|5 Tips for Terrific Tutorials...|
When you're just starting out, a tutorial is an excellent way to gain traction with readers and bring in regular traffic. (I learned this first-hand when I offered up my first tutorial in blog post number ten; my first five subscribers signed up within a week.)
However, not all tutorials are created equally. (And certainly not all of them are terrific.) I've come across a few for otherwise awesome projects that were not well executed. If your idea for a tutorial is actually new and unique, it would be a bummer to have it not be understood by your audience.
Therefore, I thought it would be worthwhile to tackle this topic with a list of five tips for terrific tutorials. (Note that they are not listed in any order of importance.)
By the way, please don't run away if you're more of a consumer of tutorials than a creator of them. Take this opportunity to voice your opinion on what makes a successful tutorial for you on the receiving end. With your input, we can all do better! (Remember, if you're shy, you can remain anonymous in the comments below.)
#1: Make it Easy
Actually, I can't stress this one enough: it's way easier to come up with a terrific tutorial if the subject matter itself is easy.
So if you're intent on targeting the masses, choose something that's easy to do, like my 5 minute lip balm carrier. Or my 1 minute pin jar. Or my 5 minute ruler grips.
#1: Consider a Graphics Only Tutorial
Think easy is boring? Not if you make it universally understood by making it a "pictures only" tutorial. If you can pull it off, these tutorials are almost automatically terrific. (Just be sure to include a graphic summarizing any measurements or quantities.)
origami ornament and in terms of blog traffic, it performed above and beyond my expectations.
Think about it — what could be better than seeing your tutorial shared around the world by people who don't even speak your language?
Another variation on this theme is a video tutorial that doesn't have narration; however, ensuring that a video tutorial is terrific involves a lot more work.
#3: Be Thorough
If your tutorial includes written instructions, use simple, clear language and don't leave anything out. This means including measurements, quantities, and materials — preferably at the beginning — so that your audience doesn't have to guess.
When testing your instructions, don't leave out anything and don't do anything that your instructions don't tell you to do. If you find yourself doing something that's not written down (within reason, of course; i.e., telling your readers to thread a needle before sewing is not a requirement), it's probably a hint that you haven't been thorough enough.
#4: Include Enough Photos
You'd think that this would be a no-brainer, but I've seen tutorials that were just a list of instructions with a single picture of the finished project at the very end.
The fact is, when it comes to photos, you should take one at every step of your process and when you think you have enough, you should add one more. Yes, it's a real time killer to stop and take photos when you're making something. But here's the thing — having lots of photos takes away some of the pressure of having to write detailed instructions or descriptions.
Because a picture can be worth a thousand words.
#5: Make It Professional
Want to convince your audience that you know what you're doing? Make your project look as professional as possible. Take pride in what you do. If you want your idea to be pinned, shared or liked, your chances of achieving that are greater if your work simply looks good.
The bottom line is, if you're going to put out a tutorial showing how to make something, it should look nice! Put in the effort and you will reap the benefits.
One final thing that I want to mention as part of the "terrific" tutorial process...
If your tutorial has been specifically inspired by something that you saw elsewhere or online, give credit. Hesitating because you don't want to be accused of taking ideas from someone else? If someone notices — and someone likely will — you might be accused of that no matter what credit you give. The crafting world being what it is, however, everything is derivative. (Think you're being unique? Think again.) I believe, however, that we all have the capacity to make something better by putting our individual touches on it. If that's the case and we want to share our creativity, it can be win-win, as long as we do our part and give credit for where our original inspiration came from.
Good luck with your future (terrific) tutorials!