The rise of how-to content

Content Strategy is emerging as a cornerstone within a brand’s broader marketing communications mix.

As a great brand strategy informs the foundation for its advertising, a great content strategy compliments this work by bringing the brand promise to life within the relevance of a customer journey. 

In the first of this four-part series, StopPress speaks to Augusto – who have led the curve in content strategy and creation for more than 10 years on the some of the rising trends in content marketing. First up, the rise of How-to’s.

What we’re seeing:

It varies from category to category, but on average, about 80 percent of people perform some kind of online research before making a purchase, which is moving the “moment of truth” earlier in the buying process. Whether the research is looking up a review, comparing features, price or just educating themselves, the modern day customer journey is constantly evolving how we think about content.

At Augusto, one of the more noticeable shifts we’re seeing is the increasing importance of how-to content. Traditionally, how-to’s are seen as a tool to improve a customer experience after a purchase has been made, but they’re also a crucial component in the path to purchase as people research and educate themselves on how to solve a problem and choose a product or brand.

Why it matters:

With a 70 percent YOY increase in views, how-to’s are now the most popular category of video on YouTube. And for brands wanting to facilitate a customer journey or establish themselves as a category leader, it’s a smart way to make your product or service a relevant consideration.

How-to videos also increase your brand’s visibility online. After Google, YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world and more than 60 percent of searches on the platform start with the words ‘how to’. Having well-optimised uploads that answer these questions increases your ranking in these searches.

On a more human level, it also shows that your business actually cares about its customers. Some things just need a bit of explaining in order to give people the confidence to actually go ahead with a purchase.

What you need to know:

Firstly, How-to’s aren’t ads, they’re step by step guides to help complete a task. People engage with them because they want help solving a problem. It’s not ‘how to use a chainsaw’, It’s ‘how to cut down a tree’. In addressing the task you have ample opportunity to feature the product. 

Secondly, duration doesn’t matter. People choose to watch a how-to, it’s not forcibly interrupting another activity. This is why how-to’s are watched longer, garner more likes and have the lowest rates of drop off than any other category of video YouTube. If a how-to is useful in helping complete the task, people will watch it through to the end regardless of whether it’s 10 seconds or 10 minutes.

Thirdly, optimise your video for the channel’s in which it will live. Consider your thumbnail or poster frame, the title, and if you’re using YouTube, follow Google’s recommendations on tags, descriptions and categories to ensure it shows up in search. If you couple this with a modest spend at the time of publishing, your video will be positively indexed for years. 

What we’re thinking:

Of all the trends in advertising, our industry’s rising interest in how-to content is really quite heartening. It’s the result of marketers aligning their content priorities with what consumers actually want and need. And the results are more informed purchase decisions and happier customers.

  • For more insights into content strategy and development, visit us at augusto.co.nz
  • To see the other stories in the ‘What makes us click’ series, click here.

This story is part of a content partnership with Augusto.

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