Content marketing and online courseware

Content marketing aims to educate and inform. And what’s more educational, at scale, than Massively Open Online Courseware (MOOC)?

I was struck by the content marketing possibilities of online courseware after completing an online class on Sustainability and Business Innovation presented by Peter Graf, former Chief Sustainability Officer for SAP, on the OpenSAP platform.

Fake diploma by gadgetdude, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  gadgetdude 

The class had all the hallmarks of traditional courses, including lectures, quizzes, discussions, assignments and a final exam. It spanned six weeks. More than 17,000 people enrolled in the course. That’s a pretty incredible response rate considering the time commitment.

The marketing payback for online education

If done right, an online course can have a have a significant impact on marketing objectives, including:

  • Brand value: Depending on the course topic, you can strengthen brand perceptions. For SAP, the course linked the brand with the values of sustainability and business innovation – both powerful attributes in SAP’s market.
  • Lead nurturing: Foster a deeper connection with attendees, particularly if you deliver information of real value that helps attendees in their jobs or daily lives.
  • Customer retention: Customers who invest time and effort in training are more likely to remain customers.

Making online education/training work for content marketing

Preparing and delivering an online course is a larger undertaking than a webinar or even a webinar series. But if you already use online courseware technologies and have experience in creating courses, consider using training as an advanced content marketing strategy for lead nurturing and customer retention.

Make sure that the attendee comes away with useful and actionable information, not just a sales pitch. From a marketing perspective, online training is another way to practice empowerment marketing that helps people advance their own objectives.  (See my blog post on Empowerment Marketing.)

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