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I was reading an article on Conductor.com which examined the relationship between educational content, trust, brand affinity, and sales. If you have been marketing online for any length of time, you are probably familiar with the importance of content marketing.

That is not what was so surprising about this study. It is not that educational content drives sales- what is most significant is the amount of increase educational content provides. This study found a 131% increase– more than 100% increase- when consumers were first exposed to an item of educational content early on in their relationship with a brand. This was especially important in the early stages of the relationship- that phase of know, like, and trust.

So, for instance, if you sell wealth management services, you would want to think about what questions your clients would have at the early stages of seeking wealth management services. This would be more information than frequently asked questions about your services. This kind of teaching content is really about informing the consumer well enough that they could (almost) perform the service themselves.

This would mean that you’d have to select a small area to educate around, and to do this well enough that your reader feels like they learned something and could apply what they learned in a meaningful way.

You are educating your consumers to be better adopters of your service. This is why the most successful online businesses often include a teaching component, a DIY aspect, and then a more full-service done-for-you offering.

What is also interesting about this study is that the positive impacts of educational content were strong immediately after reading the article, and sustained a high levels for more than a week afterwards. In fact, the positive associations with the brand continued to grow and increase over time, meaning that one piece of content can create ongoing positive brand awareness and recognition in the mind of the consumer.

This is a strong example of what it’s important to utilize powerful and effective content in your online business strategy. There is no other marketing avenue which can function as a 24/7/365 ambassador of your company, working for you all the time. If you blog regularly, as I do, just think about the impact that one blog article could have in the long-term. Every time you write a blog post, record an audio, or shoot a video, you are giving the newest members of your audience the opportunity to know who you are, follow you, learn from you, and become loyal brand advocates.

This study demonstrates that teaching clearly sells.

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