Content Marketing

Content Marketing in Healthcare – Not So Different From Other B2B

What is Content, Anyway?

Content is not a new concept. As marketers, we design, write and manage the development of content every day. From advertisements and sales collateral to experience papers and websites, content creation is a big part of our jobs. As a result, I’m willing to bet that your marketing organization has no shortage of content. So what are healthcare marketers missing?

Healthcare Marketing Lags Behind Other B2B in Content Marketing

According to recent study conducted by the research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, the healthcare industry is lagging behind other B2B industries in content marketing:

    • Health care companies outsource content marketing at a higher rate than other industries: Compared to all other industries in the study, health care brands outsource some portion of content marketing at approximately a 40 percent higher clip (63 percent, compared with an average of 45 percent).
    • Health care companies struggle with content marketing effectiveness: Just 28 percent of respondents feel that their content marketing is successful in solving their overall marketing objectives.
    • Health care companies use social media less often: Of the top 10 social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), health care companies show substantially decreased usage — except for one: YouTube (video). Also, the total number of platforms used is lower than that of other industries — 4.5 channels leveraged versus 3.6 for health care companies).

CMI’s research also details the top three healthcare content marketing challenges:

    • Producing enough content – 20%
    • Lack of budget – 17%
    • Producing the kind of content that engages – 16%

So how can this industry overcome these challenges – and become content marketing machines?

Know your Audience

In my previous post, I talked about this new Marketing world we all live in, like it or not. A dramatic shift from traditional “push marketing” tactics to telling stories that matter to our customers. As content creators, this means asking ourselves a very important question: Is our content tailored to our audience’s needs – or is it one-size-fits all?

In a recent blog post, Barb Schmitz of CMI recapped sessions from day one of the Content Marketing World Health Summit (November 7 – 8, Cleveland, OH). I found the following excerpt from the session entitled “Content Marketing Strategy and Pharma” particularly insightful:

Content should be personalized. Content creation should be a multi-phase process: Ask a lot of questions, figure out what your customers want, determine what already exists, think like a publisher, and make it part of your process” – Buddy Scalera, Senior VP, Interactive Content and Market Research, Ogilvy CommonHealth Interactive Marketing

Determine your Content Goals

Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience, the next step is to determine the actions and behaviors you want to affect with your content. James Boye-Doe of Strategy4Content (blog) recently discussed the need for a content strategy and mission statement in How Not to Fail at your Content Marketing Efforts.

In this post, James points out: “this all boils down knowing the story you aim to tell and forming a content strategy that communicates your story in a compelling way to your current and future customers”. Well said.

Carving out your content mission and strategy might be the most challenging aspect of your content marketing – but it is also the most important factor for the success of your program.

Deliver your Content in a Compelling Way

By now, we know that it is vital to understand our audience along every stage of their buying process – and tell stories that matter to them. This is half the battle. The next challenge is how best to deliver these stories.

Here are seven great vehicles to share your healthcare marketing content:

1. Infographics: Easily digestible graphics used for data visualization. These graphics work well to visually depict clinical data and healthcare statistics. And they are also good for those with a short attention span (hint, healthcare providers and patients). Infographics were discussed in a previous post entitled Infographics and the B2B Marketer – Why Should You Care?

2. Online Events / Webinars: Discuss current issues facing healthcare – or demonstrate a new procedural technique. Webinars are a great way to share content with your audience. You can also repurpose this content on your blog, website, etc. Example: Webinars

3. Blogs Posts: Blogs are a great way to communicate your story, share ideas and interact with your target audience. Blogs can also act as the hub for all of your content – and work exceptionally well to improve your ranking on Google, which favors sites that are updated regularly and in a meaningful way. A great example of a healthcare blog done right is The Cleveland Clinic’s HealthHub blog

4. Curated content: Compile the latest evidence or industry trends from your healthcare space into a blog post, white paper or video. This allows your audience to obtain all of this vital information in one place while positioning your company as a trusted source. The nice thing about curating content – is that you can use many different vehicles to deliver it – and have the flexibility to divide up the content as needed. Example: Healthcare Social Media News

