The Importance of Peer-Generated Content

The Importance of Peer-Generated Content

Learn how to build trust and skyrocket your education marketing with peer-generated content.

Learn how to build trust and skyrocket your education marketing with peer-generated content.

Hannah Frank
Author
Hannah Frank
Published: 10th April 2024

I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of the correctly-used apostrophe. So much so that when a misplaced apostrophe on a menu recently caught my eye, it definitely influenced my perception of the restaurant’s overall quality.

It may seem like a seemingly trivial detail, but the same logic can be applied to school leaders. When an educator is looking through their marketing emails, first impressions are everything: they will quickly pass by anything they perceive to be lazy or generic.

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a blog about spelling and grammar. But it does raise a more important question: how do you refine your strategy to capture and retain the attention—and trust—of school leaders?

The answer lies in leveraging the power of peer-generated content. Tapping into content created by the people who actually use it can turn your approach from good to great. When used effectively, these peer-to-peer resources bring high-level authenticity to your marketing efforts, and have been a key component in some of our most successful education marketing campaigns over the past year.

If you’re unsure about what peer-generated content is, not to worry! In a nutshell, it’s any materials or resources created by educators, for example:

  • An e-book authored by educators, offering insights into successful classroom management.
  • Case studies showcasing how schools leveraged specific products (e.g. playground equipment) to improve student engagement and achievement.
  • A tried-and-tested lesson plan or scheme of work that gives educators access to outstanding resources to deliver the curriculum.
  • ‘Teacher hacks’ videos demonstrating creative ways to use non-traditional resources (e.g. IT products/digital learning tools) in the classroom.
  • An interactive presentation that they can use to deliver an engaging assembly in their school hall.
  • A collaborative blog where educators share their itineraries, favourite destinations, and tips for planning educational travel experiences.
  • A webinar that has an education leader, such as a Head Teacher, as a keynote speaker.

No matter the form it takes, the key factor is that much of the content has been produced by an outstanding real-life educator, helping you to build credibility and encouraging your teacher audience to want to hear more from you.

But what sets peer-generated content apart from content developed in-house by your team? And how exactly can you leverage this content to sell more to schools?

Why you’ll generate more leads with peer-generated content

1. It has higher relatability, increasing its perceived value

When it comes to selecting resources for their classrooms, 81% of teachers rate other teachers as their most trusted source of information for what works best.

Think of it this way: if you were an educator, would you be more likely to download a brochure promoting a company’s services, or a tried and tested resource created by someone who’s been through the same as you, dealing with similar issues on a day-to-day basis?

The brochure definitely has its place, but peer-generated content will always have the edge as it taps into the power of shared experiences. Educators understand each other’s daily challenges, triumphs, and nuances of the classroom like no other. So, when they see a lesson plan or strategy created by a colleague, they know it’s been successful for them, making it far more persuasive than traditional sales pitches.

2. Teaching professionals appreciate transparency

Building trust through in-house content remains a powerful strategy for education brands, and its effectiveness hinges on one crucial element: integrity.

It’s all too easy to over-promise and under-deliver in an attempt to get those lead-generation forms filled out, but this could seriously undermine the credibility of this approach.

Yes, there are plenty of education businesses out there creating superb pieces of value-adding content. Unfortunately, many still fall into the trap of lazily dashing off sub-par efforts and then hyping it up in their marketing to persuade teaching professionals to give them their email addresses.

Fend off this situation by being transparent about your peer-to-peer solution, communicating clearly how this can positively impact your teacher audience. Back this up with top-quality content, and your audience will view you as a trusted source, resulting in higher engagement and future qualified leads.

3. They'll know it's not a sales pitch

Educators, experienced in sifting through the many education marketing messages they receive, can easily spot a genuine offering amidst the sales pitch clutter.

With in-house content, no matter how hard you try to appear impartial, educators will suspect that you have an ulterior motive. After all, the messaging has been created by your brand, and this perceived bias can act as a barrier to trust.

Peer-generated content brings that genuine touch, resulting in your teacher audience being much more willing to believe that it’s unbiased.

4. It’s far more likely to be shared online by educators

Authenticity is the new gold standard in education marketing. When content feels more relatable, in this case because it has been created by a real-life educator rather than a brand, it is far more likely to be shared online.

After all, people are much more likely to share content with their friends and colleagues if they feel that they’re not directly endorsing a particular brand in the process.

When educators share content made by their peers, it creates a sense of being part of a natural conversation, as opposed to being ‘just another marketing effort’.

5. Trust derived by shares drives sales

Earned media, which can be thought of as the digital version of a ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendation, is a fantastic way to gain the trust of your teacher audience.

Studies consistently show that content shared organically by others is the most trusted form of advertising. The underlying principle is simple: educators, like all consumers, trust each other far more quickly than they’ll trust businesses and brands.

When something gets shared by their colleagues, friends, or fellow teachers, it really helps build trust in your brand. This kind of recommendation from one teaching professional to another is powerful, especially since they highly value the insights and experiences of those in their professional circles.

A whopping 93% of consumers find user-generated content helpful when making purchase decisions — just imagine how you could channel that figure to an audience of educators!

6. It shows that your business is ‘in touch’ with education

When you create content with a real-life educator, it's not just about short-term gains like leads and sales. It goes deeper than that — what you really show is that your business is genuinely connected to the realities of education.

By teaming up with teaching professionals, you communicate to your audience that your brand isn’t just focused on selling — you’re also committed to understanding the day-to-day challenges that educators face. Adopting this messaging reassures your teacher audience that your business works hand-in-hand with them, allowing you to grow a loyal base of followers who trust the messages you send out.

If there’s one thing you should take away from this round-up, it’s that peer-generated content is an excellent way to achieve marketing-to-schools success. These resources ‘humanise’ your email strategies, helping to build a strong and sustained rapport with your teacher audience.

By sharing practical tips, classroom-ready content, and resourceful advice, you can tap into a brand-new marketing approach that resonates with educators and lays the foundation for continued impactful outreach.

Are you ready to explore using peer-generated content in your marketing strategy?

If you’d like to find out how to go about the inclusion of peer-generated content, get in touch with our experts. We’ve not only built up a huge audience of educators who have consented to receive our clients’ marketing, but we’ve also built an army of some of the most ground-breaking educators in the land who are ready and willing to work with us on our clients’ strategies and content.

Get in touch at info@sprint-education.co.uk or 01684 297374 and we’ll find you the perfect candidate to work on your peer-to-peer resources.

Tags
Education Marketing How to Sell to Schools How to Sell to Teachers Marketing Marketing to Schools Marketing to Teachers Selling to Schools Selling to Teachers

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