The answer to that is what we call "edutainment": the cross between educating and entertaining.
One major difference between outbound advertising and inbound marketing is that your prospects aren't really looking for you to make them laugh with your content, like a TV commercial might. Instead, they want you to help them learn and become more educated.
At the same time, they don't want to watch dry, fact-based videos and they don't want to read long, drawn out, boring whitepapers. They want a mix of education and entertainment—edutainment.
Here are the ways to turn mundane business concepts into highly creative, educational and entertaining content.
Whitepapers – It might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many companies publish whitepapers that they created in Word. No graphics, no interesting typography, no design elements and no interesting cover page. Interesting graphic and design elements on your whitepaper help you tell your story, deliver your message and position your company. Don't overlook the images you use, the colors you select and the design of your content.
E-books – The same holds true for e-books, except that most e-books are longer than your typical whitepaper, meaning the graphics and design are even more important. One way to enhance a reader's experience with an e-book is to use formats that allow the reader to have a more book-like experience online. Tools that allow them to turn the page, to click on elements and drill down to get more information, to use links to make the experience more interactive or to incorporate video or audio right into the e-book. Now you are able to truly grab their attention and keep it through the entire document.
Videos – Video gives you the perfect platform to edutain your viewers. Don't stand up and present flat slides. Tell stories, use illustrations, include props in the video. Use drawings, whiteboards, presentation slides or flip charts to keep your audience involved. Make sure you speak with them at their levels. Complex jargon or industry terminology doesn't make you look smart, and most of the time it turns your viewers off. Perhaps most importantly, make sure your video isn't about you or your company.
Make sure it's about your prospects and how they benefit from doing something, learning something or trying something new. Try to keep your videos to less than 90 seconds. Your prospects have very short attention spans and any longer of a video runs the risk of them leaving before you get to deliver the full story.
Webinars – The major challenge with most webinars is that you still want to talk about yourself. One of the core tenets of Reality Marketing is that it's prospect focused. This means that your webinar can't be about you, your company or your products. It has to be about one of the challenges facing your target prospect and how you helped one of your clients solve that pain. Some of our best-attended and most successful webinars featured our client's clients.
These case studies are 90% client stories and 10% color commentary by the host. If you keep them to 40 minutes, with 15 minutes of question and answer, you end up with a compelling program. Make sure you and your participating client are comfortable with the format, as I have seen dry presentations that bore the audience. Take the time to practice and make sure everyone is comfortable with the technology.
Infographics – Infographics are actually one of the best and most interesting forms of content out there today. These storytelling graphics use pictures, illustrations, short form copy and bullet points to communicate complex concepts. They usually include bright colors, interesting design and long formats that force you to scroll down to see the full graphic. If you are going to create these, they typically require someone with a fairly deep graphic design background and even some illustration skills, but this type of content is excellent at edutaining your prospects and helping you stand out in your industry.
Online Quizzes – People love taking short web-based quizzes. Website graders, inbound marketing scores and assessments of a prospect's current situation deliver instant feedback and suggestions for improvement. These short web apps are great at getting prospects who are a little more serious about their purchases than those who just request whitepapers or e-books. Make sure that when you deliver the results, you do so in a remarkable and entertaining fashion. Make sure you include tips, feedback and suggestions for your prospects to use to make immediate improvements, and then offer more extensive guidance or meetings at their convenience only.
Educating and entertaining your prospects is the key to delivering that remarkable experience that separates ordinary companies from extraordinary companies like yours. After all, if you give them a remarkable experience before they become a customer, they are likely to feel positive about wanting to become a customer.
Start Today Tip – Take a look at your current content. Is it entertaining as well as educational? Is it professionally designed? Is the communication executed in a flawless fashion? You would be surprised at the amount of businesses with typos and grammatically incorrect educational content on their websites today. Since people make purchase decisions emotionally, the better you entertain and educate, "edutain" your prospects, the faster they'll want to do business with you.
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