Content Marketing for K-12 Education

Content marketing wordcloud 2Content marketing has long been a part of the K-12 mix – certainly before the phrase “content marketing” became an often-used buzzword. But should content marketing for K-12 reach beyond white papers and success stories and delve into more consumer-oriented CM tactics?

Content marketing for K-12 ed has traditionally been more about showing authority and leadership than discoverability. Generally, we design our content for deployment rather than SEO, and we deliver our content specifically to those who are best served by it rather than baiting the hook to passively see who shows interest. And honestly, this is the way it should be, because a cornerstone of effective content marketing is that it should provide maximum value to your target market. So what can be done to adopt the best of consumer-style content marketing to the K-12 educational space?

Create engaging content.*

Create a lot of content.
But the right kind. This is certainly dependent on your product or service, but content – and most importantly, engaging content – is today’s recipe to be seen, heard, and found. Make sure yours is relevant. And to keep it cohesive, prepare a content calendar so you stay on track.

Revamp your website.
Put your content in the lead if it isn’t already. Make your core branding messages prominent. Engage in a dialogue with your market that goes beyond product features and benefits.  First, talk about the needs of your market.  Then clearly delineate how your product is best suited to meet those needs. So revamp as necessary.

Don’t pine for traffic.
Huge traffic numbers are meaningless when marketing to K-12 education, so don’t be a slave to your analytics. Worry most about attracting the right traffic, the ones that have the capability and desire to become your customers. Keep in mind what you’re in it for…building relationships that lead to sales. Matrices such as opens, downloads, etc. provide a pulse, but doesn’t get you to where you need to be. Use them as early indicators of what really matters: driving business.

Make sure you’re optimized for mobile.
No need to get into an explanation here. You know that everyone is accessing more and more online information on phones and tablets. Use a responsive design so your messages come through loud and clear.

Increase your use of video and visual media.
There are stats out there that say folks like information visually. But it’s intuitive that a well done 3 minute video can go far to enhance brand, quickly and definitively provide key product takeaways, and engage in ways that other media can’t.

Pay more attention to your own list building activities.
I’ll admit it. I’m finicky when it comes to list building. As someone with extensive direct marketing experience, I know how important it is to build and maintain prospect and customer lists. And as a marketer to K-12, I’m at times rather surprised at the shoddy state of homegrown lists within the industry. Most importantly, pay attention to your list collection practices, list storage and accessibility, and list segmenting criteria. Lists are a garbage-in, garbage-out proposition, so it takes time and effort to set them up properly. And it’s well worth the effort.

If you’re marketing the same ways that you did a few years ago, you’re behind your competition. Adopt content marketing strategies to make sure you’re not only in the race, but that you’re well ahead of the pack.

And then what?  
OK then, once you get all that great content created, you’ll need to unleash it onto your marketplace so it gets the attention it deserves.  Read my Business2Community guest blog post for details.

*Photo: Niklas Bildhauer.  

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