5. Slideshows: Companies store a large amount of customer-centric content on slides. I’m sure at one point or another, you’ve asked yourself how best to share data or other relevant information from your slide decks with your customers. Ever heard of SlideShare? It’s like social media for presentations. Here’s a great example: From Content to Customer- How to Generate Demand with Content Marketing

6. Videos: Film a testimonial, a procedure or a success story – embed it in your blog posts or on your website. Make it interactive. We know as consumers of content that we tend to prefer websites that offer multiple ways to digest the same content. Video is just one (important) way of delivering your content.

7. Email / Newsletters: Use this as a vehicle to promote your webinars / events, share your curated content and retain your current customers.

Now that we’ve defined content and shared some ideas on how to deliver it – here’s my question (and also my challenge) for you:

Are you ready to transform the way you develop content – and become a content marketing machine?

Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing

“Stop Selling Ships. Start Selling Destinations.” Reflections on Content Marketing

“Stop selling ships.  Start selling destinations”

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?   But what does it mean?  I pulled this quote from a B2B Marketing Forum which I attended two weeks ago in Boston, sponsored by Marketing Profs. It was, in essence, the overall theme of the conference – offer value beyond product.    Across every industry, B2B Marketers are discovering new ways to capture and engage their audience.

For today,  I will focus on the  hottest topic at this year’s conference:  Content Marketing.  The message was loud and clear — B2B Marketing organizations everywhere are shifting from traditional “push marketing” tactics to telling stories that matter to their customers.

So what “is” Content Marketing, anyway?

“Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what your customers need to know and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way to grow your business.”  – Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Again, sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?  Just like you might be doing, I asked myself:  “What does this actually mean, what’s in it for us (in the healthcare marketing space) and how can we make it happen”? I thought a lot about this, read articles, blog posts, talked to colleagues – and went to conferences.  Now, I’d like to share with you some highlights of Content Marketing that resonated with me:

What keeps your customers up at night?

This is all about identifying your customer’s pain points.  Every great content story starts with having an intricate understanding of customer segments, and tailoring messages accordingly.  Make it relevant – help them solve a problem and create great content around it.  Then, make the content easy to find for your audience.

Think of the customer’s journey toward selecting a vendor

Consider the pathway your customers take toward purchasing decisions.  Are they researching online or relying on their peers?   It’s about gaining a deeper understanding of how your customers research potential vendors / suppliers and what information they require at each stage of their process.

What questions will they have along the journey?

While a customer is researching your business and consuming your content, they will inevitably have questions along the way.  How can we anticipate their questions and concerns, and provide answers to those questions at the right time and in the right way? It goes back to knowing what your customers care about – and facilitating ongoing collaboration.

This includes talking to customer service, talking to sales representative – all key stakeholders – and identifying those key customer questions and documenting them.

Answer those questions with … (wait for it)….CONTENT!

At the end of the day it’s about answering our customer’s questions with valuable, relevant information.  Information that helps them solve a problem, makes their jobs easier or helps them make an informed decision.   The following quote says it best:

“It’s About Telling Stories That Matter.  This is much more than offering product information, but rather it extends into providing best practices, case studies, success stories, thought leadership, and more. Once you have delivered relevant content, you become a trusted resource. Content marketing enables companies to build a level of trust among their customers that makes it easy for those customers to buy. This is easy to say but hard to do because it almost certainly means changing the way you think and act about marketing.”   – Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Very well said.

Content Marketing is really about building trust

While product-specific marketing materials are also important, it is vital to develop content that positions your company as a thought leader and a trusted partner. The trust comes from your ability to bring success to your customers by answering their questions and addressing their pain points.  Sound a little soft?  I get that.  I often have to remind myself that B2B purchase decisions are still emotional ones.  They are still consumers, at the end of the day – looking for a brand they can trust.  Just as we are.

Now that I’ve shared my thoughts on Content Marketing – I’m interested to hear from you.

Do you believe that Content Marketing is the right approach for your business?