By: Jacob Hanson
Each and every one of us consumes massive amounts of content every day, often without even realizing it. How many times a day do you pop onto Facebook or Twitter and scroll through your feeds? Check your email? Watch videos on YouTube? Chances are it’s either too many to count or more than you would like to admit.
People in the education industry as a whole are no different. Teachers, superintendents, and principals are doing the exact same thing as you: scrolling their social feeds or scanning email in search of content—in search of solutions to their challenges. So I ask you, are you producing the right content for these folks, the same folks you very much want to buy your product?
If you are shaking your head “yes,” I pose this challenge to you. Please pull up your website and list the types of content you see. Put a star next to every article, blog post or marketing piece that talks about your company or your solutions. If you have nearly as many stars as types of content, then your answer really should have been “no,” or maybe even “NO.”
Another challenge for all of you marketing to educators and administrators: when you scan your email, what types of messages are you deleting without opening them? Which are you deleting without clicking on a link? What types of mail are you throwing away?
Most, if not all, of you are saying the same thing: I discard junk or spam mail. Why is that? A few reasons:
- You most likely didn’t ask for it, which means the sender either bought your information from a data company or yanked it from your website.
- It most likely isn’t helpful, or at least isn’t something that can make an immediate difference in your life.
- The sender did not have you in mind when they sent it.
So if you are deleting these messages or tossing that mail, you shouldn’t expect your potential buyers to be any different.
What can you do about it? Well, let’s go back to the “star challenge” from earlier in this post. Look at those pieces of content without a star next to them. What are they? Case studies? Whitepapers? Webinars or webcasts? And what do they do? They help, they inform and more importantly they show your reader (or potential buyer) that you are an expert in your niche and you are here to help them, not just sell to them.
Before you invest in that next advertisement, send that next email, or post on Facebook, put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer and create a piece of content that they will be excited to engage with, excited to talk about, and excited to share.
Here are some practical starting points to get your wheels turning.
- Understand what decision-makers in the education market experience on a daily basis.
What are their largest hurdles? Nearly everyone will say “they don’t have time” or “they don’t have budget.” Well what can you do to help? Could you publish an ebook on best practices for securing a grant? Or maybe host a webcast with one of your customers that highlight their tips and tricks for working more efficiently?
- Be ready to give more than a “free trial” or a “demo.”
Give them something helpful without buying or trying your dang product. Schedule a professional development webinar series that pulls in experts to highlight best practices to solve their needs. Your company is the one giving away this helpful, useful content, and if you do it right, these people will start attaching that goodwill to your brand.
- Create something that you would use or find useful.
If you were looking for a pair of running shoes, the last thing you would want to do is sift through pages of football or soccer cleats to get to what you want. Be specific in your content, and your customers will get the feeling that you are writing just for them.
If these ideas don’t kick your content machine into high gear, talk to your customers. Find out what made them “say yes to the dress,” so to speak, and use that as a starting point for your next piece of content.
Thank you for sharing!