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How to drive engagement through education

5th February 2021

Learning really can be fun - with the right content!

Not everyone loves to learn, but the rate at which technology develops, and the pace at which the necessary skill-set to be a marketer is expanding, should make learning and development a continuous task on all of our to-do lists. And it’s not just marketing this applies to.

Semrush currently shows over 5m active search terms starting with ‘how to’. People are constantly searching the internet to learn, so make sure you have easy-to-find content to help them do so!

Educational content is a fairly broad term that can include:

  • Instructional videos
  • How-to guides
  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Data led social posts
  • Blogs (like this one)
  • Checklists
  • Cheat sheets
  • Fact sheets
  • FAQ docs

And the list could go on much further.

Despite the fact some of the most popular ‘how to’ searches included ‘how to vote in the uk’, ‘how to cancel your instagram account’ (FYI we’re firmly against this - have you seen the latest ContentCal/Instagram news?) and ‘how to make pancakes’ (we’ll all be needing this one soon, pancake day is on February 16th) turning to the internet for a quick work-based search on how to get something done, validating the importance of a trend, checking the definition of a buzzword or uncovering the mystery of workplace abbreviations are also very popular.

'How-to'content benefits

SEO and SEM optimization

When optimized correctly, content that educates and informs drastically improves SEO rankings. It’s a quick and efficient way to ensure your brand returns in searches that strive to solve a relevant problem.

However, even the best optimization isn’t a replacement for content that genuinely educates and answers search terms appropriately. If your objective is to produce a piece of content that educates and informs, your number one priority has to be sharing relevant data, tips and information - not just including keywords.

Brand authority and thought leadership

96% of the most successful B2B marketers say their audience view their website as a trusted resource hub. If you can become a source of industry excellence for your own customers and prospects - you have won marketing! Congratulations.

Achieving the coveted title of thought-leader and putting out content that your target audience looks forward to learning from, positions your organization as a trusted industry provider that it just makes sense to buy from.

The only way to hit this gold standard, is by ensuring that the educational content you produce contains stats, facts and best practice tips that cannot be found anywhere else. Or, to present information in such an easy to digest, actionable format that it adds instant value to all who read it. But it’s not quick, easy or cheap to do.

Investing in professional, third-party research projects, building strong media relations, working closely with analysts and influencers, and understanding everything there is to know about your audiences short and long term challenges, as well as how, when and why they consume content, is a good (huge and expensive - but ultimately worth it) first step. But it’s not an option for all budegts, so read on for an alternative.

Validating the purpose and requirement of your product

If your content can solve challenges and educate your audience, it is highly likely that your product or service can do the same. Creating content that makes life easier, or helps your audience become better at what they do, is a clear sign you understand the needs of the industry and are operating with an audience led approach.

Bringing the value and benefits of your product into the conversation, in a relevant and helpful way (there is no room for hard selling while we are educating) is a natural next step. This gives a real life example of how your brand meets genuine needs.

Getting started

(Here’s that alternative option we mentioned above)

If you take a look through the content you have produced over the last six months, you’re likely to find that at least 30% of it educates in some way. Re-wording titles to include common search terms like ‘how-to’, ‘what-is’, ‘getting started with…’ and adding quantifiable data points (which you can undoubtedly find on google - but always validate and reference your source) takes your educational content to the next level and starts to build brand authority.

Using social posts to share key stats, facts and figures with your audience generates engagement and including a clear ‘call to action’ that offers further advice, consultations and informative chats - as opposed to demos, contracts or sales conversation, will start to drive conversion.

Momentum can often be better than perfection, and the more you share content, the more you will learn from it. You’ll build a clear picture of which formats your audience prefer, which topics they want to be informed about and what styles of educational content they are more likely to engage with. ContentCal is an ideal tool to help with this. You can create, publish and track all of your content from one place - so more resources can be applied to building brilliance, while the admin takes care of itself.

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