Remember when you were in kindergarten? After those tasty PB&J sandwiches and chocolate milk for lunch, it was learning center time. Yes! Kids spent the afternoon rotating between a few numbered tables, each one designed for fun, hands-on exploration of subjects like math, writing or science. I remember that the science table had shells, leaves, rocks, dead bugs, charts and a magnifying glass. My personal favorite, naturally, was the writing table – an exciting place filled with crayons, pens, paper and books.
OK…but I’m not in kindergarten anymore
Fast forward to 2014. You’re all grown up now, a savvy marketer looking for ways to engage your audience with great content. And you’re feeling like your current efforts need some shaking up. Things are feeling a little “meh.” It’s a great time to consider building an online learning center, which is a place to organize and showcase your content in all its forms. A learning center is a great solution if you’re looking to:
- Offer current information and tools in text, audio and video form
- Help customers, employees or prospects find resources and engage in conversations
- Highlight opportunities, such as teleconferences, events or jobs
- Link to social media outlets.
Got it! Why is a learning center so effective?
Call it a learning center, knowledge center or content hub – these awesome storehouses of information are so effective as a marketing tool because they’re based on basic educational theory. Humans have different learning styles and ways they like to interact with information. Donald and I like to read. Adam likes to watch videos. Ricky likes to listen. A learning center offers a learner-centered approach that gives visitors a say in how they access content. Result? Empowerment and the potential for better outcomes.
Rand Fishkin, marketing guru at Moz, says that content marketing isn’t about the first visit – or the second or the third. It’s about “earning familiarity, trust and relationship.” A learning center, with its varied content and exciting layout, gives prospects a solid multi-touch opportunity to learn and interact with your brand. Give them the value they’re looking for and they’ll come back over and over, talk about your learning center – and be more likely to move through the sales funnel.
I’m in. How do you create a learning center?
- Start with content. You’ve probably got the building blocks of a learning center at hand: articles, videos, tweet streams, presentations, posts or photos. So if you don’t have time to create – curate! This example illustrates the way that Health Catalyst makes its content come alive in a learning center.
- Choose great design. The beauty of your design and intelligence of its navigation will help seal the deal.
- Don’t just curate – create! Keep your learning center fresh and sticky by continually updating the content with pieces that inspire and excite.
We have a blog today. How does that work with a learning center?
Excellent question. A blog is focused on discussion and news. It can easily coexist with a learning center. Keep in mind that a good blog stays engaging and fresh with regular updates – so if your business doesn’t have a steady stream of news, a learning center can eliminate the need for a blog. The learning center may be exactly what you’ve needed all along!
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this look at how a learning center can help you educate and communicate with your audience. Please ask questions and share your stories in the handy-dandy comments section.