Updated August 2023
Marketing and business development are crucial activities. So is teaching. Educational contnet helps people make smarter decisions, feel supported and creates all kinds of other downstream benefits. Mack Collier wrote a great post about this which I highlight and riff on here.
1. Teaching stands out, builds trust and loyalty
Mack says: "If your company can create value for me without asking for anything in return, that makes it far more likely that I will listen to your message, and share it with others. Plus, it greatly increases the chance that I will trust you, and buy from you."
Margot adds: I present a lot of how-to sessions at conferences all over the country and I give away a lot of free tools and advice right here on this blog. Some people read the blog and contact me for work. Other people walk out of a conference session wanting to work with me because they like one of the techniques I showed them. Sometimes, it takes both. One person who attended a presentation I did for the Insurance & Financial Communications Association spent two years advocating for me to do some consulting and training in her company. Two years! During that time, she shared relevant blog posts with her team and training department. She ultimately prevailed and they signed up for a multi-day staff training gig. Over the years, the company has had me back to do more paid trainings and engaged me to coach up some of their younger staff. The point is, teaching (in person and via social channels) lets people get to know me, to trust me and to like me. Those are important factors in decision-making!
Your take-away: Leverage opportunities to create how-to or tips-based content -- videos, writing, speaking engagements, whatever.
2. Content that teaches gets shared
Mack says: "If your content teaches, that creates value, and greatly increases the chance that it will be shared."
Margot says: Referrals and recommendations are a huge part of any business. When you teach people, you give them useful tools or skills and they pass it on -- either the learning itself or their success in learning it! Either way, you win. For example, when someone who attended a workshop heard a friend was planning a conference, they shared my materials and their recommendation. My phone rang the next day and I was booked for a paid speaking gig. Another example: I posted a slide deck on how to write for advocacy to SlideShare and it was featured on the site's home page. In the first day, more 1,249 people viewed it, my website's gotten a lot more traffic and I've gotten more followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Still waiting to see if it brings in any revenue, but it sure has raised my profile! (To date, almost 11,000 people have viewed that deck and it's my most popular presentation!)
Your take-away: Make your teaching content easily shareable by including social sharing on blog posts and videos, posting to SlideShare and YouTube or Vimeo, etc.
- How to write thought leadership content
- Content Marketing: Anatomy of an explainer piece
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