What is keyword research?

Keyword research is finding out the exact phrases people use to search for services and products, find answers to questions or solutions to problems, using search engines.

Keyword research gives you a better understanding of your target market so you can then offer them helpful and relevant information in return.

This is useful in so many areas of content development for your education business, from website copy to articles, email campaigns, blogs, video content and social media posts.

Creating content that people are searching for also has a positive impact on your search rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find you online.

But how can you find out what terms your target audience is using to search for the content they need?

1. Brainstorm your keyword list 

Start by listing all of the possible keywords and phrases potential customers are likely to put into Google. These will be your ‘seed’ keywords as they will help you find more relevant words and phrases.

Think about long-tail keywords too. These are phrases that are more specific than single words. They get less traffic, but they have a higher clickthrough rate because if someone is very specific about what they are searching for, it is more likely that they will click through to your site when they see your content.

Say you’re an education business that provides fun and engaging science lesson plans to schools. Your list might start with keywords like ‘science lesson plans’, ‘science teaching resources’, ‘science lessons for primary schools’ and you’d keep building on this list.

Then when it comes to long-tail keywords, you’d consider phrases like ‘how to make science lessons more interesting’ or ‘how to make science fun in the classroom’.

Once you’ve done some initial brainstorming, there are some tools that can help you expand and prioritise your list. We find Google Trends is a good place to start.

2. Use Google Trends for keyword research

a) Enter key terms into Google Trends to see levels of interest in specific search terms set out by region and date. This will also show you similar topics these same users have searched for. For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into Google Trends, you can see that those who searched for this term also searched for ‘biological life cycle’ and ‘butterflies’. The tool can help you understand more about what teachers are looking for online and develop the right content for them.

b) Google Trends also lets you compare search wording to see what is the most searched for term. For instance, people have searched for ‘Biology lesson plan’ three times more often than for ‘Physics lesson plan’. Insight like this helps you to better focus your content according to what your target audience is searching for online.

c) You can also use your own Google search bar to check what other searches automatically come up. By typing in ‘science lesson’, you can see that the most popular searches are ‘science lessons online’, ‘science lessons for kids’ and ‘science lesson plan template’. This makes it easier for you to find out what your potential customers are searching for and give them the right content.

3. Expand your research

Take your research a step further by entering key search terms, like ‘science lesson plan’, into a free content insight tool like AnswerThePublic.

This will pull up more granular detail on the types of questions people are asking Google and give you more ideas on how to target them. The tool breaks up the data into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical lists and other related searched-for topics.

For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into the search bar in AnswerThePublic, you can see frequent searches like ‘science lesson plan with experiments’, and ‘science lesson plan with technology’. You can also see that the most searched for format is a pdf. See example results from AnswerThePublic here:

Science lesson plan results diagram from @answerthepublic

From a strategic perspective, you could also use an SEO analysis tool, like Ahrefs or Moz to check out your competitors and see what keywords they’re ranking highly in to help you build and define your own list. You may want to target the same keywords or look at building a list of less popular search terms that are still relevant to your business, where there is less competition.

All of these steps should help lead you to a strong keyword search list you’ll be able to use to plan and develop your content.

4. Decide on the best type of content

Once you have a targeted and comprehensive list of keywords, go through the list and think about the best types of content for each topic.

Taking our example of a science lesson provider and the research we have carried out, we might propose these four content ideas:

  • A video for teachers on how to make science engaging online
  • A series of science lesson plan pdfs with the top experiments to carry out in a science class
  • A blog post on how to prepare the ideal plan for a biology lesson

Once you’ve got a strong list of keywords that are right for your education business, you can be as creative as you like in using them to shape your content, developing blogs, videos, webinars or lesson plans.

5. Monitor progress with Google Search Console

Keep an eye on your keyword list and make a note to review it every quarter.

When you start to create content using your keywords, regularly monitoring engagement levels will help you to make adjustments where needed to keep you climbing the search rankings. This means more people will discover your content, visit your site and potentially convert into customers.

Google Search Console is useful for monitoring content posted on your website. You can use this tool to find out how often your site appears in Google search results and which pages have the highest, and lowest, click through rates from Google search results.

You can see how your search traffic changes over time too, where it’s coming from and what search queries are most likely to show your website. And you’ll get a clear idea of what keyword searches come from mobile devices so you can optimise specific content for people searching on their phones.

Being able to see which keywords and types of content are performing well will give you greater insight into the topics and formats your audience prefers on an ongoing basis.

If you’d like to find out more about how to get the attention of school leaders, read our white paper, Influence Schools.

 

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

How to effectively target teachers on Facebook

Promoting the right content at the right time via Facebook advertising, with its powerful audience targeting tools, could be the driving force for your next lead generation campaign.

