Why does "How To" marketing work?

A typical tutorial will have upwards of 1000% more organic reach than the vast majority of typical ads. Why?

Ever wondered why low quality "How to" content generates way more leads than a professionally designed ad?


The answer is simple, we humans are lazy creatures. We'd much rather copy someone that is an "expert" in something rather than trying to figure it out ourselves. "How To" videos, blog posts, or whatever the medium is, allow us to skip all the mundane exploration and testing aspects of anything, and jump straight into results.

So now that we understand the basic psychology behind why such content works, how can we leverage this to our advantage? Shall we all grab our phones right now and start teaching random things to get more likes and shares? In short, YES, but it's not that easy.


1. Be a subject expert or hire a subject expert

Why would I take medical advice from a chef? Yes, it could be that he/she was a doctor in a past life, but I don't know that, and in all honesty, I wouldn't care. So unless you REALLY know what you're talking about, hire someone that does. Preferably someone that has an incredible track record in the field.


2. Keep it interesting

If you're explaining how to fix a common fault on a printer, don't just say "Restart it... Magic it works". Lead up to that with explanations of how and when a similar fault could occur. Also, take this opportunity to iterate why you are such an expert in the field. Explain what is happening during the restart.

turn it on and off again


3. Keep it short

If you upload a 2-hour video or a 10,000-word blog post, you'll lose me and more than 95% of your audience. Yes, I want to learn but, the content has to be shorter than the user-manual!


4. Don't turn it into an Ad

When consuming your "How to" content, no one gives a cr*p that your product is 10-times cheaper than everyone else. No one gives a damn that your feature set is longer than the bible. They are consuming your content because they either; Have a problem or want to learn something new.

It is ok to subtly highlight some of your product features but don't overdo it! Example; "This printer comes with an internal battery, so before conducting any repairs...". That way you've identified that your printer is different, "it has an internal battery", but that's it!

don't turn it into an ad


5. Make it engaging

We all had 2 types of teachers in life; The ones that told us exactly what to do, and the ones that let us learn through our mistakes. From whom did you learn the most? Chances are that it was the latter. We are not robots, we need to understand how things function to be able to make judgment calls. So encourage your viewers to interact by asking questions, describe other problems they ran into, etc. This will increase the effectiveness of your “How to” and increase viewer retention.


Generating sales from your content

So you take our advice and crush it, how do you generate sales now? In short, you don’t! At least not right away.

The “How to” concept is not a direct marketing tool and it shouldn’t be used as such, it’s part of a much more holistic marketing strategy that gives your leads a reason to trust you. You still need to get in touch with them, through your sales and marketing channels. The difference will be, that they are already accustomed to you, and have a high level of trust towards you, making the sale much easier to close.


Bonus Tip

Brand your "How to" content

Be it, you wear some sort of uniform, have some catchy intro or it could even be your tone of voice, have something unique. Don't just use put your logo in the corner, make it something that pops out and get people talking about it.

This will drastically increase your followership turning you into an influencer of your field. Why would you want to be an influencer?

Just ask yourself this; "In the past 30-days did I buy something or was interested in buying something, that someone I follow uses regularly or advised me to buy?" The answer to that question will answer "Why would I want to be an influencer".


Will you be starting your "how to" video series or blog? Do you have a series already? Let us know in the comments below. 

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