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How To Create Outstanding How-to Instructions, Quick and Easy

How to create a steplist in steptap.

Steptap is a new content platform that helps you create, manage and share your own how-to instructions. And it makes it easy.

Steptap is perfect for DIY bloggers, YouTubers, and businesses who need to create, manage and share instructions or process documentation for their products.

We have created the ultimate how-to make a how-to, which amounts to a guided tour of the Steptap creation process.

Don’t let the length frighten you; this just goes through all the wonderful features we have built in, and explains each one in brief detail.

Here it is: How To Create A How-to In Steptap

Steptap vs eHow – A Comparison Of Content Creation

Steptap steplist on fixing a shower faucet from Delta.As an up-and-coming how-to platform for business, Steptap is preparing to endure comparative scrutiny. There are other solutions out there, but none can compare with our tools for helping businesses Create, Manage and Share their own step-by-step instructions.

We recently had the opportunity to compare our content with that of eHow. In a real-world case study, Steptap demonstrates that a focus on a consistent, easy-to-use template for creating how-to content  provides a remarkable finish both in useability and content.

Our linking and sharing tools provide additional benefit for companies wanting to turn their content into engaging marketing collateral for customers searching for solutions on the web.

Comparison

Take a moment to compare the following two articles about adjusting the temperature stop on a Delta faucet.

You will notice that the Steptap how-to features links, formatted text, images and sharing tools. Our site is designed to provide businesses with the best way to market their business with engaging how-to content.

Steptap lead collectionSteptap business users also have the ability to take advantage of built in lead-collection. At the end of every steplist you will find a lead form that sends user inquiries directly to the designated account manager at your business.

Steptap is the best way to Create, Manage and Share your business how-tos, instructions and process documentation.

We would love to hear what you think about this comparison.

Start an account for free today at http://steptap.com

 

The Secret To Creating Great How-To Content

the-secret-to-great-how-tos

If you are reading this article you probably already know that you need well-formatted how-to content for your product or service.

Useful product instructions create positive customer experiences – and nothing frustrates a customer as quickly as ineffective instructions that are hard to use, inaccessible, or out-of-date. Happy customers who know exactly how to use your products buy from you again, tell their friends how awesome you are, and are less likely to return a product because they couldn’t figure how to make it work.

Before you continue with the rest of this article, go here: https://steptap.com/How-To-Change-Your-Oil. When the page loads, click the big yellow button that says BEGIN.

First, you will see a list of things you will need to complete the task. Below the required items is a set of instructions that explains how to change your oil. You can click through each step, stop, or go back to a previous step.

Next, go to https://steptap.com/. Open a free account – it will only take a minute. Now you can create your own set of how-to instructions just like the one you just looked at. When you have entered a username and password, you are ready to rock.

Click CREATE in the upper right hand corner. A template will open. This is your tool for making product tutorials that your customers will love. We call each set of instructions a steplist, but you can think of it as an easy-to-create-and-manage how-to for your business content marketing.

For the purposes of this article, start creating a short how-to by populating the fields. The first field is the title. The next few fields help Google index the page.

Go ahead, create a steplist for a simple three-step process so you can see how Steptap works. Maybe “How To Toast A Bagel,” or “How To Make A Cup Of Coffee.”

At Steptap, we have created a powerful platform for writing effective product and process how-tos. Each how-to instruction is a Google-indexed searchable page that links directly to your website (or anywhere you want). If you use the nifty timing feature, customers can play the steplist on their smart phone or iPad and set up your product hands-free. The steps, complete with pictures, diagrams or video, will advance automatically as your customer completes each step in the process.

Now, let’s talk about the Steptap features that are less apparent but equally impressive. Have you finished your short steplist? Press PUBLISH on the bottom of the template when it’s complete (don’t worry, you can edit it after it’s published). A page will open with one-click sharing and embed tools.

Steptap how-tos can be posted to your online store, embedded in your blog, featured on your company Facebook page, shared on Pinterest, added to your YouTube channel, or downloaded from a self-generated QR code.

Steptap product instructions help your customers buy, use, assemble, install, or enjoy your products. These self-serve product instructions appeal to busy customers who want to quickly figure out how to do it. They don’t want to search the index of a user’s manual or watch a rambling, amateur YouTube video. They contain natural search phrases: “how to install a pop-up sprinkler head” or “how to set up a wireless router” to attract prospects who are searching for something specific.

If you upgrade your Steptap account, you can add your company’s branding so your product instructions blend seamlessly with your marketing. Branding includes the ability to upload your logo for the top of each tutorial and gives you complete control over the colors and background image.

