3 Terrific Resources to Learn More about Content Marketing

content_marketing_diagramMost marketers in the K-12 education industry have now at least heard the term content marketing. Many educational publishers have been doing content marketing for a long time – telling success stories with their customers as the hero.

Content marketing is fundamentally a way to attract or pull your customers and prospects toward you with great storytelling instead of pushing out traditional sales messages. There are many practitioners in other industries that have blazed the trail like Rebecca Lieb who talks about the difference between advertising and content marketing.

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The Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing

To put these topics in appropriate relationship to each other, it’s best to begin with a definition of content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as ‘the creation and distribution of educational or compelling content in multiple formats used to acquire and retain customers.”

What do we mean by “content”? Content can be as short as 140-character tidbits to share on Twitter or it can be long-form white papers, articles, videos, etc. To be valued, the content has to be informational and topic-focused rather than the traditional product focused marketing of the past.

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Fueling the National Conversation about Education Reform

collaboration in the classroomOne of the wonderful aspects of working in the education marketplace is that partnerships between public and private entities regularly form for the purpose of research. Often, the research is freely shared for the benefit of the entire education community and marketplace.

Such are the new study results on assessment from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) a not-for-profit committed to child-centered education and Peter Grunwald and Associates, a public relations and research practice focused on children, families, technology and education.

The factor that sets this K-12 study apart from others is that it adds a new voice to the conversation – parents. Most studies about assessment focus on students and educators only. As the study points out, parents are the primary consumers of assessment information and foot the bill for the assessments through taxes.

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Go to Where Your Customers Are and Engage Them There

Annie Galvin Teich-K-12 Publisher-The Teich GroupOne of the most important elements of successful marketing is customer engagement. In order to build relationships, you have to talk to your customers.

Some years ago, I worked for a company that believed that businesses could be effectively managed from behind spreadsheets, and it was all about the numbers. Consequently, not much effort went into building relationships with customers other than responding to minor customer service issues.

Then and now, the idea that you can build a successful business without customer engagement is nonsense.

Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is go meet your customers at conferences and trade shows. That’s where I’m headed today –to the Texas Computer Education Association annual conference or TCEA for short.

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Why is Digital Learning Day Important for Educators, Policy Makers, K-12 Publishers and EdTech Companies?

Yesterday was the first-ever national Digital Learning Day organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education headed up by former WV governor, Bob Wise. 15,000 educators and 1.7 million students from 39 states participated in this remarkable event. In addition, an untold number of education advocates, enthusiasts, reformers, policy wonks, journalists, consultants and K-12 vendors also participated via web broadcast and social media.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski kicked off the national town hall meeting with an announcement that the Obama administration wants digital textbooks to be implemented in every U.S. public school within 5 years. Yes, 2017.

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Social Proof: What is It and Why Do Educational Publishers Want It?

Wikipedia defines social proof as a psychological phenomenon where the actions of others are indications of correct behavior around a particular situation.

In social media, social proof is reflected in the number of Twitter followers you have; the number of fans on your Facebook page; the number of RSS readers your blog has; the number of views for your YouTube videos, etc.

Why is this important? It’s a clear indication to your prospects that you have content worth reading – that your opinions will be important to them.

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Does the New 80/20 Content Rule Apply to Educational Publishers?

solving problemsYesterday I read that companies should plan to give up to 80% of their content away for free and generate sales and profits from the remaining 20%. As publishers, that seems an unrealistic metric.

Content is our stock and trade. We've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing the best-of-category, and now we should give it away for free?

How is that a viable business model?

Yet more and more companies are allocating larger amounts of their resources each year to this effort as reported by the Content Marketing Institute.

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3 Reasons K-12 Publishers Need to Accelerate Development of Mobile Content Delivery

It's well established that technology is disruptive. K-12 schools have certainly found this to be true. But the next wave of disruptive technology for schools has already begun.

Across the country schools and districts are struggling to develop and implement BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies.

Protecting school and student data is a concern.

Overcoming the objections of administrators and educators who have to give up some control of the learning process is another.

Parents are putting pressure on schools to allow their children to use mobile devices in school. In many cases the students have better technology than the schools including more and more tablets.

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Authentic Marketing 101 for K-12 Publishers

Teachers have long been savvy consumers of educational products.

They can spot marketing jargon and marketers from 100 feet away, and do what they can to avoid both.

K-12 educators don’t generally have a lot of brand allegiance. Their primary concern is  – does the product work in the classroom?

Given that educators are particularly resistant to marketing, how should educational publishers begin the marketing and sales process?

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Inspiration, Affirmation, & Motivation from Educational Publishing Hall of Fame

Each year in the week following Thanksgiving, K-12 educational publishers gather in New York for annual events sponsored by three different organizations scheduled together for convenience. And who doesn't love seeing New York City decked out for Christmas?

The Educational Publishing Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP). It honors those industry leaders and visionaries whose integrity and achievements have inspired us and whose work leaves a lasting legacy. Past inductees have included Mr. (Fred) Rogers of PBS fame and Dick Robinson who heads Scholastic Publishing.

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