So how do you make your tutorial stand out from the rest, earn exposure and perhaps even go viral? While there is not a silver bullet, there are a few guidelines one can keep in mind when trying to create that standout DIY post that will influence your reader to come back for more.
Whether you are teaching someone how to change a light bulb or install wooden floors, tutorials are designed to make a sometimes difficult task appear easier as you guide your readers through potentially complicated steps. In today’s world – where we have such a vast number of options to select from – tutorials may not appeal to people if not presented and organized correctly.
We all have different learning styles. Tutorials that align with our learning style will likely be well received and the information contain within retained. Conversely, if the styles conflict, we will likely struggle and potentially pass it up.
Being the visual bunch we are, this is probably one the most important elements of your tutorial and that is because humans are naturally attracted to things that are pretty and visually attractive. Similarly, in our industry, to increase the probability of a tutorial being ‘pinned’ or shared on FB, it has to have a ‘pretty factor’. There are obviously other factors that will determine what will get pinned and shared but that is an entirely other post.
We all know putting together a tutorial takes a lot longer than following the tutorial, so I would encourage you to evaluate the input/output and not waste too much time and effort on something if you feel it will potentially not return your time’s worth.
We have all come across tutorials that could be great, save for poor quality photos which unfortunately do not translate in ‘pinnable’ images.
Presentation matters as you are trying to achieve not only a complete and helpful tutorial, but one which is visually appealing. Taking ‘good’ photos does not necessarily translate into having to purchase an expensive camera, It does however mean you will have to get to know your camera and use your resources in order to take the best photos you can. I am a true believer that your camera is but a tool and not the most important aspect of a photo.
For a tutorial to flow in an organized manner, it has to make sense to someone who is doing the task for the very first time. Do your outlined steps follow the correct order? Did one step lead to the next or did you skip a step because you deemed it unnecessary? Remember that you want to write the tutorial as if you’ve never done the task before and a step that you might not deem to be important may confuse the reader if skipped. Use sound judgement to make this call as not every detail of the tutorial is always necessary. A helpful tip is to write down each step as you go along as this will help you with the directions later on.
As the expert, you are familiar with the terminology and process but do not lose sight of the objective of trying to make a task that is potentially difficult, easier for someone. While undoubtedly tempted to use a technical term, using simple layman’s is the way to go. As an example, I know the word gouache is used to described opaque watercolors for illustrations, but it is not necessarily a word that someone who is not familiar with watercolor may know. A good tip is to get to know your audience so that you will be able to communicate in terms which are both familiar to you and your readers.
Keep it Fresh
You can follow every single suggestion and have a perfectly written and photographed tutorial, but if the information you are providing is not worth knowing, people will tune out and not consider it worthy of their time.
The good news is that your readers want to hear from you, so infuse the tutorial with YOU. If it is something that has been done before, make it your own. Change it so to show your personality or speak about your own experience. What worked for you? What didn’t? What you did differently to overcome the obstacles? etc.
Remember that you are the expert and people have arrived at your site to learn from you. Take advantage of this opportunity and capture them with your witty personality or your story telling abilities. In short, use what makes you unique to your advantage and have fun!
Catch-up with Lucy at BlogPodium during her session, How to Create Stand-out DIYs. Do you want to create amazing DIY’s that get noticed? In this session, you will learn how utilizing a simple yet cohesive 3-prong approach of proper staging, fundamental photography and ‘reader friendly’ tutorials will not only provide your site credibility, but serve to: maximize your ‘pins’ and increase page views; attract new readers; generate potential business opportunities; and provide exposure to possible magazine features. In addition, the session will touch upon how to utilize social media and other networks to market your site and amplify your content.