With my background in video production and having produced thousands of hours of video content over the years, I’ve been able to help a lot of people improve their online course videos, tutorial videos, training materials, software screen capture walkthroughs and many other types of video training. In this podcast I share 4 tips to improve your tutorial and training videos.
Check out my marketing tip to better sell your courses through your free content. Whether you have a free course, a book, a blog, are a speaker or anything else, I talk about The Pepper Principle. Check out the beginning of the podcast to learn what The Pepper Principle is and how to best use it.
4 tips to improve your online course videos and tutorial videos
- Tell the audience what you want to say, say it and then remind them what you’ve said.
- Get to the point
- Practice your material in front of the camera
- Just ship it!
Here’s an article with similar content titled, 3 tips to improve your eLearning and Online Training
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[00:01] In this episode, we’ll be talking about four ways to improve your training tutorial videos.
[Welcome to the Online Course Coach podcast, brought to you by truefocusmedia.com. whether you’re a beginner or expert, this is the podcast for the latest in online course creation tips, news, interviews, and ideas. And here’s your coach, Jeff Long.]
[00:23] Welcome back to another episode and I know we’ve had a lot of guests right one after another, and I’ve just had so much fun that I almost forgot to post some of my own shows here, which I’ll be doing in the coming weeks.
[00:37] But today, I want to talk about four tips to improve your tutorial videos, your online course video content, even some of your free promo videos or YouTube videos or any other tutorials that you might be creating.
[00:51] But before I get into that, I want to give a tip of the week. And this is a marketing tip that I’ve seen used over and over that I really recommend. And it’s something I’ve self-coined, I guess, the Pepper Principle.
[01:06] So this work extremely well, especially if you have a free course, a free content, even a podcast or a blog, and I’ve seen this done really well—and I’ll talk about some examples—but let’s talk about this.
[01:22] So let’s say you have a free course. It could be on Udemy, it could be on your own website. Make sure to pepper in different comments throughout the courses that talk about your premium upgrade. So you might have a basic course that teaches somebody how to build a WordPress website. Well, maybe you have an advanced course that goes into more the development techniques or the design strategies or things like that.
[01:46] Well, you can pepper in different things throughout the course, and just briefly mention “Hey, for the premium course, check this out, you’ll get this tip. You’ll get this strategy that’s not in the free course.”
[02:00] However, when you do this, make sure it’s not in every single video, make sure you’re not overly promoting it, because you want that person to see the value that this free course provides. So you want them to walk away and be excited and knowledgeable, but in a way wanting a little more.
[02:19] So with the Pepper Principle, make sure—let’s say your course is ten videos long, maybe twenty videos long. Maybe every third video, you just briefly mention “Hey, for more in depth techniques like this, check out the premium course,” and then you can give the URL, you can give the location of where that would be and direct them to that.
[02:40] You’re just wetting their appetite. You’re getting them hints, clues—because a lot of times, people will want to upgrade their account. They’ll want to improve their knowledge. They’ll want to get those tips and tricks. And so that is a fantastic strategy, which I call the Pepper Principle.
[03:00] One of the places I’ve recently seen this strategy implemented was through the learnscrivenerfast.com site. Now, this course has been around a while. It’s fantastic. I have many authors—several New York Times bestselling authors that are friends of mine that use this, swear by it. Michael Hyatt uses it. Dan Miller—I mean the list goes on and on as far as they use Scrivener and his course has really helped them.
03:34 So if you’re a writer, an author, and you want to improve your writing, especially, Scrivener sounds like a good tool for you. And learning it can be confusing and so the author created learnscrivenerfast.com.
[03:51] Now, it’s been a paid course for a while, for several years. But recently, the author, the creator released it for free on appsumo.com.
[04:04] And I took advantage of that course, that offer. I got the free version just to see what it was like, and it’s a great course. He does a great job. We’ll have to get him on the show here sometime to explain a little more in depth. But from my understanding, the free version just gives a lot of content, a lot of value, compared to the paid version. So this is maybe a—we’ll call it Learn Scrivener Fast: Lite Edition.
[04:28] So it had a lot of good tips, but if the student, the viewer wanted more, he would pepper in these little comments about the—I think he called it the “ninja tips and trick” and that you can upgrade to that.
[04:44] He also has some different bonuses, some different—Blogger’s Paradise and things like that that he talks about, that if you want to upgrade, you can do that for the other premium course that he offers.
[04:57] And so he does a really good job. In fact, I was talking to a friend of mine, Tom Schwab, the other day—and Tom has been on numerous podcasts, he’s a great guy, he has a course that we’ll be talking about here in the coming weeks—and Tom said that he was so impressed with Joe’s course and the content that he—the first course, the Learn Scrivener Fast free version—that he upgraded because he thought he wanted to reward the author by buying the premium course. So he bought that premium upgrade.
[05:29] And that’s actually a common thing. When you offer the free version, you’ll have a lot of people upgrading.
