Lights, camera, action!
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how to present yourself on camera. You learned how to create your “onscreen persona,” how to give an awesome introduction, and how to pump up your energy to excite your students.
Today, we’ll be talking about the structure behind your videos. It might not sound like a sexy topic, but trust us, it’s super important and often overlooked.
Even the most conversational, off-the-cuff looking video has structure behind it. Every video needs a solid foundation like a new house has. Without it, your students can get confused, bored, or just plain annoyed. And you don’t want that.
Structuring your course content videos
What do you say, and in what order do you say it for maximum impact?
Think of your video like an audio/visual textbook. You need to put things in a logical order for them to make sense to your students. You wouldn’t teach someone E=mc2 before teaching them 2+2=4, would you?
Keep that in mind when you’re outlining your video content. Your course videos should all follow this basic structure:
- Say hi.
We talked about the importance of your introduction at length above, but we want to reiterate: your introduction is your handshake. Never start a video without it!
- Establish context.
Tell your students what course this is. Tell them where you are in the syllabus (day 3, lesson 5, etc.). Tell them what today’s topic is. By setting the scene, you put your students at ease and make them feel comfortable that they know what’s about to happen. Your students will put themselves in a different mindset if it’s the first day of class vs. the last day of class — so make sure your students know what’s about to happen.
Give a quick overview of what you covered in the previous video, to remind students of what they’ve learned and get them ready for the next step. You can also go back further, giving a brief mention of all the previous lessons your students have watched so far. The key is to keep it short and top-line.
- Assume the worst.
What if your student got amnesia between the previous lesson and today’s lesson? You want to be able to provide enough context that they can still jump in and succeed during today’s lesson. Again, don’t overdo it, but assume that all of your students have forgotten everything you’ve already told them. This kind of hand-holding will make them feel comfortable and increase their levels of success.
- Illustrate your points.
As you discuss your course content, use examples, stories, and anecdotes whenever possible. Illuminating language helps your students understand and retain information better than dry facts. Think of yourself as Aesop, telling fables to get your point across.
- Finish strong.
At the end, you’ll want to do another recap of what your students learned today. Cover the main takeaway points, but don’t go into detail. Then, leave your students with a clear call to action.
Your CTA might ask them to complete some homework, or to review additional materials, or even to brainstorm how today’s lesson can be applicable in their own lives. You always need to tell your students what to do next. And tell them your name one more time before signing off.
How long should my video be?
Let’s take a minute to talk about video length before we move on.
We commonly see people make videos that are just too darn long. They’re 30 minutes, 45 minutes, even 60 minutes of uninterrupted information.
If you have a hard time getting through a full episode of a mildly entertaining TV show, think how hard it will be for your students to get through a long video with no storyline and no laugh track.
The optimal video length is 10-20 minutes, tops. If you have 60 minutes of content, that’s great. But break it up into 3-6 shorter videos instead of asking your students to watch an hour of content.
It’s hard to ask your students to commit an hour of their time at once. Who has a full, uninterrupted hour these days? Shorter pieces give your students options. They can watch first thing in the morning, on their lunch break, or at night when the kids have gone to bed.
Short videos equal flexibility, and students love flexibility.
Not only that. Short videos improve your students’ mood. How? Well, when you accomplish a small task or cross something off your to-do list, you release a flood of endorphins that make you feel good. When your student completes a video, they feel that same endorphin buzz.
Would you rather give your students 1 endorphin rush at the end of your 60 minute video…
Or 6 endorphin rushes, after each 10 minute video?
When it comes to video length, shorter is always better.
Foolproof video scripts to use right now
Right now, some of you are thinking:
“All this is great, but…how do I put it into action?”
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are two video script templates just for you. You’ll have to fill in the blanks with your unique course content details, but everything else you can use off the shelf.
If you feel comfortable, personalize these scripts to reflect your onscreen persona. It will make a stronger impact if the words feel like they’re coming out of you naturally. Feel free to copy, paste, and edit these scripts to meet your needs.
Course Content Video Script Template #1
Hi, this is [Rachel Kersten] from [Making Your Perfect Course Video]. Thank you so much for joining me! [Making videos] is my personal passion, so I’m really looking forward to our discussion.
Today, we’re on lesson [three] out of [seven]. Congratulations on making it this far! That’s an accomplishment in itself. Our topic today is [lighting]. I’m really pumped to talk about that, because [lighting] is one of the most important factors in [Making Your Perfect Course Video].
But before we get to [lighting], here’s a quick recap of what you learned last time.
Our topic was [how to write a video script]. Remember? We covered the basics of [your introduction, establishing context, and giving a quick recap]. We talked about [how to illustrate your information with stories and examples, and the importance of a strong call to action].
I want you to remember all of that while we talk about [lighting] today, okay? I’m excited. Let’s jump right in!
[Fill in 5-15 minutes of your unique course content information here.]
Well, that’s it for today. Just to recap: [Quick recap of main points]. Get ready for next time, when I’ll be teaching you everything you need to know about [microphones].
Thank you again for joining me for lesson [three] of [Making Your Perfect Course Video]. If you have any questions about our discussion, please email me right now at [email@example.com]. I’m [Rachel Kersten], and I’ll see you soon!
Course Content Video Script Template #2
Hi, there. This is [Keith Perhac] from [Advanced Video Marketing]. It’s lovely to see you, and thanks so much for tuning in.
I’m here to guide you through the course and make sure you have a great time, so if you ever have any questions or problems, don’t hesitate to contact me. My email is [firstname.lastname@example.org], and I’d be happy to hear from you at any time for any reason.
So, welcome to day [one] of the course. After today, you’ll have just [eight] lessons to go until you’re a master [Advanced Video Marketer]! Our topic today is [Video Marketing Strategy]. Are you ready?
[Fill in 5-15 minutes of your unique course content information here.]
That was a lot of information. Thanks for sticking with me. But you’re not done yet! I’d like you to [start brainstorming your own video marketing strategy. Over the next few lessons, we’ll continue to work on this, but for today I just want you to spend some time brainstorming and writing down a few ideas. Next week, I’ll ask you to share your ideas, and we’ll fill in the details]. That’s your homework.
This is [Keith Perhac] of [Advanced Video Marketing], and I want to say thanks again for joining me. I’ll have some more great tips and advice next time, so get excited! Bye!
What to say in your marketing video
Video is a spectacular tool not just for teaching courses, but for marketing courses. What other medium lets you really show off your personality and connect in a one-on-one way with potential new students?
Keep in mind that your marketing videos will be very different from your course content videos.
In your course videos, you’re sharing information with an audience who’s already interested in your area of expertise. In a marketing piece, you’re primarily focusing on selling to an audience who doesn’t know who you are.
Depending on your goals and your audience, your video can take many forms:
- Traditional “TV commercial” style
- Helpful content mimicking your own course content
- Straight-up sales piece
But whatever your format, it should always include:
- Your name
- Your course or product name
- Your website URL
- A strong CTA
And your tone should be:
- High energy. Even higher energy than your course videos.
- Strong and confident — “the expert.”
- Appealing to the audience you want to attract.
- In line with the onscreen persona you’ve created.
Don’t wait one more minute before you make your first video. It can be thirty seconds or twenty minutes, but taking that first step is incredibly important to getting comfortable in front of the camera.
Choose one of the video script templates above and fill in your course-specific information. Then, turn on the camera and speak from the heart. Show off your onscreen persona and really engage with your audience. We know you’ll make something great!