We’ve all heard that knowledge is power. But what about sharing this knowledge with others? Do you have a play-your-cards-close-to-your-
Many companies I come across suggest to their customers (directly and/or indirectly): “Just trust us – we know what we’re talking about” without backing up these rather bold statements. But there’s a lot to be said for sharing your knowledge – i.e. providing your audience with relevant, interesting and useful educational content – to help them learn, feel empowered, and view you as an authority in your industry.
Our school days may be nothing but a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean we ever stop learning. When we’re knowledgeable on a topic, it instills confidence (whether we’re at work or at a pub quiz) – and so it makes sense that, by providing educational content, we can start to gain our customers’ confidence in our brand.
When the late, great Robin Williams boldly stood on his desk in the film Dead Poets Society and told his students that he was doing so to “remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way”, he knew what he was talking about. Despite the length of time since its release (was it really 1989?!), the suggestion of continually viewing things with a different perspective is no less true today. And, while I’m not quite suggesting that you jump up onto your desk anytime soon, we need to be looking at things from the customers’ perspective and understanding that their needs must be fulfilled.
By sharing knowledge, you can build your brand’s credibility, expertise and trustworthiness. In doing so, your customers will feel more at ease, assured that what you claim is indeed true. Here’s the proof…
Brands that are bossing it
Just about any business in any industry can make educational content work for them. So, who’s got it sussed? Here are some of the players scoring high…
Food is big news, and we are hungrier for variety in our diet than ever before. Before educational content, folks had to rely on following a recipe and hoping for the best. However, nowadays, the food industry is tapping into the benefits of educating their customers on how to use their product so that they can become the next Mary Berry/Gordon Ramsay/Heston Blumenthal – or at least manage to poach an egg without disaster.
Philadelphia cream cheese has transformed its image from humble bagel topper to hugely versatile ingredient by providing its customers with a wide range of suggestions for use via its YouTube channel. Its website also cleverly allows you to input the ingredients you have to hand and generates a recipe you can use. It even asks you for your preferred difficulty level and prep time. Ingenious.
I couldn’t discuss personal branding without including the meteoric rise of Joe Wicks – the health and fitness guru who claims he can make us ‘Lean in 15’. The Body Coach has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of people worldwide thanks to his simple, healthy, chuck-it-in-the-pan video recipes and fitness guides. Bish-bash-bosh, indeed.
Food may be one of the less challenging sectors to educate your customers due to its practicality; however all kinds of brands have shown how to use educational content marketing to their advantage. While the thought of finances may be met with a deep internal sigh, financial brands are devoting more of their budget to educating their customers.
You may have noticed Halifax’s recent adverts featuring a range of nostalgic childhood characters. These are used to provide the customer with tips, while using their familiarity to connect and engage.
Meanwhile, US money management firm Mint provide their customers with tailor-made budgeting solutions, making use of attractive, easy-to-follow charts and lists. It also posts inspirational blogs and videos for helpful ways to help manage your budget, adding to its educational repertoire.
Another financial firm that is seeking to educate – but, crucially, not advise – its customers is Zurich. Best known as an insurance group, Zurich also helps savers plan for the future. Through a mixture of both written and visual content, Zurich aims to show savers what options they have available to them, encouraging them to starting thinking about the future before it’s too late.
It’s educational content that’s truly fitting of the times, with new research from Aviva revealing that half of under-35s saying they know nothing about the pension freedoms, introduced in April 2016.
As a nation, we’re becoming more and more reliant on experts to maintain our cars. Alphabet and Arlington research reveals that more than a third of UK drivers aged between 45 and 55 don’t feel confident changing a tyre on their vehicle – that figure grows to 62% for millennials.
However, insurers Hastings Direct argue that there’s no need to outsource everything to a third party – offering guidance on things like how to change a tyre and how to prepare a car for winter – helping their customers become more confident with their cars; potentially saving them money, too.
If you can make an impression by helping your customers, or indeed, helping them save money, they’re going to remember you. Just make sure your content’s engaging, or they might be inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth.