Content marketing for EdTech: Educating the educators

EdTech firms can benefit from creating content that engages and connects with educators, but more importantly, empathises with the issues schools, academies and trusts face.

If you’re in EdTech, you’re in a hyper-accelerated market that has benefited from lockdown. Did you know the sector grew by nearly 72% in 2020?

But with more opportunity, there's also more competition. What's your best approach for reaching your target audience?

You’ve got to educate the educators.

What does this mean in practice? It’s about developing content marketing strategies that will raise your audience’s awareness of your brand, and enable you to engage and connect with them.

It all starts with understanding the different needs of schools — and helping them discover the solution they didn’t even know they needed.

What are schools looking for?

During lockdown, schools have been looking for ways to make online learning easier, more effective and more efficient.

As we’ve already seen, this has been a massive boost to the EdTech sector. But as we eventually come out of lockdown, can EdTech brands continue to drive this momentum for change?

The pandemic has been highly disruptive, but it’s also provided a platform for putting changes into practice that might otherwise be slower to embed themselves in the economy and society. During lockdown, schools, pupils and parents have all experienced the benefits that EdTech can bring.

It makes sense, then, to build on these positive experiences by raising awareness of the benefits of your brand’s products and services to further supporting learning and engagement in schools.

What should your marketing say?

Schools are tightly-knit with their communities. Paradoxically, closing schools has emphasised their importance, and the interdependencies between educators, parents and children.

They’re all invested in positive learning outcomes.

How you market your brand and products should therefore demonstrate how your offering can support this.

It’s not enough to try and appeal to the decision-makers alone. You should consider how what your offering will benefit the wider community, and make your target audience understand this.

Finding your niche

When marketing EdTech, you don’t have the luxury or convenience of a single, unfragmented market to appeal to.

The growth of the academy model and of multi-academy trusts (MATs) is transforming the provision of state education.

What does this mean for EdTech brands?

A stand-alone school or academy will have different needs and face different challenges to a multi-academy trust.

An individual school might be focused on assessment, for example, while a MAT is concerned with growth and sustaining its network of academies.

Your product may be highly adaptable for these different set-ups, but in marketing it, you’ve got to tailor your message to fit the specific audience.

You can turn this to your advantage. Currently, EdTech companies in the UK represent just 5% of tech companies overall. Appealing to a niche is a key way of growing your market share.

Enabler or disrupter?

In the worlds of tech and digital marketing, it’s fashionable to present yourself as a disrupter.

But schools don’t like disruption. They’re looking for ways to improve how they deliver education, and how they can enhance learning for pupils.

They want technology to be an enabler, not a disrupter.

Trust should drive the relationships you build with your target audience. Find ways to provide a familiar context for your innovative product that helps your audience see how it will benefit them, rather than challenge them.

Show empathy in your marketing content. What matters to end-users will also matter to the decision-makers who decide to buy from you. Make sure you show that this also matters to you.

Why content marketing should be the perfect fit

Content marketing is about the pull rather than the push.

This approach offers strategies for EdTech firms looking to build audiences and position themselves as essential to the education sector’s development.

Create the content that shapes how your target audience sees you, not simply as a supplier but as a trusted partner and collaborator.

This requires a depth of knowledge and insight about the sector you're marketing to and a recognition of its pain points.

You must:

  • Understand your customers AND their end-users
  • Keep your message simple but empathic
  • Make your content relevant
  • Add value to your audience
  • Focus on quality over quantity
  • Bring your own unique perspective.

To make content work for you, you need to use it to establish your credibility. You won't do this by blowing your own trumpet or simply singing the praises of your product.

It comes down to perspective – what will schools, academies and trusts, teachers, parents and pupils get from your product that will benefit them?

And when you create content about the benefits of your product, present these from the viewpoint of end-users. Use testimonials wherever you can, because these add a powerful layer of authenticity to your content.

How do you stay current and relevant?

EdTech is very much a fast-paced growth area, but it’s crucial you ensure you’re not outpacing your customers or losing touch with their main concerns.

Staying current and relevant is essential in creating engaging content that resonates with your audience.

How should you do this?

Content is as much about building dialogues as it is about creating and sharing information. You should be building a presence across social media, on the sites where your audience of decision-makers, stakeholders and end-users are active.

Schools are part of communities, and communities have their own voices. You shouldn’t be marketing at them, but rather engaging with them.

Build your brand as something that can become an integral part of the education sector, a trusted partner and resource.

To educate the educators about your EdTech brand, you’ve first got to empathise with them. Content is the perfect vehicle for this.

Where do you start? Talk to us about creating content that builds your brand credibility and engages with your audience.

Published by Danny Kershaw

Account Manager

Taking SMEs on a journey to business growth through effective content marketing