from. At the end of the day, it comes down to creating the best learning experience. That’s why concise, simple videos focusing on a single topic will always win the day.
Use the tips described in this article as guidelines to improve your training videos. Don’t be afraid to get creative! As long as you’re able to engage with learners, they will learn valuable lessons.