Where do you turn when you want to know how to do something? I bet instead of asking advice from your family or friends when you’re baking a cake or fixing a plug, you grab your mobiles, Google it and watch a YouTube how-to video. The chances are someone has already been there, done that and made the video.
In the spirit of how-tos, I’ve made a 4 minute how-to video all about help content with top tips, which you can watch now if it’s all TL:DR.
SEO and Help Video Content
How-to content is the perfect way to reach new audiences through search and build trust in your brand. This is especially useful if you do not have a budget for advertising and want to increase your reach organically.
The audience should be at the heart of all we do as marketers, and therefore how-to content is the perfect way to be helpful to your audience, offer them the answers they are searching for, and build trust by showing your expertise.
With help content, we’re analysing viewer intent and creating content that taps into those needs. Answer the public is a really useful tool: enter a topic and it will offer you lots of questions which you can then use as inspiration for your how-to videos. Then use Google’s keyword planner tool or Storybase to look up which search queries receive the most amount of interest per month, and which have the highest average CPC. This will help you capture the most valuable traffic.
If your brand can be there when people make these everyday searches, you reach new untapped audiences and become a trusted source. Of course, you need to find “how to” or help content that is relevant to your brand, and once you do, create content that answers those questions.
The top search according to Google for How-to content is “How to tie a tie”. So immediately we can think about men’s fashion brands, back to school retailers, suit hire firms, who could very create a straightforward how to film to answer this query, and pick up all that valuable search traffic.
Get all your SEO basics right on your YouTube channel or other video platforms. Add a search-friendly title, description, and tags based on your keyword research, and if possible create a transcript of the video. Encourage your video to be shared via social and embedded on external sites as a useful resource to extend reach and engagement.
Help your audience with video
Online tutorials are increasingly popular; how-to searches have increased by 140% since 2004. So how do you cut into this market? How-to content works really well for the mass and niche audiences.
While writing this article, an email popped into my inbox from word of mouth marketing with this how-to cat video for a vets practice which had gone viral.
But even if your video doesn’t get media coverage, there are still large audiences for niche communities. Episode 80 of “how to finger knit” is still attracting 6 million views. Yes, that’s episode 80, attracting 6 million views. You just need to find the right audience to help that aligns with your brand.
However, it is important to offer something helpful and original, and so if the topic has been covered before only repeat it if you can make it better. As we’ve seen, you can become niche but still reach large audiences.
How-to videos in the buying cycle
How-tos mainly work at the awareness stage of the buying cycle when people are searching for particular topics. As a whole, we are savvier when it comes to buying than we have ever been. Research and pre-purchase review is now a default component of the buying cycle, so how-tos can work to pull your audience to find out more from you site. Your helpful content will have built trust in your brand.
Online tutorials can also be used later in the buying cycle related to your products and services. What are the most frequent questions your sales and customer service teams are asked? What’s distinctive about what you do? Are there any tips or hacks to getting more from your product or service than people realise? What other products or services complement yours? Do your support documents exist in video format?
Tips on making how to videos
Although this is about being helpful to your audience – and thinking like a publisher rather than an advertiser – these films are still part of your brand identity. If you’re planning a how-to series, it is important to maintain a consistent look and feel across the content to strengthen its impact and brand recall. At the start and/or end of the video add a short sting with your branding and a call to action to find out more on your website or sign up to a newsletter. Take the credit for your hard work.
It is important to inject brand character into your videos and try to make to make the style of your video (colours, production location, lighting, pace, language) consistent and in line with your brand look and feel.
Your audience is looking for help, so it’s a good idea to be clear and to the point – too much unnecessary conversation weakens the message and is likely to elicit drop off. I also suggest making your instructions chunk-able; offering information in small bursts make it easier for the user to digest while adding chapters is a great way of letting them skip and rewind the content.
Test the kind of content which works for your brand, and then you can create other content related to that topic, and then pull them together as a playlist.
What kind of how-to video would work for your brand? If you have any questions about help content, let me know, and get in touch for more information.