Creative Commons License photo credit: AlaskaLoneWolf

We all get those questions about how to do something within our community. How do I post in this section? How do I change my avatar? How do I upload an image?

Some would tell you that if you get a lot of questions, that means you need to make it easier. That’s not a bad point. But, no matter how easy something is, you will still get asked how to do it.

Why not create a video where you show your members how it is done? This is something that I haven’t yet done myself, that I really want to. I have already seen others doing it.

Now, you might say that you don’t want to be on camera or you don’t have the equipment. Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to be on camera and you don’t necessarily need to spend any extra money to do it.

The best way to create a tutorial like this is to simply record your screen while you are demonstrating the action that the viewer needs to know about. There are plenty of screen recording applications out there, free and paid. You don’t need a camera because your face doesn’t need to be in the video. I mean, it might make the video more friendly, which is nice, but not required.

While a voice over also isn’t required, it is a good idea. To do that, you’ll need a microphone. You may already have one. If not, a $25 USB headset will likely work fine. If you want to spend a little more money, you can buy a nicer microphone if you want. But, it probably isn’t necessary.

Don’t feel like you have a “radio voice?” Again, don’t worry about it. You aren’t reading a Pepto Bismol ad, you are helping members of your community. Just focus on speaking slowly and clearly and enunciating each word. You are explaining how to do something you can probably do in your sleep.

If your community is multilingual, you can certainly record multiple versions. Also, if you really, really don’t want to be the one who speaks, you could always ask a technically savvy member of your staff, or even a member of your community, if they’d like to do the tutorials themselves and record the voice overs.

Hosting the videos is the last expense to consider. Why not use YouTube? Create a channel for your community (locking down a username for your community on a platform like YouTube is never a bad idea) and host the videos over there. Then you can embed them on your community and won’t have to pay any money for hosting.

You don’t need to spend hours and hours on a single video. Figure out the question you need to answer, create a basic outline or what you will do and say and then do hit record and go. Since the video will likely only be 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, if you mess up, you can just start over. You can literally crank out a bunch of them in a couple of hours.

The fact that it doesn’t need to take up a bunch of your time is a major plus because it allows you create many of them and also to be able to do them again when you launch a redesign in the future and the visual appearance of your community changes.

Once you have these videos, promote their existence and include them in the FAQ and wherever else you would usually provide such guides. The time spent creating them will come back to you in time saved by people who view them and get their answer faster and in the times where someone asks a question and you have a handy video tutorial that you can easily refer them to.