Have you ever Googled how to cook pasta? No? Perhaps, you’ve searched for how to apply screen protectors “without bubbles”? What about how to make money? Or how to be more confident? Well, if you’ve never Googled any of those before, you surely have the next one. *wait for it* How to tie a tie? Iconic! No human of any gender, age, or occupation hasn’t Googled that how-to between once and 107 times before.
Simply put, the good folks of the internet love how-to’s.
How to do this and how to do that; they are everywhere. It’s like they are an evolutionary advantage that our generation has (for the most part) used very well. They make our lives much easier. They put us at a few clicks away from our next AHA moments. Beyond the aforementioned general how-to’s, though, brands aplenty have been scoring big by incorporating how-to’s into their content strategies.
This is mainly the case is because how-to’s effectively promote brand awareness. Another reason how-to’s are mighty valuable pieces of content is because they allow brands to establish thought leadership.
Take Hubspot, for instance. Sure, Hubspot is a provider of marketing softwares that help increase brands’ marketing efficiency. Yet, it’s also one of the world’s most reputable platforms for learning all kinds of marketing. In other words, it’s the ultimate source for marketing how-to’s. Even the most well-versed of marketers acknowledge that. Everyone is onboarding the marketing flywheel now that Brian Halligan retired marketing funnels. Ultimately, this powerful brand awareness and thought leadership reflects markedly on Hubspot’s sales.
With all that said, it’s obvious that how-to’s are essential in content marketing.
But, just as essential is getting them right. So let’s examine how you can hook your audiences on your how-to content. First off, take a look at your product and see if there’s any difficulty to using it. If so, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some products can be inherently hard to use; be it an app or an appliance.
Fear not, though, because that’s where your how-to content comes in like a superhero. It easily guides your buyers through using your products.
Case study time! The Instant Pot’s use of this type of how-to content is simply revolutionary. Launching in 2010, the Instant Pot started by sending its cooking pots to a plethora of food experts. The foodies fell in love with their pots. It wasn’t long before they started sharing recipes with their followers which they cooked using the Instant Pot.
Now, this strategy is brilliant for two reasons. First, the Instant Pot people didn’t create the content (the recipes) themselves; the food influencers did that for them. That’s user-generated content at its finest. Secondly, the content didn’t just demonstrate how to use the Instant Pot correctly. It let the target audience know how to use it extraordinarily. 9 years later, The Instant Pot is still reaping the rewards of that marketing master plan.
A different direction to take is to have a look at your ideal prospects’ daily routine. Observe the problems they face and see if you can offer solutions in the form of content. You can create golden how-to content, assuming you’ve conducted thorough target audience research. Furthermore, you should research to find trendy topics in your industry. Knowing what people online are inquiring about your industry is key in creating relevant how-to content.
As for which channels to publish your how-to content on, there are many choices.
Blogs are among brands’ favorite platforms for how-to’s. Ever heard of this website/platform/media company/not even sure what to call it anymore, Buzzfeed? Now, that’s one brand that’s built up the majority of its brand presence using how-to content. This high brand presence has led Buzzfeed to use its content as a main product.
Youtube is another popular option among brands. How-to videos are the most searched videos on Youtube. Viewers love watching them even if they don’t end up learning the how-to itself. Cosmetics tycoon Lush is renowned for its use of Youtube in showcasing the manufacture of its products. This innovative use of Youtube has rewarded Lush with a loyal fanbase that’d make Katy Perry envious.
Despite their popularity, blogs and Youtube may not be the best place to publish for how-to’s.
For one, no matter how awesome your how-to’s are, they may not achieve the success they deserve. That’s due to the fierce competition you’ll be getting from fellow brands of your industry. Your competitors share the same target audience with you. They want their content to perform better than yours. They may even be able to invest more in content than you can. In a crowded marketing scene, you can’t blame your audience for choosing your competitors’ content over yours.
Aside from being crowded media channels with lots of competition, blogs and Youtube just aren’t right for how-to’s. The name says it all: How to! So the purpose behind it should be to ultimately help people learn new things. We as humans learn best when we get to interact with substances, not by just observing. Thus, blogs and Youtube are on borrowed time because they simply aren’t effective anymore for how-to’s. Now is the time to explore better options. Now is the time to meet the future.
It’s time to meet AR how-to’s!
Augmented reality (AR) is novel, accessible, fun, and super interactive. All that makes AR experiences great for creating guides and tutorials that are actually memorable.
Let’s get back to ‘How to tie a tie’ for a second. Why do people search for it several times? Because they forget how to do it every time; because the results they get aren’t interactive enough.
Now, think of an AR experience for that.
It’ll be as effective and unforgettable as learning how to tie ties from someone face-to-face. You’d get that same level of engagement with virtually any other how-to content.
Think of car rentals, for example. Car rentals are on the rise due to the increasing popularity of road trips and business travel. AR how-to’s can neutralize a major source of worry for this industry. Car rentals could provide AR manuals for each car to orient drivers with their rented cars. Drivers would be familiar with all car parts and know how to deal with emergencies. That could go a long way in accident prevention.
Dance centers could also have much success with AR how-to’s. How to do the floss is a mainstream subject people are searching for everyday. One dance center could step ahead of the curve and create an AR campaign that teaches users the floss. It could be as simple as having an animated character walking the dancers through the dance move. Ultimately, the center would get tremendous traction and the users would have a blast.
Not to mention, maintenance and repair of a myriad of items would be much easier with AR. Repairing your pool will be easier than one two three!
What about AR recipes? It would guide cooks through every single step. People would start treating food right. No food would ever burn in the oven again!
Apart from how to’s in marketing, AR is also ideal for operational how-to’s.
Imagine you’re having a new batch of hires and you prepare AR tutorials for them. Using AR will be an empathetic way to orient them with their new workplace. It will make their first few days at the job a whole lot easier. More importantly, your new hires will see that you’re taking great measures to enhance their working experiences. This will undoubtedly amplify their productivity, efficiency, and loyalty. That’s a great work culture