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A Developer’s Guide in Producing an Effective Tutorial Video

Have you always wanted to make a tutorial video but were too worried you wouldn’t pull it off? Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’m a developer, not a video producer!”? If so, we have a question for you: why not be both?

Everyone starts somewhere. You might not become an expert video editor overnight, but you will improve with time. Besides, no one watches tutorial videos because they want Hollywood-level narration and editing. They watch because they want to learn.

And you have something to teach them. So, buckle up. This is a tutorial on making tutorial videos.

What you’ll need:

  • Video editor of choice. Any video editor you’re familiar with will do. Video tutorials don’t need fancy graphics and effects, just good content.
  • Recording device. Your phone’s or your headset’s built-in microphone will do the job, but you can always invest in a high-end microphone if you want.
  • Screen recording software. You’ll be demonstrating a lot of coding in your video, which means your viewers need to see how you do it. TechRadar lists OBS Studio, FlashBack Express, and Apowersoft as the top three best free screen recording software.
  • A good topic. A good topic is clear and specific. Tutorial videos answer specific questions like “How do I code a website from scratch?” or “What’s the difference between Python and Ruby on Rails?”

Step 1: Know your audience

Are you talking to beginners with zero knowledge of coding? Do you want to make tutorials for developers with years of experience using Java?

Of course, each video you make could have different audiences. You don’t have to dedicate your whole channel for beginning developers if you don’t want to.

However, it is important to have one specific audience for each video. Imagine if a beginner tried watching a video on C++ meant for a general audience. They wouldn’t be able to understand what you’re talking about because they’re unfamiliar with the subject.

Step 2: Prepare a rough outline

You can start winging your narration once you’ve gotten the hang of it. For now, start by writing a rough outline containing all the topics you’d like to touch on during the tutorial.

Your outline will serve as your guide about what to talk about and when. Don’t write a script—it’ll come off as unnatural. Just explain as if you were explaining to a friend.

Here are a few tips when writing your outline:

  • Keep your introductions short. People watch tutorial videos because they want to learn. If you spend too much time talking about yourself or your channel, they could lose interest and switch to a different video.
  • Don’t hard sell. If you’re promoting a website, product, or service, don’t make it too obvious. Try to introduce what you’re promoting subtly. Emphasize why you would personally use that website, product, or service—instead of bluntly asking your viewers to buy the offer. Better yet: have a discount code to give away. For example, you could partner with The Serp Company and offer discounts on consultation services. People are more likely to avail services if they can save money on their purchase.
  • Ask clients’ permission before you use commissioned code. If you’re demonstrating something that involves work for a client, make sure you’re not violating any agreements. If you made a web design for ONE400 websites, for instance, make sure they don’t mind you showing the world how you accomplished that project.
  • Give them a reason to go back to your channel. At the end of your video, make sure to engage your viewers. Ask them how they would do things differently, have them send requests for tutorials, or host giveaways.

Step 3: Record

Now’s the time to record your narration and your demonstration!

Keep in mind these reminders:

  • Record audio in a quiet, distraction-free place. It’s tiring to have to redo your recording all the time. Find a place where you can focus and record in peace.
  • Clean your desktop. Make sure your computer’s background is appropriate for public viewing. Similarly, make sure your browser’s bookmarks and open tabs are also clean.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s a recording, not a live stream. If you’re not happy with something, simply hit pause, take a deep breath, and get the recording devices rolling again. Don’t pressure yourself into getting it perfect the first time.

Step 4: Edit and publish

Using your video editing software, sync your audio and video files. Cut out unnecessary clips—a short but informative tutorial beats a long one that beats around the bush.

After rendering your video, try showing it to a friend. Get feedback and edit accordingly. The first draft is never perfect. Maybe you forgot to mention something important, or maybe you’re better off cutting some parts of the explanation. Don’t be afraid to have your work critiqued as long as it’s constructive.

With this guide, you’ll be confident to make tutorial videos in no time. Remember that you’re doing this to help people—the subscribers you’ll get will just be a great bonus!