How can you employ a “teach, don’t sell” mentality when it comes to persuading your customers to buy? With educational marketing content.
When it comes to advertising, consumers expect a wealth of information to be presented to them before they make a purchase (impulse buying notwithstanding).
- With traditional marketing, consumers are either simply presented with a multitude of buying options or “sold” on why they should buy the product.
- With educational content marketing, however, you provide your readers with factual information about what they are purchasing to teach them about why they need this product.
According to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute, 58% of respondents said they use content marketing to nurture their audience, with email campaigns (87%) and educational content (77%) being the most used methods.
Today’s consumers are doing much more homework and require more evidence to make a purchase. We are in the information age, and the average consumer has evolved to hop on their mobile devices and research what they are about to buy.
Put simply, educational content works when it comes to marketing.
According to Conductor, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand they’ve recently read a piece of educational content about.
If you’ve been thinking about writing marketing content that’s designed to educate your prospects and customers, you’ll need to do it properly. Here are some expert tips to create better educational content for your marketing efforts.
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Use Relevant Educational Content
Relevance is king, especially when it comes to writing marketing educational content. You need to be up to date—not only in what matters to your audience but also what matters to the search engines ranking your page.
For both search engines and your readers, focus on quality content versus quantity.
- In marketing, quality content gains trust.
- Irrelevant content wastes readers’ time and steers them away from your future content.
Constantly evaluate if what you’re writing is quality content or quantity to fill space.
Additionally, research is vital. Use trusted resources and link to them directly if possible.
Anyone can come up with statistics (68% of them are fake—see what I did there?), so make sure you trust the source and that the information is relevant.
One example of relevance in content marketing is how IKEA trounced on the Bernie Sanders mittens meme. When a photo went viral of the U.S. senator bundled up in a winter coat and mittens at the 2021 presidential inauguration, IKEA saw an opportunity to join in on the fun.
People are always looking for the next viral picture or comment. If you can harness that viral power and incorporate it into your content writing, more people will end up engaging with your content, whether it’s a blog post, white paper, email campaign, or even just a social media post.
Why Does This Example Work?
While this example has little to do with educational content marketing per se, it does speak volumes about how you can take advantage of a viral event.
IKEA saw this picture was catching on and seized the cultural moment to use it as a marketing tool. Result: millions of eyeballs on it.
Most times, viral events involve humor—and good humor captivates people.
Depending on the topic you’re writing about, it may be a good idea to inject cultural relevance and some humor into the content because it will attract more readers.
How can you provide quality educational content if you don’t know the type of people reading your article?
A target audience is critical—you don’t want to waste your customers’ time and money. Knowing what they are looking for will allow you to provide the most relevant information to them.
Chances are, you have a specific reader in mind already. Create buyer or reader personas that reflect the type of audience you want reading your content.
- What do your readers do for work?
- Where do they live?
- What demographics do they fit into?
- What challenges do they face that you are going to fix?
- What do you want them to learn after reading your educational content?
Now you can create educational content that your specific audience wants to read.
Remember, your goal is to create amazing content for a select audience—not to churn out generic writing for a large audience.
The more your target audience engages with and relates to your content, the better chance they will buy your product or service in the future.
GE provides an example of using educational content for marketing. The company knows its customers are concerned about climate change. So GE leaned into that popular social topic and sent out an educational message to show customers it cares.
Why Does This Example Work?
This example works because it takes a massive topic (climate change) and breaks it down into digestible chunks.
If you’re writing a piece of educational content about a broad topic, you might want to think about creating an infographic similar to this one so your readers can get the most information in as little time as possible.
While quality educational content is paramount and will keep your audience engaged longer than with other types of content, you can’t please everyone, and people are busy.
To leave a lasting impression, you need to make an excellent first impression.
- First, use an engaging title that captures the reader’s attention.
- Then, use the inverted pyramid approach for the rest of your content.
The inverted pyramid approach means presenting the most relevant content first. You can get into more specific content as the article goes on, eventually leading readers to your call to action (CTA).
The inverted pyramid structure has its roots in one of the world’s oldest forms of educational content: newspaper articles.
News articles typically start with the most important information at the beginning to catch the reader’s attention right away. Then, supplemental information is given as the article continues.
Here is the historic “Men Walk on Moon” front page of The New York Times from July 21, 1969. Notice that the headlines themselves are structured in an inverted pyramid fashion, each one giving details in descending order of importance:
Looking at the article itself, we see that the writer has expertly employed the inverted pyramid:
Why Does This Example Work?
Applying the inverted pyramid style to your educational marketing content focuses you on saying what you need to say right away, which is especially helpful if you are aiming for sales or conversions.
Attention spans are dwindling, and many people don’t have time to read a whole piece about your product or service. By providing them with the most relevant information at the earliest possible point, you are giving yourself the best chance of getting them to engage with your CTA.
Educational content doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous. Your writing should be engaging and possibly even entertaining.
Here are some ways to make your educational content pop:
- Use Humor: Depending on the subject matter, of course, you can try to inject humor into your educational content, especially in the beginning. Humor can build trust when used in conversational marketing content. (Think back to that Bernie Sanders example above.)
