• Blog
  • »
  • How-to videos that really work (and why)

How-to videos that really work (and why)

/ Hanson Cheng

Creating how-to videos can seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you’re not exactly sure of the process to follow. 

The great news is that creating how-to videos doesn’t have to be complicated. By using the right free tutorial video maker and following the tips and techniques in this article, you'll find it easier than ever to create how-to videos that work.

In addition to telling you how to create these types of videos, we're also going to explore the reasons why you should do so and give you 4 examples of how-to videos that work - all to help you brainstorm and take the mystery out of how to make these types of videos successfully.

Let's get right into it.

Top reasons to create how-to videos for your business

The reasons for creating how-to videos for your business are numerous.

For starters, they help your prospective customers do exactly what you’d want them to accomplish: solve problems and accomplish tasks (potentially using your products or services). If someone is searching online on how to do something or trying to figure out whether or not a product will work for them, a helpful video that walks them through the steps involved is going to provide an excellent solution.

Image Credit: http://wevideo.com

It's also a great way to educate prospects about the ins and outs of using your products, in a clear, visual way. For instance, watching a step-by-step motion graphic video allows people to comprehend more quickly than simply reading text directions - especially if those directions are on a complex subject matter. 

In addition, these types of videos can help build trust with your audience. When people are unsure whether or not they're making the right decision, seeing a step-by-step video that gives them peace of mind can help drive them further down the conversion path.

You can also use video to boost your engagement on social media so that you gain more likes, shares, and followers.

Finally, how-to videos allow you to recycle material that you’ve already created, without the need to keep having to come up with new stuff all the time. For instance, if you are promoting your podcast, you can use the audio from your podcast, combine it with the transcript, and turn it into a how-to video. Here’s more information on how to repurpose your podcasts using WeVideo.

For all these reasons, it's clear that how-to videos are an excellent way to accomplish marketing objectives, increase conversions, build trust and establish thought leadership in your industry.

How-to videos that work

The following is a list of videos that go through the process of explaining concepts in easy-to-follow, step-by-step formats. While they might not apply to the industry that you’re in, it will pay off to take the time and understand the how-to process that the videos go through.

How to have great skin w/ LITTLE EFFORT

In this video, Alex Costa shares his easy-to-follow routine that will leave you with great-looking skin. Targeted towards young men, this video offers great tips on how to both protect your skin and make it look great.

Alex speaks about factors that vary from the type of pillow that you use to the face creams that you apply. In his video, he walks his audience through a step-by-step process, showing them what they need to do and how to accomplish it.

He also gives obvious but crucial health tips that will allow young men to have great skin - including staying hydrated and applying sunscreen on their faces.

How to be confident in any situation

This video is based on the fictional character of Don Draper from the TV show, Mad Men.

It consists of tips to improve the audience’s confidence and communication skills in everyday situations and covers topics such as how to be more confident around others in areas such as relationships, among students, at work or even with one’s hobbies.

It has useful content that people can relate to and is spread out over 11 and a half minutes so it is easy for viewers to comprehend the main points.

The skillful production of this video is what makes it useful and relatable. The sound, visuals and message all add up to make a well-produced how-to video that engages the audience and makes them want to watch the video till the very end.

How to make small talk

This video breaks down the basics of small talk and how to do so with ease.

Aiming to obliterate awkward conversations, the video discusses general topics that people may have trouble talking about with others and how to overcome that challenge.

It goes over 5 key points that people should do if they are attempting to learn how to have better conversations.

Firstly it speaks about greasing the wheels with a compliment. By saying something nice, it helps to get the conversation started and makes people more receptive in general.

Secondly, it speaks about the transition between topics. This happens when you say something like "This reminds me of when ________". 

Thirdly it speaks about using the “ping” method. This is when you ask people questions like "How does ____ make you feel?" or "What do you think of ____ ?". These are open-ended questions that don't require yes or no answers and allow people to express themselves more openly.

Fourthly it speaks about getting people excited about the conversation by allowing them to be passionate and enthusiastic about their topic.

Fifthly it speaks about creating a connection with people by listening. This is an essential part of communicating with anyone and everyone. 

As you can see, this how-to video is very structured and allows its viewers to be crystal clear about the steps to take if they want to get better at the skill discussed.

How to tell a story from start to finish

This one-hour video was produced to help anyone who wants to start vlogging or producing stories in general. The video speaks about how people can become better storytellers.

It mentions that it is all about your mindset and knowing exactly what you want. It also speaks about how important it is to plan everything out before shooting your vlog.

It goes through four main parts in the process of creating a story: 

This how-to video has lots of advice that is easy to follow. The video production also helps the viewer understand it all much better.

The steps to take to create how-to videos

The following are the steps needed to create how-to videos that work.

Have a great idea

One of the first things you need to do is come up with a great idea. This will ensure that your video is not only well made but also reaches as many people as possible who might find it useful.

To do this, brainstorm and write out as many ideas as possible for your how-to videos. These can be anything from how to use your product or service to tutorials on common tasks, such as changing a flat tire or cooking dinner.

Understanding current video trends is also helpful when coming up with ideas. These trends can be modeled to keep what works and improve on what doesn’t. The combination of these two actions will allow you to come up with a great idea that you can call your own.

