The Training Providers Guide To Content Marketing
As a training business, if you currently promote and sell your training courses online, there's a good chance you've considered content marketing already. You may well already be doing it.
Content marketing for training providers, when done well, is a great way to let potential clients know about your offering, share industry news and insight and ultimately bring in more traffic to your website.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing material such as blogs, videos and podcasts for a target audience online. For large organisations, there may be a team of content marketers, regularly planning and creating a range of fresh content in order to both nurture existing contacts and to attract subscribes and encourage new business.
Why Is Content Marketing So Important For Training Companies?
Content marketing, for all intents and purposes, is a way of keeping your website looking fresh and relevant. Perhaps more importantly, new content is also a great way to get you noticed by Google. By posting thought provoking, thorough, engaging content (regularly), you're setting your training business up for greatness.
One unfortunate truth with content marketing, particularly if you're looking to blog, is that you have to make it a habit and dedicate enough time each week to blog creation. After all, the internet is absolute saturated each day with new content. Check out how many new blogs have been created today.
If you're looking to create blogs that attract organic, search engine traffic, it has to stand out.
Since Google's Panda update way back in 2011, it's no longer enough to post bite-size blogs and expect miraculous results. Sure, for sharing on social platforms, and for visitors already on your website, blog length is arbitrary. However if you're learning to attract some hefty search engine traffic, you need to start thinking about comprehensive, detailed content that answers all your prospects questions on a given topic.
Many training companies are appealing to customers curiosities by answering some of their questions and providing more information about the industry. This saves time for potential contacts and helps them in deciding which training company to go and train with.
We've identified some of the main reasons why content marketing is so important in attracting the right sort of attention.
Building awareness of your courses and expertise in a specific area
By creating blogs, articles or reports that interest your readers, you can demonstrate awareness of your expertise.
As training companies are well aware, clients buy into expertise and if they see the trainer or training business as an expert in their chosen subject, whether this be health and safety, engineering or leadership, they will be far more inclined to explore your courses in more detail.
Relevant articles may not lead directly to a sale, but it will definitely help in building awareness and trust of your training company and exposing your business to a wider community.
💡 Consider: Is there a particular topic you have a thorough understanding of that you know will benefit or interest your clients? Perhaps there's an industry forum you can contribute to that can help you divert some traffic to your own blog?
Engaging with current and potential customers
Building relationships with customers is crucial in generating long-term, lasting bonds. This means focusing on customer retention and satisfaction rather than taking a sales-dominant approach.
By identifying some of your customers’ curiosities and challenges, you can engage their interest and meet their needs. This can be achieved by posting blog posts answering some of your customers' frequently asked questions.
It is also a good idea to post relevant information about your industry especially if it affects your customers! By doing this, you can become a trusted source of information and expert advice, so clients are more likely to value your opinion.
💡 Consider: Is there something that's happened in your industry recently? Perhaps a talking point that you know your prospects might want to chime in on?
Driving website traffic
If you can gain potential customers’ interest through relevant blogs and articles, you can draw them into your website where they are more likely to find out more about your training offering.
This will increase awareness of your courses and interest in your business. This is particularly valuable when clients are either involved or concerned with your industry. Appealing to everyone won't do any good so it is important to gain the right kind of attention. This means offering useful information and resources and gaining genuine interest in return.
💡 Consider: What is the user experience of your website like? Can visitors easily find related posts or do they leave after a handful of seconds?
To use as a sales tool by adding additional value
By demonstrating your expertise, you can not only offer information about the training industry, but you can also highlight the benefits of your courses. This could be used by existing customers as a platform for hints and tips to get the most out of your courses. It could also engage new customers who are interesting in finding out a little more. Either way, it is a great way to improve your overall offering and share your knowledge and expertise with interested individuals within the industry.
💡 Consider: Do you have course testimonials you could build content around? Perhaps you could record some of your next training session, and create an impactful bitesize clip of what clients can expect?