Upgrading your Steptap account to private branding also allows you to add your own backlinks from the top of the page as well as embedded links in the Required Items section for direct purchase. You will also see the inclusion of a lead capture page at the end of each of your steplists encouraging readers to contact you for more information about your product or service.

Visit http://blog.steptap.com/ to learn more about keeping customers happy with relevant how-to content.

Steptap: A Content Marketing Platform That Does Three Important Things

Steptap Business Content Management

There are three important things that every marketer is worried about when creating a content marketing plan: Creation, Management, and Distribution.

Content creation is a core concern for any content marketing strategy. “What should we write about?” is the single biggest reason most marketers don’t get started with an effective campaign, or falter after only a short burst of enthusiasm.

Management of content is unfortunately the first thing to go for reasons of practicality; there simply isn’t always a good way to manage content. Marketers pressed for time often skip the management dilemma and head straight to distribution, which can leave bad or outdated content right where you don’t want it. It also makes for some uncomfortable discussions when objectives, metrics and cleanup become the focus of necessity.

Where to distribute is rarely a problem for content marketers who are well connected to social networks, but the issue of convenience is another big hangup that causes trouble down the road. A convenient workflow is essential for keeping pace and avoiding failures related to fatigue.

These three seemingly simple concepts can be daunting, and comprise the three most common reasons why most companies don’t have a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

1. Content Creation

Content Creation with SteptapAt its core, Steptap is a content creation platform built around a standardized template designed to make it easy to create consistent and well-structured content. The Steptap creation tool allows ultimate flexibility to generate unique content while maintaining clean, consistent formatting that is optimized for SEO and usability.

Content options are presented in a series of manageable fields. Each field prescribes a specific type of information that will be included in the completed steplist (post).

The result is a consistent, formatted article that is designed for search engine indexing and customer convenience. Links, tags and content optimized for consumption are all in the right places without having to over-think the process. Uniqueness is preserved with the flexibility to add sections and freestyle the core elements of your content.

Outstanding content that was once difficult to conceptualize is now easier to create and optimize using Steptap.

2. Content Management

Steptap content management platformHow-to content, in particular, can be very difficult to manage when it is not in an optimized central content management system. Customers use how-to content to set up, configure and use your products, and it is essential to keep it up to date with the latest versions of your products.

Steptap provides a comprehensive way to manage content so that you can edit, delete or update any content in an easy way that doesn’t require reformatting. Also, because Steptap is a central management system for all shared content, a single point of contact provides updated information to every point to which the content has been shared or embedded.

Content management isn’t new, but Steptap makes it easy to do in a typically tough environment of highly-specialized and targeted how-to content.

3. Content Distribution

Steptap Share PageSteptap makes it really easy to share content in a number of ways. Our Share page, unique to every steplist, provides single-click access to the top-five social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn).

When you create a new steplist, our sharing engine creates a unique image optimized for each social network so that posts look good, no matter where they are shared.

Share with SteptapWe also provide a unique URL for each steplist, as well as a short-URL for posting in small places or simply to save room. URLs are exclusive to each steplist, so any time you share a URL in an email or link, you can be assured it will always lead back to your specific instructional post.

For bloggers and web masters, there is an embed code that allows you to easily include your steplist of instructions on any page of your site or blog. This is handy when it comes to editing content, allowing you to make your changes in one central location while updating the content no matter where it has been embedded.

Steptap QR Code for How-toA unique QR code is created for every steplist, and can be downloaded from the share page for inclusion on brochures and pamphlets, or even on product packaging where your customers can scan with their smart phones to gain access to easy-to-use instructions that are always up to date; no more reprinting of instruction sheets and manuals to deliver a satisfying experience to your next customer.

Give Steptap a try; it’s free! We also have paid upgrades available to provide additional features such as customized branding and advanced SEO as well as service packages if you want to hire our professional writing staff to create your how-to content for you.

Why Should SEO Providers Add Steptap To Their Marketing Services?

Steptap Is Available For Reselling by SEO Providers

Today’s Steptap post is for SEO providers and online marketing companies. We are excited to announce that Steptap is available for white-label reselling.

Steptap is a platform for creating search engine optimized product how-tos that teach customers how to use and enjoy products. Steptap allows online sellers to reach searchers before and after the sale. What can Steptap do for your clients?