Despite recent criticism about its practices, Facebook appears to have weathered the storm and continues to be the most popular social media network among adults in the UK.

Teachers regularly access Facebook for personal and professional use providing a great opportunity for you to reach them.

However, creating a successful and well-targeted Facebook ad campaign takes time and there are many things to consider, from what you’re offering to how you can find the people who are most likely to engage with your content.

Here we share some top tips to make your next Facebook ad campaign a success.

 

Engaging and inspiring content

Teachers do not want to share their name and email address with just anyone, so you need to provide them with a good incentive to encourage them to do so.

Content is at the heart of any successful lead generation campaign and according to HubSpot, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy so the best approach is to “give before asking” to capture leads.

If you offer valuable free resources, teachers are more likely to provide contact details to access it, providing you with an opportunity to engage with them in the future.

Here are some examples of the type of content that you could offer to teachers:

  • Useful resources such as lesson plans or classroom exercises
  • Webinars or training courses
  • Free reports and guides providing tips and advice e.g. behaviour management
  • Free trial of software

One successful content strategy you could try is to produce content that is aligned with a particular awareness week or time of the year. For example, you can produce back-to-school resources that you could promote in August/September or a Stop Bullying guide for Anti-Bullying week.

Landing pages that convert

Once you’ve decided and created the content that will incentivise teachers to share their information with you, you need to set up a landing page.

Landing pages are a critical part of your Facebook ad lead generation campaign and the start of the process from turning a visitor into a lead.

You need to make sure that your landing page has a single call-to-action e.g. fill in the form to download the content. Avoid additional links or other calls to action on the page as you don’t want to distract from the end goal – to capture their details.

You will also need a thank you page set up. Once someone has signed up, they will be directed to this page, be thanked for signing up and signposted to the content. It is also a great way for you to track conversions and create retargeting or lookalike audiences, which you will read about later on in this blog.

Ads that stop the scroll

You may have an amazing offering and a great landing page but if you don’t have an ad that stands out and grabs your target audience’s attention, then even with the best targeted campaign tactics, it’s more than likely that you will experience a low clickthrough rate on your ad. This will not only result in a low number of leads, it will be costly too.

A lead generation ad should use an image, video or infographic that makes someone stop the scroll and take action (click on it).

Here’s an example from Whizz Education who we worked with on their Mathvember campaign.  The ad successfully grabbed the attention of hundreds of primary school teachers.

Facebook ad for Mathvember

Remember…

It’s important to keep the imagery and messaging consistent throughout the lead generation process from the ad to the landing page to the content, so your target audience is being exposed to core messages and visual creative, solidifying familiarity and trust in your brand.

Setting up an audience targeting teachers

Interest-based targeting

Facebook knows a lot about its users, including their location, job title, hobbies and interests. This offers you a valuable opportunity to fine-tune your audience so you can target people who are more likely to engage with your content.

If  you have created a persona of who you are trying to target, interest-based targeting is perfect for setting up an audience based on the persona’s demographics, behaviour and interests.

In the absence of a persona, you can target a broader audience like deputy head teachers (pictured).

You can also exclude interests that might not be relevant to your audience e.g. if you want to target Maths teachers, you can exclude other subject teachers like English teachers.

With an interests-based audience, the more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to choose the demographics, interests and behaviour that is most closely aligned to who you are trying to engage with.

 

Facebook custom audiences

One of the most valuable tools for ad targeting is the ability to target people who have already engaged with your business before.

The custom audience option on Facebook ads enables you to target people who have visited your website, followed/liked your Facebook page and if you have one, engaged with your app.

What’s more, you can also create a lookalike of these audiences (see below) to find people who are similar to your custom audience, increasing the chances that they will engage with your ads.

There are two important caveats of using custom audiences:

 

A/B Testing

Once you’ve created and set up your content, landing page, ad and audiences, you are ready to launch your campaign.

While it would be great to launch the campaign and see great results from the offset, the likelihood is that you will need to test different elements of the campaign to find what is working and what is not.

A/B testing is a method of finding the most effective ad by changing one variable at a time, such as creative, audience, body copy or call to action. An example might be testing a picture of a report against an image of a student.

Sometimes it will be clear within the first few days of launch which ad is performing better so you can switch off the other one. Other times, you might want to keep the A/B testing running a bit longer to see a significant difference.

It’s very important with A/B testing that you only test one variable at a time. You can always test another variable once you’ve completed the first A/B test.

 

Retargeting and lookalikes

Once your ad campaign has been running for some time, you can set up a retargeting and/or lookalike campaign.

You may be familiar with retargeting if you’ve ever browsed an online shop and then gone on to Facebook to find an advert promoting the item you were looking at earlier.

