Online How-To Videos Make Holidays Delicious, Crafty & Joyful
The holiday season means three things: festive parties, gift giving and hibernating inside due to cold weather and dwindling sunlight. During the winter, home entertaining and do-it-yourself gifts are the cost-effective way to celebrate the season without sacrificing holiday cheer. While these how-to guides, recipes and projects have been typically found in print and TV-based media, this year they made a strong move online, where they can easily found, consumed and executed.
By Rebecca Johnson, Strategist, RTCRM
Thanks to Martha Stewart, magazines such as Real Simple and Better Homes and Gardens, and those doorstop-like holiday catalogs, there has never been a lack of ideas, inspirations and recipes for getting into the festive spirit. These articles and ideas have been traditionally developed and executed by professional writers, art directors and editorial staff, and have been for the most part heavily print-based, with some TV video segments thrown in the mix.
The 2011 holiday season saw this content evolve in two distinct ways: 1) away from the print- and TV-focused media to online videos; and 2) from curated, professionally produced projects to crowd-sourced, individually created how-to video demonstrations. With cell phones now equipped with high-quality video recorders, documenting holiday projects and gifts, revamping traditional recipes, and giving innovative decorating tips has never been easier and more accessible to everyone. Sharing these videos is also easier than ever with general video sites like YouTube and Vimeo, and how-to focused video sites like VideoJug, HowToHeroes, WikiHow, WonderHowTo and Instructables.
At the same time that online video sites have opened the door for this new source of innovation and creative holiday how-to contributions, the original do-it-yourself inspiration provider—the publishing industry—has started to embrace online video. Martha Stewart has a YouTube channel filled with decorating tips and projects using her line of products, Kraft Foods’ YouTube channel highlights holiday recipes that can be made using Kraft products, and craft store Michaels houses how-to tutorials on making garlands, scarves, wreaths, etc., on its website.
For the person looking for how-to guidance and do-it-yourself holiday ideas, online video is the best medium. It offers the opportunity to see the project crafted from beginning to end in a step-by-step manner and allows people to replay the instructions again and again. Online video also allows for projects to be tagged and linked to other projects, proactively providing the user with other ideas they may find interesting.Implications and Action Items
The shift from print-/text-based how-to holiday ideas teaches much about the way consumers want to learn from, engage with and consume digital content. To succeed in the online do-it-yourself video realm, there are two key considerations marketers should take into account.
- Make videos findable. If a user can’t find the video, then the main mission (i.e., to share ideas) is lost. Look for ways to boost video search indexing with video text summaries or creative title and description tags. Remember that Google owns YouTube, so YouTube videos are going to be among the top search returns when users search using Google.
- Innovatively incorporate products. The genius behind the Martha Stewart and Kraft YouTube channels is that their projects provide wanted and fun projects that use branded products. By selling the project, they’re selling product but in a soft, utilitarian and fun way. They’re also adding brand value by revealing new and innovative ways to use the product that the consumer may never have thought of.