In part one, I talked about five reasons for training clients with video: we're not very good at documentation; video is a great way to show a client how to maintain their website; it's easy to host and link video right into their website; creating tutorials can be part of your site-building workflow; and finally, video training allows you to be personal and stay connected with your client.
In this article I'm going to share the tools you'll need, and the preparation you should make to create video tutorials for your clients as part of your site-building workflow.
The Tools You'll Need
Hardware: You're going to need a recent computer, (Mac or PC - 0-3 years old with decent RAM - check the hardware requirements for the software you use) and a good microphone. Regarding microphones, you have all lot of choices. Starting with an inexpensive Microsoft or Logitech headset for $50 US, all the way up to very expensive podcasting microphones ($300-$1200 US). The key here is to get one that is comfortable for you to use and provides a quality sound. I would recommend using a wired/USB microphone to avoid any latency issues. Also, with any microphone, you should have a windsock or filter so that the “pops” don't become annoying as your client listens to the video (see the accompanying video for more information on microphones and a sneak peak into my setup).
Software: On a Mac, I recommend Screenflow ($99.00 USD). On a Windows-based computer, most people use Camtasia ($299.00 USD). While that seems expensive, generally, the free screen capturing programs don't offer enough editing capabilities to create training videos.
The Preparation You Should Make
As you think about creating training materials, you really need to mind your“P's and Q's”.
Know your audience.Take into consideration your client’s technical ability. Some clients will need a more detailed video in order to understand the tasks at hand. Other clients who have worked with Joomla or other content management systems before, may need less instruction. The bottom line is to make sure whatever you produce is appropriate for your client. One reminder: there are a lot of services that provide beginner training for Joomla. It may make more sense to include a six-month subscription (around $99.00 USD) in the quote for the site so that you can focus on just the more advanced tasks in your tutorials.
Know your style.Don't try to be somebody else – be yourself. Your clients know you and trying to be somebody else in a training video would just seem unnatural.
Know your site.A little planning goes a long way. Know what areas of the site need training videos, and any “tricks” you need to include.
Answer their questions.Make sure you have a list of their questions in front of you so you can address them as you record a tutorial.
Make sure you are in a quiet environment. Nothing detracts from a video like a dog barking or a car going by your window.
Finally, write ascript. As you begin to get better at recording tutorials, a script may become less necessary, but in the beginning having a script to read or at least work from is a really good idea. It will ensure you don't miss anything, say “um” and “ah” too much, and it will help you sound more professional. I’ll talk more about this in a later article.
In this brief video I compare the built-in microphone with a couple of headsets and an expensive podcasting mic. Enjoy!
Next month, we’ll look at the nuts and bolts of recording great video tutorials.