The Two Types of Tutorial Marketing

Used to be, there were two steps to using media to market your business.

First, you found an appropriate media outlet to advertise in, and you paid your money.

Then, you created your advertisement so people would call, order, or visit your website.

Now, you are the media outlet, and your “advertisement” had better be quite useful to your readers / listeners / watchers, or you’re wasting your time.

That’s the whole idea behind tutorial marketing, and how you can use the concept to both attract readers and actually sell something.

Attraction Tutorials

Attraction tutorials are what Chris Garrett smartly calls flagship content—the core subject matter that you build your blog around. Attraction tutorials are extremely relevant “how to” content that conveys the big story you’re trying to tell, and should often be tied in to your about page.

A primary example at Copyblogger is Copywriting 101, a 10-part series I wrote right out of the gate to introduce readers to what this blog is all about, and to educate those not familiar with copywriting.

Another example is Viral Copy, which I also released early on in order to convince people of something that has now become an accepted fact—that copywriting skills can help you get traffic in addition to sales. It’s a 30 page educational PDF report that is also a sales piece designed to get you to subscribe to Copyblogger.

Attraction tutorials should be prominently displayed and easily accessed, and are all about starting an ongoing relationship between your blog and the site visitor. They should also be in a format that allows for viral attention via bookmarks, Diggs, or email forwards and other user-distribution methods (like You Tube videos or PDF documents that can be bundled with other content).

And of course, well-crafted individual posts can be attraction tutorials all on their own. But often a “special event” tutorial that falls outside of your regular posting rhythm will prove more compelling and comprehesive.

Selling Tutorials

While attraction tutorials are about selling you and your blog as a quality information source, and are often focused on “how to,” selling tutorials are a bit more focused on the “reason why” someone should do business with you.

You still need to be actually teaching, and providing exceptional value that stands on its own. But the natural implication along the way will be that your product and service is the right solution. And then you will at some point expressly ask—with a call to action—that the learner become a customer or client.

Examples of this type of tutorial are Perry Marshall’s 5 Days to Success With Google Adwords free email course, and the free excerpts offered by 37 Signals of their ebook Getting Real. Both provide real tangible value while creating desire for the real deal.

You know you’ve hit a home run when your attraction tutorial becomes a selling tutorial as well. But those are tricky. :)

Substance Rules

The people who seem to shy away from this type of marketing coincidently seem to be those with not much to offer.

Their ebook is so slim on value that giving away some good parts would be giving away the whole thing.

Likewise, service providers who rely on smoke and mirrors salesmanship rather than sharing expertise often find that this is just not their cup of tea.

But you already know that, right? You know that ultimately it’s what you have to offer that makes your blog, your tutorials, and your story desirable.

And if not, adjust quickly, because this approach to “advertising” is really the only shot most businesses have at truly succeeding in the online environment.

Subscribe to Copyblogger today!

Add Copyblogger to your Technorati favorites.

Print Friendly

What do you want to learn?

Click to get a free course and resources about:

Reader Comments (16)

  1. says

    This post itself is a good example of advertising with tutorials. :) Nice and informative, just the way I like ’em!

    Too bad I don’t have anything to sell with my own how-to content — yet!

    For now, though, reading about the ins and outs of online marketing is fascinating. Is tutorial marketing the way of the future? As a consumer, I certainly hope so.

  2. says

    Yeah it’s true that the “How to” content can bring in a lot traffic to your site.

    I realized that before some time when I started to post howtos in my blog, and now I believe that this way you can increase the loyalty of visitors.

    The bottom line is that with this kind of content you actually giving solutions to your readers, and that makes them come back to your site.

  3. says

    I am writing a post about you today as being one of the best blogs around for people who are into business blogs. Your content is fantastic and I have learned much from you. Thanks!

  4. says

    I’ve discovered today your blog through and I’m spending the whole afternoon with it.

    First of all, congratulations, and second you have all the reason when you talk about smoke, mirrors and not giving away a peek of what you have really to offer…

    I remember the title of the last Godin’s book “All marketers are liars”, if you can demonstrate through tutorial marketing that this is not true, you have weakened the wall of resistance to buy, one more delicate push (this is an art in order not to screw all) and the sale is yours… tutorial marketing is about lowering the natural defences to be sold through the most powerful weapon, the truth about what you really have to offer.

    You have a new fan…

  5. says

    Hi folks! Yes, the topic of tutorials is increasingly in demand. Marketing and tutorials in the coming years, will be important …

  6. says

    The importance of online education and teaching is growing year on year and now mini tutorials online can even be charged for in itunes. However the more you give away free the better really

Comments are open for seven days. This article's comments are now closed.