WonderHowTo.com is the ultimate destination for answers. Answers in video form that you can follow along with and share with friends. We recently featured an interview I conducted with the legendary programming executive and former president of Fox and USA networks, Stephen Chao. Stephen saw the future for “How To” videos early and his site is growing like wildfire.
Stephen, how are businesses using the “How To” video format to build their brands?
Internet video is still nascent and small. Small because of how video is consumed. Consumption of any one particular web video is microscopic compared to consumption of a popular television show: I mean how many millions of people watch 60 minutes of a Tuesday American Idol episode compared to how many people watch (even two minutes of) the most viral YouTube video on that same Tuesday? I think advertisers, publishers and producers are all struggling to find a profitable model on the web that supports original production.
All of that said, "How to" Videos are a great way for companies to engage , educate and entertain their customers and…compared to traditional productions relatively inexpensive.
Creatively there are some "How To" videos that have, in my opinion, been excellent. My favorite is the Sprint Waitless.org: How to peel an egg.This video is so clear, and the topic so fresh to many viewers, that we decided to index this Advertisement into Wonderhowto.com. This video worked as both an ad and as original content: the perfect advertorial in my opinion. I would love to see more of this type of advertorial being tried. And I would love the chance to write and produce crisp ideas like this.
What are the tops tips to consider when creating a “How To Video”?
For me the key issue is: does the video (or article) have a bona fide INTENT to instruct. If the intent is to show off film making chops, or make you laugh, I quickly dismiss the video. That said, some people are able to accomplish both: instruction and entertainment. But in a world of Sophie's Choice, if you are making a how-to video, stay pure and be sure you nail the 'instruct' part before you nail the 'entertain' part.
The second issue for me is: can I as a user/viewer REPLICATE. In other words, what is the promise of the headline. And are the instructions so bomb proof that an idiot like me could accomplish the headline.
Third, in this very cluttered world, like anything else, it is nice to have a pure and promotable CONCEPT if you want people to take notice. That is the foundation of any good concept be it a television show, movie or novel. There is just so much conceptual debris floating in front of our eyeballs, that any new effort better be conceptually sturdy, if getting noticed is a goal. For example, how to tie a tie, is a very common how to. It is a clean idea. It is not original. It is not, per se, promotable. So, if you have some burning desire to undertake that kind of concept, you have an uphill task getting noticed.
Anything beyond that is icing to me. Is it well produced? Is it hi-def. Is it good film making. All nice qualities, but junior to intent, replicatability, and conceptual crispness.
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