So, Is Content Marketing Important?
For training businesses, content marketing certainly has a role to play as part of the overall sales process.
It's unlikely that introducing a content marketing strategy will lead to an instantaneous increase in sales, but there are still many short and long term benefits of integrating this into your overall marketing strategy. If you have the time to dedicate to creating great content, there's a decent chance you can expect ROI out the back of it.
What many organisations fail to consider is the time it takes to see results. An increase in short term traffic is definitely possible through social posting, paid-search and email campaigns, however a regular stream of traffic from search engines could take a matter of months to establish.
Content marketing fits neatly into the wider strategy of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is one of the core objectives of those looking to maximise their online presence.
The 10 Best Places To Share Your Content
Where do you currently share your blogs? Could you increase visibility to target markets?
If you’re one step ahead and have already made an effort to put pen to paper and write blogs as part of your marketing strategy, that’s great. To help you out, here is a quick check list on how to leverage existing channels to get your content working for you.
The top 10 that we believe are crucial to any blogging and content marketing strategy today…
1. Email marketing
One of the most effective ways to share your great content is to email it out to your prospects, but don’t send emails one-by-one, set up an email campaign. You can use an independent tool for this, or the tool within your training administration system from which you can segment existing course delegates and target them with appropriate courses. You’ll be able to see who opened the email from your database, and who clicked on links and read your blogs and articles. You could even follow them up with a call and use it as a lead generation tool.
Sharing content became a lot easier when Facebook came along. Simply by one of your ‘friends’ liking an article you can have it posted half way across the world. It’s incredible to think how much exposure you can get from one click of a button.
3. Free downloads
These one-page websites are great tools for content to be downloaded. If you write six great articles and lump them together as one valuable eBook you might feel it is something quite valuable. Instead of just allowing anyone access to the content, why not require them to surrender some basic details. This content marketing guide is a great example, and you may also find it very useful.
4 . Twitter
Never ignore twitter when it comes to content marketing. Building a following is far easier that on Facebook and you can share content easily – just post your article up and share on Twitter . You can even @mention the odd person to ensure they know you want them to have a read of your content or # a specific group. If it’s retweeted a few times you will be marketing your services to a huge audience.
5. RSS Feeds
All of this starts with great content, without the ideas and the great writing none of it works. So, how are you generating the right ideas? Use RSS feeds to stay on top of your industry and in a position where you can unearth interesting angles for blogs and articles. If you offer HR consultancy or team management and coaching, you need to be blogging about this with some insightful comment – it’s how you can stay ahead in a competitive field. Just keep an eye out for the RSS Feed logo and get fed through all the relevant information in your sector when it happens.
An image can speak a thousand words, and can also make an article a little more interesting and eye catching. You don’t need to buy these. Try using sites like www.pexels.com for great royalty free images.
7. SEO keyword tools
There are some useful tools (some are free) like the tool in Google Adwords to help you find the right keywords to optimise your blogs and articles. Make sure you find the ones that sell your key message, and are popular enough to help your articles get found on the search engines.
8. Third party websites
Which websites do your target market use all the time? Is it training sites, HR sites or others perhaps? Contact the editors of the sites and ask if you can supply some content (best to offer it exclusively). It could be a very effective way to get your articles the high exposure you need, and in the right places – don’t forget to link back to your site where you can.
A prolific B2B sharing site, great to notify connections of your latest piece of content. Be sure to connect with the right people (it’s quality not quantity) and be ‘seen’ as much as possible as the person that adds value with content that is relevant and engaging. Get active in groups as well, there are 1,000’s!
Content doesn’t only refer to the written word, today sites like Vimeo and YouTube are really powerful content marketing tools. Once you’ve written the content, try reading it out in front of the camera or delivering it as a PowerPoint presentation. Your prospects could be searching for your services on video sharing sites as well as the normal search engines.
To find out more, download the training companies guide to content marketing.
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