While you might not necessarily associate education and instruction with compelling entertainment, it has never been easier for information to be relayed in an engaging manner. By making effective use of the medium of video, with its killer combo of audio and visual, content creators can communicate a vast amount of info to their audience – and do so in a way that is fun and easy to follow. It’s not surprising that 86% of US viewers frequently use YouTube to learn new things!

Instructional videos, then, are a brilliant choice for brands looking to teach customers about their products. They’re also the perfect remote-learning solution for businesses in a world in which the next lockdown might be right around the corner.

What is an instructional video?

The term instructional video refers to video content that teaches people how to do something. Instructional videos are similar to explainer videos, which are used by businesses to illustrate how their products work. They are often longer, however, as they usually provide viewers with a step-by-step process and a greater level of detail.

What makes a good instructional video?

Let’s take a closer look at how to make instructional videos that convey the key information, entertain your audience and inspire action.

Entice your viewers with a pitch-perfect intro

As with all video content that aspires to entertain and educate, it’s vitally important that you capture your audience’s attention from the outset.

Use the introduction of your video to succinctly outline your learning objectives to your viewers. What can they expect to accomplish by following your instructions? We recommend that you choose a picture of the end result as the thumbnail of your video, as this will motivate people to engage with your video in the first place.

If you are instructing your viewers with regard to a practical task, give them a list of the things that they will need in order to undertake it successfully. The recipe videos that we created for Plenish should give you some idea as to how to go about this. 

At the start of our videos, we combined attractive shots of the ingredients that were required for each of the vegan recipes with clear labels:

berries on a blank background

It’s enough to make anyone want to start their day with some Plenish Pumpkin Porridge – or even start the new year by giving Veganuary a try! 

Find out more about food videography and our food and drink video work today.

Provide clear instructions

Once your viewers know what they will need and what they can hope to accomplish, it’s time to start talking them through the various steps that they will need to follow.

As you may have guessed, instructional videos are all about instructions. Your job is to make those instructions as easy to follow as possible. Take the time to explain everything clearly and with an appropriate level of detail: bear in mind that, whilst you may have changed a tyre or used that software editing tool several times, the vast majority of your viewers will be unfamiliar with the processes that you are discussing.

It is of critical importance, therefore, that you avoid rushing. Opt instead for a slow, steady delivery, including pauses where appropriate. And don’t just tell. Show!

This cake frosting tutorial is an excellent example of a how-to video that resists the temptation to hit fast-forward. With its close-up shots of the cake and use of different angles, it’s the perfect primer for aspiring bakers in need of a helping hand.

[Cake Decorating for Beginners | How to Frost a Cake] 

The best way to educate is to entertain

As every good teacher knows, dull lessons achieve little, whereas classes that stimulate and entertain are far more effective in encouraging students to learn. 

There are a number of things that you can do to make your videos more engaging. Be your authentic self by allowing your personality to come through in your videos. Adopting a conversational tone and varying your cadence and tone can make a huge improvement to your vocal delivery.

Some of the best instructional videos in recent years have gone a step further by using storytelling, popular culture references and absurdist humour in order to turn the mundane into the utterly magnificent. This safety video from Air New Zealand is a testament to the difference that arresting visuals and good storytelling can make in encouraging viewers to pay attention. It’s fair to say that it earns the title ‘Most Epic’ several times over: it succeeds in turning otherwise dry-as-dust subject matter into a rollicking ride through Middle Earth.

[The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made #AirNZSafetyVideo] 

Encourage your viewers to take action

Having guided your viewers through the steps that they need to follow, it’s time to display the finished article in all its glory and offer a few warm words of encouragement.

If the purpose of your instructional video is to market your business, use an end screen that features your logo and relevant links to your website via a distinctive call-to-action (CTA). This will help inspire your viewers to follow in your footsteps and interact further with your brand.

Promote your instructional video

It’s now time to ensure that your instructional video reaches as many eyeballs as possible.

One way to do this is to create a blog post on the topic covered in your video. We would recommend either writing a summary of the content covered or expanding on the material in your video by providing further detail.

Use a compelling video title that is optimised for SEO purposes, and write a video description that includes relevant keywords.

It’s time to get instructing!

We hope that this will help you on your way to creating stellar instructional videos.

Find out more about how to create effective e-learning video courses, and learn all about animated explainer videos and product demo videos with Small Films.

Small Films is a video production company in London. Our team of videographers, editors and animators create all sorts of videos, including awesome product videos, testimonial videos, explainer videos and animations that can help bring your brand to life. Do get in touch; we’d love to hear from you!