How to Create a Tutorial: Six Simple Tips for Success

November 24, 2020

Learning how to create a tutorial may not feel like your top priority as a tech business, but it could be more important than you realize. Say, for example, that what you’re offering is great and your messaging is on point, but you’re still struggling to establish a dedicated user base. You know your product has value, but you haven’t shown how.


People need a reason to pick your product over what they’re currently using. Depending on how groundbreaking or complex it is, that could mean more than a single announcement. It takes a sustained effort to show potential users how your product will fit into their workflow and make their lives easier.


For big companies with unlimited resources, educational programs are a great way to do this. If you’re a smaller operation with a more limited budget, however, there are still plenty of ways to hook people. One of our favorite ways is the tutorial.


At Liaison, we’ve helped plenty of clients—past and present—put together winning tutorials. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to create a tutorial with six simple pieces of advice. But first, let’s answer some questions you might have.

What Is a Tutorial?

A tutorial is an explanation of a topic or task, usually delivered in a step-by-step account. Tutorials can be online videos, written pieces, or even in-person presentations. In the tech space, a tutorial could be a video showing you how to light a video game cutscene in 20 steps.


They are best delivered by an expert, but a pre-written script could be delivered by anyone with a flair for voicing online videos. Similarly, in-depth instructions from an expert could be written up as a tutorial by a professional writer.


While the definition of a tutorial might seem obvious, it’s worth keeping it in mind and making sure that what you’re working on remains a series of easy-to-follow steps for your audience and not just an explanation of a complex process, or a behind-the-scenes snapshot.


What Is a Product Tutorial?

Product tutorials reveal how to use and make the most of the products you offer. They can focus on particular processes, common questions, or creative endeavors. Ultimately, the goal is to showcase the worth of your product without doing the hard sell to any potential customers. What’s more, a wealth of educational content will reveal you to be a company that truly cares about the people using your products.


Once you’ve gained a customer, maintaining relevant and up-to-date tutorials will help you keep them. If your content is optimized to appear at the top of search engine results, you’ll become a trusted voice of authority in your sector and cut down on customer service requests.


What Are the Benefits of a Product Tutorial?

Understanding how to use your product can help to ensure an informed purchase. A 2019 study by GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of consumers research products or services online before buying. While the study refers largely to in-person purchases, the principle applies to software that’s downloaded or technology that needs to be delivered. Having a wealth of easy-to-follow tutorials and information on your website could be the deciding factor in a potential sale.

How to Create a Tutorial 1: Keep It Simple

The basic structure of a tutorial is simple. It starts with a brief introduction, in which the writer might discuss their background, their vision of the end result, and what tools they’ll be using to create it. Then, they’ll walk the reader through a series of steps, beginning with the planning stages before moving through everything needed to reach the end. Some tutorials are just four steps long, others are 18. Ultimately, the length depends on what’s right for you based on the complexity of what you’re trying to create.


How to Create a Tutorial 2: Choose Your Writer

Unlike most written content, tutorials are often worked on by artists or technical wizards instead of writers. You have plenty of people to pick from. Consider your team, partners, beta testers, and anyone who knows your product inside and out. Maybe there’s an artist you’ve seen on social media doing amazing things with your software (or might be open to testing it out). Message them and try to get something going.


If you decide to use someone on your staff, bear in mind that publications will be wary of giving their readers a sales pitch, so keep it focused. It’s also worth remembering that artists aren’t necessarily writers. Make sure someone on your PR team gives the tutorial a thorough proof.


How to Create a Tutorial 3: Pick a Fun Subject

You can get really creative with the topic of your tutorial. Consider what catches your eye in the pages of a magazine or online. Beyond something that looks cool, you also want to pick a subject that showcases the capabilities of your product. Do you have 3D graphics software that helps with caustics? Consider a table with refractive glass. Does your product help VFX artists populate busy scenes? Consider a forest full of trees. Work with your tutor to find a subject that will captivate your potential users.

How to Create a Tutorial 4: Put Your Product on Show

Your tutorial could be a YouTube video, an article in a print magazine, or a blog post on your website. Readers could have some knowledge of your product or none at all. You never want to assume too much and skip basic steps that could help newcomers. Go slow, be clear, and meet readers at their level of understanding.


If your product is part of a larger pipeline, think about how you could show where it fits. People like familiarity. If they can see how your product will fit into their existing workflow, they might be more inclined to start using it. Ultimately, you never want to be perceived as making a workflow more complicated. The goal is to show how your product makes life easier.


How to Create a Tutorial 5: Include Great Images

The image at the top of your article, or the thumbnail of your video, aren’t the only ones that matter. As your tutorial goes from step to step you’ll want clear imagery to show what you’re doing, regardless of its complexity. Remember that many people, particularly artists, are visual learners and need to see what they’re doing.


How to Create a Tutorial 6: Remember That Knowledge Is Power

If you have a great product (and we’re sure you do), education is one of the best sales tools you have—and tutorials are among the best ways to harness it. Whether you’re timing it with a product launch or keeping up the momentum between updates, tutorials are well worth your time and effort. And if you’re ready to give them a go, we’re here to help.