A Guide to Content Marketing for Education Companies
It can be a challenge to figure out the best marketing strategy for your education company. Where do you focus your resources? What will give you the best results? Are you asking yourself these questions? If so, we recommend implementing content marketing for education companies. This guide will walk you through why content marketing matters and how education companies are using content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves creating, sharing, and publishing helpful information and resources to attract potential buyers and inform existing customers.
Have you ever read an article online or watched a video on social media where you learned about a topic? Next time you do that, look at who created or shared the article or video. If it came from a company, then you just consumed content marketing.
Content marketing for education companies involves a process of deeply understanding your customers. You want to identify what they find interesting and helpful and then connect it to your business' area of focus. Then, you produce and distribute different types of content that appeal to your customers and connect to a topic related to your education or edtech company.
Types of Content Marketing for Education Companies
Content marketing comes in many forms. Blog posts were the most common type when content marketing started. But now, people are in many different places online, and it takes a lot to get people's attention when browsing or searching, so content marketing comes in many forms.
Content can be short, like social media posts, or long, like an eBook. Content can also come in different formats like visual, written, or audio.
Here are types of content marketing that are relevant for education companies:
Most content marketing created by education companies is stored on the company website, usually in a "resources" or "insights" section. You might also see content on a company's social media platforms, emails, or other partner websites or newsletters.
People sometimes question what's content marketing vs. advertising. In some places, it's hard to tell and they are one and the same. Content has become more common and accepted by a consumer than advertising, so platforms have tried to make content blend in with advertising. For example, you might see content shared on social media or in a media or news outlet that is actually advertising. Look out for small text that says "promoted" or "ads." These are sometimes called "advertorials." It's advertising that is helpful and informative without pushing the product, but the company paid the publisher to post it.
There's also advertising that is not content marketing. These are usually found on TV, the radio, Google search, and online banner ads promoting the product's features, deals and discounts, or free trials.
Why Content Marketing Matters for Education Companies
Here's why content marketing matters for education companies: deciding to buy an educational product or service is a complex purchase. The person purchasing or approving the purchase is usually not the person who benefits from it. It may be that a university's administration is buying an educational service that professors will use. Or a parent is buying an educational product their child will use. The decision to buy, in these cases, is high-stakes. If the end-user doesn't benefit from what was bought, it could affect the reputation and trust of the decision-maker or make the buyer feel like they wasted money. Therefore, trust is critical when buying from an education or edtech company.
Trust in an education company is built by potential buyers receiving helpful information focused on them and the end-users. It's an emotional process, not transactional. Potential buyers will need to get to know you: your experience, your approach, other people's experiences with you, and why you are in this business. Before people buy from an education company or talk to a sales team, they do research. They look at your website, compare you to competitors, and read reviews and case studies.
Content marketing matters for education companies because it helps build trust and helps you share your experience while they are researching solutions. People who buy an educational product or service need to know that the company they buy from wants to help and is not purely in the industry for money.
Examples of Content Marketing for Education Companies
Here are two examples of content marketing for education companies to give you more context.
KiwiCo creates subscription box kits to help kids learn STEAM skills. They know that their customers enjoy doing activities at home with their kids, are crafty, and are busy parents who value experiential learning for their children.
So they created "DIY" content where they share ideas for activities, crafts, and experiments for their kids. They have a section on their website with content that can be searched by age or category. The content includes:
Step-by-step tutorials with instructions, images and gifs, and a supplies list
Lists with links to DIY activities organized into themes like "handmade gifts for teachers" and "outdoor science activities"
Instructional videos with DIY projects
They share this content through their social media channels and encourage customers to post their DIY projects on social media, which KiwiCo shares on their website and social media.
By producing this content, KiwiCo provides value by giving activity ideas to people even if they aren't a customer. They build trust, engagement, and a community by resharing photos and videos of people doing their activities.
They are also selling products along the way. Their DIY projects include links to KiwiCo products. And when their customers share their products and activities on their personal social media platforms, they expose KiwiCo to their trusted friends.
Class is an edtech platform that enhances Zoom for instructors. Their customers extend from K-12 to higher ed to corporate users. They know that their customers went through a rapid transition to virtual teaching during the pandemic and are open to learning new methods for virtual instruction.
To help educate their potential and existing customers, Class has a "resources" section on their website, which people can search based on their market or the type of content they'd like to see. The content includes:
Videos like webinars and vlogs about virtual learning strategies, interviews with educators, product tips, and case studies
eBooks about remote learning and student engagement
They share this content on their social media platforms, and some of them are lead generators, requiring people to fill out a form to see the content. They also create content specific to social media platforms, like "behind the scenes" TikTok videos.
Creating and distributing content helps Class build authority in the virtual learning space and educates potential buyers who are still learning how to best integrate online learning into their classrooms and companies.
It helps sell their edtech product by demonstrating ways that virtual learning technology will help their end-users and building their reputation for people who are researching online.
Is Content Marketing Worth It?
Content marketing is worth it for any education company regardless of the stage (start-up or established) or market (B2B or B2C). Content marketing involves an investment in time and money to plan it, create content and distribute it. But unlike the cost put into advertising, you will get more mileage out of content marketing. By housing content marketing on your website, it will be available for potential buyers or existing customers to browse at any time, not just when ads are running. Content marketing can also be repurposed into different formats and reshared for years when you create content about topics that will be relevant at any time.
Content marketing for education companies is important because it helps build reputation and trust with future and current customers. It enables you to showcase your experience and share how you want to help your buyers and the end-users of your educational products or services. When developing a marketing plan for your education company, you won't go wrong by including content marketing as one of your marketing strategies.