At first glance, the worlds of marketing and education couldn’t look more different. As someone who used to be a teacher, I prepared for a steep learning curve coming from an industry so very unlike the new adventure I was embarking on. I swiftly realized, however, that while teaching was very different than the marketing world, there are many solid lessons from my teaching background that I could build on. In this blog, I discuss six marketing lessons I’ve learned directly from my experience working in an elementary school environment.

1. Create Your Content Marketing With Your Audience In Mind

As a teacher, perhaps the biggest thing you need to remember is that each student in your classroom has incredibly individualized needs. As such, it’s essential to diversify your instruction as much as possible to meet the needs of each individual child. This need to structure content based on who’s receiving it is directly related to content marketing.

Each business has a different target audience they are trying to reach, and what works for one group of people may not resonate with another. As such, you have to juggle the needs of your business and who your audience is. This is not a small task by any means, but it is incredibly valuable in the end.

This is particularly true when 80 percent of consumers say they would be more likely to do business with a brand that offers personalized interactions. In action, this means crafting highly targeted ads designed to appeal to your audience at large and individual subcategories within that audience.

Things to keep in mind when tailoring your content marketing are age, gender, location, hobbies, income, education level, profession, etc. – very similar to things that teachers need to consider when designing daily lessons for elementary students.

2. Build A Positive Relationship With Your Target Audience

Working together to create trust in marketing

Build a relationship with your marketing clients based on trust.

Part of the focus of any teacher at the beginning of each school year is to develop a strong working relationship with the students and families in their classroom. This involves spending a lot of time designing get-to-know-each-other activities, hosting curriculum nights, communicating your expectations for behavior and schoolwork as well as just making the attempt to understand each child and their family as much as possible. While it admittedly takes quite a long time, doing so paves the way for a smooth school year. When people know who they are working with, there is less chance of miscommunication and misunderstandings along the way. This is an important marketing lesson as well.

In marketing, it’s essential to foster a relationship with consumers that is built on trust, communication and clear expectations. Your new relationship with a potential customer begins with listening to their needs and really getting to know them.

Here are a few strategies to get to know your audience:

  1. Create a buyer persona.
  2. Research what customers are saying about your business.
  3. Engage with your customers via polls and questions.

Once you understand who they are and what they stand for, you can begin to identify their expectations for you and work out a plan for how you will develop your brand’s content marketing to best suit their needs. Taking this time to establish an understanding of who your potential customers are, how they prefer to communicate and what they want out of the relationship will help you create better content for them along the way. Showing that you care about their needs and interests also cushions any fallout if there are ever misunderstandings.

3. Never Stop Learning

Stay current on marketing trends

Find ways to stay up to date on current marketing trends.

Every few years teachers need to take several classes to maintain their teaching certificate. While it can be a tedious and grumble-inducing process, it really is a great system to ensure that teachers stay up to date with current best practices, and it can serve to help them get out of a creative rut in the classroom.

While there may not be the same mandate for content marketers to continue to take classes or credits to maintain their job, it is still incredibly smart to stay on top of current marketing trends. The world and technology change very quickly. As such, staying informed of the best marketing practices will save you time in the long run and will help your company stand out from the crowd.

You might find a course to enroll in that will help advance your knowledge or career; however, your learning doesn’t have to be this formal. Reading articles, attending workshops or webinars or even networking with others can serve the same purpose. If you’re looking for a place to start, Three Girls Media has a large library of informative blogs and podcasts (available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and SoundCloud) about the marketing industry.

As long as you operate on the assumption that others have a wealth of knowledge to share and keep an open mind, you will continue to learn and grow in your field – something that will only serve your audience.

4. See Failures As An Opportunity For Growth

One of the keys to teaching is to see everything as an opportunity to grow. When students make progress with something they’ve worked especially hard on, you celebrate. When they struggle, you take the opportunity to look at what went wrong, why it happened and what can be done about it in the future. A teacher looks at their own lessons in the same light. Teaching is by nature a reflective profession – and so is marketing.

When you first begin to create content marketing for your new audience, review your analytics to see how things are going. If your audience responds well to what you’ve created, great! You know you’re on the right track. If they don’t, also great! This gives you the opportunity to experiment and see where you might have taken a wrong turn. Stepping away from yourself and identifying a misstep is essential to creating quality marketing content. Plan to change what didn’t work and capitalize on what went well.

While most social media platforms offer some form of analytics, you might also consider using advertisements to determine what will capture the interest of your target audience. Creating marketing content without using analytics as a guide is ill-advised, a waste of your money, time and energy.

5. Be Transparent With Your Target Audience

Another marketing lesson that can be looked at through the lens of teaching is to be transparent when things have gone wrong. In a classroom this can take the form of apologizing to students if you’ve had a rough day or being open with parents when you’ve misunderstood a situation. Whatever it is, the best thing to do when a mistake is made is to own up to it and identify how you will change things in the future.

This lesson is especially important for your brand. Your viewers need to be able to see you as someone they trust. If you have made a mistake, no matter how big or how small, apologizing goes a very long way. Do not rely heavily on excuses (though they may be very valid) but instead outline how you will ensure that the mistake will not happen again. This article further discusses steps you can take in times of crisis.

6. Co-Workers Are Your Best Asset

Marketing co-workers

Your co-workers are a great asset in your content marketing creation.

One of the best things to learn while teaching is that your co-workers are your lifeline. No matter what stage of your teaching career you are in, your colleagues are there to provide support, a place to vent, an idea to reach a difficult student or a lesson plan when you’re not feeling up to the task.

The same idea is true in the marketing industry. As someone new to the field I was prepared to try and muddle my way through my position. Instead, I found that my co-workers have a wealth of knowledge far beyond my own and are ready to step in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional. Ever. Admitting you need guidance is a sign that you care about what you’re doing, and a quick brainstorming session or consultation can go a long way when you’re feeling stuck.

While they might seem like two totally different professions on the surface, teaching and marketing hold quite a few of the same tenets. And keeping these six ideas in mind when you’re in the middle of content marketing creation can help you immensely in the process. Tailoring your content to your audience, building a positive relationship with clients, continuing to learn, using failures as an opportunity for growth, being transparent and recognizing your co-workers as one of your best assets will go a long way in helping you to become successful in your brand’s content marketing.

Need Help With Your Content Marketing?

If you’re looking for help with your content marketing, contact us to schedule a no-obligation complimentary consultation with our CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery. Three Girls Media has numerous content marketing services available that can be customized based on your organization’s needs, goals and budget!


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