The nature of video search has made how-to video guides a low hanging fruit. Think about it: it’s 3AM and you need to know how to create the basic drone of a didgeridoo. Where will you turn? The all-knowing internets, of course.
It’s an idea that none too few internet entrepreneurs have discovered, so we’re left with a plenitude of how-to video sites with various models of content procurement, from in-house production to collections from the web to user-generated and submitted to student-commissioned to a combination therein.
The most recent entrant to the space, Howcast, which a handful of former Google and YouTube employees launched today, follows 5min, VideoJug, WonderHowTo.com, Instructables, Expert Village and, sometimes, Mahalo Daily. So what to make of a new entrant in a crowded space?
From a rudimentary peek at each, I don’t see particular differentiation, with the exception of Mahalo Daily which is only sometimes a how-to guide (I think they moved on when they realized they didn’t know how to do much) and other times a whimsical tour of something neat. I definitely prefer the snarky tone of VideoJugg to the authoritative pontification of Expert Village, but I’m sure others would prefer the assuredness of an expert voice to the cynicism of a jagged-toothed Brit. Herein lies the opportunity for these ventures.
Most of traffic to how-to video sites will, presumably, be directed from Google search queries, ie “How can I quit smoking?”, but these brands must also drive direct traffic by setting themselves apart through distinctive experiences. If each of these upstarts focuses on refining its particular editorial voice or area of how-to expertise, each will develop a valuable brand. As with comedy websites, catch-all-warehouses of please-all content won’t cut it in a highly specialized world.
How-to websites must learn coopitition through differentiation, but that’s a challenge for which a how-to video will be difficult to find.