Video Ideas For YouTube: The How-To Conundrum

May 17

Video ideas can appear out of the blue and all is right with the world.

But then there are those times when you spend all week figuring out what you’re going to film. Then once it’s done, edited and on YouTube, your mind starts the downward slope to 7 days later when you film the next one.

And the cycle continues again and again.

So we need an easy way to come up with video ideas and titles, otherwise you’re going to go stir-crazy in a quick minute!

Don’t panic though. An absolute plethora of ideas is coming your way along some idea generator tips that you’re going to want to hug me for!


How-To Videos Are Extremely Popular On YouTube

Not only are how-to videos popular to view, they are searched for on a massive scale. And that popularity is only going to rise as more and more of choose to utilise voice-activated searches.

Just think, you’re in a dire situation in the kitchen. If you don’t find out how to make a pasta sauce with the ingredients you have in the fridge, your dinner guests are going to get boiled pasta and frozen spinach served with an apologetic look (‘I forgot to go shopping today!’)

So what do you do in this information age?
You might have the inclination to look up ‘easy pasta sauce’ or ‘5 minute pasta sauce’ on your laptop- good old Google comes to the rescue.

But you might also be one of many who has the new technology equivalent to the village elders sitting in the corner of the kitchen. Amazon Echo or Alexa, Google Assistant or AppleHome will come to your aid instead. But you don’t simply say ‘easy pasta sauce’ you say ‘Echo find out how to make an easy pasta sauce,’ or ‘Alexa, search for how to make pasta sauce with frozen spinach?’

And that’s your key. You’re saying ‘how to.’

But How-To Videos Give Away All My Secrets!

Hold onto your horses for a moment.

You’re in charge of your video content. So you’ll only give away the secrets you choose to give away!

As an artist or maker you likely sell what you create, or teach the crafts. How-to videos can become leaders into those paid products.

An example of this is my series of videos on YouTube, Knitting Jargon Tutorials. Many of these videos pick up a different abbreviation that is used in knitting and simply demonstrates the technique. You may think that they’re giving the game away and that no-one will buy my courses because of them. But it’s only one technique in that video. Not the whole nuance of understanding lace, cable or beginner’s knitting.

Let’s Look At The Four Different Types Of How-To Videos More Closely

The Demo

As I described just now, the demo video teaches a technique to the audience, so if you’re a teacher in your field you’re onto a winner.
Some simple examples:

  • how to knit a scarf for beginners
  • how to draw a mandala
  • how to make hoop earrings
  • how to photograph a flower
  • how to paint a cup of coffee with watercolours

And yes, you don’t have to give the whole game away, just be aware that when you are generous with what you teach you’re going to build a loyal following. That following will convert more readily into paying clients.

Paid content by e-courses or in-person workshops are more about having all the information in one place, taking deep dives into niched topics and having one-to-one support or group coaching. And you cannot give those things in a YouTube video.

(I’ll dive deeper into Demo videos next week- so keep a watch on this blog!)

The Use

What? Yes, okay, ‘the use’ sounds a bit odd! But just imagine that you’ve got a new paint palette, it’s your first time with blocks of watercolour instead of using tubes or paint, so you want to know how to use these brand new straight-out-of-the-box paints. You’re just curious whether it’s a different process, and how on earth you start using dry paints. (I spray them with a water mister, about 15mins before painting!)

Generally you’re going to be talking about the tools or materials of your niche. But this can also be prime minutes for showing customers how to use your physical products, like you’d see on an infomercial.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • how to use circular knitting needles
  • how to use fine point drawing pens (without squashing the tips!)
  • how to use cake stencils with royal icing
  • how to use an iPhone for macro photography
  • how to use flat watercolour brushes

Many of these items that you’re demonstrating could be linked to in your YouTube description and blog post, so you could easily get direct sales or affiliate sales from the ‘how to use’ videos.

The Make

Making is part of life. We make cakes, birthday cards, knitted hats and paper crafted bookmarks. And for this you can use the verb that matches your niche, or use ‘make’.

In that respect you need to be aware that you’ll likely be giving away a large part of the puzzle in these videos. But you can do a couple of things to keep your viewers interested, excited to see more and possibly willing to pay more.

Firstly, you can create a series of videos on a ‘how to make’ topic. If I show how I’m knitting a hat, as I teach in my courses, I film multiple videos and deliver them as a group. This group of videos can be presented on YouTube or your blog by creating playlists and categories. You’ll have people watching multiple videos, which is always a good thing on YouTube. The algorithm will pick this up and reward you for it.

Secondly, you purposefully lead viewers into conversions. The make can be about baking a cake. You have three videos, focusing on the ingredients, the mixing and the cooking. Then you suggest they download the free recipe (giving you their email address in the process) or buy your e-book with 10 more cake recipes, (giving you moola, cash, dosh!) With the knitted hat example I’d suggest finding more knitted hat tutorials in my paid courses and membership, or lead them towards my knitting patterns if I’m encouraging them to knit independently.

Have a look at some making examples:

  • how to knit a pixie hat with chunky yarn
  • how to make a birthday card with scrapbooking paper
  • how to bake a Victoria sponge cake
  • how to make a photo light box
  • how to sew a doorstop with fat quarters

The Choose

This is a great ‘how to’. You’re going to find it easy to film as it’s working from your zone of genius.

How to choose can range from selecting tools and materials to use within your niche, to picking three of your abstract prints to display together on a bedroom wall. So again, this could be filmed as a light ‘infomercial’ but still be very useful and engaging.

I’ve done various ‘choose’ videos on my Knit With Hannah YouTube channel, from how to choose knitting needles, to how to choose yarn for two colour knitting.

Some examples could be:

  • how to choose circular knitting needles
  • how to choose fine point drawing pens
  • how to choose a cake tin for baking
  • how to choose a new DSLR
  • how to choose watercolour paints
    (take note, sometimes ‘watercolor’ will have more searches than ‘watercolour’ on YouTube, so if like me you’re more familiar with British English, you may have to consider changing spellings to get more views)

You can see how closely aligned these video suggestions are with the ‘use’ category. They can be filmed as pairs of videos. So once your viewer has chosen a tool or material, they can then figure out how to use it!

Keep your eyes open for the next five weeks…

That was good going!
Do you have lots of ideas popping up, waiting to be filmed?
If so, then write them down. The last thing you need is more things in your mind that you need to try to remember. Once you’ve got lots of ideas you can start to plan them out into a content schedule and the filming will feel a lot easier.

I’ve got some surprises for you over the next six weeks! Yes, for five more weeks I’ve got a series of blog posts giving more video ideas for YouTube.
Your video ideas will come to you so much more quickly that you’ll become a batching queen before you know it!

I’ll see you next week for a deeper dive into demo videos. Hope to see you there!

And if you’d like some support when brainstorming, come join me for a Blog-Busting Brainstorm. I have an uncanny knack for coming up with long lists of anything. We’ll meet for an hour and fill your content calendar for at least 6 months.

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[…] you didn’t see last week’s check it out here, we were looking at all the how-to video options there are in the creative world of making and […]


[…] Do you remember what I said in the first post in this series? […]

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