Content Marketing

Educational Content: How To Create It (With Additional Tips)

CopyPress

Published: May 25, 2022

Einstein once said, “Education is what remains when you’ve forgotten what you learned in school.” What Einstein is saying is that school is important for learning methods of thinking and problem-solving, but not necessarily for facts. And with the invention and progression of the internet, that statement has only become more true. With people using Google and other search engines to answer any question or inquiry they might have, brands have found this to be a great opportunity to entice people to their business with educational content. In this article, we discuss:

What Is Educational Content?

Image via Unsplash by Green Chameleon

Educational content is content that educates and informs your target audience. Believe it or not, that’s all there is to it. Does your target audience want to know how to set up a fish tank? Maybe they want to learn how to make lasagna? More than likely they’re going to turn to some form of educational content. Businesses use this to create the basis of their content marketing campaigns. That’s because it’s one of the most effective and useful forms of content you can use for your business.

Why Is Educational Content Important?

Educational content can benefit your company and its content marketing campaign in several ways. Those ways include:

  • Building audience relationships: Educational content is one of the best ways to build relationships with your target audience. Not only can you inform them on a specific topic, but you can show that you understand their problems and challenges. This often encourages them to seek out more content you create or learn more about what your business can offer them.
  • Increasing brand awareness: Educational content is excellent, but it’s even better when it engages or entertains. This helps to create something that people want to share with their friends and family. The more people share your educational content, the more it can help increase your brand awareness.
  • Generating quality leads: Building relationships and generating brand awareness are great as separate benefits, but together they help generate quality leads for your business. People who enjoy your content and seek out more of it are more likely to benefit from your products or services. That makes them excellent leads for your business to help generate more sales.

But as you can see, educational content is definitely a long-term strategy. What’s the point of focusing on building relationships instead of sales? You don’t just want to focus on informing your audience, you want to entice them to make a purchase and boost your revenue. It’s difficult to see how educational content fits into that. But the two are more similar than you might think.

Educational Content vs. Sales Content

I’m assuming your main goal is to generate sales and make sure your company stays profitable. You’re a business, after all. So why are so many companies focusing on educational content instead of sales content? Well, the truth is, they’re not. Educational content and sales content kind of go hand-in-hand. Businesses aren’t just creating educational content with the hope that people reach out to learn more. They’re focusing on how the content relates to the reader’s customer journey and how they can direct those readers to their products and services.

For the most part, educational content is sales content. At the very least, they’re two different parts of a single, content marketing strategy. Companies often start with educational content to build a relationship with the audience and attract them to the webpage. Then, using well-placed calls to action, businesses can entice people to interact with their company further and learn more about their products and services. But that’s easier said than done.

When creating educational content, you want your topic to relate to your products or services in some way. Whenever you write a new blog or article, you should think about “how does this information or call to action benefit my readers?” A great way to remember this is through the acronym WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?”

If you’re still having trouble, schedule a call with CopyPress. We have a team of expert writers, editors, and quality assurance specialists who know how to create compelling educational content we know your target audience will enjoy. We have the resources and expertise to create engaging blogs, articles, white papers, and eBooks that attract your audience and convert them with well-placed and well-written calls to action.

Read more: How To Write a Perfect Call to Action

How To Create Educational Content

Here is a list of steps to help you create excellent educational content:

1. Cover the Rich Snippet

Rich snippets are search results on Google that display a bit more information to the searcher. One of the most popular examples of this is in Google’s “People Also Ask” section, as shown below:

screenshot from Google's people also ask section that lists important keywords

Image via Google

This section covers popular questions associated with the search term and displays their answers. But Google doesn’t answer these questions itself. Instead, it takes the answers from high-ranking content and displays them in a quick snippet — hence the name. To target the rich snippet, it’s helpful to include relevant and popular questions in your educational content and answer them within the first sentence of the following paragraph. When a user clicks on one of the questions, even more populate, making this section a seemingly endless repository of information.

Want a quick example? Take a look at the first heading in this article. We ask “What Is Educational Content?” and immediately follow it up with the answer, “Educational content is…”. Targeting the rich snippet is an excellent way to get Google to feature your article in its search results. But it also helps to immediately provide information to your reader, which is just good practice for content writing.

Related: Understanding Featured Snippets

2. Target Relevant Keywords

Once you’ve covered one or two rich snippet sections, it’s helpful to target other keywords that relate to your topic. A great way to uncover those keywords is through competitor research. The content that your direct competitors create often target a similar audience. If they’ve created content around the same topics, you can see what subjects they address. If their content ranks well on the search engine results page (SERP), you might want to include similar information in your own articles, blogs, and white papers.

However, it’s important to not just copy the information outright. You want to make sure that you’re covering the same information, but still adding something new or unique that sets your content apart from your competitors. A great way to do that is to add your own anecdotes or personal experience. Show readers how your expertise and knowledge can benefit them.

