Building a comprehensive knowledge base is a perfect way to educate your employees and offer guidance to your customers without in-person training. And by adding video to your knowledge base(s), you’ll make your help content more engaging, actionable and memorable.
This is especially true for digital products with a wide range of use cases and complex third-party integrations. Regardless of the person’s skill level, a knowledge base video presents information in a more accessible format, allowing them to grasp complex processes quickly.
Knowledge base videos are helpful for companies of all industries and sizes. Whether you need to guide a new hire through the coffee machine cleaning process or introduce your SaaS customers to a new product feature, a short and sweet video will do the job.
The problem is, video production takes a lot of time. If you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the process, you need to set priorities first. Do you really need a video for every page in your knowledge base, or should you start small? How do you decide on the topics you should cover in the first place? As you get down to making knowledge videos, you’ll need to find answers to these questions — and we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we're diving deep into how you can plan and create compelling videos for both internal and client-facing knowledge bases.
Let's get right to it.
What does a knowledge base include?
A knowledge base (KB) is a self-service resource library. The type of information included in a knowledge base depends on its target audience. There are two types of knowledge bases:
- Internal KB — this is a central hub where you store all the company knowledge that can be useful for employees.
- External KB — this is a publicly accessible library that provides customers with information about the company’s products and ways to use and troubleshoot them.
Regardless of its type, a good knowledge base typically includes:
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
- Step-by-step guides.
- Troubleshooting instructions.
- Training videos to support or replace text-based guides.
- A glossary of terms related to the product.
Building a knowledge base is usually done by collecting information over a period of time and organizing it into a publicly accessible library that users can use as a self-service. This process is also known as knowledge management – and it's a crucial factor in the user or employee onboarding process.
It's important that you structure your knowledge base well – including the individual articles inside it. A well-organized article inside a knowledge base will make the reading experience easier and help keep things focused on solving the reader's problem.
What is a knowledge base video?
A knowledge base video is an informational video that accompanies written articles in your knowledge base or lives on its own.
Below is an example of a knowledge base video from Scribe’s help center.
When to put videos in your knowledge base
While written guides are excellent, and sometimes even better, some topics or tasks are much easier seen than read. However, creating video content takes significantly more time and resources than writing a step-by-step guide.
To avoid wasting your budget, these are the scenarios where you can consider investing in videos:
- When the content is easier shown than described: Video is a great format to drive digital adoption among your users and employees. By recording screencast videos, you can guide people through your own product or third-party business tools and introduce them to workflows you couldn’t explain in a text.
- When the content requires additional context: Would it be better for your SME to deep-dive into the details of the tool, team or industry? Video is the perfect format.
- When the issues or questions frequently occur: If the questions or issues become a regular for your customer support department, it's probably a good idea to have a video covering them. By doing so, you can just point users to it instead of explaining how to solve the issues repeatedly.
- When the topic changes or gets updated regularly: Publishing short videos highlighting updates and changes will make it easier for users to keep track of the new features you release.
- When the topic is evergreen: Overarching topics that don't change frequently deserve a well-made video that users can use as a reference. You can also use the video to highlight the core functionality of your product.
Scribe top tip: If you don’t have time and budget to make quality knowledge base videos now, but you need to guide your users and employees through the key digital processes, there’s an alternative solution. Scribe will instantly turn any digital process into a step-by-step guide, complete with visuals and instructions. Use it as an alternative or addition to your knowledge base videos.
Types of knowledge videos
Based on the way information is presented, knowledge base videos can be split into four types:
- Instructor-led videos, or talking-head videos, feature an instructor providing information directly to the camera.
- Live-action videos showcase people handling real-life situations.
- Screencast videos display screen recordings, often complete with instructor voiceover.
- Animated videos are perfect for explaining complex concepts with the help of moving visuals.
You can also categorize knowledge base videos by purpose:
- Onboarding videos — welcome videos for new customers or employees.
- Video tutorials — how-to videos that guide viewers through certain processes, step by step.
- Presentations — long-form videos from subject matter experts. These are usually repurposed webinars, workshops and seminars.
4 Can't-miss benefits of including videos in your knowledge base
Making videos for your knowledge base is beneficial in many ways:
It saves time and money
Making videos isn’t necessarily more time-consuming than writing texts. In fact, it’s often easier and faster to record a screencast than create a text-based step-by-step instruction.
