The Gist

  • Medium mastery. Different customer education content types cater to various learning styles.
  • Inclusive content. A diverse team creates educational material that feels authentic.
  • Team synergy. Involve different departments to deepen your audience relationship.

When you find a process that works, nobody wants to mess with it. And as so many customer education departments grow their content libraries to account for new features, it's tough to find the time to step back and think about how you could do things differently. But the last few years have shaken things up, from the way we buy online to how we connect with our colleagues, customers and prospects. 

Educational content isn't meant to address the same needs as a one-on-one conversation, but that doesn't mean that it can't be personalized, targeted and impactful. Integrating a few key priorities to your customer education strategy — changing up your medium, tapping unexpected voices and honoring diverse perspectives on your team — can widen your appeal and offer wonderful returns. Here are three ideas I’ve seen pay off across static content, live events and behind-the-scenes.

Customer Education Content: The Medium Matters

One of the simplest ways to build a more personalized customer education program is to work across multiple types of content. Some people like to read how-to articles, others are all about auditory learning, and some folks just want to watch a video. When you share knowledge with your audience in the medium that works best for them, you increase the likelihood that they will actually use your education resources and, ultimately, find greater satisfaction with your product. 

I like to cook, for example, but I can't follow a written recipe to save my life. Plenty of people can, of course — cookbooks and magazine cutouts have stood the test of time for a reason. But for me, ingredients and instructions on a page never seem to yield the results I want. I'd much rather watch The Food Network or tee up a YouTube video: I want to see how small to dice the vegetables, visualize how much oil should coat the pan, or view the exact char I should seek on the grill. 

Other people might cook without a recipe at all, eyeballing the measurements and tasting the results. Some home cooks might seek help only when something goes wrong or they need to make a last-minute substitution. When you empower your customers to learn the way they’re most comfortable, they can achieve their own delicious results a lot faster — with less mess and frustration. It’s a win for your customer and a win for your business, too. 

Related Article: How AI Is Being Used for Consumer Education in Banking

Your Team and Your Customers Should See Themselves in Your Content

To create content that welcomes every customer, start with a work environment that allows every team member to bring their whole self to work. Hiring with an eye on inclusion allows us to bring together people who speak different languages, who come from different parts of the world, who look different and who have had different experiences plus educational opportunities. 

When the team producing your content reflects the diversity of the market you’re serving, your educational material will follow suit — and, importantly, that inclusive, personalized touch will truly feel authentic. When every unique voice is afforded equity and respect, that team is going to produce richer material, hire more representative on-screen talent, and share your content in a much more imaginative way. 

What most software companies are actually selling is a thing to help customers be better. Ideally, that makes folks feel something — it makes them see their potential, or helps them visualize new possibilities. When your customers see people who look like them, or they hear people who talk like them, or they can learn in ways that feel comfortable for them, you’re offering a self-personalized experience that will help them visualize and embrace that potential. 

Related Article: 1-800 Calling All Organizations: What Content Marketers Can Learn From Customer Service

Learning Opportunities

Your Content Team Doesn’t Have to Go It Alone

It's easy for departments to get siloed, especially when your organization is moving quickly to reach big goals. But when you reimagine who gets a seat at your customer education table, you can unlock new ways to deepen and personalize your relationship with your audience. My team at Mailchimp saw this firsthand recently with our live webinars. We knew these events improved customer retention, but we wanted to think bigger. The most important choice we made was to open them up beyond the technical content team — not only in the development and concepting phase, but also for the actual production and staffing. 

When we asked someone from our product team to answer questions throughout the event, the person on the webinar helped create Campaign Manager, one of our newest products. She was able to explain to the attendees the “why” and the intended impact behind every feature, which was fantastic. Because this was her work, her enthusiasm was contagious. 

We also invited one of our Mailchimp & Co. Partners to co-facilitate the event. As agencies or freelancers, partners use the product every day, and they often have hacks or tips that stretch what we expected from a technical build perspective. Involving these expert users broadened the view we were able to share about our product and how to make the most of it. 

Lastly, the support team showed up to operate a live Q&A in the chat. We knew the value they could offer to our audience — especially if that audience was trying to leverage certain tools for the first time — would be immediate.  

This group, together, pushed us all to ask, “How could we solve our problems differently?” And then, with support standing by, our attendees were able to act on the answer — immediately and according to their personalized needs. 

Whether you’re changing up your medium, tapping a new expert voice, or embracing diverse perspectives behind-the-scenes, being intentional about inclusivity in your content will help customers acclimate and achieve their goals faster. When customers personalize their educational experience to focus on what works for them, that's where the real magic is, that’s where you create believers.

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