[05:36] So let’s kind of talk about this. So let’s say you’re an author. This would be putting hints in your book, putting different things where you call out—maybe it’s giving a URL, maybe it’s talking about bonus items for your course. This is a very effective strategy with authors. I’ve seen this done very well where you pepper in different things in your book—I know Dan Miller does this, a lot of other authors I’ve worked with and talked to do this either at the end of the chapter or they just mention it throughout the book that they have this course.
[06:08] And maybe it’s a course that only is open twice a year. Well, they mention “Hey, to get on the waiting list, go to this domain, this URL, and sign up to get alerted when the course is live.”
[06:21] If you’re a speaker, this would be mentioning it in your talks and promoting it at the back of the room. So while you’re giving your talk, just mention “Hey, we have a course that goes through this more in depth if you’re looking to do a deep dive into this topic.”
[06:37] And as a speaker, a lot of times, even if you’re paid, you can pepper in different soft sells to your books, to your courses, to other content that you can then obviously upsell or sell to your listeners.
[06:54] Now be careful if you’re a speaker. I know several professional speakers and there’s a fine line between over promoting yourself and being tacky, and just mentioning it because you want to add value. And so the more subtle you are about this—maybe in a thirty minute talk, you might mention it once, maybe twice, and then obviously at the back of the room where you’re signing books, selling books, etcetera, you can always say “Hey, if you liked my talk, you’ll love my book, and you’ll even love my course a lot more because it goes in depth.” And if you offer bonuses like a live webinar once a month or once a week for a period of time, they have additional access to you, which is even a better upsell.
[07:37] And then lastly, if you’re an entrepreneur, this might be talking about your course on your podcast might be talking about it in your blog, on social media, and things like that so give them great content in your channels, but let them know that there’s more in depth content in your full course.
[07:55] So there’s a lot of ways you can apply this. In fact, I would love to hear how you might apply this to your marketing strategies. I’ve had a lot of you contact me through email, through Twitter—so look my up. On Twitter, it’s @Jeff_Long. Or shoot me an email, [email protected] Let me know how you’re going to use this Pepper Principle in your marketing strategies.
[08:24] Well, there you go, that was my strategy, my marketing strategy. Let’s get into the main content for the show.
[08:32] We’ve all seen bad training videos, bad courses, bad teaching products or whatever that just don’t quite hit the mark. They’re not effective, they don’t do it for us. Maybe they’re too basic, they’re too complex, and we’ll talk about some of these simple things that you can do to make your online courses a lot better.
[08:54] So it’s really interesting—we’ve seen an explosion in online courses over the last several years. And the term eLearning, it’s not a new term. In fact, I think it goes back to even 1996, something like that, 1999. So it’s not a new term, yet it is a growing industry. And that’s what excites me. There’s always room for improvement, there’s room to grow, and there are different people and companies and organizations that can use online learning in creative ways.
[09:23] My background is actually in video production. And so these tips come out of not just watching a lot of videos—which I do. I watch a lot of training videos, a lot of course content and videos, so I see a lot of…room for improvement, I guess I should say, but I’ve also produced hundreds of hours of training, promotional, teaching content, as well as other marketing and other types of videos. But the training videos is where I want to focus on these four tips here.
[09:56] Because there’s—there’s a lot of room for improvement, and I think that we can all do better as we’re teaching and training. And especially as people are expecting video content.
[10:08] You know, it used to be you could have a flash training or you could do different CD-ROMS or different things, or maybe it was only text based or image based. Well, we’re all getting lazier to some capacity, but we’re all expecting to watch videos. And so that can be entertaining in nature, but it can also be educational in nature.
[10:31] And so I want to make sure that when you are making tutorial videos, training videos, whatever training content you’re creating for your courses, that you use these four tips, because I really see a lot of these mistakes as I’ve worked on a lot of different projects over the years.
[10:49] So these tips that I’m about to give, these four tips to making good online courses can apply to many different types of training. So maybe you’re doing an eLearning course for educators in schools, this will apply. Or maybe you’re doing a product review on YouTube. It’s maybe not even an eLearning or online course, this actually applies to you as well. Or maybe you do screen capture videos that teach software or showcase something else online. You could even do a whiteboard explanation, certification courses, video product review—any type of online education could use these four tips.
[11:25] And I’m about to get there, but I want to set the stage. And the reason I want to give these four tips is I see a lot of bad training products, a lot of bad videos. And, you know, we’ve all been there. We’re cringing. We want the information, we found it through paid training, maybe just in a Google search, and we’re excited to learn and then the teacher, the trainer, the person on camera, just doesn’t deliver what we thought that they were going to deliver.
[11:56] So the first thing, the first tip that I recommend is—and this goes back to your days in speech class there in high school or college. It’s tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell them what you’ve said.
[12:10] This is actually a Dale Carnegie quote that he gave decades ago. So one of the things I see with this is when people are going into a training product or they’re giving a tutorial is they ramble for thirty seconds. They don’t tell the person exactly what they’re going to cover. They shoot the breeze or they just—they don’t know what they’re talking about, and so that way they’re rambling.
[12:40] So make sure the beginning of your course, even if you have, let’s say, ten modules in your course, each one of them, tell the student, the viewer, the whatever what you’re gonna say. So “In this episode, we’ll be talking about…” blahblahblah.