Knowledge base videos can also be cost-savers. If you take the time of all people involved in creating a readable instruction, you may discover that recording a simple video is more cost-effective.
It increases memorability
Learners remember 10 percent of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see and 50% of what they hear and see. Including videos in your knowledge base will help you improve the memorability and retention of your training content.
It improves customer experience & employee performance
Increased information retention and memorability mean that users and employees can put their knowledge into practice immediately and achieve the desired results with little-to-no friction.
It humanizes your brand
Instructor-led and live-action videos help to put a human face on your brand and build a stronger connection with your customers and employees (especially remote ones).
5 steps to create effective knowledge base videos
Now that you've learned the types of topics suitable for a video let's discuss how you can make effective knowledge base videos.
Now, let's discuss how you can make effective knowledge base videos.
1. Start small
Before you go all-in with knowledge videos, it’s good to test your ideas first. Instead of spending hours making fancy videos with custom text animation and effects, opt for simple formats and release your first videos as soon as possible to prove the concept (or not).
Start with publishing a few simple screencast videos addressing the most frequent topics and watch how the audience responds. It can be that your target audience prefers text-based content, and you don’t have to spend long days preparing a comprehensive video knowledge base.
2. Prioritize frequent issues
Not all topics in your knowledge base need a video – some issues are better off with a written explanation or answer. Problems that require additional context or deep dives should take priority when it comes to making knowledge base videos.
Prioritize tasks that your users and employees often have issues with by collecting and analyzing their feedback. From there, you can narrow it down to tasks that require that added context. Then, create a screencast video that shows users exactly how to perform said tasks.
This is an excellent example from Ahrefs, one of the largest SEO tools in the market. This video showcases how to use one of the features that their users tend to get confused about.
3. Show detailed processes
Your customer service and HR teams are probably tired of receiving tickets starting with "How do I …", and the most common answer template would be something like this:
Hey user X,
Thanks for contacting customer support. Here's how to do X:
Go to dashboard
Click this button
Click this other button
Let us know if you need more assistance with this issue.
While that solves the problem, users may have to double-check the instruction on complicated tasks or seek additional context. Using videos opens up a new format that supports in-depth walkthroughs.
Tools like Scribe can supplement these videos by auto-generating step-by-step guides, complete with screenshots and text. Scribe takes the guesswork away from your help desk by documenting each step for you.
4. Share new releases & features
Showcasing your product's new features is equally as important as highlighting your core features – if not more. When you add new features or make big changes to your products, existing users may need additional resources to get used to them.
And don’t you forget that your employees also need to be aware of every change inside your product. Consider recording weekly or monthly videos featuring product update digests and including them in a dedicated folder in your knowledge base (the frequency of releasing new videos depends on how often you make changes to your product and how big those changes are).
A knowledge base video highlighting your new features will go a long way – especially for long-term users who aren't aware of the changes yet. Not only will it keep your users informed of the new changes, but you can also save a ton of time addressing questions related to the update.
Here's a simple screencast video from Squarespace that they used to highlight their customizable template feature:
5. Share frequent use cases
Digital products often have multiple use cases, especially those rich in features. It's also not uncommon for products to have third-party integrations, which typically require intricate guides to execute.
If your products have more than one use case, it's a good idea to make a knowledge base video about them. Creating videos for those use cases will help your users in getting the most out of your product, resulting in better user retention in the long run.
Here's a great example from Elementor covering how to create a landing page with their product.
6. Include closed caption & voiceover
While the visual aspect of a knowledge video is great, sometimes it's not enough to explain the context of your actions. Telling users to do something without explaining why or what they'll achieve will prevent them from truly understanding your product.
You can use voiceover on your video to circumvent this. Using a voiceover for your will provide confirmation and context to your videos' visual element, which has been proven to improve engagement. To cap that off, adding closed captions will also significantly improve your video's accessibility to those with hearing problems.
Make more than just videos
Making effective knowledge videos is no rocket science – you just need to narrow down the topics that would benefit from having visual aid. But the challenge often lies in the time and effort required to make those videos.
What if I told you there was a faster and easier way to get your point across? Scribe captures your screen to instantly turn any process into a step-by-step guide. Supplement (or replace!) your knowledge base videos with visual guides that are just as easy to make as they are to use.
Here's a Scribe in action.
Whether you're creating expert videos or generating documents, your knowledge base has the potential to be a dynamic hub that supports your team, the company and everyone's bottom line: growth.
About the Author
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.