This post by Mack Collier sums up the value of teaching as a business development and sales tool so succinctly that I just have to share it with you. So here's a link to the whole post: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Marketing and Start Teaching.
There are two points in particular that I want to riff on:
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 with a useful tool and decide they want to work with me. 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 his company. Two years! During that time, he shared relevant blog posts with his team and training department. He ultimately prevailed and I got a year-long contract with his company. 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, and The Word Factory is no exception. 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, a woman attended a workshop I did last year and when a friend mentioned she was planning a conference, the woman shared my materials and her recommendation. My phone rang the next day and I was booked for a nicely-compensated speaking gig. Another example: I posted a slide deck on how to write for advocacy to SlideShare Monday and it was featured on the home page. So far more than 1,249 people have viewed it, my website's gotten a lot more traffic and I've gotten more followers on Twitter. Still waiting to see if it brings in any revenue, but it sure has raised my profile!
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.
Here's some related content from Marketing Profs: Is public speaking part of your marketing mix?