Want to get a head start on your competitor research? CopyPress now offers a content marketing analysis tool that compares your website and its content with your top three competitors. See which of your articles and blogs rank well on the SERPs, find gaps in your content marketing strategy, and discover low-hanging fruit keyword opportunities for you to target. Request your content analysis today!

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3. Create a How-To Section

How-to sections in educational content provide a step-by-step list of instructions to help someone accomplish a task or solve a problem. Though not every piece of educational content will require a section like this, finding a spot to include one can help improve reader satisfaction. That’s because when someone has a problem or challenge they need to solve, they’re often looking for an exact process with which to approach it.

For instance, let’s say you have a flat tire that needs changing. Would you rather read an article that talks in-depth about the history of changing tires? Or do you just want to know exactly where to put the car jack? Creating a how-to section gives your readers a section they can immediately navigate to and get all the information they need. And when you know your how-to section will be a popular area that people go to, it creates an excellent place for you to include a powerful call-to-action.

Additional Educational Content Writing Tips

Here are some additional steps to help you craft educational content:

1. Focus on the Reader’s Benefits

When creating educational content, the thing to focus on, first and foremost, is the benefit to the reader. Does the content focus on providing useful information to the reader? Or does it focus on selling your products and services? Now, obviously, you want it to do both, but if you focus too much on the latter, it can turn readers away. The main reason they’re on your site is to solve a problem. Use your educational content to provide the solution.

2. Improve Readability with Headings

Ideally, you want to hook your readers from the first sentence and encourage them to read the content from start to finish. But some audience members might want to skip to the information that’s most important to them. In fact, you should make that easier for them. Breaking up your content into different sections with easily identifiable headings can help your readers get the information they need more quickly. If they like what you have to say and feel satisfied by your content, they might be more inclined to go back and read the rest of the article or blog.

3. Be Conversational

Creating content that’s more conversational helps make it more approachable and readable for your audience. That’s because the reader feels like they’re having a conversation with an old friend versus someone in the world of marketing and business. A great way to approach this is by using the barstool test. The barstool test simply asks, does your content read like you’re sharing information with someone you just met at a bar?

Imagine you just sat down at a bar and you strike up a conversation with the person next to you. They have a problem or challenge that you know how to solve. How do you approach the conversation? How do you inform this person about the solution and give them helpful insight without sounding like a college professor giving a three-hour academic lecture? That’s where using something like the barstool test comes in most handy.

You want all of your readers, no matter their education level or experience, to understand your content and not feel confused by its information. That allows you to cast a wide net and attract as many audience members as possible to hopefully find those more willing to make a purchase or engage with your company further.

4. Connect the Content To Your Business

They say companies perform the best type of marketing when they don’t even have to mention their products or services. But we can’t all be content’s destined chosen one who could sell fish to the ocean. That’s where lovely things called “contrarian angles” play a major part in educational content. Contrarian angles are problems or challenges you mention to your readers that they might not have thought about. Those points, in turn, flow nicely into a call to action for your business.

Let’s say you have a company that sells athletic shoes. You might write an article on the best types of athletic shoes for outdoor terrain. This already provides you with an opportunity to mention the durability of your own products. But you can take it a step further with the contrarian angle by asking your readers what they’ll do when they wear out their shoes. After all, no pair of shoes can last forever. That’s a great opportunity for you to talk about the discount your company offers to any customer who trades in their old shoes when buying new ones.

Some people argue that contrarian angles are aggressive because most businesses use them to talk down their competitors. But we like to think of it as posing a question and immediately offering a solution. It’s like a lawyer who never asks a question they don’t already know the answer to. “Hey have you thought of this problem? Well, even if you haven’t, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.”

4. Get Feedback on Your Writing

Once you’ve written a draft of your education content, it’s helpful to get feedback on it to ensure it makes sense and it effectively captures your audience. Though feedback from your audience itself is most helpful, it’s okay to start with someone like a peer or agency partner. After they finish reading the document, it’s helpful to ask follow up questions to guide the feedback. Those questions might include:

  • Did the information make sense?
  • Would this content solve your problem or challenge?
  • Would you be interested in reading more from us?
  • Does the writing pass the barstool test?
  • Do you still have questions about the problem or challenge after reading?

Asking questions like this can help ensure your content is well written and ready to go before publishing. But what if you have a lot of articles and blogs that you want feedback on? You could ask coworkers from another department to help you out, but that might take a long time and significantly slow down your content production. That’s why it’s helpful to have an editor, or a team of editors who can help.

But don’t worry, there’s no need to hire all of those additional employees yourself. When you work with CopyPress, you have access to our team of over 2,000 writers, editors, and quality assurance specialists. No matter the scale of your content production, we have the resources and skills to create educational content we know your target audience will love. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can boost your marketing campaign and ensure your content production schedule never slows down.

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