The Language Teacher’s Guide to Effective Content Marketing

Content marketing is the backbone of growing your language teaching business.

It’s how you attract more students, become more visible, build a loyal community and, ultimately, make more money. 

So, it makes sense to show up in as many places as possible… right? Not so fast.

When it comes to marketing your language teaching business, less is more

The more time you can spend optimising a few key channels, the bigger your reach and the better your results will be.

The problem then becomes choosing which platforms to use. Should you start a blog? Is YouTube the way to go? Should you join the world on TikTok?

Obviously, I can’t answer those questions for you. But I can provide you with the information you need to figure it out yourself. 

Sound good? 

Great. Let’s talk all things content marketing and how to use it to grow your language teaching business.

Hang on… what even is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute defines it as ‘a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action’.

It encompasses any type of marketing you do that’s intended to inform, educate or entertain your ideal students rather than pitch your offers. 

Of course, the ultimate goal is to generate interest in your services. But the short-term goal is to attract people into your world, create a connection with them and earn their trust.

Why does content marketing matter for language teachers?

Let’s say you’ve just discovered my website or Instagram page. You know nothing about me besides the fact I’m a copywriter for language teachers. 

You don’t know what I look like, what I sound like, what I stand for, whether my copy is any good or if I even know what I’m talking about. 

In other words, you have no reason to trust me. 

So, the last thing you’re going to do is hire me to write your website. That would be crazy. You need to get to know me first.

It would be equally crazy for your ideal students to sign up for your course the moment they clap eyes on your content. Marketing just doesn’t work like that.

Content is what consistently brings new people into your world and helps them get to know, like and trust you before they decide to buy from you. 

It allows you to showcase your skills and expertise, offer an insight into the way you work and show your personality and business values. It also helps repel those red flag students you definitely don’t want to work with. 

What counts as content marketing?

Chances are if you’re running a language teaching business, you’re already using a few content marketing channels

These are places where you share videos, blogs, infographics, free guides and social media posts — basically any type of content designed to deliver value to your audience. 

But creating effective content isn’t as simple as posting on social media a few times per week. Getting results comes down to having a clear plan — and that starts with deciding where to post. 

How many content channels should you use?

If you’re wearing all the hats in your business, here’s the good news: you don’t need to post here, there and everywhere to see results if you choose your channels strategically. 

Before we look at exactly how to do that, we need to take a few steps back to understand the different types of content and how they fit together. Because — spoiler — they aren’t all the same. 

Hero content 

Hero content is value-packed long-form content that goes into detail on a certain topic. 

For big language brands with huge marketing teams and budgets, this usually means creating something that will reach a mass audience — like a viral campaign. 

But for small business owners like us, it simply means a super valuable piece of content that’s longer than most other things you share — like a blog post, a YouTube video or a podcast episode. 

Hero content goes into detail on a specific area of interest for your ideal students with an aim to build brand awareness, trust and engagement.

As such, it usually takes much longer to create than, say, a social media post. So you can get away with publishing new content less often. 

That’s not the only benefit, though. Well thought-out hero content also provides the basis for creating ALL your other content, be it reels, carousels, LinkedIn posts or emails. 

As they say — work smarter, not harder. 

Nurture content

Next up, we have what’s known as ‘nurture content’ (or ‘push content’.) This refers to the regular updates you share with your existing audience — aka your email subscribers, social media followers or community members — to build a relationship with them.

The goal of push content is to stay fresh in your audience’s mind and consistently deliver value on the topics they care most about. 

Nurture content includes anything that you share regularly to serve the people already in your world — like a regular email newsletter, Facebook group posts, Instagram stories or a social media series. But it also refers to free webinars, workshops and lead magnets, which are designed to strengthen the trust and relationship between you and your ideal students.

Awareness content

If you’re wondering how to attract new students, this is how. 

Awareness content (also known as ‘pull content’) is what you can create to get your language teaching business in front of a new audience by answering the biggest questions your people have. 

It should be short, informative and specific, and offer a quick win or take away they can benefit from immediately

Content that works particularly well for this purpose includes: 

  • How to guides (e.g. how to learn 100 new characters in one week)
  • List posts (e.g. three ways to politely say ‘no’ to your boss) 
  • Quick tips or hacks (e.g. a simple hack for remembering noun gender rules) 
  • Revelations (e.g. what no one tells you about interviews in America)

Awareness content works on various platforms, but it has to be searchable or easily accessible for people who aren’t already in your audience. 

Think: Instagram reels or carousels, LinkedIn posts, Pinterest pins and shorter YouTube videos and blog posts (yep, they can double up as hero and awareness content), and collaborations with other business owners. 

Deciding which marketing channels to use

Phew, that was a lot of theory. 

I recommend choosing ONE marketing platform from each content type — at least to begin with. 

You can always scale it up later and use more channels to grow your audience. But if you try to juggle seven platforms with all the other tasks in your biz, you’re not going to end up disappointed.

So, how do you decide which channels to use? Like I mentioned before, it depends on a few different factors… 

Your students 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your students are central to EVERYTHING you do. 

Start by doing some research into where they’re hanging out and how they search for information on what you teach. 

Do they use YouTube to learn? Are they more into reading blogs? Or are they avid podcast listeners? 

Sure, they might be on TikTok, but are they looking for language content there? 

Understanding the habits of your ideal students is KEY to marketing your language teaching business. Because it doesn’t matter how good your content is if you’re posting in all the wrong places.

Your strengths 

Although your students’ preferences kinda take precedence, you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t feel comfortable with. 

After all, if you’re not enjoying creating content, you won’t stay consistent AND your audience will probably be able to tell. 

So, try and find the sweet spot between what your students like to consume and what you’ll like making.

Your schedule 

Finally, I’m all for making content creation quick, easy and enjoyable. So, as well as what you want to do, think about what you realistically CAN do. 

For example, if you’re a total perfectionist like me, editing a podcast might zap up way more time than it should. Or, if you hate writing, forcing yourself to craft 1000+ word blog posts every week might cause you more stress than it’s worth. 

Think about how much time you have to work on your business and what you can create in that time. 

How often should you post content?

Every marketer and their friend talks about staying consistent. But what does that actually mean?

While this mostly depends on how often you can post without working weekends or burning out, I know that’s not a super helpful answer. So, here are some rough suggestions of how often you might want to post each type of content. 

Hero content 

Like I mentioned earlier, you can get away with posting hero content less often. And by less often, I mean anywhere between once per week to once per month. 

Personally, I aim to publish a new blog post every week, as it doesn’t take me a ton of time and it gives direction to the rest of my content. 

Nurture content

Push content exists to keep your business top of mind, so I’d recommend sticking to a regular schedule of once per week  — especially if you’re sending a newsletter. 

This way, you can make sure people get used to hearing from you and into the habit of reading your emails. 

Awareness content 

How often you choose to post awareness content really depends on how quickly you want to grow your audience. 

If it’s a big priority for you, then I’d suggest sharing at least a couple of high-quality posts per week on your main social media channel.

But, like I said, this is all just a suggestion. Figure out how often you can post and go from there. Oh, and remember: it’s better to start with less and grow to more than try and do everything all at once. 

Want to learn more about marketing your language teaching business? 

Good thing you read until the end then. 🙃

Sign up to join my free marketing crash course, delivered to your inbox in bitesize lessons every single week for six whole months. See you there! 

January 8, 2024

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