How to wow your audience with branded how-to tutorials


That’s an average number of global monthly searches for “how to”.

Now, add another eye-popping stat of global monthly searches for “video” – 7,480,000 – and you have your content strategy right there.

The bright minds on the Internet have been raving about video content for the whole of 2015. And let’s be honest, those who haven’t figured that video is here to stay, probably aren’t going to be around in the business world for too long. (someone had to say it)

It’s time to stop talking about video like it’s a NASA mission and start rolling the film.

So here are 5 clever examples of how to harness the potential of educational tutorials to grow your business. Jump in while you can.

Use video tutorials to teach what you know best

I know, this format is really straightforward and has been around for a while now. But perhaps there’s a reason for that. There’s no better way to become an authority in your field than by showing the customers that you know the topic in and out. Plus, you’re willing to take them on a learning journey completely free of charge.

What’s particularly convenient about educational how-to videos is that you don’t need expensive props, acting talent or complex scenarios to produce high-quality material. Just look at what Jamie Oliver’s cooking tutorials have done for his culinary empire and you’ll know why brands are going cuckoo for how-to videos. Quality over show.

Another excellent example of how a man and his whiteboard grew into a multi-million business is Dr Najeeb Lectures. Dr Najeeb, a renowned medical teacher, and his son and CEO of Dr Najeeb Lectures Zeeshan Neejab, share some of the hard-earned tips on employing a video-led strategy, “Keep it simple. You don’t need Hollywood-style special effects to create a video that engages. Ours are just Dr. Najeeb and his whiteboard – and it works!”. (You can read the full story of how they turned a YouTube channel into a money-making educational business here.)

“Keep it simple. [tweet_dis inject=”@vzaar”]You don’t need Hollywood-style special effects to create a video that engages.[/tweet_dis] Ours are just Dr. Najeeb and his whiteboard – and it works!”.

(You can read the full story of how they turned a YouTube channel into a money-making educational business here.)

Step in front of the camera to make your brand more human

Building a community around your product or service is crucial to your business success. If you want to create a friendly brand image, it’s not enough to start your monthly newsletters with “Hey *|FIRSTNAME|*, we have a new offer for you!”. Get out there. Show your face. Make your customers relax into a friendly atmosphere. Don’t force them into buying things from you all the time – c’mon, who likes that?

The financial magazine “MoneyWeek” is exceptionally good at this. Tim Bennett, MoneyWeek’s deputy editor, runs a series of weekly video tutorials in which he explains a wide variety of investment and finance topics in a clear, simple and engaging way. Just what their audience likes best. They have already made 150 videos and continue adding new ones each week. That means something, right?

Sonic Academy, an online video tutorial subscription website for electronic music enthusiasts, is also nailing this concept. In the recent story we ran on them, co-founder Bryan Spence shared some of the video marketing tactics they employ:

“As a way of advertising, we also provide free videos from our courses on our site and via Youtube – driving engagement and ultimately bringing new customers back to the site to find out more or to watch the rest of the course. We strive to provide something that contains a really interesting piece of information that will be appreciated by the music production community. [tweet_dis inject=”@vzaar”]If the video is not interesting, it can do more harm than good.[/tweet_dis]”

Show off your products in a smart way

There’s nothing wrong with playing it smart. If you can find a way to weave your products or services into the narrative of how-to tutorials, that’s as good as it gets in the marketing world. The big dogs are doing a brilliant job at this. One of my favourite examples is GoPro. They not only encourage you to be a hero (‘cause you are) but also showcase the potential of their products in such a way that it leaves you scouring the Internet for the best GoPro deals. That’s a job well done.

If you don’t have enough cash to film a video on the back of a wave (literally), I’m with you. However, dissecting this kind of productions can help you better understand the formula of an epic tutorial. You’re probably familiar with Picasso’s quote that “good artists copy, great artists steal”, so go ahead and test it.

Pankhurst, a quirky London-based barbershop that describes itself as  “a haven of masculinity”, have successfully mastered a way of how to engage its customers with slick educational tutorials that also feature their branded products. Pankhurst’s videos range from quick lessons on how to use aftershave ice gel to how to style ‘the Christopher Walken’. The nifty theme of these videos makes them a delight to watch. Here, see how real gentlemen should maintain their beard.

Use someone else’s voice to tell your story

Don’t we all want to do less work for more reward? That’s what co-marketing is in a nutshell. You team up with another company (or individual) to work on one project that benefits both. When two companies promote a shared offer, they have the chance to get in front of a partner’s audience and leverage their reach. Everyone’s happy.

Shooting a how-to tutorial that features a guest or using someone else’s voice to tell your story is a great way to spice up your video library, form new partnerships, and eventually – attract more customers.

Net-A-Porter have been experimenting with this concept for a while and they’re getting the hang of it. The recent collaboration with Tina Fey adds a touch of humour (and glamour!) to the brand’s content range. You’d argue that instructions on “how to be funny” don’t really align with the company’s goals, but content marketing is a mysterious unicorn whose powers shouldn’t be doubted. Just get silly sometimes, it keeps the world turning.

If your imagination is running really low, remember that it’s always a good idea to add cats to your video. Here’s an example of how Purina borrowed Buzzfeed’s voice to nail their story. It’s purrrfect.

Become a cool friend

Let’s get this straight. This is not going to be suited to everyone’s taste and more importantly – not everyone can pull it off. Being cool is kinda hard. But if your brand isn’t suffering from identity crisis, you should definitely try this light-hearted approach to how-to tutorials.

An American clothing chain “Anthropologie” is nothing short of epic, thus, their efforts to make friends with customers are welcomed with endless love (expressed through pins, likes and shares). Pairing cocktail recipes with beautiful images, the brand has drawn in hundreds of new, visually-savvy customers. Just like that! The funny bit? The campaign has nothing to do with their products – it just taps into the right audience.

How to wow your audience with branded how-to tutorials

How to wow your audience with branded how-to tutorials


Final word

Need more inspiration to make video work for you? Read these 5 unusual videopreneurs’ success stories to get the blood pumping.


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