12 Big Don’ts to Make Tech Tutorial Videos Your Practitioner Audience Will Love

Once you’ve decided to make a tutorial video, it’s time for the tough choices: How long should it be? Two minutes? Ten minutes? Or maybe you should break it down into a series or run it as a webinar instead. Should you create a script ahead of time, or just let your expert ad-lib? Who’s the best person on your team to present the tutorial? Or should you hire a professional voice actor? 

When you’re navigating the forest of tutorial video production, it helps to set out your goals long before you capture a single screenshot. After watching your video, what do you expect viewers to have learned? Do you want them to sign up for a free trial, download a white paper, or contact your sales team? Once you know your objectives, you can use them to tailor and optimize your video content.

Below, we cover a few pitfalls IOD’s experts have encountered over the years that you need to know about before embarking on your video tutorial production journey.


1. Overspending on Equipment

Some organizations pay too much for equipment or assume that because they don’t have great equipment they can’t make videos.

It’s great if you have a fancy camera and microphone, but it’s not necessary to make a great tutorial video. Most modern phone and laptop cameras can provide the quality you need. Focus on the content and delivery of your video, and you can add gear later on as it proves necessary. 


2. Obsessing Over Perfection

Yes, your video content must represent you and your organization, so it definitely needs to reach a professional standard. But some companies make the mistake of pouring disproportional resources into video content for minimal payoff.

Let’s be honest: It’s okay if your video isn’t perfect. You can get great results these days even if you’re not a professional videographer. Just ensure your video is structured, clear, informative, and engaging.


3. Misjudging Your Audience

The biggest mistake in this area is assuming “one size fits all” will do the trick.

Ask yourself: Who are you making this video for? What do they need to know? Tailor your content, tone, and delivery to your audience’s needs. 

For example, a tutorial security video aimed at IT professionals will need to focus more on technical aspects and enterprise-scale implementation. Whereas if it’s aimed at small business owners, it should explore the benefits of using a security platform and how to get started. Similarly, a video meant to pitch product features to IT engineers will differ vastly from one produced to reach DevOps prospects.


4. Being Vague

Two reasons viewers stop watching a video: skipping steps or leaving out important explanations. Sometimes this happens when the subject-matter expert (SME) creating the video, who knows the platform inside and out, makes the mistake of assuming others do, too. 

Before you begin creating the script, ask yourself what the audience already knows. Break down each step into clear and concise instructions. Stay professional; avoid rambling, making jokes, or adding any text that isn’t laser-focused on the topic. Also, ensure your narrator practices reading the script at least twice before recording. 


5. Alienating Audiences

It can be frustrating to realize that with all the effort you put into creating a video, not everyone is going to watch it with the sound turned on. But that’s exactly what happens when someone is scrolling past or watching casually; so you need to make sure your video grabs those viewers, too.

Including subtitles and alternative text for visuals will help you reach a broader audience and ensure your videos are 100% understandable. YouTube and other platforms often offer automated subtitles. These can increase viewer engagement but can also be embarrassingly inaccurate (misspelling key technologies or even the name of your product, for example!). For business purposes, creating your own captions is usually better to avoid potential problems. 


6. Overloading Viewers with Information

Your tech tutorial video isn’t an information dump; don’t flood the viewer with too much data, too many steps, or processes that are too complicated, or they’ll click away without watching.

While you should be thorough and not skip steps (see above), cramming too much into your video will overwhelm your audience. If you have a lot of information to cover, break the tutorial down into a series of shorter videos; this will make it easier for viewers to digest everything and choose which videos to return to. (Tip: Use chapters and other tools to let them jump around within the video as well.)


7. Failing to Engage

It’s surprising how many organizations don’t show their users the basic respect of making sure their video content is interesting. Just because they have to watch a tutorial, e.g., to learn how to follow certain essential configuration steps, doesn’t mean it should be a bore.

To fix this mistake, lighten things up. Your video shouldn’t just be a monologue. Use a narrator with an engaging, lively tone. Ask questions in your script, include interactive elements, and invite feedback through comments, in a poll, or elsewhere. Keep your viewers engaged, and they’ll be sure to come back for more.


8. Lacking Structure

Nobody likes feeling confused or lost. But sometimes, perhaps in a misguided effort to keep things brief, tech tutorial videos don’t lay out a clear roadmap for viewers, presenting their material in an unnecessarily confusing way. This can include jumping between topics without clear transitions or failing to recap important points, diminishing the video’s effectiveness. 


To correct this mistake, use transitions and title screens to help viewers follow along. Include a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. In other words: “Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it, then tell them what you’ve said.”


9. Practicing Inconsistent Branding

Too many organizations’ channels feature a wide range of video assets, all with a different look and feel—and often with different logos, slogans, catchphrases, and wildly different descriptions of the same products or services.

