Want Your Video to Resonate? Make It Relevant

Always keep your audience’s needs in mind—not necessarily what you want to tell them, but what they need to know.

We create training content to teach skills and share knowledge. Obviously, when we make this content, we want it to be successful. That’s the whole point, right?

The good news is that people love instructional and educational video content. So by creating training videos, you’re already well on your way to satisfying a need.

Whether they want to know how to install a new electrical outlet, learn a new coding language, discover how to make the perfect BBQ, or learn to use your company’s software, people increasingly turn to video for their learning needs.

In fact, recent research by TechSmith shows that in 2018, 53 percent of people reported watching an informational or instructional video two or more times per week.

That’s more than double the 21 percent who reported the same amount of viewing in 2016.

So if you’re making videos that show someone how to do something, there’s almost certainly an audience who wants or needs to watch. And there are many ways you can help ensure your content hits the mark, but there’s one that stands as the most important: relevancy.

In fact, that same TechSmith research shows that relevance is the most important factor in creating effective training videos—and, consequently, lack of relevance is the No. 1 reason people stop watching your videos.

Meet Expectations

Most people start watching a video because they are interested in the topic or need the information it contains. In other words, they were attracted by the content the video claimed to provide. And the most common way they figure out what your video is about is by reading the title and description.

This is incredibly important. People will come to your videos with certain expectations based on the title and description. If your video delivers what it promises, it’s relevant and people will continue to watch it. However, if you don’t deliver, people will stop watching and will be far less likely to trust you for their learning needs in the future.

As such, you must ensure your content gives them what they expect. If you create an instructional video for your new HR software titled, “How to Request Paid Time Off,” make sure you deliver that content and ONLY that content. It may be tempting to show how requesting paid time off is different from requesting bereavement time or unpaid leave, but unless it’s absolutely relevant to the task, you can probably leave it out. If people want to know how to request bereavement leave or unpaid time, they can look up those videos instead.

Know Your Audience

Relevance goes beyond just your video’s general topic. You have to give people the content they want. That means delivering the content they need when they need it.

You can’t do that without a strong understanding of your audience and their needs.

Good training always goes back to the audience first. Before you can make an engaging video, you have to make sure it’s really what they need.

You can have a highly produced, beautiful video, but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience, all of that polish will fall flat.

So before you start creating your video, ask yourself a few questions about your audience:

  • What do they need to learn?
  • Why do they need to learn it?
  • What are their problems?
  • How can I motivate them?

Once you answer these basic questions, you’ll be well on your way to creating a more relevant video for your audience.

For corporate or professional trainers, your audience may be more captive than the general population who may be searching for instructions on how to change a tire or learn your company’s software. But just because your audience has to be there for their jobs, that doesn’t excuse you from your relevancy responsibilities.

Their time is valuable, and when they need training, it’s your job to ensure they get what they need.

When creating how-to, training, or other educational content, the biggest mistake we can make is losing sight of the original goal. Keep your audience’s needs in mind—not necessarily what you want to tell them, but what they need to know.

In other words, don’t over-engineer or overcomplicate your content.

Here are a few other ways you can ensure your content stays relevant, no matter the audience:

  • Always keep your goal in mind.
  • Use your understanding of your audience to create content specific to their needs.
  • Stick to the topic at hand.
  • Make sure your video’s length is right for the topic—no longer and no shorter.
  • Understand that more complex topics may require more than one video to avoid meandering or getting off topic.
  • Write a script before recording your video to ensure you stay focused on the relevant information.
  • Remember, the whole goal is to make learning stick.

Creating training videos is an ideal way to share knowledge, help people develop new skills, and show nearly anyone how to do something. But ensuring your videos are actually relevant to your audience will go a long way in ensuring they actually accomplish your goals. You’ll help your audience and build trust that they can come back to you again when they need to learn something new.

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.