Saturday, September 20, 2014

Guidelines for a Great Tutorial

As a self proclaimed DIY addict, I look up a lot of tutorials.

In the last week my tutorial searching has included:
How to use a spiralizer.
How to diy Chalk paint.
How to replace baby swing battery.
How to make carrot rice.
How to paint an area rug.
How to build a bench.
How to build a sofa.
How to build shelves.
How to install shelves.
How to deal with metal studs*.

As you can see, I average more than one tutorial per day. While it may be crazy, it does put me in the perfect place to judge a good tutorial from a bad tutorial.

1. Music.
If you're making a video tutorial please DO NOT add music. If you absolutely positively must have music, make it instrumental. Nothing makes me turn off a tutorial faster than having music come blaring from my speakers. I don't care how great the song is. It ruins both the song and the tutorial for me.

This is kind of along the same lines as those irritating blogs that used to have music play in the background whenever you went to their page. Please let me pick my own mood music.

2. Blabbering.
I understand you feel funny talk to a camera. It can be a little uncomfortable, I get it.
But I didn't not tune in to hear you spend 3 minutes talking about why you chose the shorts you're wearing, to paint your picture frames. Unless the outfit directly affects the project, it doesn't matter.
Reminding people to wear close toed shoes while mowing = GOOD.
Reminding me to put my favorite comfy shorts on before I glue rocks to something = BAD.

On that same note, I don't need to know what you ate for dinner or how many hours you slept last week, unless of course, that is the subject of the tutorial.

3. Experience.
Experience is ALWAYS important. Do NOT make a tutorial for something you've never done before. Please, wait until the second time.
If you absolutely, positively must make a tutorial for something you've never attempted before, mention that at the beginning, AND do not edit the final results. Let your viewers decide whether or not they need your guidance.

4. Know your tools.
This goes hand in hand with experience. When you're explaining the tools, make sure you know what they do and how they work. This may seem like a given, but I've found several tutorials of people who have never used the tool they are showcasing.

5. Vocabulary
Don't be afraid to use the common layman's terms. There is a very high probability your audience isn't completely versed in the technical terms. Break it down for us. We'll appreciate greatly!

6. Don't Skip Steps.
If you're doing a photo tutorial, this is big. If you skip a step, your audience is going to be lost and/or confused.

7. Revisit.
Don't be afraid to revisit your tutorial and tweak things a little. Whether you found a misspelled word. Or discovered a better way of doing something.
Trust me, it won't be unappreciated!

*The studs in our walls are metal, not wood. I found this out while installing curtain rods.

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