At a glance
- Avaya, a global provider of business collaboration and communications software and services, created a video library of resources for customers and employees.
- Using Camtasia and Blue Yeti microphones, they produced 995 videos in the first 20 months and more since then.
- Avaya’s video articles receive significantly more page views than their text-based articles.
Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications software and services, providing unified communications, contact centers, networking, and related services to companies of all sizes around the world.
Back in 2011, Carl Knerr was the Services Director at Avaya. He was tasked with creating and implementing a library of training videos for Avaya products and services.
The problem was that he was tasked with creating training videos and video tutorials in a very short amount of time. And he wasn’t a professional content creator or videographer.
Knerr was inspired by Khan Academy, the non-profit website with thousands of different types of videos for learning and education, but he wasn’t sure how he’d be able to pull off that sort of accomplishment.
Knerr and his team found themselves asking, “Wouldn’t Avaya employees and customers benefit from the company’s own Khan Academy?”
And Knerr’s challenge was bigger than making videos. He was challenged to make Avaya a successful organization that could create a buzz.
Avaya wanted to take the lead, and creating instructional videos for their customers and employees was how they were going to do it.
Using YouTube for training
Knerr then decided to put together a series of videos geared toward Avaya products and services. He limited the scope to basic how-to videos designed to help those that install, maintain, and support Avaya products, whether they were customers, partners, or Avaya employees.
These types of video lessons are traditionally created by instructional designers and can require a dedicated learning management system and special authoring tools.
Knerr proposed that unlike Avaya’s existing knowledge base, which is only available to Avaya customers with a maintenance agreement, the vast majority of videos would be available for free on YouTube’s video platform.
This would allow search engines like Google would be aware of the content, making it much easier for someone to find the answer to an Avaya-related question.
This is an important step to think about as you create your online training content. Because if someone can’t find your video, it can’t be helpful.
Tips for creating “findable” videos
The following tips will help you optimize your YouTube videos and make sure your users can easily find the right content.
- Write a clear video title: Your title should clearly state the problem that your video is solving, how it is presented, and the product it applies to.
- Create a detailed description: Craft a description that carefully outlines the content and key learning points of your video.
- Conduct keyword research: Incorporate alternative terms and wordings into your description and video tags.
- Tag your video: Pick your target keyword as a tag, and then choose other tags related to your primary keyword.
- Add captions: Captions will make your content more accessible, and they are additionally used by video sites like YouTube for content-indexing to improve search results.
How Avaya makes training videos for YouTube
Knerr’s team evaluated a number of video production software suites and settled on Camtasia, the screen-recording and video editing tool from TechSmith. With Camtasia, the team could use templates, splice in video and audio, as well as special editing features to highlight or zoom to certain parts of the screen. The team also purchased high-quality microphones called the Blue Yeti.
Knerr felt it was important to maintain a common look and feel to the videos, so the team built a template for Camtasia with legal and branding-approved intros and outros while standardizing other aspects like transitions and video length.
Once the team started creating consistent, high-quality content, the Avaya branding team gave Knerr the freedom to publish to YouTube without further oversight.
How Avaya maintained quality control and scaled their videos
To reduce the number of errors made by video authors, Knerr frequently shared a list of common problems he encountered during a review.
Common errors included background noise or odd transitions within videos. While this was often a pain, viewers noticed and complimented Knerr’s team on the quality of their videos.
After six months, Knerr transferred the approval process to one of the team’s top video authors, Bhavya Reddy.
After a year of approving videos within the team, Knerr and Reddy transitioned the approval process to the company’s formal knowledge management team where it could be better integrated into the other knowledge management processes.
This also ensured that any videos the team published to YouTube would also be available in the standard knowledge database at support.avaya.com.
How Avaya spread the word about their content
“Building a knowledge base, or any tools, is pointless if you can’t get user adoption,” said Knerr. “I felt it important to delay the initial announcement until we had the first 100 videos published. I was concerned if someone came to the site and only saw 5 videos, they might never return.”
Once the team reached 100 videos, Knerr had the President of Services announce the program internally, followed by similar announcements in external communications to Avaya partners and customers.
To reinforce this in a more detailed way, Knerr wrote a blog post for the Avaya corporate site and created a Twitter account for Avaya Mentor, allowing people to receive tweets when new videos are uploaded.
At the next International Avaya Users Group Conference (IAUG), Knerr and his team passed out materials to all the customers and partners they met. The IAUG even helped with advertising on all the plasma screens throughout the conference center.
Knerr has also partnered with the Avaya product documentation teams to include references to the Avaya Mentor program directly in the user documentation.
After 20 months, Knerr and his team published nearly 1,000 videos on YouTube which were watched more than 350,000 times.
While the U.S. provides the largest set of viewers, Knerr happily notes that the Avaya Mentor program reaches 196 distinct geographies. Additionally, customers, employees, and partners watched more than 1,200 hours of Avaya Mentor videos per month, which equates to about 11 full-time support employees.
“Perhaps the most interesting metric is that we are seeing significantly more views per article than Avaya’s text-based articles,” said Knerr. “This is not an apples-to-apples comparison given that we used some of the company’s most knowledgeable resources and posted our content publicly. However, I still think it is clear that video-enabled content is much more compelling than text alone.”
Since 2011, Avaya has created over 1000 videos and the Avaya Mentor channel has built up over 12,000 subscribers and has had over 3 million views.
Want to make instructional videos for YouTube?
If you’re interested in learning more about creating your own videos for YouTube, we have two helpful guides that will walk you through the entire process.
If you’re ready to dive and try to make a video, you can also download a completely free trial of Camtasia, and give it a shot for yourself.