10 How-To Videos That Really Work (And Why)

How-to videos are an incredibly effective way to engage your audience, build credibility, and generate brand awareness. According to Wyzowl, 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service, and 88% of marketers report that video gives them a positive ROI.

But creating a compelling how-to video that actually teaches viewers something valuable is easier said than done. It requires in-depth topic knowledge, careful planning, clear instruction, and creative choices that keep people watching until the end.

To help you craft how-to videos that really hit the mark, we‘ve curated 10 examples across a range of styles and subjects. For each, we‘ll break down what elements make it so effective and share tips you can apply to your own educational content.

Cooking & Food

1. Bon Appétit: How to Make Pasta Carbonara in 10 Minutes

What makes this video great:

  • Clear, sequential steps with helpful visuals for each
  • Host provides extra tips and context throughout
  • Upbeat music and dynamic camera work hold interest
  • Impressive result feels achievable for home cooks

Key Takeaway: Break recipes down into their most essential steps and get creative with angles/close-ups to bring the food to life. Make it feel effortless yet impressive.

2. Tasty: How to Make Watermelon Jell-O Shots

What makes this video great:

  • Bold, eye-catching colors and fun summer vibes
  • Shots shown in mouth-watering detail
  • Smart hacks, like using a melon baller
  • Text appears as the steps are being done

Key Takeaway: Don‘t be afraid to have some personality and flair! Match your video‘s energy to the spirit of the recipe. Strategic captions make the tutorial easy to grasp.

Home & DIY

3. Lowe‘s: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro

What makes this video great:

  • Assumes no prior knowledge but doesn‘t talk down
  • Recommends specific tools/products for clarity
  • Demonstrates techniques like a professional would
  • Each phase is distinctly broken down

Key Takeaway: Walk viewers through a project with the detail and care of an expert, but the warmth and relatability of a trusted friend. Make it feel doable with clear guidance.

4. IKEA: How to Build a Billy Bookcase

What makes this video great:

  • Clear 3D diagrams for each assembly phase
  • Unique X-ray view shows inner hardware
  • Uplifting music conveys ease and simplicity
  • No dialogue – just crisp visuals doing the teaching

Key Takeaway: Sometimes showing is better than telling. Rely on strong visuals to communicate your instructions and give it an inviting, easy-to-follow style.

Beauty & Style

5. Vogue: Kendall Jenner‘s 15-Minute Guide to DIY Face Masks

What makes this video great:

  • Casual, girlfriend-style banter builds rapport
  • Features masks to address common skin issues
  • Close-ups show texture and application clearly
  • Products linked in description for easy shopping

Key Takeaway: Create intimacy through an authentic, one-on-one approach. Anticipate viewer needs/wants and seamlessly work in ways for them to go deeper.

6. Sephora: How To Do a Smokey Eye | Beauty 101

What makes this video great:

  • Features an expert artist sharing their process
  • Includes tips for different eye shapes/types
  • Shows brushes used and explains their purpose
  • Reassuring, patient tone makes it feel attainable

Key Takeaway: Position yourself as an industry authority with professional insights. Break down the "why" behind techniques to further educate viewers.


7. Apple: How to use Portrait mode on iPhone

What makes this video great:

  • Shows a desirable skill in a stylish way
  • Unique split-screen and PIP show modes in action
  • Quick tips address lighting, composition, editing
  • Ends with a CTA to try it yourself

Key Takeaway: Pair polished production with succinct tips to create a video as elevated as your tech. Inspire viewers to immediately test out their new knowledge.

8. Ahrefs: How to Do a Content Gap Analysis

What makes this video great:

  • Comprehensive overview of an advanced strategy
  • Clear context for why/when to use the technique
  • Detailed screenshare tutorial of the entire process
  • Helpful timestamp links to jump to key sections

Key Takeaway: Don‘t shy away from complex topics – just be extra thoughtful about organizing and explaining them simply. Use chapters and navigation to support learning.

Lifestyle & Wellness

9. Lululemon: How to Choose The Right Yoga Mat

What makes this video great:

  • Lively host engages with clear expertise
  • Breaks down the qualities of an ideal mat
  • Shows specific examples from their collection
  • Text overlays highlight key factors to consider

Key Takeaway: Instill trust through confident delivery and specific, actionable advice. Offering options shows you understand everyone‘s needs are different.

10. Headspace: How to Meditate in 10 Minutes

What makes this video great:

  • Soothing visuals and narrator voice create calm
  • Elegantly simple animation enhances explanation
  • Addresses benefits and what to expect
  • Provides guided practice to kickstart the habit

Key Takeaway: Immerse viewers in your topic through purposeful style choices. A guided demo allows them to experience the value you‘re teaching firsthand.

How to Plan & Script Your Own How-To Video

Now that you‘re feeling inspired by these examples, how do you go about creating your own? While every how-to video is unique, following a few key steps will set you up for success:

  1. Identify your target skill, process, or project

    • What does your audience want/need to learn?
    • How can you fill a gap or add your unique POV?
  2. Break it down into clear, sequential steps

    • Outline each phase and what it entails
    • Consider your audience‘s knowledge level
  3. Write a engaging, educational script

    • Hook viewers with an enticing opener
    • Provide helpful context and tips, not just steps
    • Keep language conversational but authoritative
  4. Plan the visuals that will enhance your instruction

    • List shots, graphics, screenshares, examples, etc.
    • Aim for variety and interest, while avoiding clutter
  5. Prep your set and practice before filming

    • Secure a well-lit, clean, quiet environment
    • Gather all props, tools, and materials needed
    • Rehearse to ensure a confident, smooth delivery
  6. Edit with your end goal and audience in mind

    • Cut any fluff and keep pacing energetic
    • Overlay text, captions, music to maximize clarity
    • Include CTAs to like, share, try it out themselves

With 82% of all internet traffic projected to be video by 2022, embracing formats like how-tos is essential for any brand. Not only do they satisfy your audience‘s craving to learn, but they allow you to flex your industry expertise.

The how-to video examples showcased here demonstrate the vast creative possibilities this medium provides. Whether you take a simple, stripped-down approach or an elaborately edited one, the key is providing clear, compelling instruction that leaves viewers feeling empowered to try the skill out themselves.

By following the best practices covered, you‘ll be well on your way to creating how-to videos that both engage and educate. Get ready to establish your brand as the go-to authority in your niche – one helpful tutorial at a time.