How Content Helps You Educate Your Audience

By David Smith
CX
Content
Marketing
According to a Gartner study, by 2020 (that’s only two years away) customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a company without talking to a human.  That’s a whole lot of interaction, and content will fuel it.

No one expects your firm to produce every piece of content your client needs in the next eighteen months.   That would take superhuman strength and skills.  But, you can outline how and where you want content to play a role in your future customer relations.

Here is a fundamental way to think about your content: content exists to answer the questions and guide the decision-making processes of prospects, and then allow your customers to achieve the highest value from their investment with your firm.

Why do we think this is a good way to think about content?  Three reasons:
  1. According to Conductor research, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume early-stage, educational content.
  2. American Express reports that 81% of satisfied customers are more likely to do business with you again if they have a positive experience.
  3. A 5% increase in retention can increase profitability by as much as 25-95%, according to Neil Patel.
How to begin to educate your audience with content

Your content should have an underlying structure or framework; problem orientation, general knowledge, and solution specific.  If you generate content within this framework you’ll ensure its intentionally developed and has a purpose.

Problem orientation content is used to educate the audience about the problem space, alternatives, considerations, and unintended consequences.

This type of content should be free of deliberate marketing of your firm or choice of options.  Articles, guides, eBooks, and infographics are suitable content types (URL).

General knowledge content can educate your audience about potential products and offers.

This area of content is where you can transition the subject to align more with your expertise. You can describe how you address a problem, perform implementation, your strengths, credibility, and unique approach.

At this stage of the journey, you are building trust.  Infographics, videos, white papers, industry reports, and detailed benefit descriptions are appropriate here.

Solution-specific content is aimed at convincing and conversion.

You help your audience justify their decision with checklist, calculators, customization and configuration scenarios, and price lists.

The educational content helps them transition from prospect to customer and developing proposals and agreements can be the tailored based on their engagement and feedback.

Intentionally aligning educational content with the buyer’s journey is a strategy will pay dividends.   A week after consuming educational content, participants in a Conductor research project chose to purchase from the brand that had provided them education content, over three similar offers.  The point? Education works.

This article is part of the Valens Point Guide to Content Marketing Success.

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