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Training marketing matters: Five ways trainers can alleviate writer’s block


Content is king for training companies and an effective marketing strategy, but what if the words just won't come? Nick Golding takes a look at some unblocking strategies for any trainer staring at a blank page...
There's nothing worse. Than when the words. Just don't flow. As you want them to. For training businesses I think there has been a development of understanding that writing content, whether it be a blog or a 'how to guide', is an essential ingredient to an intelligent marketing strategy.
And, when you throw in some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), some social media work and an email campaign or two, you're onto a winning formula. Yet, while the content side of things is accepted as necessary it can be hard to sit down and actually create something that ticks the following boxes:
  • Current and innovative
  • Valuable and engaging
  • Easy to understand and digest
It's not necessarily easy, and even those who write for a living will tell you that there will always be occasions (Friday afternoons and Monday mornings are real hotspots) when coming up with the ideas and getting them down on paper is a real challenge.
"Writing content, whether it be a blog or a 'how to guide', is an essential ingredient to an intelligent marketing strategy."
So, for training businesses keen to grow profile and show off some expertise in their chosen field, take a read of these tips on producing engaging content - right from coming up with the idea through to that first tap on the keyboard...
  1. Read all about it… The news, however you retrieve it, is a vital source of ideas for content. It may require some lateral thinking, but the very best blogs and articles from training companies do not necessarily just centre around training and development, they start with an interesting 'in'. So, take one 'trending' topic, let's say the London 2012 Games (people already have an interest in this) and then work out a way to weave in your own message. Perhaps a news story emerges that the organisers are way off target for the opening ceremony and panic has hit the Olympic teams. For management training companies, this provides a great opportunity to talk about managing under pressure, or a leadership training company to write about leading people through a high profile crisis. Luckily social media are a very useful platform for news, so stay in tune with what's going on and try to capture imagination initially, and then embed your key company messages.
  2. Remember, you're the expert. Once you've identified a high profile topic to start your content with, don't get carried away without actually getting down to the part where you showcase expertise. It might be good fun to write for pages and pages about why John Terry is a hopeless England captain, but anyone could write that. After you've found the popular 'hook', keep readers engaged with insightful views on the England captaincy that you have gathered from years of leadership learning.
  3. Stay in your comfort zone. One of the key objectives for training companies looking to grow their profile with a content strategy is to keep the copy easy to understand. One of the quickest ways to lose focus, even when you have a great topic and a good idea of your key messages, is to try to incorporate a fancy writing style. Don't complicate matters for your readers, keep your sentences concise, tight and to the point. Crucially, never forget what your objective is: showcase your training expertise to potential customers. 
  4. Hit a pain point and provide the cure. The articles and blogs that receive the most reads, comments, likes and any other supportive note are the ones that identify a pain point and then offer a solution to that particular challenge. Let's say you're targeting decision makers in HR. Under the current climate when budgets are tight, one of the key challenges for this sector will be costs, so potentially an article around earning a return on investment would be appropriate with some advice on how HR can get the most from a training programme. To hit the real pain points you have to stay in touch with your target market, read what they read, follow them on Twitter (if they're on) and listen out for those all-important moans and groans about their industry today.
  5. No selling. Without wanting to contradict the second point, it is important to resist selling when you write the content. While presenting key concepts and ideas is important, one of the deepest potholes that writers fall into is to start selling their programmes. Instead of engaging on a level playing field, it will turn people off. Sell theories and some of the key messages that are illustrated in your training programmes, but leave the specifics out.
Nick Golding is a director at training and HR digital marketing agency GoldSand Digital

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