Why That Tutorial Content on Your Web Site May Be Worthless

November 20, 2009

One common method of driving customers to your product or service can be a little freebie teaser to get prospects interested in talking to you. That type of freebie content could include case studies, white papers, and the topic of this post; The Tutorial.

While there is nothing wrong with providing context specific tutorials in principle;

If you don’t do it right, don’t bother!

The purpose of utilizing that tool is to demonstrate what you can do for me, increasing the likelihood of me purchasing from you.

If you just frustrate the hell out of me, you fail at that. Big time.

The Tutorial (not) for dummies

Yes, I am a tech manager. But one thing I know squat about is graphics and graphic software. Whatever your graphics software of choice is, I won’t be able to use it – trust me.

Anyway, I was pointed to a tutorial that would enable beginners (Me!) to use a pre-built template to add a particular graphic theme to a background image. I thought the idea was great, and downloaded the instructions and template.

The tutorial may have been perfect for someone with a graphic design background (not that anyone with that background would likely need a tutorial) but it pissed me off because it neglected the first, and most important part;

Step number one!


Step number one was missing in action.

This tutorial assumed that my uber-excellent graphics skills would enable me to insert my graphic image of choice into that template, and that I could then joyfully follow along with the remaining steps in the tutorial.

I failed at step one. It did not tell me the basic information needed to get started. Namely how to put my image into their nice magic template. Finally in frustration I just deleted the thing.

When doing a tutorial, you cannot assume that just because you know step 1, that everyone does. In fact, if you are going to assume, assume the opposite, that we are all idiots and need it spelled out in capital letters.

But what if???

Of course!

If your tutorial has an implicit understanding that it is only of value to those with existing PhD’s in aeronautical engineering, just say it!

You will save the rest of us frustration and time because you are defining your audience right up front.


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