Steptap for Customer Education

Customer Education is an emerging marketing technique that capitalizes on changes in customer behavior:

  • Customers seek product information from multiple sources
  • Customers are proactive in looking for products that solve problems
  • Customers respond to relevant, engaging content
  • Online solutions convert prospects to customers

Steptap Fills a Key Content Gap

  • Resellers can provide their clients with a valuable SEO tool offered by few competitors
  • By adding Steptap to their suite of services, resellers demonstrate that they are on the cutting edge of content marketing

Steptap Drives Sales

  • Steplists captures online prospects further up the sales channel
  • Steplists provides additional entry points to online store site
  • Steplists increase upsells
  • Steplists are easily shareable to reach additional prospects
  • Steplists increase the effectiveness of social media sites

Steptap for Effective Product Instructions

  • Steptap is the easiest way to create product instructions that blend seamlessly with overall marketing strategy
  • Product instructions are part of the product and shouldn’t be an afterthought
  • Well-crafted product instructions help create positive customer interactions with the company
  • Product instructions can extend the reach of existing documentation
  • Shareable, savable instructions ensure continuing customer engagement
  • Steptap provides an easy way to store, manage, and update product instructions

To discuss our reselling program, call Steptap at 801.938.3466.

Steptap Honored As One Of Utah’s Ones To Watch

steptap-one-to-watchThe Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum recognized Steptap as “One to Watch” at their annual UVEF Top 25 Under 5 Awards ceremony today in Provo, Utah.

Steptap was listed among 10 other pre-revenue startup companies in today’s ceremony that featured an additional 25 companies under 5 years old, each outstanding in their field.

The UVEF Top 25 Under 5 event is in it’s 25th year and recognizes the top 25 Utah companies that are less than five years old. Companies are selected for a combination of revenue, employee base, and scalability.

This year, UVEF added a new category to recognize outstanding pre-revenue startups with good ideas, scalable business models, and a jump start in the entrepreneurial community.

Steptap was presented with the One to Watch award this year as a pre-revenue company (no revenue prior to 2014.)

Steptap is an SEO marketing platform that specializes in helping businesses create and share engaging how-to marketing content that shows prospects how to use their product for a solution they need when they are searching for it.

See this news on the UVEF site at: http://uvef.net/2014/uvef-top-25-under-5-2014/

The Steptap Guide To Product How-Tos That Rock

People Really Do Read Product Instructions

Steptap isntructionsHave you ever bought an item that required assembly and found the product instructions woefully inadequate? Perhaps they consisted of a small paper sheet folded eighteen times and hidden in the packaging only to be discovered when you started looking for help after the project went wrong.

Maybe the how-tos contained indecipherable drawings or diagrams that appeared to have been created by someone who had never actually seen the product. Poor translations are notorious for complicating matters. (Though they can provide comic relief in the heat of a difficult project when emotions are running high.)

Does Your Company Overlook How-Tos?

How-tos for assembly, installation, operation, upgrades, compatibility issues, rebates, trade-in promotions, and return procedures often seem to be an afterthought. In some cases, they are absent altogether or buried five links deep in a website. Many large companies spend millions on impressive cross-channel marketing but don’t provide useful product how-tos. Why the disconnect? The attitude, “Nobody reads the instructions, anyway,” is simply not true.

This post contains online comments made by customers who were not happy with furniture assembly product how-tos. Poor instructions, however, are not limited to the ready-to-assemble furniture category. They can be found in all types of markets and industries.

It is not my intention to disparage any product or company, so I have changed or removed the names. These comments were found at apartmenttherapy.com

Instructions Are Part of the Product

Here is a comment from a frustrated customer that clearly defines the primary issue with bad instructions; the instructions are expected as part of the product, and are an essential element of the customer experience:

“Part of a product is its instructions. The fancy packaging clearly denotes this as a DIY-oriented product. Therefore, the instructions should be appropriate for DIY types like me who have never done this before.”

Poor How-Tos Are No Better Than None At All

“My first impression was that the desk’s directions were seemingly missing steps, and were written in some ancient alchemical code.”

“Thanks to instruction defects on (Company Name)’s 6′ Dishwasher Connector, the installation was significantly lengthened.”

Consumers tie their product and company experience to the assembly and set-up of your products. Many times we focus on the usage of the product after it is assembled. Poor instructions can color a customer’s experience right from the start, thwarting any positive momentum you might have achieved.

Bad Instructions Create Bad Customer Experiences

steptap-assembly-instructions2“I think the most difficult time I’ve had with something was a barbeque. It took over 6 hours! That one was the instructions’ fault.”

“I also spent about TWO! WEEKS! struggling to figure out how to put together a metal vanity rack that goes around your toilet. The instructions reversed where the long and short screws were to go, AND it was impossible to put together even with revised instructions.”

