To Create a Winning How-to Video, Find a Niche and Convey Expertise

2014_11_f5By Bill Vreeland, Sr. Director of Business Development, EUXmedia

According to a report from eMarketer, views of branded video ads approached 3 billion in the second quarter of 2014. Another study from Levels Beyond indicates that even this number is falling short of consumer demand. Even so, 3 out of 4 video marketers in the U.S. said video production was not a top priority, and 53% didn’t think consumers wanted to see their company videos.

Clearly, there’s a disconnect. Either marketers have doubts about their in-house ability to create engaging video content, or they’re simply not following the research. If they were, they’d understand why their customers want more videos, which concentrate key information and make it easily accessible (according to Forrester, one minute video is the equivalent of almost 2 million words).

They’d also discover that of all video types, how-to and tutorial videos are the most popular, preferred by 67% of video watchers compared to 42% who cited comedy videos and 34% who preferred product videos.

Do It Right

Your customers want content they can use, and the research indicates that what they can use are videos which show them how to do something, everything from creating a spreadsheet to creating a killer lasagna. However, not every how-to is equal. The best videos appeal to a well-defined market niche, convey authority and expertise, and are professionally produced.

Define Your Market

How-to and instructional videos are popular, and there are many out there. To penetrate the market, discover what people want to learn that no one else has shown them, or that no one has shown them very well.

For example, there are many eLearning content development companies, but the best take the time to find out what type of learning is most popular, then deliver it better than their competitors. Award-winning companies like Sweetrush, are successful because they provide eLearning solutions customized to their clients’ needs and leveraging emerging technologies such as mobile and gamification. Others, like City and Guilds Kineo, deliver niche solutions in under-served areas like compliance and onboarding.

Know What You’re Talking About

The most important asset for colleges and universities isn’t infrastructure–it’s faculty who are experts in their disciplines. The same is true for how-to videos. The best carefully research their subject matter and use experts, not actors, to deliver it. Education providers like Learnnovators are successful because the content they deliver to specialized industries like nuclear energy and healthcare effectively conveys expertise. Before creating your how-to video, make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Hold Their Interest

There’s a thin line between education and entertainment. If you define your market and know your material, but produce a video that’s boring or long-winded, you’re not going to teach anyone anything. The best how-to videos begin with a tight script and leverage video production strategies which hold their viewers’ interest from beginning to end.


The best videos, how-to or otherwise, don’t just happen. They’re the product of careful market research and flawless execution. Businesses that understand the potential of video, but don’t have the talent in-house, should consider outsourcing that job to a professional video production company. Considering the power, popularity, and pervasiveness of online video campaigns; it’s an investment which will pay for itself many times over.

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