For some people considering entrepreneurship, the best path forward is to become an infopreneur. An infopreneur business is based on selling knowledge rather than physical products; there are a number of forms an infoprenuer’s information products can take.
We’ve already covered how infopreneurs can use ebooks to build their business. Now we’re going to look at how to create and use another common information format: tutorials.
Tutorials usually take one of two forms:
- An informative blog post that goes step-by-step through the process of how to do things, usually with helpful photos or screenshots.
- A video tutorial that shows you (or someone else) going through the steps of how to do something.
Another option to consider is using both formats for the same tutorial subject, that way your audience can choose the one that best fits their learning style. Janet at Paper + Spark does this for her tutorial on getting sales tax info from Etsy, ensuring she doesn’t alienate or lose any interested viewers based on their preferred format.
While each option requires a different process to create, the end result should provide the viewer with the same thing: actionable information they can use to go and do the thing you’re teaching them.
How to Use Tutorials
In most cases, infopreneurs use tutorials more as a way to market their business rather than as an information product in and of themselves. You can use them to provide value to your audience on topics related to the subjects covered in your paid information products, like Paper + Ink does above – one of her products is an accounting spreadsheet for Etsy sellers.
You can use them as a way to show customers the best way to use your information products, like By Regina does for her One-Year Editorial Planner.
Or you can use them as part of a course you create to sell, which By Regina talks about doing in a post on the multimedia formats to build a course with.
The point is that there’s not just one way to use tutorials to help build your infopreneur business. They probably won’t be the only information format you use, but when you’re working out a content plan for your infopreneur business, they’re one of the valuable tools you can use to build on and promote your other information products.
However you choose to use your tutorials, you have to create them first. Here are the main steps you should take to get it done.
Step 1: Determine the tutorial topic(s) your target audience needs help with.
The first step to creating a tutorial is the same as it is for any information product: you have to figure out the overlap between knowledge you have and information your target audience needs.
If you haven’t already, this requires doing some research into who the people in your target audience are and what their needs are. Some needs can be met with informational blog posts or podcasts, but for tutorial ideas you want to pinpoint the needs that are more about doing than knowing.
That could mean learning how to do something specific in a popular software program, figuring out how to build something, or learning a way to better organize a process. It shouldn’t be something that’s super easy for them to figure out on their own, and it needs to be something you can break down into specific steps.
Make a list of potential ideas and then winnow it down based on relevance to your overall brand and whether or not there are already easy-to-find tutorials on the subject.
Step 2: Determine the best format to create your tutorial in.
As previously mentioned, your main format options are a detailed blog post, a video, or both.
For a blog post, you’ll likely want to include either screen shots or photos, based on the topic you’re covering. Screen shots are fairly simple to take, but the process varies based on the type of computer or device you’re using. Here’s a rundown of instructions for each. As for photos, most smartphones can take decent photos that will suffice for your tutorial, but if you want to step up the quality of the images, you can research affordable cameras to use.
For most video tutorials, you’ll need a good recording software that will allow you to capture your screen view, and you may want one that also makes it easy to capture video of yourself as you talk. If your tutorial is on a subject that’s not computer-based, like how to build something or sew something, then you’ll need either a camera to shoot your video with, or should do some research into how to use your smartphone to shoot videos that look high quality.
No matter how you shoot your video, you’ll need to edit it as well, so look into and invest in video editing software. Note that some types of screen recording software will also include an editing component, so if you’re doing screen view-style tutorials, you can probably find one product for both recording and editing.
Having the right tools to create a high-quality product is important, but if all this is sounding expensive, don’t worry too much. For the most part, you should be able to get by with affordable products or figure out how to use those you already have when it comes to creating tutorials.
Step 3: Go through the process of what you’re teaching and make notes on each step.
You know how to do the thing you’ll be teaching, but to communicate it to someone else you need to break it down into each individual step required. Sitting down to work out this step will result in the outline you can use to create your tutorial.
Go through the whole process yourself and write out a note recording each thing you do. Get as specific as possible here. Even if it seems obvious to you that you have to login to the software first, don’t skip that step. If one of your viewers is doing this for the very first time, they may need to hear all those steps that seem obvious to you.
Step 4: Create your tutorial.
Now that you have your outline, it’s time to turn it into your tutorial.
For a blog post, this step is mostly a matter of expanding the outline in writing. You need to add a good intro and conclusion and turn your notes into clearly written, well-formatted instructions. Make sure to include your screenshots or photos at the appropriate moments in the post to illustrate what you’re saying.
For video, this part includes a couple extra steps. First, you need to write your script. The script should include both the words you’ll be speaking on the recording and what you’ll be doing as you talk. Then, it’s time to record.
You may find you need to record the same thing a few times to get it right, especially if this is your first time making a tutorial like this. Give yourself a few tries and remember that you’ll be able to edit out any parts that didn’t work.
Step 5: Edit.
This stage is important for both written and video tutorials. With written tutorials, it’s generally faster and easier. Proofread your work at least twice and consider if it’s worth hiring a professional editor to give it an additional look. If you don’t hire an editor, ask a friend to review it to check that your instructions are clear even for someone unfamiliar with the topic at hand.
Video editing is more time consuming, but the software you bought should let you cut sections and move pieces of the video around as you need to get it right. The particulars of video editing will vary based on the software you use for it, so check the tutorials and other instructional information available from the provider.
Step 6: Promote.
This is the final step of any information product you create. When you take the time to put a high-quality information product together, you need to put at least a comparable amount of time into getting it in front of people or what’s the point?
Work your tutorial into the larger promotion plan for your business. Share it on social media. Consider if it’s worth using paid advertising on search engines or social media sites to expand its reach. And make sure you do all the proper tagging on YouTube or on-page optimization on your website to make it easy for your potential customers to find.
If your tutorial solves a problem your audience has and no one else has a helpful tutorial out there on the subject, then yours is likely to gain some real traction and help bring people to your business. By helping them, you’ll be helping to build your infopreneur brand, which is what infopreneurship is all about.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.