Content is at the core of nearly every marketing strategy in 2017, and the amount of content teams are producing is only growing. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of survey respondents reported that they plan to create more content in 2017 over 2016, and 69% will be focused on creating content for their audience versus their brand.
The shift toward more customer-centric content is a strong indicator that brands are buying into more forward-thinking content marketing strategies—Instead of pitching products or services, brands are focused on providing truly relevant and useful content to audiences to help them solve problems.
This is the main difference between content marketing and traditional marketing. While traditional marketing is focused on promoting a brand and its products or services, content marketing is focused on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to ultimately convert your audience into customers.
This is where educational content (such as how-to content, tutorials and instructional content) comes in. Even the earliest content marketers focused on developing educational assets to fuel their marketing programs. John Deere, for example, used educational content to provide valuable information for prospects rather than try to sell them on their products via traditional sales and marketing messages.
Check out the video below for more information about John Deere’s content marketing history:
Recent studies also show it’s this kind of information that consumers still want to receive from brands. Research has found that consumers place the most value on content that “informs” (40%) and “educates” (28%) them. Only 17% say content that “entertains” is the most valuable and 11% say content that “inspires” is the most valuable. For this reason, content marketers should be striving to create more educational and informative content in the form of how-to content, tutorials, recipes or data-driven content to attract and engage audiences.
So, what does really successful educational content marketing look like in 2017? Here are three examples from leading brands:
Tax season can be high stress simply because taxes can be complicated. But the TurboTax blog aims to be the resource for any tax-related questions and suggestions. With blog posts about anything and everything related to financial decision-making and tax implications, TurboTax has created a superior content destination targeted to those who are eager to get educated and informed on these topics.
When it comes to content for the DIYer, Rust-Oleum leads the pack with an assortment of tutorials, videos and how-to content on its blog. The topics are hyper-relevant for homeowners looking to take the lead on home projects. The instructional content is clear, easy to follow and accompanied by the right visuals and graphics for more complex DIY projects.
The leading food brand has created a beautiful content hub full of rich (and delicious) recipes and information for cooking and baking enthusiasts. You can explore recipes by dish, dietary preference, skill level and cook time. While the recipes are simple and straightforward, the dishes are also extremely creative in using Smucker’s sweet fruit spreads, ice cream toppings and syrups to develop more savory dishes.
Download our guide: How to Master Individualization to Delight Your Customers for best practices for delivering 1:1 personalized content experiences across every channel.