How-to searches are incredibly popular, especially when it comes to video.
Think about it: How many times have you turned to Google, YouTube, or social media platforms to solve a problem or learn something new? Chances are at least a couple of times, right? Well, you are not alone!
There’s a reason why users can’t get enough of how-to (or instructional) videos – They quickly answer specific questions by combining educational content with an entertaining approach—delivering instant value to the viewer!
For businesses, this trend represents a great opportunity to connect with prospects – By addressing their target audience’s most relevant questions, they can share their knowledge in compelling and innovative ways.
So, if you are wondering what it takes to make effective step-by-step tutorials, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this easy peasy guide with everything you need to know about getting the most out of your how-to content.
Before we dive into our guide properly, let’s take a minute to talk about benefits. There are a couple of reasons why you may want to include tutorial videos in your next marketing strategy, but three, in particular, stand out:
These are the top how-to video styles:
In its more basic form, instructional videos simply walk through all the steps needed to complete a task from start to finish. Their main purpose is to help answer specific questions and instruct people to do something they didn’t know how – mostly based around popular search queries.
Instructional videos are very straightforward and clear, so they are often used to describe how to accomplish all sorts of simple actions. For example, how to build or fix something.
Explainer videos are used to illustrate more complex processes or ideas, like the ins and outs of a software or an IT solution.
In a nutshell, these are short, animated pieces that harness the power of storytelling to help the viewer understand in less than 2 minutes why a product or service exists. But, most importantly, explainer videos are designed to address an audience’s specific pain point and introduce an ideal solution – yours!
There are different types of explainer videos, like character animation, 3D, motion graphics, stop motion, whiteboards, and much more!
Ok, you’ve probably seen hundreds of these videos on social media, especially Instagram. Buzzfeed Tasty, anyone?
These are short (or sped up), engaging, and super easy to follow pieces that focus on giving simple instructions for a specific action. For example, how to cook veggie sushi or how to dye your own hair.
They are meant to be consumed within social media platforms, so they use very captivating visuals to catch the user’s attention immediately.
These videos showcase a computer or phone screen recording and include audio narration to teach viewers how to perform a task. They are highly targeted, very instructional, and an excellent alternative to visually answer specific – and tricky – questions.
Often used by tech companies to clear up a problematic concept, tool, or process, they tend to be short, informal, and have low production value.
A webinar is an online live event designed to share knowledge, ideas, and updates. Brands can use them to demonstrate a product, present a workshop, or host a special event, like a lecture or a panel.
Once the event is finished, you can use the recording to embed it on your website or include it in a blog article. However, they tend to be very long, so it’s often a good idea to edit them down to make them more engaging. For example: cutting them down to shorter pieces, including graphics, transitions, etc.
For a how-to video to be successful, you will have to pay attention to certain elements during its production process.
The first (and most) important thing you’ll need to define is your video’s subject matter. You probably have an instinctive idea of topics you can tackle with your piece, but you’ll have to choose one.
In video marketing, everything starts with your audience. After all, you are developing content specifically for them, right? In this case, you need to deliver information that’s relevant to your prospects – that’s how you are going to attract and connect with them.
Zone in your target audience. What are they most curious about? What are their pain points or needs? What do they search on Google? Which questions are they making the most? Do they even search on Google and YouTube, or they use social media?
Ask yourself (and your team) these questions to brainstorm ideas and identify possible topics. Once you define one, pick a style that can help you represent it the way you envision it. In case you need inspiration or new ideas, you can look at the competition and find out what type of content is already out there.
Your script is going to be one thing or another, depending on the format you choose. It may include narration, perhaps it features a person talking to the camera, or maybe you’ll use animated typography.
Whatever format (and therefore script) you choose, it’s very important to make it simple and clear. Keep your steps or indications short and straightforward. Check they follow a logical order and that they flow naturally.
Remember that these videos are meant to provide useful information in the most digestible and understandable way. Don’t make the instructions too technical or complex. Use language and terms that are familiar with your target audience.
Another thing you should avoid is getting too detailed. For one thing, your video has to be short. People don’t have the patience nor the will to spend 20 minutes time watching a video—every second and word count.
So, when you sit down to write your script, focus on your topic’s key points, and dismiss everything that’s not really necessary to illustrate your idea. We know this can be a bit challenging, especially if you need to explain complex subjects. But, if that’s the case, you can break down the information and create a video series rather than a long, confusing single piece.
The storyboard is like a comic strip with the visual representation of your video, from start to finish. It includes all types of indications to guide your teams during production and post-production—for example, camera angles, dialogues, lighting, music or sound cues, transitions, etc.
What makes storyboarding so important is it helps you confirm – or not – if everything you wrote on your script makes sense visually. That every step and direction that you included in your how-to video is logical and do-able.
Plus, when you work on your storyboard early on your project, you can identify mistakes in advance, before you start the actual production. Giving you time to adjust or cause-correct what’s needed to make sure your final product looks exactly how you planned.
Once you’ve all the previous steps covered, you’ll have to plan your actual production.
Each project is a world in itself, with different needs and priorities. However, the following tips can help you plan ahead and prevent you from wasting time and sometimes even money.
How-to videos are a great marketing resource for businesses of all types of industries.
Whether you are a tech startup or a very niche company, these videos can help you connect with audiences, build trust, and improve engagement. What’s more important, now you know that they manage to achieve that by providing answers and sharing useful information with their audiences.
So, you need to roll up your sleeves and start digging. Find what those questions are and develop content that addresses them. Hopefully, if you combine that information with the tips and trick we provided, you’ll be one step closer to making a killer how-to video!