More and more healthcare companies are making content marketing a priority, which is a good thing since the healthcare industry is notorious for lagging behind.
Yet just because it’s important, doesn’t mean your healthcare organization should move full force ahead. In fact, only 30 percent of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, according to a report by the Content Marketing Institute.
Here, read on for some ways your healthcare company can executive your content marketing strategy in a smart way, create content you can repurpose and give your business a big boost.
1. Pull together buyer personas
Flesh out your buyer personas so you know exactly who your customers are, what they need and how fill the void. Having buyer personas complete will also guide you as you create every piece of content and help you effectively target your prospects.
2. Create an editorial calendar
Your team might be strapped for time, but you can’t expect to write great content without an editorial calendar. You might be a healthcare marketer, but you need to think like a publisher.
Set a regular meeting to brainstorm ideas with your team and create an editorial calendar with at least three months worth of content. The calendar should include the story title, the type of content, the word count, keywords, who is responsible for writing it, the deadline, the date it’s scheduled to post and the channels.
3. Tell stories, not testimonials
Testimonials are an effective way to show prospective clients how you changed their lives but a one or two sentence quote won’t cut it. You need case studies to show your leads that your company has helped other clients just like them.
Whether it’s a patient story that makes them fill up with tears of joy or a case study about how you helped your clients increase revenue and save time, make sure you have stories that make your leads take action.
4. Repurpose and repeat
Just because you write a series of blog posts or a white paper, doesn’t mean it’s one and done.
Find ways to make your content work for you by repurposing it over and over again. Turn a bunch of related blog posts into an e-book or a white paper into a series of blog posts. Or pitch thought leadership articles, case studies and infographics to the media.
5. Keep a content inventory
Keeping tabs on your content can inform your content marketing strategy going forward. When creating your spreadsheet, include data like the URL, type, page title, post date, page views, unique visitors and social shares.
This is a special guest post by Amanda Conroy, intern for Revelant Writing, LLC
Whether you’re about to launch your healthcare startup or you’ve been in business for a few years, getting media coverage should be part of your business plan. A healthy dose of public relations builds brand awareness, establishes thought leadership and drives traffic to your site.
Yet simply issuing a press release to announce your launch isn’t enough. You need to figure out what your story is, why anybody cares and the best way to tell it.
Here, find out what media outlets really look for when they decide to run a story and how you can get the coverage your healthcare startup needs.
1. Pitch stories, not sources
Ask any journalist and they’ll tell you that they get hundreds of pitches each week from public relations firms and about 99 percent of those emails are either left unopened or deleted.
Why? Because many of these publicists make one crucial mistake: they pitch their clients, not their clients’ stories.
Journalists, editors and producers have a long list of go-to experts that they can usually get on the phone for an interview within minutes.
What they really need however, are stories. But not just any story. They need stories that have a unique perspective, a fresh spin and are relevant to their readers.
So instead of simply issuing your press release and crossing your fingers, think about what your company’s story is or how you can contribute to the conversation in a way that hasn’t been covered before.
2. Establish thought leadership
To establish credibility and build brand awareness, have your marketing team ghostwrite thought leadership articles and pitch them to trade outlets.
Research several potential outlets and study their content. Look at the types of stories they run, the average word count and the style and tone. Most outlets have guidelines for guest contributors which will also give you an idea about what they look for.
Most importantly however, is to think about the challenges your industry faces and offer real solutions that no one else is talking about.
3. Think like a publisher
Smart healthcare startups know that consistently creating content is necessary for brand awareness, SEO and generating leads. As you hire your marketing team, you will need to create buyer personas, a content marketing strategy, an editorial calendar and an inventory of your content.
If that seems too advantageous right now however, focus on writing at least two blog posts a week and share them on social media.
4. Offer a study or survey data
Just as healthcare startups thrive on data, journalists, editors and producers also rely on the numbers to make a story timely, relevant and credible. Whether it’s the results of a clinical trial, a new study or survey data, make sure you lead with data.
5. Foster relationships
Don’t worry too much about not having media contacts because if you have a great story, a journalist will be interested. In fact, according to a survey by Muck Rack, 91 percent of journalists respond to PR people they don’t know.
When you have had your first placement, find opportunities to keep the momentum going. Whether you received another round of VC funding, hired an executive or developed a new product, continue to pitch the media.
Once you’ve been interviewed for a story, a journalist will be much more likely to contact you again if you can offer great ideas, contribute to the conversation and know how to give a great interview. Also, make it a point to read their stories and follow them on social media to understand the types of stories they write.
In today’s competitive healthcare space where consumers are empowered with choices about the providers and health insurance plans they choose, it’s more important than ever for healthcare marketers to connect with their leads on a personal level.