- Use Active Voice Rather Than Passive: When you are writing in the active voice, the subject is the person or thing that is doing the action. For example, “We made mistakes.” Passive voice, on the other hand, is when the subject is receiving the action. For example, “Mistakes were made.” Using the active voice can push your readers into the moment, generate a stronger connection to the action, turn a call to action into a command, and make the content easier to understand.
- Create a Mental Picture or Tell a Story: Readers will be more actively engaged if their brains do something other than simply process the words on a page. Paint a mental picture for your reader that flows right to your CTA at the end.
- Use Action Words in Your CTAs: Your CTA is what gets people to do whatever action you want them to take after they read your educational content. It is the reason you have written everything up to this point. Whether the next step is joining an email list or buying a product, the reader should be excited to go along with you on that journey. A handy tool to remember for making a good CTA is to use the acronym MIC. MIC stands for motivating, informing, and concise. Your CTA should have all three of those elements. Strong action words for CTAs include “learn,” “compare,” “subscribe,” “read,” “watch,” “select,” “book,” “sign up,” “subscribe,” “access,” “start,” and “claim.”
An example of using engaging and interactive words for educational content marketing purposes comes from Zipcar.
The car-share company uses humor, casual language, and an active voice; has pictures to go along with its words; and employs engaging, easy-to-understand phrases for its CTAs.
Why Does This Example Work?
People need simple ideas and some fun to connect the dots from reading to action in their minds. Sometimes, simpler is better.
When you incorporate humor, action words, and simple graphics, your educational content will stick with a lot more readers.
You will first need to decide in which voice you will be writing your content:
- First person (more personal; uses “I,” “we,” “our”)
- Second person (more direct to the audience; uses “you,” “your,” “yours”)
- Or third person (more formal; uses “he,” “she,” “his,” “hers,” “it,” “they,” “them”)
Next, decide on the tone of the educational marketing content. Most content falls on the scale of formal to casual, and tone is really about emotion. With more formal writing, there is little or no emotion and humor, and facts are relied on for persuasion.
However, if you want to add a marketing and sales aspect to your content, consider adding humor and be more conversational and persuasive, rather than relying solely on facts. Choose the appropriate tone for your target audience based on your buyer or reader personas.
Finally, incorporate reader-friendly formatting into your content:
- Header title tags (Title, H1, H2, H3, etc.) for hierarchy and ease of reading
- Numbered and bulleted lists and proper spacing to break up large blocks of words
- External links to trusted sources and internal links to your related articles
- Images, graphs, charts, or other graphics to help readability, storytelling, and imagination
- Bold or italicized text to emphasize key words
- Alt text in images using keywords
Consistency and readability go a long way with consumers, especially when these readers are trying to determine if they trust you enough to click on your CTA. Proper formatting, consistent style and tone, and ease of navigation are all needed to help propel them to try your product or service.
For a real-world example of consistency and readability, look no further than Facebook (aka Meta).
The social media giant has a vast amount of information to be processed by a lot of people with various backgrounds and education. Facebook must state its business as simply and clearly as possible—plus the brand has been using a blue-and-white color scheme forever, so it’s quickly recognizable.
Why Does This Example Work?
Again, simplicity goes a long way in the minds of consumers. With educational marketing content, readers will have an easier time processing the information and making a buying decision if everything is presented in a consistent and concise manner.
Writing great content is complex, and writing it to help sell your product or service can be even more challenging.
However, when done correctly, using educational content to market your product or service can benefit your business.
Businesses are starting to think about writing educational content for marketing purposes because (hard truth) customers don’t really care about your product or service; they care about themselves.
Therefore, your educational content shouldn’t just be about your company and its services, but rather about how those products and services appeal to the customer. The more we educate our customers about how to help themselves (i.e., solve their problems), the less they mind being sold to.
Don’t forget! Download the “Expert Tips for Creating Better Educational Content for Your Marketing Efforts” to keep it handy and take action on it. Click here to download it now.
More Examples of Educational Marketing Content at Work
Many high-tech companies use educational content as a form of marketing. Their thought is that the more people know about what they offer and how it works, the more likely they will buy it.
Indium and Intuit have used blogs and open-collaboration projects to educate their customers and make them part of the buying experience. These are great examples of educational marketing content because they invite customers to come inside and interact with the company. The customer can see what other people are saying and doing, which builds trust.
Or how about Barclays? This British bank provides financial services for individuals and businesses. Marketing for a bank might prove to be dull and dreary, especially if Barclays were to simply publish educational content on taxes, mortgages, and cybersecurity.
So it created Barclays Code Playground, an interactive site dedicated to helping kids learn to code. Not only does the site provide an educational space for children, but it also instills trust in their parents—the ones who actually bank with Barclays.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Writing excellent educational content for marketing is challenging, and not everyone can be good at all the items mentioned in this article.
Sometimes it pays to have some help, not only for the quality of your content but for your own peace of mind as well.
The professional editors and proofreaders at Super Copy Editors are the help you’ll need. We have years of experience working with marketing teams to ensure their content is well-written, grammatically correct, easy to follow, and primed for amazing results.
Let Super Copy Editors do the heavy lifting of proofreading and editing to get the best version of your educational content so you can turn your readers into customers. Get your free quote today.