“Recently my front door knob just came loose and the whole thing fell apart. The instructions were useless! …basically just pictures of putting the knob on the door. It didn’t say what to do with all the little springs and all the other little pieces that went on the handle. I spent hours working on it and went to bed without it.”

What is the chance that these customers will return? Not likely. Worse, however, is that these negative experiences have become part of the discussion on the web regarding these products. Customers are 3 times more likely to share a negative customer experience, emphasizing the importance of good instructions.

Liability: Actual Injuries Associated With Poor How-To Documentation

While gathering examples for this article, I discovered that poor product instructions can cause more harm than customer frustration. Hopefully, these instances are extremely rare, nevertheless, they should serve as a warning. Legal departments take note: here are descriptions of injuries linked to product assembly nightmares:

“I am trying to type this with one hand and a broken hand as a result of my most frustrated recent effort at assembling a piece of furniture.”

“I ended up crushing my foot and having to go to the emergency room. The nurse laughed when I told her it was an (Company Name) injury. She said she’d seen quite a few of those in her time!”

Product How-Tos and Overall Content Strategy

Companies who fail to deliver adequate product how-tos are missing a key marketing opportunity. Well thought-out product instructions help achieve many important marketing objectives:

Create positive customer experiences
Encourage repeat sales
Conserve customer service resources
Reinforce brand identity
Strengthen customer loyalty

How-Tos Used Before The Sale

Thus far, this post has discussed the role of product how-tos after the sale – but why limit their application? Savvy marketers use product how-tos before the sale, as well. Steptap allows companies to capture “How to…” and “How do I…” searches performed by prospects who have not yet purchased the product but are looking for the solution it provides.

The self-serve generation seeks product and company information on their own terms. Product how-tos are a simple, yet powerful tool to secure and convert prospects at the critical time when they are ready to engage.

The Soft Sell and the Upsell

steptap-assembly-instructions3Well-crafted product how-tos highlight and explain product features naturally, without the hard sell that turns off many prospects. What about upselling? When a buyer is reading your product how-tos, they are golden – a captive audience giving your product their full attention. By featuring compatible or related items from your product line, product how-tos drive upsells. There is never a better time to introduce them to all the other cool stuff you carry.

Create Exceptional Product How-Tos With Steptap

Steptap is a platform for creating product how-tos that transcend the historically humble content niche. Steptap product how-tos meet the key criteria:

  1. Easy to find
  2. Accurate
  3. Break long processes into manageable steps
  4. Written at a level that can be easily understood by all of your customers. (If you sell to a highly-educated customer, you should still err on the side of simplification)
  5. Can be downloaded, printed or accessed electronically
  6. Available in multiple places: your online store, resellers’ websites, packaging, social media sites, brick-and-mortar store shelves
  7. Are updated to reflect product changes
  8. Can be saved and quickly re-accessed
  9. Are translated accurately
  10. Can be easily shared or re-posted by the customer
  11. Can be viewed on a mobile device
  12. If necessary, can be used hands-free

Extend the Reach of Your Existing Documentation

Your company probably has a body of product documentation. PDFs, user manuals, customer updates, white papers, live chat transcripts, FAQs, and employee training docs are a rich source of content that can be used to create product how-tos thereby extending the ROI and reach.

See How Product How-Tos Have Evolved at Steptap

To learn how to create product instructions that rock, visit steptap.com. Set up a free account with just a couple clicks and create your first product how-to in minutes. Add images and video for how-tos that create a hassle-free experience for your customers.

Steptap how-tos, (called steplists) can be posted to your online store, embedded in your blog, featured on your company Facebook page, shared on Pinterest, added to your YouTube channel, or downloaded from a self-generated QR code.

Each steplist is a Google-indexed searchable page that links directly to your website (or anywhere you want). If you use the nifty timing feature, customers can play the steplist on their smart phone or iPad and set up your product hands-free. The steps, complete with pictures, diagrams or video, will advance automatically as your customer completes each step in the process.

Instructions Worthy of Your Product

At steptap.com, you can build your own instructions or hire our team of how-to experts to create compelling step-based directions that complement and blend seamlessly with your existing marketing content.

Check out this Steptap how-to for changing your oil How To Change Your Oil. Hover over the product name under the Required Items section at the beginning of the how-to to see how a prospect can  purchase the product or receive more information. Press Begin under the steplist to see how it advances through the steps.

You can manage your library of product instructions on our site and update each as needed due to changes in product specs, promotions, return procedures, or regulations.

