A Beginner's Life

Getting Over the Hump

2 min read

You can almost feel the energy rush out of a room when a boring screencast or webinar begins. The terrible audio, the near-static visuals, the length. Oh my god the length.

But this is what we know. This is what we’re familiar with, and when discussing whether to create proactive support videos for our product or service, this is what our minds immediately go to.

But video is an incredibly important part of the sales and support age we live in – small web businesses are being held to the same standard as large corporations with unlimited resources when it comes to the customer service experience. We need to use scalable educational resources to make sure our prospective and current customers can use the products we’ve built, or else we’re dead in the water.

When we were at the San Francisco Zoo for UserConf 2013, I took the stage to talk about my experience scaling our business with a small support team. I got lots of great questions afterward, but far and away the most popular question was “how do I get into video?”

What I’ve learned, and subsequently tried to teach support leaders I come in contact with, is making video shouldn’t be hard. Our customers will reward us for scrappy, lo-fi video production, as long as the videos are short, drive immediate value (i.e. benefits oriented), and not boring.

Making video can seem intimidating – there are many steps involved and planning work that has to go in ahead of time. As a result, it’s easy to prioritize something like regular support emails, where we can make an immediate and clear impact, over a “heavy weight” investment like video.

In working with Chris on a number of support videos in the past, we’ve developed a process that ensures the making of the video itself requires the least energy possible, which frees me up to think about creative and fun ways to connect with our audience. The result? Our support videos have become a competitive edge for our business.

Here are the slides from my talk. The two black slides were placeholders for videos, the “Masterclass on Private Sharing”, and “Get Loose” videos respectively, which I’ve included below.

After walking through the slides, how do you feel about making a support video? What scares you? If you are making support videos now, what do you wish you knew before you started? Get at me on twitter with your thoughts.

P.S. Every week, I send out a short newsletter with links to my favorite articles. When I write a new essay, that will be included as well. Sign up to get your copy.