In April 2016 Instructables.com ran a competition for content creators where if you got 4 projects featured in 1 month you were entered into a special raffle to win a GoPro. Unfortunately I didn’t win but I did get featured four times and in this post I will outline how I did it!
Instructables is an awesome website where you can upload tutorials on a range of different subjects from wood working to recipes. They’ve built an amazing community and I feel super priviledged to have grown a following there. The website frequently hosts competitions with crazy cool prizes and is a great source of inspiration for makers and artsists.
The most rewarding feeling ever is receiving an email saying “Your project has been featured on our homepage!” and watching as the view count goes through the roof! But this doesn’t always happen and it requires a significant effort on the creators behalf.
So what makes an Instructable good enough to be featured? I am not one of the editors so I can’t say for sure but here are the things I do to give my projects the best chance of landing on the sacred homepage!
Make Your Projects Unique
Instructables is a huge database of amazing projects and a treasure trove of knowledge! To stand out from the crowd you need to make your projects special. I always try to go above and beyond with my tutorials, using unusual materials or explaining complicated processes that nobody else has covered.
Try and make your project unique and fun, where the end product is professional and well made. I like to create tutorials good enough for someone to create a saleable item at the end. If you can teach someone how to make something to a professional standard then you will do well!
Include A Video
What makes a good tutorial video is beyond the scope of this post, plus I’m pretty new to the video creation game so I don’t have all the answers (yet). From my experience though a good video can make your Instructable much more appealing to the editors on Instructables.
I personally believe that a tutorial video should be clear, comprehensive yet concise.
- Clear: The point of a tutorial video is to teach so all of your instructions need to be clear and understandable. Use a tripod to keep the camera steady and a decent microphone. There’s nothing worse that blurry camera work and muffled audio!
- Comprehensive: You should cover all of the relevant information on the subject – share those skills and help your audience to learn everything they need to on a subject.
- Concise: Watching videos where someone takes 10 minutes to explain something simple is frustrating. Stay on topic and avoid going on a tangent. Be ruthless with your video editing and omit parts of the video that are wasting the viewers time!
Step By Step Photos & Instructions
The first time I ever posted on Instructables I only included the Youtube video and a little blurb for my “How to make a stylus pen on a lathe” tutorial. I was contacted by one of the editors who said that my tutorial would have been featured if I had also included a step by step breakdown of the project.
Far from feeling disappointed I was stoked and super keen to post another project. A few months later I posted “How to make an acrylic ring with corian” and took the editors advice. I went through my video and screen captured individual frames from each stage of the project and wrote up the tutorial one step at a time.
The next day I woke up and my tutorial had received over 20,000 views in one day! The moral of the story is to include a great video and then break it down step by step with images, that way people can skim read through the project or enjoy your video!
A Good Cover Image
This probably goes without saying but a good cover image goes a long way. I am far from being a graphic design expert but if I know when an image is eye catching. The cover image could a picture of the finished project or a collage of the various stages. Just make sure it is well lit and in focus (a tripod and white lights are great tools for this).
I also like to include a bit of text using a big bold font. It seems to work for me and looks professional but I don’t think this is essential.
A full search engine optimisation tutorial is far beyond the scope of this article – however I have written a tutorial on Etsy SEO containing some of the basic principles. I’ll keep it simple here and just say that you should choose a title and tags that contain phrases that people are likely to search for to try and find your tutorial.
Getting featured on Instructables isn’t an exact science and the team of editors there have a great eye for unique and fun projects. I’d also like to say that getting on the home page isn’t the be all and end all and posting how to tutorials is one of the most rewarding things you can do online!
Best of luck and happy making!!