Where Is Your Next Customer?

Human Resources And CrmYour next customer is looking for a solution to a problem right now. Steptap is the way you can show that customer how to solve their problem, with your product.

Your Customers are Searching Right Now

In the vast reaches of cyber world, there is a significant number of people who need your product or service this very second. (Unless, of course, you are Chevron or Starbucks in which case there are probably millions.)

How can you capture this golden slice of the pie? Let’s start with their search bar query. It probably contains the phrases “how do I,” or “how to.”

If you sell digital scrapbooking software, your next customer is probably typing something like: “how do I turn my pictures into a photo book,” or “how to make a digital scrapbook.” These are folks that have never heard of you. They are not yet loyal to a digital scrapbooking provider or scrapbooking product.

If you are an estate planning attorney, your next client may be typing: “how do I write a living will” or “how do I get a healthcare power of attorney.” They aren’t looking for you, necessarily – they just want to solve a problem or fill a need.

You Can Be the Solution

At this moment, the solution is their number one priority. If not, they would be doing something else. The only way a searcher can become your next customer is if you solve their problem. This is most easily done with Steptap.

Steptap creates concise, search engined optimized step-based instructions that can be published everywhere with just a couple clicks. Steptap is a social content marketing platform that helps you present your products as the solution that people are looking for, even when they don’t know who you are.

Here is an example of a steplist that shows how to create an entire nail makeover from a single sample from a Jamberry party – very handy for DIY nail artists:

This is the type of how-to any Pinterest user would be proud to pin and post to all their key sites. We have seen remarkable interest from Pinterest users wanting to add how-to content to their pins so that customers have a better way to create wonderful projects from the images they see on Pinterest.

Steptap helps you create and embed engaging how-to content that shows your prospects how to use your products for a solution they need right now.
Visit http://steptap.com right now to create your own free account.

How To Embed Marketing Content With Steptap

One of the key advantages of using the Steptap platform to market your business with engaging how-to content is the embed tool.

steptap-embed-codeEach steplist includes a customized share page that provides a unique share image, links to the big five social media sites, custom URLs, a QR code, and an embed code.

The embed code for each steplist can be used to incorporate a branded steplist in a company blog, on-site page or even on a community blog that aims to share your how-to with a related community.

Using the embed code is easy, simply follow these steps:

  1. Create a steplist at Steptap.com
  2. Visit the steplist page by clicking on the title of the steplist in your MySteplists page of your free account.
  3. Click the Share tool at the top of the page, on the right.
  4. Copy the unique embed code from the embed code field.
  5. Paste the embed code into your blog. Be sure to use the HTML insert window when you do this; the code is formatted for HTML.
  6. Adjust for width and height by changing the width and height numbers in the embed code to format for the size of your page.
  7. Done!

At the end of this process, you will have an embeded steplist on your page that looks a lot like the example below.

The advantages to using Steptap to create and embed your how-to include the ability to manage your content from a single location. No matter how many places you share your how-to, embed, or link, you will always have centralized control over the content so updates and additions are always easy to deal with.

Here is our embed example:

You can see this steplist live in the Steptap site here: How to unpack and inspect a new NOMAD handheld x-ray.

Steptap helps you create and embed engaging how-to content that shows your prospects how to use your products for a solution they want to solve right now.
Visit http://steptap.com to create your own free account right now.

How Can How-Tos Benefit Your Business?

“Self Serve” Content Puts the Customer in Charge

Steptap self serve content marketing.Marketers are depending less and less on traditional marketing because of shifting trends in consumer behavior.  Customers are turning to online sources to learn about companies and products. These channels include company websites, YouTube videos, white papers, business Facebook pages, group-buying sites, and online review sites.

Publish Helpful Content That Fills a Need

Steptap creates and manages step-based instructions that educate your customers on how to use or enjoy your products.

For example,  a company that provides technical support to basic computer users could create a steplist that shows clients how to back up their computer’s contents to an external hard drive. This information is useful to non-technical customers and helps establish the company as an expert in the field.

A potential customer who downloads and uses the instructions would be more likely to hire the company for more complex services.

How-Tos Drive Customers to Your Online Store

Each steplist is a self-contained unit that can be saved, posted, reposted and updated at Steptap.com. As a searchable page, each steplist is an effective SEO tool. Steplists can be easily posted to a business Facebook page, online store, blog, YouTube channel, Twitter feed, or Pinterest board.

Business owners can create their own steplists at steptap.com or let the Steptap content marketing experts create professional steplists for your business. To learn more about how how-tos benefit your business, visit steptap.com.