[12:56] And then get your content. Don’t waste time. Especially if you’re giving away content for free, people are going to click away within seconds. They’re not gonna stay around thirty seconds or a minute or longer if you’re just not getting to the point.
[13:14] And then once you’re done, recap. Crystalize in their mind what you’ve just taught them. So make sure to tell them what you’re going to say, say it, and then afterwards remind them what you’ve just said.
[13:28] Secondly is get to the point. And this kind of has to do with rambling. One of the biggest issues with video reviews and screen capture softwares and all that is people just ramble. They just turn on the camera and they just go.
[13:43] So make sure you have an outline in your head. Write it down if you need to. And don’t just speak off the top of your head, but rehearse it. Get to the point, create an outline of what you’re trying to say. Build supporting points that all lead up to that big idea, and keep your points short and sweet.
[14:05] And this goes, again, back to speech class. Make sure to have that overall point. What are you trying to convey? Supplement it with ideas, with illustrations, with examples, with stories, and then remind them at the end what you’ve taught them, and then leave.
[14:25] Thirdly, practice until you’re comfortable with the material. And this is something that I see a lot, especially when we’re doing video based training. And it does take some coaching. A lot of people aren’t comfortable in front of the camera, and that’s to be expected.
[14:39] This is something we see when we do video based training. A lot of people aren’t comfortable in front of the camera, and that’s to be expected. A lot of people aren’t in front of the camera all day long. They’re not actors and actresses. And so when you get a normal person, whether it’s a college professor or medical trainer or whatever, it does take some time to kind of find that groove. Should they be looking at the camera the whole time? Should they—when should they look off camera? Or should they pretend that they’re looking at an audience if there’s no audience there?
[15:11] So it takes a lot of practice. And so don’t be intimidated, don’t be worried if you run through it once and you look at it and it’s terrible. That’s to be expected.
[15:25] So maybe start with one piece of your course. Go through it. Film it a couple times and critique yourself. Have your wife, your family member, a friend, coworker look at it and critique it. Because there are all things that we—there are things that we all do. Little ticks, little things we do on camera or when we’re recording audio that we don’t even realize. And so the more practice you do, the better you’ll get.
[15:53] So if you do practice one of your modules, you’re gonna be really comfortable with that. And then you can move on to module two. Practice that. Even hit that record button. Pretend this is a real recording. And here’s the good thing: If you record the first one as a practice and it’s really good, you can use it! And that’s great. You can move on to the second, the third, and so forth.
[16:16] So make sure to practice. Because I’ve seen it time and time again where somebody releases a training product and you can tell they’re just kind of winging it. They’re going off the seat of their pants, they don’t really know what they’re talking about, and it’s frustrating for the student.
[16:32] And you know what, it’s not as effective and the student might not come back. They might not go through the course because they feel “Eh, this is garbage. This isn’t really teaching anything. It’s too rambling, it’s too—I don’t really know where we’re going.” And so this also affects customer that doesn’t come back anymore.
[16:50] So if you have future product you’re wanting to sell, make sure that especially that first product, that first online training course you’re giving, you’re selling, is amazing.
[17:02] Michael Hyatt talks about the Wow! factor. He always says “Start with Wow.” So what are some things you can do to start with Wow! in your online course?
[17:11] These first three of these four help you to start with Wow!. Tell the audience what you’re going to say and say it and then tell them what you’ve said. Get to the point. Don’t ramble, don’t shoot the breeze forever and then finally stumble upon the main points. And then practice what you’re comfortable with with the material. I can’t stress these enough.
[17:37] The fourth and final point is important. And especially if you’re a certain personality type that likes to be a perfectionist, that likes to have all your ducks in a row—and trust me, sometimes this is me, so I’m kind of preaching to the choir here. But the fourth thing that you should—the fourth tip to making good online learning courses is to just ship it.
[18:03] Seth Godin made this popular when he talked about shipping a product, shipping a project, shipping whatever you’re working on. So if it’s a course, yeah, you definitely want to—want to do these three things. Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it, tell them what you said. You want to get to the point and you want to practice, but you also want to get that course into the hands of students.
[18:29] Now I’ve seen some people where they release it to a limited number of students. Maybe the first twenty, maybe the first fifty students are free or discounted, and then the teacher could get some feedback. “What parts of the course were confusing? What didn’t make sense? What was too rambling? Where could I improve that course?” And then the students will give feedback because they might be raving fans, they might’ve gotten a discount, they might have been incentivized to take that course.
[18:59] So make sure, if you have a training course you’re thinking about doing. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in the game, make it happen, and use these four tips to making online courses better than you even thought possible.
[19:15] But I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. What do you think about this? Have you used these four tips? And have you found that some training courses and products just don’t cut it for you?
[19:27] So leave comments in the show notes below and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also let me know what your struggles are. What courses are you working on? Are you struggling with content creation? With marketing? With selling? With promotions? Where are those roadblocks that you’re experiencing and maybe we can all help each other take your courses to the next level.