Educate, Don’t Sell, Your Audience

Educate, Don’t Sell, Your Audience

Eileen Petridis   |     January 13, 2022

Any digital content expert will tell you one of the keys to improving search engine optimization is through great content. Writing content and posting it is only the first step. Give potential customers and clients a reason to visit your site again and again by consistently publishing great content and refreshing it to make it great. Stale content does little to improve your ranking. 

But what constitutes great content? 

Most companies are tempted to use digital properties and social media channels as a way to promote their products, corporate mission and other benefits their organization offers. The reality, though, is Internet surfers want to be educated, not sold. They want to solve a problem or learn something new that makes them smarter shoppers. They want to be inspired.  

Simply touting all the virtues of your company and its products does not meet this objective. It will likely turn away prospects before they can get to know — and like — your brand. 

What’s in it for the prospect? 

We live in a self-centered society where people are busier and more distracted than ever before. So, if you want people to pay attention to what you have to say (and sell), you need to provide value. Think of ways to be informative, interesting and relevant. Some good questions to ask when developing content include: 

  • What will readers accomplish with the content you provide?   
  • How will it help them do their jobs better or grow their businesses?  
  • Is it telling them something new? Or is this information they likely already know? 
  • Do you have the credibility to talk about the subject you’re writing about? (In other words, will readers believe and trust what you say?) 
  • Are you providing information in a compelling way? 

It’s not always about the numbers (at least in the short term) 

Did the article immediately generate a lead or sale? When companies are focused strictly on the numbers and slow to embrace and prioritize educational content, it’s the kind of question you’re likely to hear.  

The unfortunate reality is that educational content seldom results in immediate trackable results. But that’s not to say it has no value as part of an integrated marketing strategy. Rather, educational content is about nurturing and growing your prospect base over time. If you’re patient with your strategy, the rewards can be great.  

For example, B2B prospects are much more likely to buy from a brand after they have consumed educational content, according to Content Marketing Institute. Building trust, goodwill and loyalty with your audience results in increased sales and greater profitability over time. 

Content writing tips for strong educational content 

It’s one thing to embrace the concept of an educational content strategy. It’s quite another to know how to successfully create it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • Know your audience. Knowing what’s important to your audience is critical. Educating prospects on something in which they have no interest is a waste of time and talent. Know their “hot buttons” and write with a focus on those topics and issues. 

  • Match your word count with your content type. When it comes to word count, there is no one right answer. So, use the number of words necessary to effectively tell your story — no more and no less. That could be 300 words or 3000, depending on the complexity of the topic, the audience and the channel you’re using. 

  • Rather than telling the whole story, create a teaser. There’s no need to give away all your secrets. There is tremendous value in the expertise of your professionals, so don’t feel compelled to give all your advice away for free.  Simply provide some nuggets of information that leave readers wanting more.  

  • Avoid jargon or salesy terms. There are ways to indirectly reference products and product attributes without blatantly promoting them. Focus on how your product or service can benefit readers or tips on how to use a product or service more efficiently. Think “how-tos”, tutorials, tips for success, and infographics. 

  • Keep ‘em coming. You can’t write one article and assume you’re done. Instead, you need to keep your audience coming back for additional information. Give your readers a reason to visit your site again. Make sure content is updated regularly for timeliness and accuracy. And keep cranking out articles that provide value to prospects. 

  • Invest in good writing. Don’t cut corners and simply assign your most available employee or cheapest freelancer to develop your educational content. The writing needs to reflect the quality and credibility of your brand. If there are typos, grammatical errors or the content is simply boring, there is little value to the reader. 

  • Provide a clear call to action (CTA). If you want to track the success of your educational program, you need to give your reader some follow-up action. Suggest that the prospect, after reading, learn more via related articles or stay informed by signing up for a newsletter. Even better, proactively offer related content you think may be of interest to readers and advance them on their sales journey. 

Benefits of educational content campaigns 

If done correctly, educational content can deliver an array of benefits, including: 

  • Improve your SEO ranking 

  • Provide a venue for ongoing communications with prospects and existing customers/clients 

  • Keep prospects/customers engaged with your brand 

  • Position you as a thought leader 

  • Elevate your brand awareness 

  • Build goodwill with your brand 

  • Advance prospects on the sales journey to generate more leads and sales 

  • Remind customers why you’re the right choice and why they should keep doing business with you 

Start educating 

Falls has developed successful educational content campaigns for an array of clients in both B2C and B2B. Our writers are adept at matching up your professionals’ expertise with the issues your clients and prospects want to read about. We can help your people become successful educators and create compelling content. For more information on ways to get started, reach out to Eileen at epetridis@fallsandco.com.


Eileen Petridis

Eileen is a senior vice president at Falls & Co. She provides strategic counsel to help a wide array of B2B and consumer clients launch and sustain successful media relations and marketing communications programs.