Wonder Why How-To Videos Boom Despite Economy?

how-to video siteWhen PR Pro Laura Hart (Beck Media & Marketing) contacted me in early August about how-to video site “Wonder How To,” she suggested a WVFF blog post on top video sites, and told me her client’s website had 145,000 videos. I was impressed with her pitch (she had bothered to read the blog), and promised to write about the category again and WonderHowTo. When I preditably forgot, and she reminded me gently a month later — only she had to update her stats. The site now has more than 200,000 videos.

It’s no surprise that how-to websites are booming and video makers are creating more instructional (do it yourself- DIY) videos. In a tough economy, we’ll be outsourcing less and relying on our own lack of competency. Just as we’ve grown accustomed to Googling answers, we’re now surfing video to learn new tricks, software tools, and hobbies. Or maybe we just want to learn how to smash a bottom of a beer bottle.

Most importantly, DIY is mostly evergreen content. Years from now we’ll still want to build a hover board from scratch (see “hot” section for more like it). There are a number of how-to sites, and much of WonderHowTo’s content is right from YouTube or Metacafe. But it’s well indexed around an important application for video, and it’s frankly hard to find DIY video┬ávia YouTube and even Google.

Other how-to websites include HowCast, Graspr and Life 123 and 5 minutes. I haven’t reviewed them all because I haven’t decided to plunge into the maybe-more-profitable-but-less-exciting DIY space. But if I were to start these, here’s what I’d do:

  1. Hedge your bets, and post everywhere. Use TubeMogul and be sure to market your content via sites (like WonderHowTo) that may not require you to host it there, but would list your video.
  2. Keep it short. Nobody has ever said “that instructional video went too quickly.” Chapter it if necessary, and provide places for people to pause.
  3. For the love of God keep it simple. No expensive production necessary.
  4. Focus on topics that are unique- the space is already crowded with obvious things like home repairs and software… find something in which you’re uniquely qualified to teach.
  5. Want to really set yourself apart? Entertain! It has worked for most popular chefs.
  6. Don’t stop by posting on these sites. Find blogs around your topic area and let them know the videos exist. Preferably lead them to sites that share revenue.
  7. Sell yourself. Have a simple website that credentializes you as an expert- and even better have a book even if it’s a self-published short one.

P.S. Here’s a recently featured how-to video: How to get into any pub by pretending you’re a disk jockey.

17 Replies to “Wonder Why How-To Videos Boom Despite Economy?”

  1. okay I do have an opinion on this post. Actually two opinions.

    1. You already use type that’s way too small for us old farts. Now you’ve gone and made it smaller. Don’t do that. Seriously.

    2. On the “nobody ever said ‘that instructional video went to quickly'” recommendation, I have to say that I have been so frustrated by youtube tutorials on different editing software because they just go too fucking fast! all i see is an arrow sliding all over the screen and things happening and before I can absorb that step the guy’s gone on to the next step.

    I don’t know, maybe they’re just bad tutorials. Or maybe I’m just too drunk when I watch them.

  2. Hey Nalts! This is a great post and totally true in my experience. Not only are these vids getting a ton of traffic – but the fact that they’re showing up in search results too is giving online video a whole new audience.

    Example: My dad (pushing 70 and just discovered Google like, yesterday) needed to figure out how to fix something on his ’67 GTO. He Googled the problem and sat there with his laptop following an instructional on YouTube step by step. It should be interesting to see how this stuff catches on in the next few years.

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