You probably already know how important it is to maintain consistent branding across your written content. Tech tutorial videos are no exception to this rule. If your organization doesn’t have predefined brand style guidelines (Ask your marketing team!), at the very least, use the same colors, fonts, and overall style as your other content. A strong, recognizable brand image and clear messaging about each product or product line will build trust among your users.


10. Providing Outdated Content

There’s nothing more frustrating for a user than pulling up a tutorial video only to discover that the interface is completely different from the latest version of the app they just downloaded yesterday.

The tech world and your product/service are constantly changing, so make sure your videos are up-to-date. It’s not easy to keep up, but remember that even the most wonderful new release will never make an impression unless end users can figure out how to access its functionality. Make note of some of the tips above here, including #2: It’s more important that content be up-to-date than be perfect or feature the slickest production values. 


11. Forgetting a CTA 

After all the efforts made to create wonderful, engaging tech tutorial videos, you’d be surprised how many organizations leave viewers without a memorable final message. Many assume that blogs and social media posts are the only content that really need a call to action, but all your tech video content should have one as well. 

Let your viewers know what they should do after watching your video. For example, “Download our free demo to try it yourself today” or “Click through to see a case study from one customer who started saving 50% on their cloud bill.” Even a tutorial for users who already have the product could suggest an upsell, such as by hinting at a valuable feature set available only for enterprise users and a link for more information.


12. Ignoring Analytics

Finally, too many organizations are essentially creating videos in the dark. They may be tracking social media engagement, sifting through site analytics, and working furiously to improve UX on their site or app… all without doing a thing to track how effectively their videos are working for them.

There are many tools available to help you track viewer feedback, engagement rates, and other metrics. This data will highlight what’s working and what’s not—giving you the information you need to tweak your future video content marketing efforts and demonstrate ROI to prove your content plan is working.

Looking for more expert tips for creating tech video tutorials and product walkthroughs that build authenticity, trust, and credibility? Check out this post


Lights, Camera…

As we’ve seen, tech marketing tutorial videos are a powerful way to educate and engage multiple audiences. A compelling video will generate ROI for a long time to come by boosting customer retention and helping convert curious leads into loyal, passionate users. 

By understanding the common pitfalls and following the tips above, you can create informative and engaging videos.

Remember the most important requirement for any type of content: It must provide genuine value to your audience. Teach them something new, solve a problem, or make their lives easier, and you will quickly see your brand become front of mind for users in your industry.

For more information on creating tutorial videos or to tap into IOD’s team of seasoned tech content marketing professionals—including scriptwriters, producers, editors, and SEO specialists—contact us today. We can help you start outsourcing content creation of all types to efficiently achieve all your business goals.



5 Top Tips from IOD’s video pros

1. Get the length right.

The sweet spot for tech tutorial videos is between 2 and 10 minutes. Too short, and it may seem shallow. If it’s too long, viewers lose interest. (Hint: if your video is going to be too long, consider splitting it up so viewers can choose which aspect to focus on.)

Tip: Am I making a tutorial or an explainer? Explainer videos are usually much shorter, while tutorials offer more depth for viewers who want hands-on guidance.

2. Be interactive.

Quizzes and other engagement tools can help make your video more interactive and engaging. This boosts retention and it’s also more fun! Include a short quiz at the end or ask viewers to participate in a poll or survey to get feedback.

Tip: For beginners, a simple quiz might be sufficient. For those who are a little more advanced, a hands-on demo might be more effective.

3. Strike a balance.

Adding a range of visual and auditory (music, narration, other audio) elements can help provide additional context and explanation.

Tip: Even a short video can be painfully boring if viewers are staring at a single screen and listening to a voice-over narration the whole time. Zoom in on important screen elements; add short music clips or sound effects to liven your video up.

4. Know your audience.

Who’s going to be watching? External audiences (clients, customers) need different materials from internal audiences (employees). Prospective users need different materials from existing users and die-hard fans. Each audience requires a different level of context, explanation, and specificity in your videos.

Tip: Consider leading pain points of your target audience. For IT professionals, you can focus more on technical aspects and enterprise scale, whereas for small business owners, you can focus on flexibility, labor savings, and security. The same video probably won’t work for both.

5. Eyes on the prize.

Understand your goals before you start. And make sure to define what you expect viewers to learn or do after watching the video. Do you want them to download a white paper for more information? Maybe you want them to sign up for a free trial or contact your sales team. Whatever the case, always tailor your video content accordingly.

Tip: For external audiences, consider what stage of the customer journey the viewer is at. Early in the journey, they may not be convinced that they need your type of solution at all. Whereas if they’re already using your solution, your call to action will be very different.

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