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Create educational and how-to videos for the top of the funnel

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1. Create an educational video content strategy by defining your goals and target audience.

To guide your educational video production and distribution, define:

  • Who your top of the funnel target audience is and where they look to for information when they have questions. Review your buyer persona profiles or conduct audience research to answer this question.
  • How scalable you want your video strategy to be. For example, Moz made their educational videos into an entire Whiteboard Friday series, so they had to choose a low-budget, versatile format to make it scalable.
  • Your goals for educational videos, besides building brand trust, like improving search engine rankings, increasing social engagement, or driving traffic to your website.
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2. Choose a video topic that answers a common question, helps your audience understand their problem better, and is relevant to your business.

For example, a yoga equipment company may make educational videos about how to do yoga poses, the different types of yoga, or how to de-stress with yoga. To choose a topic:

  • Use Answer the Public to find popular questions and phrases that are relevant to your brand.
  • Use keyword tools that show search volume and related search terms, like Moz Keyword Explorer or KeywordTool.io.
  • Look at what topics in your niche perform well by using a tool like BuzzSumo’s top-performing content tool.
  • Look at your existing blog posts to see if any topics could be more useful in a visual format.

Choose broad topics with a lower intent because your target audience is just getting started with their research. For example, How to Change a Tire is a better topic for this purpose than What is the Best Tire Company because your target audience is still in the awareness stage.

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3. Write a script or outline that breaks down the topic into concise steps or bulleted advice that your target audience can follow and understand.

To write your script or outline:

  • Consider how much spoken word you want to use based on the topic’s depth, target audience’s preferences, and what platform you plan to distribute the video on. For example, many how-to videos on Facebook are watched without sound, so the videos include on-screen text and descriptive visuals instead of dialogue.
  • Break your topic into actionable steps or digestible pieces of advice. For example, Moz’s Does Fixing Old Broken Links Still Matter to SEO cannot be broken into actionable instructions, so the creator instead outlined four reasons it may not work and five best practices.
  • Use language that makes sense to your audience by defining technical terms or setting up context that is relevant to your audience.
  • Avoid going into detail about your brand, product, or service. For example, Patagonia’s How to Care for Your Down video features their jacket and cleaning product, but the care instructions are universal actionable steps that could be applied to any down jacket.
  • Research your topic if necessary, and describe the process or information to someone else to help you find the most concise phrasing.
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4. Plan visuals that help demonstrate the information by creating a shot list or storyboard.

Choose what type of visuals you want based on your topic and audience:

  • Live-action: best for physical demonstrations, smaller budgets, or scalable video projects.
  • Animated: best for under 30-second subjects or short listicles.
  • Whiteboard video, either live-action or animated: best for technical subjects that require many visual breakdowns with narration.

To plan your visuals, go through your script and describe what has to be shown to demonstrate the information. In a short list, describe where the camera is located, like a close-up shot of one ingredient or a wide shot of the chef with all the ingredients.

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5. Create your video using production tools that fit your goals and visuals.

Some brands choose to work with a production company, but most educational videos can be made in-house. Use production equipment, tools, and people who fit your goals:

  • Camera and audio equipment: Use a camera or phone camera to record live action videos, and stabilize with a tripod. A lapel or boom mic can capture high quality audio.
  • Animation software: Use an animated video editor, like Blender or Animaker. If you don’t have animation experience, use a template from sites like Biteable or Magisto.
  • Whiteboard software: VideoScribe, Doodly, and Mango Animate are some examples.
  • On-screen talent: If you want the information to come from a specific person, like an industry expert or target audience stand-in, use that person in the video.
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6. Edit the video by trimming clips and adding on-screen text to clarify steps or tips.

Use video editing software, like Lightworks (free), iMovie (free), or Final Cut Pro (paid), to edit your video. Here are some tasks to perform:

  1. Order the clips in sequential order.
  2. Add on-screen text for each actionable step or to emphasize a point.
  3. Adjust audio and color to improve quality.
  4. Add a title screen that can be used as a thumbnail or introduction for auto-play videos, like in Whole Foods’ How to Cut a Mango video.
  5. Add a call to action end screen that tells the viewer where to go to find more information, like the next video in your educational series or your website URL.
  6. Export with different aspect ratios if you want to use on multiple platforms, like 1:1 for Instagram or 16:9 for YouTube.
  7. Export as a MP4 file.
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7. Publish your video to discoverable places like social media platforms, blog posts, or your website's resource library, and optimize for search.

Upload to a video host, like YouTube or Vimeo for discoverability, or to Wistia for lead generation and advanced video player options. Publish your video to places where your target audience can find it:

To optimize for social, make the video as short as possible, add captions or more on-screen text, and use relevant hashtags in the caption. To optimize for SEO, embed on your website or blog through a video host, use structured data for videos, add a transcript, and put on a relevant page with keywords.

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8. Track engagement and conversion metrics to measure the effectiveness of your educational videos.

Look at your engagement metrics, like watch time, views, and shares, on social channels and your video host to measure how people engaged with the video. If your engagement metrics are not where you want them, adjust the video length, amount of spoken words, video visual types, or your topic choice for the next video.

Look at your conversion metrics, like clicks, click-throughs, and website traffic to see if your video led to action. To improve conversion metrics for your next video, test different call to actions, video locations, and video titles.

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Current Playbook:

Create educational and how-to videos for the top of the funnel

Sep 23, 2021

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