As your business develops its content strategy, it’s critical to think beyond the editorial calendar and focus on useful content. By giving readers the knowledge they need to succeed and achieve their goals, you’ll create a bastion of followers waiting for your next word. Educating readers builds trust, creates an emotional connection, and ultimately makes it easier for your brand to cultivate a professional relationship.
By focusing on educating or informing readers with each post, you’ll immediately distinguish your brand’s blog from its competitors. Consider the devastating blogging mistakes most businesses make:
- Starting a blog for the wrong reasons. According to Inc. Magazine, many businesses err by beginning a blog simply because their competitors are doing it or because they’ve been indoctrinated with the “content marketing” buzz phrase. The result? The business begins presenting instead of conversing, promoting instead of connecting, and hard selling instead of educating.
- Focusing on old-style press releases. Digital press releases certainly have their place in marketing, but too many brands try to translate traditional marketing techniques into the digital medium. When it comes to blogging for business, educating readers trumps self-congratulatory text.
- Writing for SEO. Readers and search engines alike read between the lines when a brand is clearly blogging for monetary gain. When SEO and keywords become the focus of a business blog, it becomes corporate and faceless. Educating readers, on the other hand, generates meaningful posts that subsequently begin ranking on search engines.
We all know that writing with the intention to gain instead of give is guaranteed to backfire, yet most businesses don’t spend the time to write effective content or hire a writing service that does. There are three main ways to educate blog readers – is your business utilizing any of these techniques?
Teach Through Email Newsletters
Email newsletters are one of the most effective ways to cultivate leads and educate readers about your brand. The process of education actually begins before people sign up for the newsletter itself. Be sure to let would-be subscribers know what they’re in for, how often newsletters are arriving, and assure them that they’re email will be kept secret.
Remember, giving your email address to someone (especially a business) is an extremely intimate moment. Similar to flirting for someone’s number, brands entice users to sign up for newsletters by educating them about what to expect. Once the sign up occurs, it’s time for you to take the relationship to the next level with a follow-up email. Now that readers trust your brand, it will be easier to continue developing your working relationship and cultivate leads moving forward.
Use Examples In Everything
The more you reflect on your education, chances are the more you’ll realize the importance of visualization through examples. Examples create a tangible concept that people can recognize and understand. In a business blog, examples might consist of:
- Case studies. Potential clients want to be able to visualize their own success through your products and services. Providing examples of success stories will educate your readers about what they can expect from your brand. Customer testimonials are generally just as effective.
- Different ways to use the product. There’s generally more than one way to use any type of product or service. Something as simple as a pencil, for instance, can be used for taking notes, drawing, and, if you’re really adventurous, dart throwing. By demonstrating the different ways your products can be used, you’ll increase the likelihood of generating a sale.
GoPro is an excellent example of a brand using examples to create business conversions. Through its official YouTube channel, GoPro showcases how surfers, snowboarders, skydivers, and other extreme athletes are using their cameras. A recent video even shows how GoPro can be used to bring audiences closer to wild animals such as lions and hyenas in the wild. While the ways to use your products might seem like common sense to you and your employees, it’s critical to teach readers about how your products and services can be used.
- Offer free advice. One of the best ways to educate readers is to offer free advice. A health and fitness business, for instance, might offer nutritional tips, healthy recipes, and exercise routines through their blog. In other words, once your content teaches a concept, it’s important to follow-up with a practical example.
By providing examples for readers, you’ll increase the value of your content while creating a trustworthy business relationship. It’s a win-win scenario that will keep readers coming back for more.
Encourage Engagement, Outreach, and Interaction
Your content isn’t the only place where consumers can learn about your brand. Consider for a moment how many times you’ve browsed the comments left on any given article. Engaged readers will leave comments that reflect highly on your brand, encourage others to become engaged, and add to the information your brand is already publishing. Intentional outreach not only encourages readers to comment, but also increases the likelihood of your content being shared.
Comment and user interaction may even inspire future pieces for your brand. For instance, if there are frequent questions, misconceptions, or themes that populate the comments thread, then it may be appropriate to address them in a future post. Of course, working with a professional writing service will help you determine the best strategy for engaging readers through content.
Committing to Educational Content
Just because content is educational in nature, it doesn’t mean that it has to be boring or read like a textbook. Rather, focusing on an educational experience is simply a tool to ensure that your content is worthwhile and valuable for readers.
Is your brand committed to educational content?