Video is a superior tool for explaining how to do things. A good illustration of this is the explosion of all the new “How to” internet sites that have appeared over the last 18 months.Â They are aimed at private individuals and explains all kinds of subjects, from how to behave during a date to how to train your dog to how to apply make-up. Some, like HowtoTV and Videojug have raised millions of dollars from venture capital companies. Others, like the Swedish TeachMeTV are self-financed.
Why have how to sites become so popular?
It is easy to learn new things with video clips.
You can see clearly what to do and what the result will be.
It is easy to find videos on whatever you want to learn by text searching or select a category.
It only takes 1-2 minutes to watch each clip. Try resisting watching several!
It is easy to spread these clips virally to your friends or embed them om your blog.
The video clips are easy to produce and many users want the attention it gives them to publish videos that they have made about something they are good at.
Why have so few corporations understood this new phenomenon?
All companies, at all sizes, can produce these simple video clips about their products and services. These videos can then be spread via the company home page and virally through these “how to” sites as well as on YouTube etc.
Another excellent idea is to use “How to ” video clips for customer service on the corporate web site, post them in the FAQ-section and let the customer service reps email them to customers that have problems using the products. Don’t forget internal training either. You can also use video clips to explain and motivate the employees about your different policies etc!
Here is an example of how easily it can be done, a 42 sec experimental video clip.
In my office we all help each other brewing the coffee, with very varying results…
So I whipped up this little video clip to help my office mates make better coffe:
(the titles are in Swedish, but I think you will get the message…)
Note that this is an extreme low budget video: The whole video took me 20 minutes to shoot with a tiny $750 handycam. I then edited the video in a very simple editing program that came for free with my laptop. After publishing the video for free on the hosting site Blip.tv it only took a minute to embed it on our office intranet. We now have much better coffee at the office!
By the way, the actor in the movie is my colleague Mattias Vahlne. We run the Internet Video Advisory Group where we offer strategic advice to corporations on how to benefit from online video solutions. We also help companies organise mass production of “how to” videos by helping them to create cost efficient program formats and check lists and finding or training videographers to do the production.
Simple video tutorials are a very much superior way of learning how to do things compared to still imges and written instruction manuals.Â For example, try to write an instruction on how to cut up a chicken, a very useful skill to have in your household. Then compare it with this simple but professionally made video from the excellent Canadian food web site Rouxbe: