Welcome to the next installment of our How to Create Great Video Content series. Enter screencasting, technique #2.
Missed the first article in the series? Check out Part 1 for an introduction to 3 video production techniques.
Because screencasting records the actions you take on your computer screen, this technique is great for step-by-step tutorials for anything you can do online.
Let’s talk tools. There are dozens of screencast tools available both for free or for purchase. Below are some of the most popular screencasting tools under $100.
- Jing – PC (free)
- CamStudio – PC (free)
- Camtasia for MAC – MAC ($99)
With each of these, you can select your audio device and specify the part of your screen you’d like to capture. Here are some great tutorials with details on how to use Jing, CamStudio, and Camtasia for Mac. (Note: Use Jing for shorter videos; it only records up to 5 minutes.)
Photo by leighblackall / CC BY
Before you start recording, here are some tips that may make the process go more smoothly.
- Create a script – plan your talking points, and even your pauses between points, prior to recording for the best results.
- Close your applications – you don’t want to have to start over because you received an IM half way into your recording. Close any application that aren’t necessary to prevent any surprises.
- Clutter free – remove anything from the capture area that could be distracting during the recording, including file icons, browser bookmarks, or anything else that is not needed for your video
- Sounds of silence – you want your audio to be “clutter free” too! Use a USB microphone, and try to record in a quiet location, free of phones ringing, loud fans, and any other unexpected noise.
What software do you use? Share your additional tips by commenting below.
In the last article in our series on How to Create Great Video Content, we introduced 3 techniques on producing video content:
- Narrated PowerPoint
- Talking Head
Today, we dig into technique #1: Narrated PowerPoint.
Photo by p_a_h / CC BY
We previously mentioned that one key benefit of this technique is the ease of production. As long as you have a good microphone, then you are set. There are numerous resources that outline the exact steps for setting up your PowerPoint presentation, and recording. This article focuses on tips for getting the best results.
- Use a USB-style microphone for superior quality. Don’t rely on your computer’s built-in microphone
- Make sure the “Link narration” option is unchecked. This way, the audio will be embedded in the video file (instead of creating a separate file)
- Don’t talk during slide changes. You could lose some audio as it is saved with each individual slide
- Leave a few seconds of silence at the end of each slide
- Create a script that references the points on a slide, but also provides further context. This will add much more value to your video
Have you used narrated PowerPoint before? We’d love to hear what tips you’ve learned.
We are excited to announce two new features on Everpath!
Purchasing Everpath’s online courses just became easier. We are happy to announce that we are now offering PayPal as an option for payment. Instructors can reach an even larger audience with the launch of the PayPal option. And students benefit from a convenient and familiar checkout experience.
Welcome to a new, robust Everpath.org. How would I describe the changes? In a word, informative. Some of the biggest changes include a beautiful depiction of the product as well as more details about the platform’s key features. The refreshed design displays new styling and improved navigation.
It has been crafted to provide the information you need about how we can work together, and easy access to get in touch with us. Visit www.everpath.org, explore the new scenery, and dig into the fresh content.
We’re all ears. Let us know what you think about our new features; we’d love to hear from you.
Online courses are a great tool for content marketing. But how can you be certain that your strategy will be effective? There are multiple details that will have an effect on the outcome of your marketing plan, but one in particular that is the most important.
Here’s an example. You design wedding cakes. You have years of experience. You have perfected the art of frosting. From edible flowers to elaborate etching, each design is intricate and awe-inspiring. You have created professional videos sharing some decorating tips.
You have great content. What else do you need?
You can’t market wedding cake services if there are no weddings, and if there are no aspiring cake designers.
Photo by hankinsphoto.com / CC BY
Whatever your area of expertise is, you cannot successfully market your content if the content does not hold specific relevance for your audience.
You’ve got helpful information? Great. It’s beautifully curated? That’s a plus. You’re the expert in your niche? Excellent. All great details to set you apart in the sea of content that exists online today. But relevance is what will ensure your content gets noticed to begin with.
In an article from Mashable, writer Stephanie Walden names 5 companies whose content marketing stand out from the rest:
- Zady, retail site focusing on solid construction and timeless design
- Sweetgreen, restaurant chain focusing on organic and sustainable ingredients
- Birchbox, subscription-based e-commerce platform for cosmetics
- Of a Kind, retail site that also includes story of how the products were made
- Equinox, fitness club chain
The common thread between each of these businesses is relevant content presented to an interested audience.
Know of any other companies rising up in the world of content marketing? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
Everyone Loves a Deal
We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to successfully use promo codes in your marketing plan. Incorporate promo codes for your products into your marketing strategy. Benefits include acquiring new customers, and retaining your current customer base. The specific advantages of promo codes differ based on the advertising method, type of code, and overall goal.
Photo by StockMonkeys.com / CC BY
5 Tips for Using Promo Codes for Marketing
- Entice customers to take action. With time-bound promo codes, you create a sense of urgency. This will encourage customers to convert. Think about advertising a code that is available for the first 10 customers to purchase a product, or take advantage of this offer for one day only.
- Increase brand loyalty. Promo codes are a great way to engage with your current customers. You can create a loyalty program to offer monthly discounts. Many businesses also provide discounts to customers post-purchase as incentive to return.
- Target your social network. Reward top fans, and convert new customers. Offer promo codes as a reward for following you on twitter, liking your facebook page, and signing up for your newsletter. By building your social reach, you can quickly increase your customer base.
- Collaborate with partners. Another way to extend your market is to identify businesses that complement your product and offer promo codes from their websites. The partners offer exclusive discounts, and you have increased your audience.
- Close the sale. If a customer has added a product to their cart, but not yet purchased, you can use promo codes to make the conversion, and decrease abandonment rates.
As the online learning evolution increases, a recent article from VentureBeat observes how the education industry can take a lesson in digital transformation from industries like music and travel, and encourages action with an explanation of the benefits.
Key advantages highlighted included moving to a self-paced learning style, and the concept of extending the time for learning as the workforce seeks online learning to stay competitive in their careers.
In the article, education is contrasted with other industries like music and travel which have embraced technology to evolve, and have succeeded: Spotify, AirBnB, and ZipCar, to name a few examples.
Another example that comes to mind is the book publishing industry, with the rise of e-books, print-on-demand manufacturing, and the growing community of self-published authors. This industry shift has empowered the writer, rather than the publisher, to own their literary career.
As education transforms, the possibilities for the teacher shift just as it has for the writer in the publishing industry. The opportunity is now available for those who may not consider themselves traditional “teachers” to share their knowledge.
Photo by vancouverfilmschool / CC BY
“We’re at the edge of a new age of innovation in learning” states the VentureBeat article.
It’s an exciting time: let’s see what we can do in 2014.
It’s a new year, and you’re thinking about finally creating those online lessons that you’ve wanted to offer. Or you are updating your current catalog of courses. The details can be overwhelming: what camera should I use for the video? Is my infographic clear? How many slides are too many?
Photo by Jason Robb / CC BY
These 5 tips can help you focus your efforts on the right details, and allow the content and your expertise to shine through.
Tackle your action plan by starting with the basics.
- Organize. This tip is twofold. First, create an action plan for your project. It’s ok to adapt the plan as things change, but you’ll find that you are more successful if you have a framework to work within, and milestones to meet. Secondly, begin with a course outline. Starting with this will help you organize the course content and flow. Just as valuable, it provides a framework for the student to follow.
- Use consistent design. From a user standpoint, consistency is key for fonts, spacing, and layout in online lessons especially. Ensure a smooth experience for taking the course so that the subject matter takes the spotlight.
- Try a holistic perspective. Everyone has a different learning style. If your content is primarily a fact-based lecture, consider how to introduce a different learning element to reach more students and change the pace.
- Take advantage of being online. Provide a downloadable summary document to supplement a video. Link to an article with a case study. Actions that can be disruptive in a traditional classroom become tools to add perspective to an online lesson. Make sure that any supplemental resources have a solid purposes though, or they will detract from your message.
- Keep your student in mind. You are an expert on your subject, whether that’s how to improve your Python skills, or how adults can become cyberwise in the digital age, and you have a lot of information to share. By keeping your student in mind, you can temper your online lessons to offer the right amount of information at the right pace, use jargon that will be understood, and ultimately gain a student who feels confident about what they learned.
Have a tip to share about your own experience with creating online lessons? Let us know: we’d love to hear it.
Announcing two new features at Everpath!
This update is focused on enhancing visibility for your brand and course catalog, and improving the browsing experience for your students.
Engage the community with Social sharing. Social buttons are now present on each course detail page. The new Facebook and Twitter buttons enable you to share your courses and announcements with your network, and also allows customers to quickly share updates too.
- Boost traffic
- Quick and convenient
Introducing the Storefront. If you have more than one course in your catalog, the storefront is now available. It adopts the theme and brand of your courses for a fluid and professional display. Direct customers to your storefront for a comprehensive presentation of your courses.
- Quick access to course catalog
- Consolidated for easy marketing
January is the ultimate time for new beginnings, and with it comes the motivation for self-improvement. Will you begin eating organic, travel more, start a blog? Will you resolve to learn something new in 2014?
Photo by Mark Rasmussen / CC BY
Learn Adobe Photoshop to take your photos to the next level. Complement your resolution to find a new job by mastering HTML. Getting married this spring? Gain the skills necessary to create your own wedding website. Challenge yourself, and set goals to keep you on track and learning throughout the year. Self-paced online offerings make learning more convenient than ever — get comfy on the couch, or take a course by phone on your morning bus ride. Whether your interests are personal or professional, the tools are available and the time is right. Resolve to learn!
Share your ideas: tell us what you will be learning this year!