If you are in the process of starting a blog, then you can also brainstorm ideas for blog titles and then turn them into videos, which means that you'll be accomplishing multiple goals at the same time.

Do your research

While doing keyword research is never a popular topic, it is an important part of ensuring that you'll be targeting the right audience with your videos. Doing the research will also allow you to determine whether or not your video will be able to rank in search engines such as Google and Bing.

Image Credit: http://wevideo.com

All you need to do is type in your main keywords and phrases related to your business and industry at the top of any page on Google and scroll down until you see some suggested video searches. Click on them and then look at what comes up.

If you can't find any videos, then there's an opportunity for you to create the first video on the topic, which will help it to rank better on Google.

This list of YouTube tools will allow you to do research into your video idea in order to determine whether or not the subject matter makes sense to produce videos about.

When you have done your brainstorming and research, it's time to plan individual videos.

Keep it short and tight - unless you’re going in-depth

How-to videos don't need to be long - they just need to tell viewers what they want or need to know in as concise a manner as possible. The shorter your video, the more likely people will watch the whole thing and take away something useful from it. You can break up longer tutorials into several parts if necessary.

You also want to make sure each section of your how-to video flows naturally from one point to another. This way, people won't get frustrated trying to keep track of where they are in the video and will find it easier to learn about what you're trying to teach them.

Use great tools (some are even free)

Using a simple free video tutorial maker like WeVideo will allow you to create how-to videos quickly and easily - without having to go through a huge learning curve. Here's a tutorial on how to create a YouTube video in 5 simple steps. Also, opt for high-quality digital cameras instead of just shooting videos from your smartphone. 

Cut it up and repurpose it

Once you've got a few videos that are ready for release, don't forget that they can be used more than once. For example, if you're creating how-to videos on cooking healthy meals, those same steps could work equally as well as tutorials on preparing gourmet cuisine (with a few adjustments). 

Even if your how-to video is aimed at a very specific market, there may be related subjects that you can teach people as well. For example, a finance company could create a how-to video for getting a loan and then follow it up with a second one on getting approved for a mortgage.

Stand out from the crowd

Creating a unique how-to tutorial is a surefire way to increase your chances of going viral. When people can see that you're providing something different from everyone else, they will be more inclined to pay attention and share it with others.

Image Credit: http://wevideo.com

One way to accomplish this is by creating fun or exciting videos. The creative presentation alone can be enough to make it stand out from the crowd and go viral on social media. People like seeing new and interesting ways of doing things.

Another great option for standing out is supercharging your video by adding an element of humor into the mix. A little bit of wit and sarcasm goes a long way in getting people to talk about your clip and pass it around to their friends.

Don’t forget to have fun

At the end of the day, it's important to enjoy what you're doing and learn as you go. Producing how-to videos professionally is a learning process - even if you've been teaching a skill for years. You'll frequently need to try different strategies and try things out until they click. 

Having fun also comes through in the video content that you create. For example, creating fun and easy text overlays is a small thing that can have a big effect on your audience.

Types of how-to videos

Finally, let's speak about the types of how-to videos you're likely to find on the Internet. As you’re reading this list, try and figure out which one is more closely related to what your business offers.

Videos that explain 

Explainer videos are among the most popular on YouTube. These tend to focus on the reason ‘why’ someone does something and often include animated visuals, voiceovers, and catchy music to keep people interested in what you're showing them. They can be extremely useful if you want to explain something in a step-by-step format - just remember that they only work if you explain everything thoroughly.

The right YouTube video templates can also make creating videos for your business even easier. Businesses often use these templates to explain new products or services while non-profits might focus on issues they are trying to raise awareness about.

If you include an appropriate call-to-action at the end of your explainer video, it can help give viewers more incentive to take action after watching it. Sometimes, starting with the end in mind is key to creating a great explainer video.

Videos that demonstrate

If you're promoting a piece of software, hosting an online program, or creating instructional videos for your employees, then the best way to accomplish this is with software demo videos. These let viewers see what your software looks like in action and may include voiceovers that give them pointers along the way.

In addition, you can include multiple camera angles to show people what they should be looking for when they use the software you're focusing on. These videos could also help point out specific problems without having to waste your time repeating yourself over and over again.

For these types of videos, it may be helpful to host a webinar instead of just creating a video.  The reason? People who attend your webinar will ask questions that other viewers may be wondering, so it helps get questions answered that you haven’t thought of.  Naturally, you can use WeVideo to break the content up into separate videos, or just edit the webinar to be a polished video and offer that instead. 

Videos that instruct

Looking to show people how to do something? That's where instructional and customer training videos come in. They can be a good way of teaching people things they didn't know before or giving them specific instructions they need to follow to get better results.

Just remember that you need a solid script for this type of video and look at some examples of other instructional videos so you know what works and what doesn't. People tend to love getting told the exact steps they need to follow, but only if the person on-screen is being clear and concise about each step they're taking along the way.


Creating how-to videos that work isn't easy, but it's certainly possible. The more you know about your audience and the kind of resources that they may be looking for, the better chance you'll have of reaching them with this type of video content.

And remember, using the right tool that allows you to create the exact videos you want easily, with no technical knowledge requirements will save you both time and money while giving you the results that you’re after.

Author bio

Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.



Subscribe and stay connected

Be the first to know when we post new content for businesses, with an article delivered right to your inbox.