Educational written content is the bread and butter of content marketing, especially for brands that sell a high value product or service. Customers who are looking at spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds are unlikely to do so on a whim: they will do their research first, and it is often during this stage that impressions about which brands are trustworthy begin to form.
“Customers don’t care about our products, they care about themselves” [Content Marketing Institute].
Let’s say you sell cars. A series of educational pieces about how to choose the best vehicle would be of great value to someone researching this high value purchase.
How to create effective educational written content
Publishing a reasonable volume of effective educational written content may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Use these tips to get on the right track:
Target your audience
Educational content speaks directly to the needs of your audience, so you have to work out who they are.
What are their buying habits? What are the problems they need solving? Why did they come to your website? Where are they in the sales funnel?
All of these questions must be answered if you are going to create effective educational written content. Create focus groups, conduct surveys, use analytics and other methods to find out who your readers really are, and what makes them tick.
We all know that the best (or most memorable) teachers were the funny ones. This should be reflected in your educational written content.
Don’t bore people with long unwieldy sentences filled with jargon. Use a friendly conversational tone – that’s not condescending – and add elements of humour to get your readers on side.
Remember, your educational written content is about making life easier for the reader. Remove the stress of having to scroll through reams of text by using punchy bullet points and snappy sentences.
Ask your audience what they want to learn about – involve them in the process. This will help them connect to you and your brand, and give you some great ideas for content creation!
Take a hands on-approach
Reading a page of plain text isn’t fun, even if the copy contained within is sparkling!. So add visual and/or interactive elements to your educational copy. This could be as simple as adding a colourful stock image to your blog piece, or, for something more adventurous you could try:
- A quiz
- A screenshot
- An exercise
- An example
- A webinar
- A Twitter chat
This way your ‘students’ can get their hands dirty and really be involved in finding a solution that works.
Motivate your audience
You need to give your audience a reason to read your educational written content. If you don’t, they’ll pass it by and click on something else.
A catchy title, an interesting image or a quirky social media post will help persuade readers to click-through to your content.
Educational content is all about helping your reader, so here’s a few reasons why they should devour your content:
- Save time
- Save money
- Gain knowledge to make an informed decision
4 great examples of educational content
1) Indium – From One Engineer to Another
This is a really good example of educational content – it started out as a blog, but now launches videos and written content answering questions from engineers using Indium products.
17 engineers work together to create this content, and Indium’s marketing director claims a 600% jump in leads since its launch.
2) Google – Zero Moment of Truth
Commonly known as ZMOT, this point defines the key activities online consumers take before making a decision to purchase.
Google has developed a host of eBooks, research reports and videos about the changing nature of consumer purchase patterns. These examples of educational written content (and visual content) prove extremely popular, and are often quoted by industry leaders.
Documents like these contribute to Google’s image as a global authority.
3) Cabot Cheese – Pinterest
Don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest! Cabot Cheese has made hundreds of pages of content which set it apart from other cheese makers.
They offer pages for delicious recipes, handy tips about New England and even a “Cheesy Pets” section. By teaching their audience about different cheeses and their provenance, Cabot Cheese are offering a service that their competitors can’t match.
MoneySavingExpert.com are the masters of educational written content. They’re so good, they’ve made it into a business!
Their whole site centres around giving visitors what they want – advice on how to save money – and seem to ask for little in return.
This site has pages dedicated to credit cards, loans, utilities, banking, travel, insurance, mortgages, homes and even shopping. It has become a hub for those looking to save some cash, and depends on high quality written content to succeed.
Educational written content: worth the time
So, writing educational written content is probably easier than you first thought. It might be time consuming at first, but soon you’ll have a library of evergreen content that will support your brand for years to come.
Address the wants and needs of your audience and your educational written content will help drive your brand to success.