Making Great Technical Marketing Videos for YouTube — Tips and Tricks
I’ve been making lots of videos for marketing technical features for my employer (GitLab). In this guide I will show you how to make great videos that will not only draw, but keep users attention.
Disclaimer, I’m not at influencer level yet! Keyword “yet”.
I’ll go over the following topics:
- Script Planning 📄
- Gear 📹
- Video Editing + Screen Recording 📼
- Thumbnails 💅
- Titles and Descriptions 🛤
- Pattern Interrupts 👽
- Cards and End Screens 📩
- Promoting on Social Media 🐦
Here is a video I have created, so you can see the type of content I create:
Script Planning and Value Highlighting
Your videos should be very well thought out before you actually get into the process of recording. I like to use the screenplay format for everything I write. It helps me keep my mind organized. It’s good to have a starting point, and later the flow can be improved during the film process.
Another tip that is helpful for me is to create a character which the audience can relate to. This makes the video more interesting and more likely to keep the audience engaged. I include a mix of video (with you in it), screen-recordings, audio, and stock photos in the production.
It’s also important for technical videos to note that you should try not to be too markety. If you are just selling a product, it tends to dis-interest a viewer, especially a developer (I know from experience). Make the video as generic as possible to the technical subject, but show the value of your product as well.
Once everything is thought out, it should be recorded as it was described in the script, making edits here and there before it is put together. For example this script was used in order to make the DevSecOps Overview video.
The quality of your video and audio is important to how long a viewer will be engaged.
For video-recording I would recommend one of the following:
- DSLR Camera capable of 4K
- iPhone XR or better
- Android capable of 4K video
Nowadays, most smartphones are capable of delivering high-quality video. I would try to aim for 30fps 4K recording or better.
For audio-recording I would recommend the following:
- Lapel Microphone
- Shotgun Microphone for DSLR or Shotgun Microphone for phone
- Yeti microphone (for recording voice-overs)
Other equipment you will need:
- Laptop capable of video editing (I have a MacBook Pro)
- Carrying bags
- Lighting Equipment
- 101 Things I learned in Film School (Good easy to follow book, I recommend)
Don’t worry about getting all these things at once, they are just what I use to try and make videos as professional as possible.
You can start small and just record video using yourself phone, record the technical content on your computer screen using a free screen-recording tool, and then editing with some free video editing software.
After recording exactly what you will be showcasing, we get to the editing. The recording should be how it was planned on the script with improvisation where needed.
We must make sure to have recorded multiple takes and some b-roll. Multiple takes are important, because you don’t want to have to go back to filming when you are in editing mode.
When all your footage is complete, we can now begin the editing process. Here are a few things to consider when editing:
- Cropping: You should crop out any irrelevant content. Many times I see sooooooooo many tabs open on others screen recordings.
- Voice-Over: You should maintain the same tone throughout the video. Outside noise should also be reduced.
- Cuts: If you said certain things like “ummmm” in a video and it would take too much time to re-record everything, simply perform a cut. The transition not being smooth is not necessarily a bad thing (see interrupt below)
- Zooming: Try and zoom in when showing a particular workflow
For Screen Recording I would recommend any of the following:
- Zoom (start a meeting, record, and screen-share)
- Quicktime Player
- OBS: Open Broadcaster Software
For Video Editing I would recommend any of the following:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Final Cut Pro
- Davinci Resolve
Each has its own pros and cons, and different people like different tools. For the type of videos I make, I find Final Cut Pro to be the best for me.
In video marketing and filmmaking, pattern interrupts are tiny clips or on-screen elements who break the projection of the viewer for what is about to happen in the video they’re watching -wildfireconcepts
Adding pattern interrupts to videos makes sure that there are enough changes in your video to keep users engaged. There are a few things you can do to create these interrupts:
- Adding Popups and Sounds throughout the video
- Adding Stock Photos within the video
- Zooming into different parts of the video
- Completely changing the location of the video (example: moving from live video to recorded demo)
Thumbnails are an important part of grabbing a viewers attention. With so many videos on YouTube, we tend to click on the ones with an image that grasps our interest.
Be sure to include the following in your thumbnail:
- An image with something related to the content
- Text giving some context about the video
Youtube provides a great guide to making thumbnails which captivate an audience. Over time I’m getting better and better at making these. One improvement that can be done on the above is making the font larger.
I use Adobe Spark which makes it easy to generate not only thumbnails for YouTube, but also promotional material for Social Media, which we will discuss later.
Titles and Descriptions
Titles are crucial not only to having your content appear on searches, but also towards getting users to actually click on the video. Make sure your title is not only well-written, but that it is true to your content. You want users to come back to your page and not be discouraged(e.g. No Click-bait).
Descriptions go hand in hand with titles. Make sure your description provides information via links on the items covered in the video. The above snapshot of the Vsauce video “Which Way is Down?” provides a nice title and so much content on how to learn more on what is covered in the video. I would suggest checking it out.
You can also add tags which are relevant to your video, but tags don’t really effect the view rate of your video.
Cards and End Screens
Cards are notifications that can appear throughout the video. They are small rectangular boxes appearing within the video which should link to relevant content, like merchandise or related videos.
End Screens provide clickable links at the end of your YouTube video. They can be used to entice a viewer to:
- View another video or playlist
- Encourage viewer to subscribe
- Cross-promote another youtube channel
- Link to approved websites
Promoting on Social Media
Once your video is complete and has been published, we need to get it out in the world. What better way than to share it!
I usually share through the following mediums:
- Twitter: Twitter is an amazing platform for connecting with others with similar interests, send out a tweet with relevant text so that it’s searchable.
- LinkedIn: Lot’s of your coworkers might be on LinkedIn, it would be nice for them to share the articles with all their colleagues.
- Slack: Be sure to share it within your organization’s slack channels, that way others can begin to promote your content.
- Reddit: With the videos being technical, and not too markety, they can be shared on different subreddits.
- Medium: If you are writing a relevant blog, it would be good to include a link to your video.
I hope this guide inspires you to get out there and create some great content. I have so much fun creating these videos and you should too. 😎