How I Create Promo Videos for my Online Courses

Today I decided to re-record the promo video for my top-selling course. I do that every year, usually just before the fall Black Friday period. We’re 3 months from Black Friday, and so now’s a good time to make those landing pages and promo videos better.

First- here is the video that I just created.

So, let me tell you the 12 steps it took to make this video.

Number one, it starts with the script. I write what I want to say in a text file. Now over the years, I’ve learned how to write a promo video, and if I’d give a couple of tips about that it would be this.

  • Keep it short.
  • Focus on the outcomes for the student. Nobody wants to learn PHP, for instance, but people do want to get a high-paying web developer job or solve problems with their website without having to ask someone.
  • And ask for the sale at the end.

Number two, I import the script into my iPad using a software called Prompt Smart Pro. It’s not free, but it’s paid for itself easily for me. The cool thing about this software is that it listens for my voice, and as I talk, the script automatically advances so that the next thing to say is always on screen. The problem I had in the past with teleprompter software was it would advance at a constant speed, and so I was sometimes waiting for it to catch up, or having to talk faster to keep up.

Number three, I record the talking head using my DSLR, Canon T5i. I put the iPad in my telepromter, turn on the lights, plug in the microphone, turn on the camera, and go. I have a permanent studio in my basement so that I can record talking heads without having to do a lot of set up or tear down after.

Number four, I take the video off of the camera. I have an external hard disk (WD My Cloud) where I save all my raw videos to. Every raw video I have ever recorded lives in one directory on my external hard disk.

Number five, I clean the audio. I import the video into Audacity, do some volume adjustments (Equalization) and do some noise removal. Depending on the audio, I remove heavy breaths, remove ums and ahs, and silence any noises that shouldn’t be there. I can do this fairly quickly since I’ve done it so often.

Number six, I use editing software called Adobe After Effects to merge the original raw video, with the cleaned up audio. I trim the beginning and end, so that the talking head part of the video is “clean”. I mute the audio of the original video so that only the edited audio is playing.

Number seven, now I start adding effects to it. I created a pre-roll a year ago for my Azure courses, and I use that same pre-roll on each talking head video in the course. Note that I don’t use the pre-roll on most videos. Just on the talking heads. I will “fade to black” at the end of the video to give it a professional effect at the end.

Number eight, I usually add music to the background of my talking heads. I turn the volume of the music down to -20 decibels or lower. I don’t want the music being annoying, but I do think certain music adds energy to a short video and keeps the brains attention.

Number nine, I add a small animated name tag that I bought off Themeforest. I bought a pack of animated graphics for After Effects that I can modify to say what I wish. I have a favorite one that I use that has my name, and I can change the title to whatever is appropriate. Another thing that makes it appear professional.

Number ten, I’ll use Adobe After Effects to add text on screen where needed. Especially for promo videos. I don’t normally do this for videos inside the course. But if I want to highlight something, I’ll add some text.

Number eleven, I sometimes like to record b-roll. B-roll is this concept of recorded moving videos that play while you are talking. This is good because the viewer does not spend 2 straight minutes looking at you. Every 30-45 seconds, a short clip plays showing something relevant. I recorded the Microsoft website in a couple of places, and play that for 10 seconds or less during the promo.

Finally, number twelve, I added a couple of images like “take this course” at the end. Sometimes I like to show the “30-day money back guarantee” as a logo. But the image highlights the call to action.

That seems like a lot of work. Twelve steps. But honestly it takes me about four hours to do all of it. And by making my course seem fresh, up to date for August 2017, I think those four hours will add several thousand dollars to my income over the next 8-10 months.



About the Author

Just a guy happy to share his knowledge with people willing to listen. 61,000 students, in 174 countries. "You can have anything in life that you want if you help enough other people to get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

Subscribe for Updates

If you want to hear from me (only occasionally) on topics relating to course creation, marketing, and how to take your online instructor business to the next level, please sign up below.