3 Steps to Developing a Lead-Generating Learning Center
By Jonathan Ebenstein, Managing Director, Marcum Strategic Marketing
The importance of content marketing is well understood by most marketers and business owners. However, creating great written content and simply posting it on your company’s blog is no longer enough. Enter the next evolutionary best practice for content marketing—Learning Centers. Learning centers house all of your best content (e.g., videos, e-books, webinars, spec sheets, checklists, guidelines, FAQs, etc.) in one place. It is still accessed through your website, but is done so in an organized manner that makes it easy for people to find the content that best answers their questions. Learning centers are not just valuable for customers and prospects. They can be equally important resources for your employees and sales team who can reference the learning center to self-educate and quickly answer questions being asked of them by customers and prospects.
Think of your learning center as the Wikipedia of your industry or market space. It’s the place everyone comes to get educated before making a purchasing decision. There are three main steps to creating a learning center:
- Inventory existing content
- Develop missing content for core topics
- Catalogue all your content
1. Inventory Existing Content
The first step to building a learning center is taking an inventory of topics for which you have already created content. This should include blogs, e-books, webinars, seminars, videos, cost calculators, white papers, etc. After you have inventoried all your available content, decide which content is best suited to be included in your learning center.
Keep in mind, people prefer to consume information in different ways. Some people like to read, while others would rather listen to podcasts or watch videos. Others may be enticed by interactive content, so be sure to consider and include content in a variety of formats.
Understandably, you may find yourself to be a little light in the content department or that you do not have much variety in terms of videos, podcasts and webinars. In the next step, we discuss how to identify and develop the necessary content to fill these gaps.
2. Develop Missing Content for Core Topics
After inventorying your existing content, start to think about what core topics you are missing. This is likely information that is repeatedly asked of your sales team or required by decision-makers and decision-influencers prior to making a purchasing decision or taking the next step in the buying journey. To help you generate ideas, consider creating content that:
- Answers the top 5 or 10 questions most frequently asked by your customers.
- Demonstrates product utilization.
- Addresses/explains product or service costs.
- Shows product comparisons.
- Explains how something is done. Consider “how to” videos or tutorials for this.
- Outlines the pros and cons of something (e.g., outsourced marketing vs. investing in an internal marketing team).
- Clarifies myths and misconceptions about products, safety, service or quality issues.
- Educates (e.g., glossary that offers technical definitions and descriptions).
- Informs about laws, regulations and/or requirements.
For more ideas, take a look at the websites of the leading industry associations in your space as well as their e-newsletters to see what subjects they are focusing on. Also, check out your competitors’ blogs and e-newsletters to see what they are writing about.
Don’t forget, in addition to figuring out what is missing and needs to be created, think about the different types of formats to best convey that content (e.g., videos, infographics, e-books, webinars).
3. Catalogue Your Content
In order to make it quick and easy for site visitors to find the content they are most interested in, they will need to be able to easily filter and search your content by topic. In mapping this out, think about categorizing your content in an intuitive manner (e.g., by service or product) and then consider adding filters for the type of content (e.g., videos, e-books, webinars). Every company is different, and thus, so will be your learning center. You’ll need to decide what makes the most sense for you and your customers.
(Marcum Strategic Marketing Client)
Roll-Kraft is a worldwide supplier of custom roll tooling to the tube and pipe and roll forming industry.
Anyone coming to Roll-Kraft’s learning center will find a wealth of informational, educational and training materials. Now you may be thinking…Wait a minute. All this information is about custom tube and pipe and roll tooling? And it’s put out by a manufacturer? The answer is yes, and it’s generating meaningful interactions with prospects that have resulted in new business opportunities Roll-Kraft would not otherwise have secured.
The learning center features an easy to spot and use search bar in the middle of the headline banner, that provides direction on what can be searched (i.e., technical articles, videos, calculators and e-books). Users can sort content specific to Roll-Kraft’s two main categories (Tube & Pipe and Roll Forming), and there are additional filters that allow visitors to sort by topic and/or content type. The option also exists to filter content by date and most relevant.
(Marcum Strategic Marketing Client)
Richter LTPAC Performance Advisors, another client of ours, is a healthcare consulting company that specializes in working with long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) facilities.
Here, users can filter by topic as well as resource type. So, for example, they can choose also to watch a webinar or look at a checklist about their topic choice.
Wrapping Up the Reasons You Should Be Leveling Up Your Content Marketing
With so many ways to deliver thought leadership (e.g., blog articles, videos, webinars, podcasts, white papers, e-books, etc.), a learning center becomes a natural location to house all of your company’s content so that website visitors can quickly find what they’re looking. Keep in mind, people like to digest content differently. Some people prefer to read content. Others want to watch videos or listen to podcasts. And then there are some that utilize all three learning methods, depending on the situation. To truly be seen as an industry leader, maximize your ability to connect with your customers and create more opportunities to engage prospects. Consider producing content in all of these forms and housing them in a learning center on your website.
Interested in creating a Learning Center for your company? Please contact Jonathan Ebenstein at 440-459-5965.