Here are six tools you should consider when putting together educational material for clients or customers. Choose ones that are best for the type of information you’re presenting as well as the format most likely to reach your target audience and hold their attention.
Great for: Demonstrating your product/service, representing your brand, mass distribution (online, network television, cable television).
Best reason to adopt some video: Videos are easy to create. A “video” is actually quite broad; it includes anything from still images set in motion (such as PowerPoint or a slideshow), to animation, to just setting up a tripod and recording yourself. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to video.
2. Email Marketing
Great for: Providing useful information at regular intervals, staying top of mind, gathering feedback, driving actions (buy, download, check out, tweet, etc.)
Best reason to adopt some email marketing: Checking email is still one of the primary things people do online. It is an easy way to get someone’s full attention (if only momentarily) and it is about as direct as you can get (more direct than traditional direct marketing).
3. Books, Guides, Reports & eBooks
Great for: Providing detailed information that is too in-depth for a blog entry or that you would rather save for a warm lead (as opposed to a suspect). Be sure to choose the right option – I wouldn’t call a 3 page document a book, and there is a big difference between a guide and a report. However, ultimately what you choose to call it is really up to you.
Best reason to adopt books, etc.: This set of tools will allow you to educate just about anyone on just about anything. They are portable, printable, and are truly great pieces of marketing collateral. Where/when technology fails, a book or ebook that has been printed out, continues to live on. Often times, the material from one of these tools can be reused in a number of other formats, and the book/ebook itself can be created completely from other tools.
4. Seminars and Webinars
Great for: Demonstrating your expertise, fielding questions, polling your audience in real-time, reviewing body language and facial expressions while discussing your services/industry.
Best reason to try giving a seminar: It’s one thing to talk about yourself in a brochure or on a blog. You can even do it in a video. It’s not the same as standing up in front of 20 people and watching them respond to you. Webinars are good, too, but for different reasons. Webinars are excellent tools for reaching distant audiences or for presenting information and an offer back-to-back, while the interest is still hot.
Great for: Connecting with your target audience on a regular basis, capturing valuable search engine traffic, gathering feedback, and publishing material created using the other tools, among many other things.
Best reason to try blogging: Blogging has become so mainstream that it is an easy sell. So long as what you’re blogging about has relevance and interest, it will not be hard to get people to go to your blog. Additionally, the search engine traffic benefits of blogging make it so valuable that I cannot imagine why a business would proactively decide against it, unless the search competition were so fierce in their industry that it would not be worth the time to capitalize on it.
6. Twitter & Facebook
Great for: Demonstrating industry expertise, promoting OPC (other people’s content), staying top of mind, answering and asking questions.
Best reason to try them: Your potential customers/clients are going to expect your presence in these places, and if they like you, they are going to be receptive of your information provided it is relevant.
Education is a huge part of successful selling and successful buying, too. We make better buying decisions when we are educated, and that is why content marketing plays such a massive role in today’s economy.