If you’re like me, you watch a lot of YouTube tutorials. If you need to learn anything, you can literally just search on YouTube for how to do it. Today, I watched a tutorial on how to sharpen a kitchen knife. Yesterday, I watched a tutorial on how to brainstorm an ebook. You name it, YouTube has it. But not all tutorials are created equal. I believe we’re at a tipping point (or maybe the tipping point has already passed) where YouTube tutorials are becoming higher quality. The lower quality videos and channels are becoming obsolete, and only channels with well-produced videos are becoming successful.

In that vein, I want to share the anatomy of a great YouTube tutorial. For those of you who are interested in starting a YouTube channel that teaches something, this is a perfect post for you. My advice is NOT to just flip on your camera and start talking. You need to plan and have a structure.



The first thing you need to think about is what you want to teach. Don’t just think about the topic, but think about the goal you have for the viewer. If you want to create a YouTube tutorial about changing the ink tape of a typewriter, you have to understand from your viewer’s perspective what they need to know. They need to know how to do it, what the tools needed are, and when to do it.

Then you need to outline. This is a super important part of video creation – something that even I don’t always do. But when I do outline my videos, the quality is 10x better than when I don’t. Create a bullet point for each major talking point, and then under each major point include a few details. I suggest creating a solid outline like this rather than scripting out your entire video. I feel that when people are reading off of scripts (using a teleprompter or just memorizing), the video comes off as static and robotic. I much prefer to have a little bit of personality and freedom that comes with outlining.


How do you structure your tutorial outline?

  1. Start with an introduction sentence or two that clearly explains what the viewer will be learning. You don’t need to go into who you are, how you are doing that day, or anything else. Just start with a clear explanation of what the tutorial will be about. EXAMPLE: In this video, I’ll be showing you how to change ink tape for are typical 1980s typewriter.
  2. Cut to a channel bumper or any other sort of branding. For my latest online courses, you will notice that I started following this method. I start with a sentence or two about what the lesson is about, then I go into any sort of titles/graphics that promote my brand. EXAMPLE: Create a channel bumper that is 5 seconds long that shows of your channel name.
  3. You’re back on camera (or at least your voice is). Give a quick outline of the steps of the process. This is important so the viewer knows where they are in the process. If you jump right into the process, they have no context for how long it will take or how many steps are involved. EXAMPLE: The basic process involves removing the top cover, taking off the old tape, putting in the new tape, and replacing the cover.
  4. Walk them through each step as if you were talking to a 4 year old. Seriously, it’s better to break each step down to the very basics than to assume your viewer knows technical terminology or any other background that you might have. Some people may complain that your videos are too elementary, but a majority of viewers will appreciate this approach.
  5. Conclude with a call to action. EVERY video should have some sort of call to action. This could be asking them to subscribe to your channel, pointing to another video of yours, getting them to visit your website, or anything else. But it’s important to have the call to action with your voice, and not just an annotation.
  6. Close with your brand name & website (if you have one).

That’s basically it! It’s not too hard. But as you can tell, video tutorials that follow this anatomy will be a lot better than the typical ones you may see on YouTube nowadays – just somebody turning on their camera with no editing or structure.

Anybody creating YouTube videos will need to know how to edit videos. The Adobe Premiere course that I teach is perfect for anyone looking to not only learn how to use the program, but also learn how to become a good video creator by using editing as a tool.

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