With a Facebook pixel on the site, you can do exactly the same type of retargeting if someone goes to your landing page but doesn’t complete the download form. People who have already visited your website are much more likely to convert as our client PS Financials found when we introduced retargeting during their lead generation campaign.

A lookalike audience is another option to give your campaign a boost once you’ve reached 50 leads and above. This is a great feature in Facebook ads that allows you to create a lookalike of everyone that has engaged with your campaign.

If you have a Facebook pixel on your website, tracking everyone that visits the landing page and also who completes the sign-up process, you’ll have an opportunity to do a retargeting campaign.

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Thinking of launching a social media advertising campaign targeting school leaders and teachers? We can help. Please get in touch if you would like to find out how.

Four reasons why you need PR in 2021

Well, what a year 2020 was.

As we enter a third national lockdown with hopes of improvement by the spring, here are four reasons why 2021 is the year to invest in PR.

1. Because technology is a part of our lives like never before

Stuck at home during the pandemic, many of us are spending more of our lives online. We are using our devices for work, socialising, shopping, exercise and entertainment.

This may have changed how your business connects with customers.

You can no longer meet in person with teachers or carry out live demos of your products. So, many business leaders find themselves asking how to connect with their audience in an authentic way.

One way is to meet your audience where they are: online.

Using digital PR and communications, you can connect with current and prospective customers via your online channels.

You can find the right way to reach parents and teachers, whether it’s through online campaigns, virtual events, blogs or video testimonials.

2. To take advantage of a rise in social media and influencer culture 

If your business isn’t engaging effectively with customers on social media, then your business isn’t properly communicating with customers.

In the last year, all social media apps reported an increase in usage.

The likes of YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, which allow people to create, upload and share videos, have become increasingly popular. Last year, nine in 10 online adults, and almost all older children aged 8 to 15 years, used at least one of these websites and apps, and many watched videos several times a day.

Running integrated campaigns on social media is key to successful business communications.

Choose a theme that relates to your education product, create a key campaign message and be sure to track engagement. Make sure you use the right platform for your campaign and that it’s timely.

Consider partnering with a social media influencer who fits with your brand values and audience. They can help you reach your target audience, build trust, and increase engagement. This could be a blogger, journalist or podcaster. It could be a well-known teacher, edtech expert or education consultant.

Investing in social media will help you connect with current and prospective clients, boost awareness and increase leads.

3. So you can gain your audience’s trust 

Think about what your customers consider When deciding whether to buy your education product or service. Has this changed since the same time last year?

Recognise changes in your customers and their needs. Whether it’s spending power, ways of working, or challenges in education during the pandemic. And allay any fears or concerns.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 88% of us rate ‘trust’ as important or critical when it comes to deciding which brands to buy or use. Out of 8,000 people surveyed in 8 countries in October 2020, ‘trust’ was the third most important purchase criteria, with ‘price’ and ‘quality’ only slightly ahead, regardless of gender, nationality, age or income.

Personal experience matters the most when it comes to building trust. If your business can communicate with clients through friends, family, experts and reviews from trusted sources, then you’ve taken a step in the right direction in helping them to trust you and your business offering.

PR activities like product reviews, case studies, video testimonials and influencer campaigns can all help to strengthen trust among your target audience.

4. To help you manage a PR crisis

Last year was crisis, followed by crisis, followed by crisis.

The coronavirus outbreak, civil unrest and economic downturn.

An impeachment trial, a contested presidential election and a wave of international protests leading to a moment of reckoning on racism.

Not to mention natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes and floods.

If we’ve learnt anything from 2020, it’s to be as prepared as we can be for a crisis. A well-managed crisis can actually win your brand fans rather than lose them, so the third lockdown may be an opportunity to reflect on how you would manage a crisis.

PR crisis planning means having guidelines in place for an emergency or unexpected situation.

How is your company going to react if the lockdown lasts longer than expected? What will your company do if there was a breach of school data? Or if your education software that teachers rely on for online learning has technological issues?

Don’t get caught off guard.

Identify the risks to your education business, rank them in order of seriousness and put a plan in place for each one.

Your crisis plan should outline your response to stakeholders such as customers, employees and the media. It needs to include key messaging for all of your business platforms, including social media. And make sure your spokesperson is media trained.

Check out our ‘cut out and keep’ guide to crisis management here.

Get started

The best time to start planning your PR is now.

Don’t put it off for another day. Who knows what this year has in store!

If you’re ready to start planning your PR for 2021, get in touch today on hello@theinfluencecrowd.co.uk.

Or have a read of our PR planning guide for some more top tips.

 

Photo by SevenStorm JUHASZIMRUS from Pexels

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