How to Make a Captivating YouTube Tutorial Video
Tutorial videos are hugely popular on YouTube.
In fact, 70% of the platform’s 2 billion monthly users head to YouTube when they need to learn a new skill. Videos help them solve problems they’re having with their work, studies, or hobbies.
For creators, that means that tutorial videos are a rewarding, evergreen type of content to create. If they don’t already, they should feature regularly in your content creation calendar.
But what are the hallmarks of a good YouTube tutorial video? And how do you make one?
Here’s the run-down.
Structure: Plan Your YouTube Tutorial Video in Advance
To start with, draw up the structure of your tutorial video in advance. Nothing is more frustrating for a viewer than an endless series of “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this earlier, but…”
The best way to go is to start with research on what points are the most challenging for your audience. Then draw up a video script that covers them all.
To find out what your viewers’ problems are, you can either ask them directly (think polls, comments, live streams), do some keyword research, or hit forums like Reddit.
Some of the most successful tutorial videos, though, are based on personal experience. You had a problem and solved it – here’s how.
This video about fixing a common phone problem got 2.7 million views.
Set Expectations: Let Your Viewers Know What You’re Going to Cover
At the beginning of your video, let your viewers know exactly what you’re going to cover – and what they can expect to have learned by the end of it. This only takes a few seconds but manages expectations.
Otherwise, you might be dealing with some frustrated viewers by the end of your video who were hoping you’d go into more depth, or who were waiting for information you never shared.
Similarly, you need to let your viewers know right off the bat if you’re expecting them to have some previous knowledge. Otherwise, you might overwhelm them with jargon they don’t understand or by skipping over vital explanations.
Preparations: Share Which Materials and Tools You’re Using
Another bit of information you should share at the beginning of your YouTube tutorial video is which materials and tools you’re using.
That way, viewers will know right away if your tutorial video is the right fit for them – or whether they need to do some shopping first.
If you’re using sponsorship or affiliate links to generate an additional income stream, this is also a great point to add a disclaimer and point to the links in your video description.
Viewers should know about all materials and tools used up front – like in a recipe!
Context: Especially for Technical Subjects
Before you deep-dive into the technicalities of your tutorial, give your viewers a bit of context. This is especially important if you’re trying to make a technical subject accessible to a wider audience.
No matter if you’re trying to explain a concept from physics, mathematics, coding or chemistry, it’s always a great idea to give your viewers an idea of real-world applications and examples.
Pointers: Refer to Related Content Where Necessary
Another thing to keep in mind is that your tutorial video shouldn’t be too long. Ideally, you should convey the maximum amount of information in the minimum amount of time.
One way to do this is to refer to related content instead of diving into details a lot of your viewers might know already.
Do your viewers need to know something you covered in a previous video? Just add a card and point them to it, rather than repeating everything.
Jeff from DIYHomeRenovision using the end screen to point out more drywall tips.
Text: Use Your Video Description for Links, Details, and Key Moments
Finally, make sure to harness the description of your YouTube tutorial video. It’s the perfect place to add (affiliate) links to the products you use, cross-reference to other videos, and list additional details such as technical specs.
Plus, you can add a list of key moments to divide your video into chapters. This means you manually add a time stamp in your description, and a short title for what you cover starting at that time.
Recently, YouTube started assigning key moments automatically via AI, but especially for tutorial videos it’s often worth doing it by hand. (Check out our key moments and chapters guide!)
Key moments will help both YouTube’s algorithm and your viewers get a quick overview of what your tutorial covers. They’ll help you rank higher in search results on YouTube – and on Google, too.
Just as importantly, they help your viewers pinpoint the parts of your video that are most relevant to them.
To get the most out of chapters, they should appear naturally in your video. That means you’ll need some careful editing, especially for the transitions from one step to the next.
The Bottom Line
Tutorial videos are great, sustainable viewer magnets. As such, they should feature regularly in your YouTube channel’s content calendar.
The best way to go about it is to structure your video in advance, set the right expectations, share details on the tools you use, and add context and references to helpful resources.
This lets you create a captivating YouTube tutorial video that offers real value for your audience.
Ready to give professional video editing a shot?
A tutorial video aims to teach the audience something – so they’re mostly informative. YouTube creators’ tutorials cover just about every common subject, skill, or problem you might have.
More than two thirds of all YouTube users head onto the platform when they want to learn a new skill. So, yes, tutorials and how-tos are hugely popular – and there’s no end in sight.
Information and structure are key for tutorials, because you want to teach something to your audience. And that means careful planning, scripting, and editing.