“How-to” is a promise you are making to the customer.
Yes, it is a mechanism that tells them how they are going to get the fabulous benefit, as In How to Win Friends and Influence People.
“How-to” is also a signal of secret knowledge. It can be simple as in How to unclog the kitchen sink, which I searched for over the holiday.
So now you are promising me that you know something extremely specific that is going to solve my problem.
“How-to” also says to the customer that you are an authority. You can be trusted.
It also promises a short-cut, an advantage, an ease to my stress and in the case of get-rich programs, greed.
It is also explicit. There is no beating around the bush with fanciful naming. “How-to” tells you what is going to happen.
So it is also exclusionary. That is, for people who do not have a clogged kitchen sink, your YouTube video has no appeal to them. So you are going after a specific market when you use “How-to”.
So “How-to” says a lot to the customer. It is a sturdy way to name a product or title content.
But I think what we as business owners need to keep in mind is that “How-to” is a promise. If you keep it, you are golden in the customer’s eyes. If you don’t you are a scourge.
Making a promise is sacred. The customer doesn’t think like that at the top of their mind but when you burn them it leaves a nasty residue.
So I could have titled this section, “How to delight customers and avoid being a scourge in their life.”