3 Video Tips from Expert YouTubers

From consistency to knowing your audience, learn best practices from the pros.

With high production values, top-of-the-line gear, and skyrocketing viewers, professional YouTubers seemingly work in a world of their own. While it’s true YouTube creators and training departments serve different functions, their goals are primarily the same: effectively communicating messages in creative and engaging ways.

The world is becoming increasingly visual. In fact, a recent TechSmithsurveyfound that two-thirds of employees are better at completing tasks when instructions are communicated by video or text with images than by plain text. Knowing how to create video is critical for effective training. So who better to learn what resonates than from the top video creators out there?    

I recently spoke with several YouTube experts who know what it takes to make engaging videos. Their tips range from fully understanding your audience to how consistency plays a role in making better quality content and why you don’t need perfect videos to get started.

Know Your Audience

  • “If you are a brand and you think, “What we make isn’t appropriate for video,” you’re wrong. Because if people are buying your product, then people are looking for how to use that product, how to get better at that product. Things about that product that they might not know initially when they take it out of the box. They’re looking for that kind of information.”Nick Nimmin
  • “Ask [your audience]. Send an e-mail out to your audience and say, “What channels do you like to consume content?” And you’d be amazed. Most people are thankful you’re willing to ask.”Brian Fanzo

Why this is important: Whether it’s for onboarding, company announcements, or training purposes, every video should be focused and relevant for a specific audience. For example, you wouldn’t use the same content for onboarding as you might for an instructional video on a particular process within your organization. Having a sense of your audience and how they prefer to engage with your content will make the creation process easier and your videos more successful. Not sure what your employees want? Ask.

Consistency Is Key

  • “…Consistency is the biggest tip I have. Keep creating, keep working on the quality of your videos.” Christin Kardos
  • “The other thing about frequency is that nobody ever complains if you're helping them too much and you're providing too much value. But if you're posting too much crap, or you're posting just because you feel like you need to post, that's when you start losing people.” —Brian Fanzo

Why this is important: Even if you’re starting small, your employees will be more engaged with your videos if they have a rough idea of when to expect them. In addition to timing, consistency with the quality of content is equally important. Videos that fit well together will feel more cohesive, even with different content, styles, or approaches.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

“When you overdo it, or you have that perfection thing going on… you spend so much time on one video, just trying to make everything perfect. You could have made an extra one, two, or three videos in the amount of time it takes you to put that one video together.”—Nick Nimmin

“The reality, … is your first videos are going to be your worst videos. We all start horrible, and I think that’s the fear. We’re afraid of putting out some bad videos… Just accept the fact they’re going to be bad and get those ones out there.” —Sean Cannell

Why this is important: Perfectionism is a slippery slope on any project, but particularly with video. You might worry you don’t have the right equipment, or your editing wasn’t adequate. But every video doesn’t need the same level of quality. If you find yourself in a cycle of perfection, take a step back and think about the goal and audience of the video. These two factors will help you determine how polished your video needs to be (and save you some time in the process).

While your videos may not get you invited to snazzy events or paid sponsorships, follow these tips and you’ll see your employees regularly tuning in. 

Do you have any video best practices? I’d love to hear them! Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @piercemr and let’s keep this conversation going.

Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.