11 Ways to Make Your Instructional Content Stand Out

how to

Most how-to articles and videos start to look the same after a while. But informational content is a valuable and powerful tool when executed with finesse — both for marketing purposes and for speeding up user/customer growth.

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of successful young startup founders, the following question to find out how they make their instructional content pop:

“What are some tricks for making your instructional content (videos, how-to articles) stand out to potential customers? “

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Solve a Specific Problem

“A lot of how-to content is so broad that it becomes useless. Instead of giving “Facebook tips,” show people exactly how to build their email list using Facebook or how to choose an image that will get “likes” and shares. Specific content is more helpful to potential customers and makes your brand stand out as a company that has already helped them solve their problems. ” ~ Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media

2. Design Functional and Appealing Content

“The best tips I’ve ever received on making instructional content stand out was from the book “Information Design Workbook” by Kim Baer. It provides you with case studies, best practices and a thorough breakdown of innovative, informative design so you can improve your communications functionally and aesthetically. It teaches you to create content that has value and looks good.” ~ Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

3. Show Customers Giving the Tutorial

“Nothing provides more credibility than having real customers talk about your product. Instructional videos can be monotonous because you show members of the company talking about something they know well. Having customers describe how to use your product in their own, unscripted way will be interesting and genuine!” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

4. Write a Headline With Key Words

“People are interested in learning how to do things. They will watch a video or read an article if they believe that content will tell them how to do the things they want to do. Their decision is based on your headline. Begin your headline with the words “how to,” and write copy that tells the viewer how to do something. Example: ‘How to Make Instructional Content That Stands out to Customers.’” ~ Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Agency

5. Keep Videos Short

“The average person tunes out of online videos after about two minutes (sometimes even less). If you think that your video needs to be longer than that, break it up into multiple stand-alone videos.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

6. Build Curiosity

“Try to make your video stills build curiosity instead of just serving as something boring that doesn’t keep the customer interested enough to check out your product.” ~ Joe Barton, Barton Publishing

7. Show Your Passions

“There’s no shortage of instructional content on every topic under the sun, but what really makes it stand out is by peppering your content with loads of personality and hints of your passions. If you’re a sports fan, you can use sports metaphors to teach your concepts. If you’re a pop culture junkie like I am, you can draw parallels between entertainment and business concepts. ” ~ Melissa Cassera, Cassera Communications

8. Let Your Personality Shine Through

“People want to learn from someone. Think of your favorite teacher. I bet he is someone who connected on a different level. The perfect performance is far less important than being authentic and showing a little bit of “you” in whichever medium you choose. ” ~ David Cohen, Round Table Companies

9. Be Clear Up Front

“Before you jump into the instructional content, let your audience know what they can expect to learn and what you’ll cover. Bullet points or a paragraph that describes the takeaways work well. This way, the right people read your content and have a problem solved versus reading it and walking away feeling like their time was wasted.” ~ Erin Blaskie, Erin Blaskie, Digital Strategist

10. Be Consistent

“People love consistency, and you can use that to your advantage with this content. Designate a day of the week or month on your content calendar to release an instructional video or article, and don’t miss it. This will keep your brand top of mind, build a following and keep people regularly engaging with your content.” ~ Andrew Saladino, Just Bath Vanities

11. Be as Detailed as Possible

“The best instructional content leaves no stone unturned. Walk a user through a process with as much detail as possible. That way, a user can recreate what they need with no questions asked.” ~ Wade Foster, Zapier

Cinema Screen Photo via Shutterstock

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The Young Entrepreneur Council


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

5 Reactions

  1. I have always been a fan of instructional content whether they come in video form or text format. However, not all instructional content or tutorials are created equally. Some can be just plain boring. Thanks to these tips. Hopefully, the next tutorials I will see on the net will be more engaging.

  2. Instructional videos are a great way to increase conversions. Customers often have hesitations about buying a product online because they don’t get to physically see it. A “how-to” video dampens a lot of that worry!

  3. Solving a problem is not only a good way to get your content to stick out, it helps establish your credentials as a leader in your industry. Having content on your site such as “What to do if…” or “5 Tips for …” help give your content visibility and provide answers that the searchers are looking for. Regularly posting this type of content builds your brand and establishes your company within your niche.

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