How-to videos are highly valuable content for any brand wanting to connect potential customers with their product or service. Depending on where these prospects are in the search journey—from researching to getting close to purchasing—brands can create different types of how-to videos to meet customers at various stages.

There are three main types of how-to videos:

  • Explainer videos offer a concise definition or explanation on a single topic. Typically, the topics are complex, which is why an explanation helps the viewer not only receive the answer but also learn how this brand is a natural fit with the video content.

Example: Harley-Davidson sells motorcycle apparel. They want to reach prospects early in the journey, so they might create an explainer video that answers the question, “What should I wear on a motorcycle ride?” By doing so, they answer the user’s question, and they can naturally educate the viewer about their brand.

  • Instructional videos help someone learn how to do something, typically for the first time. Brands can use these types of how-to videos to visually instruct viewers on the topic while also integrating some information about the brand.

For example, Peet’s Coffee sells—you guessed it—coffee. They want to reach potential customers who may not know about their brand, but who want to learn something related to what their brand does. Peet’s Coffee can use an instructional video to show someone how to make French Press coffee and then tie in their products (coffee, French Press equipment) or services (enjoy a cup of French Press in their coffeehouses).

  • Demo videos are similar to instructional videos, but instead of answering a question, these videos focus only on a brand’s product or service. These how-to videos can show how a product works or how a service addresses a specific problem or pain point. 

For example, Slack’s communication platform offers a lot of features. Using a demo video, this brand can clarify how the software works or point out a few unique selling features. Typically, these videos have the most impact when converting users who are close to purchasing—so, they very likely already know about the brand.

Now that you understand the different options available let’s look at some examples of effective how-to videos so you can get inspired to create your own.

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5 How-to Videos that Effectively Show and Tell

1. How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets

The Container Store does a nice job of using a real employee to show viewers how to organize cabinets in the kitchen (though a few more tips would be helpful). Viewers need to be able to relate to the person in the video, and this instructional how-to video nails it with a friendly, yet confident speaker. The brand does a brief tie-in with the introduction and ending, so viewers know they can visit The Container Store for not only the products but also their in-home organization services.

2. How to Snowboard

Learning how to snowboard is no easy feat, and that’s why REI created this explainer how-to video for first-timers. They hit the ground running—or should I say, boarding—with essential tips and tricks from a professional, which gives the content credibility and impact. Of course, REI racks up brand awareness points in this video and also delivers precisely what the viewer is seeking.

3. What is Slack?

Here we are mentioning Slack again, but that’s because their demo video is an excellent example of a how-to video done right. It checks all the boxes—focussing on just the brand’s software by showing how the software solves a problem and giving a brief overview of how it works. 

4.  Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Sharecare’s health and wellness platform helps people live their best life, so a how-to video about getting better sleep is a natural fit for the brand. When someone searches for sleep tips, they may come across this video. If they watch it, they learn not only some great sleep hacks but also become aware of the brand.

5. How to Start Training for a Marathon

The Run Experience is an online training platform for runners, so it’s fitting this brand would make an instructional video about training for a marathon. This video does a great job of showing the “how” visually and following it up with a tie-in to what the brand offers to complement this type of training.

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