This is where the ‘how to’ article comes in

Long-time readers will have seen this advice many times before, but I cannot stress enough the importance of ‘how to’ articles and videos in 2019. I believe a tipping point was reached a while back where people expect to find an answer to their ‘how to’ questions on the web, and expect search engines to dish them up straight away.

Ever since I’ve been in engineering (and probably forever), suppliers have banged on about being involved in providing ‘solutions’ rather than products. While most customers just glaze over at this marketing waffle, it does hint at a truth: what the customer wants is something to fulfil a function, rather than a product. In many cases, they don’t know what product will do it, and in many more, they know a product which will, without realising there was another which could do it better.

We’re often asked to create search advertising campaigns for products which address issues in a new way, or which are a whole new class. The problem with this is that nobody will be searching for something they didn’t know about, so we have to create adverts to run alongside searches for the traditional alternative. That’s possible, but it’s hard to get over a whole new concept in a small advert.

This is where the ‘how to’ article comes in. It may not reach long-time users of the traditional alternative, but it’s superb at reaching first-time customers. And they’re the hardest ones of all to identify.