Whether you’re a hospital, a private practice, a health insurance plan or B2B healthcare brand, the best way to build your credibility and validate results is with case studies.
Yet not every patient, member or client will be the right customer to feature.
Before putting an ask out to any customer, there is some work you must do ahead of time to ensure that you not only have the right customer, but that your case studies will be a powerful tool to convert prospects. Here are 4 tips to get your started.
1. Let your personas be your guide.
Casting a wide net and trying to target every visitor that clicks on your site is a fruitless effort.
The same goes for case studies.
When you start to identify potential customers for your case studies, it’s vital that you know who your buyers are, what are the specific challenges they face and what their objections are to what you offer.
Then when you talk to your physicians or your sales reps, you’ll be able to tell them the type of customer you need instead of asking for any customer who is willing.
2. Amazing doesn’t cut it.
Just because one of your physicians has a great relationship with a certain patient doesn’t mean that person will be a good fit.
When looking for customers to feature, make sure they have a good story to tell. Sure, maybe the patient improved her cholesterol numbers or lost 50 pounds, but if there’s nothing else that makes the story compelling or your leads can’t connect with the story, it will make closing the deal that much harder.
3. Do a pre-interview.
The customer you have chosen might sound great on paper but when you get him on the phone, he’s either not willing to share as much as you thought he would or it feels like pulling teeth to get the information out of him.
One of the best ways to make sure you get what you need is to send the questions ahead of time so your customer can prepare or conduct a pre-interview to vet customers before making a final selection.
What’s more, when it comes to B2B, many companies have legal departments to contend with or have restrictions on what they will and will not talk about. Although it may not be a deal breaker, you should know ahead of time what is off limits so you’ll know how the story will pan out.
4. Be transparent.
When I was writing case studies for a client, the doctor who was asked to find a patient said that he had a great patient for me to interview. But once I got the patient on the phone, she didn’t want to use her name, reveal her profession or talk about her health condition. The result? A boring, bare bones story that did nothing to help them close deals.
So whether it’s one of your physicians or a sales representative, make sure that they explain to your customer exactly what the case study will be used for and what they will be asked.
When it comes to content marketing for your healthcare organization, one of the biggest challenges you face is where to put your marketing dollars.
You already know that operating as a publisher and creating content on a consistent basis is necessary for lead generation, engagement and driving sales.
But if you’re having trouble selling your c-suite on the value of content marketing, it can be tough to decide what types of content you should create now.
In fact, 28 percent of healthcare marketers are in the same boat as you. According to True North Custom’s State of Healthcare Content Marketing report, although they don’t have a content marketing strategy in place, they plan to create one this year.
As you work on your own content marketing strategy, here are 5 types of content you should include.
1. Blog posts
If you do nothing else, your company’s blog should be where you put your effort. Posting new content at least two to three times a week helps SEO, keeps your leads engaged and builds your credibility.
However, you should never post just for the sake of posting. Every blog post you create should inform, engage and tell a story.
Always write blog posts with your buyer personas in mind, and make sure they’re relevant and timely and include new research and data.
Every piece of content you write should be valuable: answer your prospects’ most burning questions and give them solutions to the things that keep them up on night.
According to a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute, 79 percent of B2B marketers use video marketing as part of their overall strategy and this year, more marketers will jump on the bandwagon.
In fact, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, a report by Cisco found.
When producing videos, make sure they draw your leads in and hold their attention to the very last second.
Some ideas you might try are stories about patients who have healed from a chronic, often misdiagnosed condition, interactive personalized videos for various demographics, or how-to guides you can use for member onboarding.
When they’re done well, infographics not only make complicated data more accessible and appealing to your leads, but they give your customers insight into relevant, timely information they crave.
Create infographics to explain new research, surveys you’ve conducted or problems your customers face. Like all types of content, infographics must tell a story, be visually appealing and shareable.
4. Case studies
You should always have testimonials on your site from happy customers, but case studies are what close the deal.
You can waste your breathe talking about features and benefits all day long but case studies validate the extraordinary results your customers have achieved in a compelling, interesting way.
Case studies are also a versatile tool and can be used for sales meetings, email marketing campaigns, repurposed as a blog or a series of blogs, pitched to the media and so much more.
5. White papers
A white paper is one of the most effective lead generation tools for B2B companies.
A strong white paper tells a compelling story, gives your potential clients information and problem-solving solutions and persuades them to take action.
A white paper is also a versatile marketing tool that can be used for email campaigns, direct mail, trade shows and social media.
It’s no surprise that if you want to generate more leads, convert more prospects and keep your customers engaged, content marketing must be your focus. In fact, according to a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers say that creating engaging content will be their top priority this year.
