Posted in Content Marketing. 7 min read
When creating educational content for your business, it’s important to take a step back, decide what exactly you’re going to write and what the best way to approach the content is.
First, consider the content. Is this something that can be written on a web page or blog? Will the content be in-depth and lengthy enough to warrant an eBook? Or, is it something that would be better represented through a more visual medium with concise content, like an infographic?
Once you’ve decided on the topic and your approach, it’s time to start writing. We’ve put together 10 tips to help you start writing educational content for your organization or business.
1. Write Content That is Relevant
While this may seem like a no-brainer, you might be surprised just how often people try to write content that isn’t applicable to their target audience or doesn’t correlate with their area of focus.
Organizations that want to grow their audiences and draw prospects in, particularly via organic search results, need to ensure that their topics and content are relevant to target audience pain-points, needs, or, really, whatever it is they are searching for.
But, how can you possibly know that kind of information? That’s where having established buyer personas can help.
2. Tailor the Content for Your Target Audience
In inbound marketing, it is important to focus on writing content that will reach your target audience. To do this, you’ll first need to know who they are and what they want. This involves creating and using buyer personas that you must familiarize yourself with.
These personas will provide guidance as to who your audience is, what they do, what they are looking for, the types of challenges they face, and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Part of this process also is knowing what types of services or products they use or may be looking to purchase in the future. Create and share content that speaks to those individuals and their needs.
3. Be Specific and Use Real-life Examples
A common practice I often see on blogs is that they are often written in a very generic way. While it’s good to make things basic sometimes for reaching out to top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) readers, it’s also important to include more detailed or specific examples, as well, for those who are further down the funnel and desire that kind of detailed information.
When you’re done explaining something, you then can provide a real-life example to help them understand how that knowledge can be applied.
This provides a chance for you to showcase your industry expertise and experience in that particular area and how you address challenges in your processes or solve issues for your clients.
4. Approach the Content from a Different Angle
Give ‘em something they won’t expect. When people are searching online to learn about a specific topic, they’re bound to come across a mish-mash of a lot of the same content.
To stand out from the sea of similarity, flex your creative muscles, think outside the norm, and anticipate some of the questions they may be asking before they know to ask them.
5. Use Active and Engaging Content and Language
There are a host of different ways to engage your readers through language, some of which include the use of humor, or using your words to paint a mental picture or share a story.
Although this example is more specific to the language used than the type of content itself, it’s important to at least mention. Use active voice rather than passive voice whenever possible, as it is more engaging to your audience. When writing in active voice, it means that the subject (whatever it may be) performs the action that is stated by the verb.
Active voice example: More than 85% of the users who read our blog articles complete a “contact us” form.
Passive voice example: The “contact us” form is completed by more than 85% of the users who read our blog articles.
6. Choose a Style and Tone and Keep Them Consistent
Decide how you want to approach the content. Do you want to write it from a first-person perspective? If so, use pronouns like “I,” “we,” and “our” to keep things consistent throughout the document or blog.
If you choose to write to your audience directly, you’ll likely want to use a second-person perspective, which would include words like “you,” “your,” or “yours.” Or, If you choose to use a third-person perspective, this can be ideal when speaking about other businesses or professionals in your industry. This would entail using words like “he,” “she,” “it,” “his,” “her,” “they,” or “them.”
Additionally, you also will want to keep in mind the tone itself of the content. Are you writing this in a formal tone or a more casual tone? What do your readers respond best to? And, what tone and style would be most beneficial to the type of content you’re producing?
Whatever approach you choose to take, just make sure you’re consistent throughout it.
7. Use Helpful Formatting to Guide Readers
When you’re writing anything that will be displayed on the Internet, such as a blog or website content, be sure to use title tags and other website page formatting best practices. This strategy is important and will contribute to your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), which helps prospects and other readers find your content.
Another reason for using formatting is that it makes the content easier for readers to follow. This is especially helpful when writing in-depth or complicated content.
Some of these formatting tips include the use of:
- Headers and title tags (H1, H2, H3 tags) to create a content hierarchy;
- Numbered or bulleted lists to break up the copy;
- External website links from trusted sources;
- Bold or italicized typefaces to emphasize important key terms;
- Images and other graphics;
- Alt text that uses your keywords; and
- Internal embedded links to evergreen content on your website
If you’re writing an eBook, it’s a good idea, as well, to include a table of contents that features corresponding page numbers for each section or chapter.
8. Cite and Link to Authoritative Resources
A common mistake that some people make when writing educational content is that they will provide a litany of incredible industry statistics and other related helpful fact bites—but, they neglect to cite from where they got the information. In addition to this being a major no-no for writers (anyone heard of plagiarism?), it’s also a disservice to your readers who may want to read more of the information.
Don’t just stop a stating where the information came from (the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a leading industry organization, for example)—but rather be sure to link directly to that exact resource as well in your content. In addition to providing your readers with quality resources, you’re boosting the authority of your own website, as well, by linking to reputable and authoritative sources.
9. Admit That You Don’t (and Can’t) Know Everything
As a writer, you may find yourself in the same boat as us—often writing about a variety of different topics and industries for clients. You may find yourself writing about healthcare concerns, IT security best practices, and animal care one day, and then need to move on to gardening tips, legal concerns, and travel recommendations the next.
While it’s important that you invest time to read and research each business and its corresponding industry, it’s just not possible to know everything. Research any given topic on Google, as well as your competitor’s site and blog, to see if there is any helpful information. However, this is where it a subject matter expert (SME) within your organization can be a godsend.
A SME is going to be your lifesaver—your go-to person for detailed information, examples, and organization-specific resources. They can provide you with incredible insight that you’re likely not going to find by simply Googling the topic. They also can provide the niche information you need that is specific only to your organization. So, don’t be too prideful to reach out to this valuable resource.
10. Re-use the Content and Make It Easy to Share
Content almost always can be repurposed and shared in a variety of other formats, as well. If you write an eBook, for example, the content can be repurposed into:
- Blog posts;
- Brief videos that can be uploaded and shared on YouTube;
- Infographics; and
- Newsletter or email content
Additionally, one of the best things about writing content in an online format is that it can (and should) be shared. What we mean by this is that you can include social media share links on your website pages and post the content on your organization’s social media accounts.
What other tips would you recommend when sitting down to write education content for your organization? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.