Healthcare Content Marketing Defined
If you are in healthcare – either as a practitioner, or someone in the C-suite or management – you may have a natural aversion to “marketing.” Perhaps you see marketing as a necessary evil to bring in customers (aka patients). Even if you view marketing in a favorable light, chances are that you see marketing as someone else’s job. Healthcare content marketing is different. It’s content connecting, and it can be – and should be – a win/win for your organization and for your patients. Your content is your brand. Let’s move beyond the stigma of shady used-car sales when we talk about marketing. “Marketing” is how you reach your community. If you don’t reach your community, you’re out of business. Gone are the days in medicine of “if-we-build-it-they-will-come”.
Customers Have A Choice: Patients Have a Choice
Today, patients are consumers. They are customers with a choice.
To answer health questions, 72% of Americans go online FIRST – before calling friends or family, before going to urgent care or calling our doctor … we go online.” Pew Online Research
Eighty percent of us Americans find answers to our health questions online, in the digital world. And a growing number of us are finding our physicians and our hospitals in that digital world. If you’re not connecting with them in that world, you will be the Borders Books of Healthcare. Let that image sink in for a moment. Then continue reading for how to connect.
Being Present, and Presenting
So, think of “content marketing” as presenting the information that your communities are looking for in that world. And think of it as “content connecting,” not marketing; think of it simply as being present in the digital world, and connecting with your community there. For healthcare, more than any other “industry,” content marketing is about the connection. It’s about building relationships … a prospective patient demands a more intimate relationship with you than if they were buying a pair of shoes (not to belittle the importance of shoes).
Content Marketing Has Been Around Awhile
“Content Marketing” is nothing new. Content marketing has been used to successfully connect with customers for more than a century. Take a look at the history of John Deere’s publication, The Furrow, for the story behind some early content marketing (John Deere Content Marketing).
But Digital Changes Everything
Specifically, search changes everything. Search in the digital world allows us, as consumers, to go out and find what we want and need. That is new. This is where the term, “inbound marketing,” comes from: the customer is inbound, looking for something. Before search, we simply needed to wait for companies (or hospitals, or whoever) to broadcast their message, and hope that it had relevance for us. That was “outbound,” or “broadcast marketing.” Time was, companies were able to purchase attention. No longer.
Companies now operate in an environment where attention can no longer simply be bought. A new bar for quality storytelling, both in creativity of approach and delivery, is required to break through.” Jason Wellcome, Global Head of Mediaco
Where does our attention go now?
Our attention goes two places:
1 – Sources of entertainment content
2 – Sources of useful information content
Accurate. Valuable. Useful. Trusted. Information.
Unless your hospital or medical practice has an archive of funny cat videos to upload to YouTube, chances are you will be better suited to provide information content. When we (as consumers) seek information, we information sources that are accurate, valuable, useful. That information is CONTENT. And THAT is how you will connect with your community in the digital world: as a trusted publisher of accurate, valuable, useful healthcare information.
Content Marketing Zen
Your goal is to be the GO-TO, trusted source of accurate, valuable, useful healthcare information in your field. Repeat that a few times to yourself. That is your mantra for connecting in the digital world; for providing value; for being relevant to your community; for being found.
Don’t waste time looking for elephants in the jungle; instead, hang out at the watering hole and let them come to you. To be more Zen about it … BE the water …” Russell Faust, MD, PhD
And by that I mean, BE their trusted resource. Provide the information that your community is seeking.
Who is Your Community? Your community may be your patients. They may be your prospective patients. They may be you referring doctors. They may be your employed physicians, or nurses, or any other group that you want to stay connected to. Any group whose attention you seek. More importantly: any group that you want to build a relationship with, to connect with. Be sure to download my FREE Guide for using Social Media to Connect:
More to Come
This is the first in a series of four articles on Content Marketing – Healthcare Content Marketing Defined. The next article in the series will focus on your content: what kind of content are we talking about, specifically? How to develop it or where to find it? How to present it?
Following that, we will talk about what to do with their attention once you have it. Lastly, we will provide a step-wise guide for developing your Healthcare Content Marketing Program.