When you live and breathe your business day in and day out however, it can be challenging to think of new content ideas that will get results. Yet with a few simple strategies, you can generate a ton of content in just a few minutes. Here’s how.
If you’re a type-A perfectionist, creative and passionate about your business like I am, your mind is probably already flooded with ideas at any given moment. Some of your best ideas probably pop into your head while you’re driving, in the shower or doing something other than sitting at your computer to update your editorial calendar.
Instead of waiting for the next big idea to come along when you really need it, step away from your computer, pull out a legal pad and start writing every single idea that comes to mind. Don’t edit or cross anything out.
Although not every story idea will make the cut, you’ll be surprised at how many amazing ideas you’ll come up with in just a few minutes.
When I conduct interviews, take client calls or meet with colleagues, my mind races a mile a minute with new ideas for story pitches and ideas for their businesses as well as mine. Coffee has a lot to do with it, but talking just gets the ideas flowing.
The next time you need to generate new ideas or you’re feeling stuck, meet a colleague for coffee, take your team out for lunch or post on a LinkedIn group to generate ideas fast.
Read, read, read
One of the best ways to brainstorm new content ideas is to read what your competitors are publishing and sharing on social media. Search Amazon for upcoming book releases and read industry trades. Other types of content that are unrelated to your industry or those you read for pleasure count too and may even give you the fresh perspective your content needs.
Repurpose and refresh
Just because you wrote a blog post on a story three months ago doesn’t mean it can’t make a comeback. Look at your content inventory and identify stories that can be refreshed with new data or made timely with new industry reports.
Spin 1 idea into 3
After your have a list of 20 or more ideas, read each one over to see if you can find a different angle. If it’s a how-to story, you might be able to turn it into “10 ways to…” or “10 mistakes…” You might even find that you have enough content to write a 3-part blog series.
In order to consistently generate content that’s targeted for your customers, you must understand their goals, pain points and objections to what you offer. When you publish a new piece of content, read and respond to comments and track your site and social media analytics to find out what they really need from you.
Find the missing link
When you read content that your competitors create, think about what they might have missed or look for ideas that weren’t fully fleshed out.
The healthcare industry as a whole has been slow to adopt the value of content marketing.
Until recently, that is. Healthcare marketers now recognize the need for a clear content marketing strategy that includes various types of content including blogs, white papers, infographics and of course, case studies.
In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s report B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America, 82 percent of organizations use case studies in their arsenal of marketing tactics.
When they’re effective, case studies:
- Establish your credibility
- Educate in a compelling way
- Drive home what makes you different than your competitors
- Create brand awareness
- Demonstrate and validate results
- Build trusted relationships with clients
- Boost consumer confidence
- Increase sales
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Sell more to current customers—upsell and cross-sell.
- Answer questions
- Foster engagement
- Get media placement
Yet without a few key elements, your case studies will not only fail to convert your prospects, but they can also cost your organization a significant amount of time and money.
Here, read on for 5 of the most important pieces you should make sure all of your case studies include.
1. The story
Sounds pretty obvious, right? Yet so many healthcare organizations fail to think about their case studies as stories, despite the fact that they’re one of the most interesting ways to close deals with your potential clients.
When brainstorming and planning your case studies, think like a journalist and know what the story will be even if it’s not fully fleshed out yet.
- What were my client’s pain points?
- Why did they choose us and not our competitors?
- How exactly did we help them lower costs, attract more members, fill in the blank.
Before you even conduct the interview, get super-clear on what the story will be. Then when you write, make sure the story flows seamlessly with a clear beginning, middle and end. Be sure to add a headline, descriptive subheads and pull quotes too.
Features and benefits are important but backing up your case studies with data will make them even stronger and compelling to your prospect.
If you’re a health insurance plan for example, you’ll want to add specific data on how much you were able to lower costs or improve HEDIS scores. You might also add charts, graphs or infographics to demonstrate how you achieved those results.
Remember that all of your case studies should be written as though they were stories for a magazine or a news outlet.
Every case study must include quotes from your clients but statements like, “their service was so valuable,” or “the experience was great,” tell your prospects absolutely nothing.
Instead, dig deep on interviews and your quotes will read like sound bites: concise and powerful.
4. Social share buttons
Although you’ll probably use your case studies for direct mail campaigns, sales meetings and events, they should also live on your website, be published on LinkedIN Pulse and re-purposed as blog posts. You can also include them in your e-books, email marketing campaigns, online programs, press releases and pitches.
Although you’ll be sharing your case studies, make sure you make it easy for prospects to share it as well by adding social media buttons and tweeatable quotes.
Tell your prospects what to do next with one or more clear call to actions. Include complete contact information including the name of your sales representative, and make it even easier with a form or landing page.