5 Teaching Theories That Will Improve Your Educational Content Marketing
How To Improve Your Educational Content Marketing Like A Successful Teacher via @JulieNeidlingerClick To Tweet
1. Constructivism: Using Our ExperiencesIn constructivism, we use our own experiences to understand what’s going on around us. Those experiences have taught us what is right and wrong, what works and what doesn’t. We form rules and models on which we base future decisions or behavior. With constructivism, every experience is an act of learning. Every experience has meaning. What this means is that there is no particular standard that you can hold a group of people to, because a standard simply cannot encompass the broad experiences and interpretations of those experiences. Constructivism can be challenging if your audience is large and varied, because not all will have had the same experiences, and not all will have interpreted those experiences the same way. A tight niche audience, narrowly focused, will learn the same way more regularly. However, you can tap into constructivism if you can illustrate an experience you had, and interpret the meaning you extracted from it. In this way, you create both a shared experience and understanding of that experience with your reader.
Create a shared experience and understanding with your audience. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet
- Brainstorm how you can create unique and memorable new experiences for your audience with your educational content marketing. Think about using different content types, finding new angles for your stories, and becoming a thought-leader who covers new, oft-ignored topics in your niche.
- Help your audience understand an experience you had to create a shared understanding. Think about turning those experiences into how-to posts, and what works/what doesn't stories with big takeaways.
2. Behaviorism: Focusing On BehaviorIn behaviorism, the sole focus is on the observation and teaching of behavior. For teachers adhering to behaviorism, they are most concerned that their students acquire the preferred behavior. Pavlov, for example, and his dogs. Behaviorism generally uses rewards to produce the preferred behavior, though threats can do the same (albeit with a lower level of actual learning, which we’ll discuss next). In content marketing, the “threat” of scarcity, for example, can really get people to act.
Here's what Pavlov can teach you about educational #contentmarketing.Click To Tweet
- Free download
- Limited/exclusive access
- Ad-free/pop-up free access
- No waiting in a queue
- Discount pricing
- Use content marketing to incite the behavior you'd like your audience to take. Like Pavlov, you can do this through a rewards system by giving your audience something valuable in exchange for their action.
- Apply the threat of scarcity to your educational content marketing. This works particularly well when you set up the classic challenge and solution scenario in your content, pinning something like time or money as the motivator to change a behavior.
3. Brain-Based: Your Brain Wants To WorkWe all have a brain. Yes, even that driver you encountered this morning on the ride to the office. A brain-based approach to learning accepts that our brains want to work. They want to process information, because that is what they are for. A brain-based learning approach accepts that:
- We have spatial and rote memory, and they work in different ways. (I covered that here.)
- Our brain creates patterns, both for learning and also to provide understanding. Emotions are key in creating these patterns. (I covered that here.)
- Learning uses your whole body and all the senses.
- Learning happens best when we are challenged, not threatened (though “threatening” can spur on behavior, which relates to behaviorism.)
- Our brain works to understand the whole and the part, and can perform several functions at once (though be wary of thinking this is about multitasking, which will hurt your content marketing.)
- Brain-based content includes audio, visual, and text-based content to help your audience immerse into your story with many different senses.
- Include many different examples to illustrate your points to help people learn. Provide immediate, short-, and long-term takeaways.
4. Motivation: We Do What We WantThe motivational approach is in contrast to the behavioral approach. Instead of thinking that you can get people to do things through the proper rewards-based training, you instead accept that people are really going to do what they are motivated to do. What are your readers already motivated to do? My guess is you have some that are motivated to:
- Save money
- Same time
- Earn money
- Build a reputation
- Become better known
- Get more traffic/followers
- Become more knowledgeable
- Connect with others
- Gain respect of influencers
Educational marketing that connects into motivations is emotional, which makes it powerful.Click To Tweet
- Research your audience's needs, whether it's a more formal survey or as colloquial as blog post comments. Then connect those needs into what you truly want to say and the action you want your readers to take.
- Publish content that resonates emotionally with your audience. How can you really strike a chord that will keep them engaged with your content, products, and brand?
5. Social Cognition: We Do What Others DoSocial cognition learning theory asserts that we learn based on what everyone around us, and our culture, is doing. In this system, people learn by watching others and seeing how they solved problems, or how they behaved. Hierarchy plays into this, with people who are seen as being in authority or more esteemed as having their behavior carry a greater weight as far as meaning or learning potential (which explains the sorry state of influence of reality television from which many have learned from).
Apply social cognition to your #contentmarketing to help your audience learn how others solve problems.Click To Tweet
- You can create a micro-culture in your followers. Think of this as your tribe, the people who spend time on your website and social accounts. You can create a culture there with your own traditions, regular features, jargon, expectations, ethos—you get the idea.
- You can use social proof to indicate a culture preference. Social proof, as I’ve talked about before, is extremely powerful. It reassures your audience that others have trusted you, your content, your product—surely they can, too. You’ve seen this at work, where one dissenter in your comment section is sometimes convinced to change his mind because of other commenters. Call it peer pressure, call it social proof, the key is that those sheer numbers of people doing one thing (commenting! liking! sharing!) indicate a cultural preference within that micro-culture of your brand’s realm. If 10,000 people have downloaded your ebook, make that part of the CTA. Show the cultural trend.
How Do You Approach Educational Content Marketing?Some of this sounds a little creepy—“elicit proper behavior!”—but you really shouldn’t see it that way. Learning is more than simply memorizing facts, but covers such a broad range of activity. At the most basic, you’re etching an understanding in someone’s brain, an understanding of information, behavior, and experience. As a content marketer, you want your readers to learn the right information, but you also want them to learn they can trust you and that they can go to you to make a purchase and not regret it.
5 Teaching Theories That Will Improve Your Educational Content MarketingClick To Tweet