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How To Create Practical, Informative How-To Videos That Provide Value And Generate Income

How-to videos are a popular format through which to engage with potential customers. The range of topics can be enormous from lifestyle and hobbies (cooking, gardening, craft, housekeeping), sport and leisure (fishing, golf, tennis, etc.), to business and educational (computer software, literacy and numeracy, presentations and public speaking, and so on). Many businesses or professionals use how-to videos as a means of offering value, raising profile, building rapport and of course, as a source of generating income.

A good how-to video piece should leave your audience with an understanding of how to actually perform the task in question and leave them feeling confident that they can do it on their own. This article looks at how you can create practical and informative how-to videos that your viewers will enjoy.

When composing a how-to video, following the model of a typical US television show can be a successful technique. Modern viewers have become accustomed to the stop-and-flow pattern of commercial television so it's quite natural to watch individual segments running no longer than seven minutes without interruption.

On a practical level, shooting a video in five-minute parts is a great deal easier than shooting the entire video all at once. The tighter structure obliges you to include only the most important and useful information. Keep in mind that your viewers are looking for specific how-to information on their chosen topic, not unrelated, superfluous material which has little to do with the subject at hand.

By breaking up the information into easily digestible slices, the viewer is less likely to get confused or overwhelmed. Using this technique not only makes it easier for the viewer to follow the flow of information, it actually reflects the way viewers have learned to watch television (a few minutes of story line, followed by a break).

Remember that your audience will not going to recommend your work to others or invest in more of your products and services until and unless they watch your video and gain the benefit. Your goal is to make your videos as accessible and approachable as possible. Segmenting your series will make your production more user-friendly and offers a more valuable and watchable experience.

Understanding how your audience behaves and accesses information is an important aspect of creating successful videos. Viewers are more likely to find ten minutes from their schedule then sit down for an hour or so and watch all the way through. If viewers want to focus on a particular area or repeat the section, it is far easier to select a segment than run back through a long video - making it more probable that they will do so.

Your overall layout for the entire series of video pieces should take the following outline:

1. Overview: use the first few minutes to outline the series will cover
2. Body: these are the short segments of information (maximum five minutes each)
3. Conclusion: your ultimate solution to the problem

Use this outline for the individual portions - the overview introduces the particular section's theme (less than a minute), the body is made up of around four minutes of actual information, and the final thirty seconds or so summarises the section and the learning covered.

Between each section, create "bookends" by adding a graphic or visual sequence which helps the viewer to see when a segment has come to an end. For example, a written summary of what the key points of the piece can help reinforce the learning just provided. Starting each section with an overview of what will be covered is also useful.

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