DON'T Use This Teaching Point in Your Content Marketing if You Want to Get Clients
Tuesday December 26, 2017
When I receive a proposal for a guest post or evaluate a client's education-based marketing, there's one mistake that will make me say "can't publish, must revise" faster than almost any other.
A mistake that wastes your audience's time, and will make you look useless in the eyes of your potential clients.
That mistake is saying "learn how to X", "research how to Y", or "figure out how to Z".
Why is this type of teaching point so unacceptable?
Imagine if you were sitting in math class, and your teacher said, "Now figure out how to do division."
Your reaction would probably be "What?! But that's what I'm here to learn! It's your job to teach it to me! And all you can do is tell me to figure it out?"
The same principle applies to your educational marketing. The point of education-based marketing is to teach your clients things, demonstrate your expertise and teaching skill, and help them to understand why they need you.
If you tell them to figure out how to do something, as opposed to telling them how to do it, it makes you look like a bad teacher, and it makes the content useless to them.
It will leave them thinking, "If you can't or won't actually teach me this stuff, what do I need you for? I'll just do what you said, and go figure it out without you."
But what if the task includes variables that they have to figure out themselves?
Sometimes you can't tell your entire audience exactly how to do something, because the task or answer needs to be tailored to their exact business or situation.
For example, if you're sending out a newsletter to a list of business owners in different industries, you can't tell them to "try to rank for this keyword". Which keywords they should target will vary by company and industry.
But even then, "figure out which keywords to rank for" is still useless advice.
If you must tell someone to figure something out, give them guidelines for HOW to figure it out.
For example, you can:
1. Give them links to resources they can use for research, like keyword evaluation tools.
2. Give them lists of questions they can ask themselves. For example, in my blog post titled "Should You Say What You're Thinking, Or Not?", I couldn't give a blanket answer, but I COULD offer questions and guidelines my readers could use to evaluate their individual situations.
3. Offer methods they can use to assess their situation and determine what they're dealing with, and recommendations for how to respond to their findings. I used this strategy in my recent blog post, "Should You Drop Your Prices for Clients Who Can't Afford You?"
Whichever method you use, the same principle applies:
Your instructions should be specific enough that people can act on them, and should demonstrate your ability as a teacher or expert.
Telling people to figure something out won't accomplish that goal. Telling them HOW to figure it out will.
Once you've given your audience valuable information, how do you get them to buy from you?
Effective education-based marketing starts with giving your readers, viewers and listeners useful data they can use to improve their lives, but it doesn't end there.
After you've demonstrated your abilities and helped them to understand why they need you, you need to make an offer they don't want to refuse.
Unfortunately, many business owners struggle with this. They describe their offer, and instead of lighting up with interest, their prospects' eyes go blank with boredom or confusion.
If you frequently hear "No, thanks," "I'm not interested", or "I can't afford it" from people who you KNOW need your product, I have an easy solution:
I've coauthored an ebook that will walk you through the process of creating product descriptions, sales pages and other selling materials that make people want to buy from you, step by easy step.
It also helps you to get other people to promote your product for you, so you can make more sales with less work.
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