6 Mistakes Healthcare Marketers Make

6 Mistakes Healthcare Marketers Make

As a healthcare marketing executive, you’re trying to juggle a ton of tasks every day. Between lead generation and conversion, to your content marketing strategy and brainstorming ideas for your editorial calendar, you’re constantly trying to prioritize which tactics will be give you the best ROI.

Yet since your team is stretched so thin, it’s easy to forget about the bigger picture and make mistakes that can hurt your bottom line.

Here are 6 mistakes healthcare marketers make and how to solve them—stat.

1. You don’t have c-suite buy in.

One of the biggest challenges healthcare marketers face is getting their c-suite to buy into content marketing. Particularly in hospitals or large healthcare systems where content marketing is a new idea, it can be a hard sell.

One of the best ways to get your c-level executives hot on the idea of content marketing is to build a business case for it by showing them that one-way marketing, regardless of industry, is no longer effective.

Creating relevant, timely stories is vital for lead generation, acquisition and retention. Another way to get them on board is with case studies and examples of how their competitors have used content marketing to generate revenue.

2. No content marketing strategy.

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 report, B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, only 32 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy even though 85 percent of respondents cite lead generation as their most important goal.

Just as you have a business plan and a marketing plan, your team must develop a content marketing strategy if you want to get c-suite buy in, get your allocated budget for content marketing approved and ultimately follow through on your goal to drive sales.

3. No buyer personas.

You may understand who your customers are, but without documented buyer personas, no one on your team will be able to create content that truly speaks to your leads.

Buyer personas should include demographics, identifiers, goals, challenges and pain points, how you help solve their problems as well as their common objections.

You should also take the time to conduct interviews with your customers so you can compile quotes and understand what they need from you. Check out Xtensio, a tool that can help you create your buyer personas easily.

4. You don’t give the media what they need.

When I was recently working on a story for a national magazine, I tweeted a company because after checking their website, LinkedIn and press releases, nowhere did they list the name of the person who handled public relations.

After I explained that I was interested in featuring their business in the story, they directed me to a search capability on their website and refused to put me in contact with their public relations department.

If you want to get media coverage, make it easy for the media to find you. Make sure your website includes the name of the person or people who handle PR on your website and in your press releases and make sure those people include their titles on their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

5. Social media is subpar.

According to a report by Expio, 41 percent of patients use social media to choose a specific hospital or medical facility yet social media for lead generation is still one of the areas where many healthcare organizations lag behind.

Be sure to share relevant and timely health content, including case studies and videos, at least 3 times a day and make it a point to engage with your followers.

6. You hire any freelance writer or you do it yourself.

If you don’t have a team of writers, or a colleague who only handles content marketing, it will be impossible to get it all done. What’s more, when you’re so close to your business, it’s impossible to give your content the fresh perspective you need to generate leads.

When you search for a freelance writer, make sure you hire someone who writes for the healthcare industry, understands your business and can take all of your great thoughts and make them work for you.

7 Common Mistakes Doctors Should Avoid in Media Interviews

7 Common Mistakes Doctors Should Avoid in Media Interviews

Landing an interview for one of your doctors with a national news site, a morning news show or a popular magazine is always a public relations win. It’s good for brand awareness, lead generation and sales. And when you give the media a source they can rely on, they will be more likely to call on you the next time they need a source.

Yet let’s face it, doctors are a unique set. They may be smart, have years of experience and some are even published authors, but when it comes to giving interviews, it’s not always their strong suit.

Here, read on for 7 common mistakes doctors should avoid when they give interviews.

1. No preparation.

When it comes to giving phone interviews for print or online outlets in particular, it’s common for physicians to show up unprepared. They don’t know what the story is about, the name of the outlet and if it will be a print or online story.

Watch any morning news show that includes sit-down interviews with doctors however, and you’ll see that they’re pros. Although the producer has likely provided them with talking points, these physicians have done their homework and know how to give a great interview. They know how to field questions and bring their A-game.

When you land an interview for your organization, it doesn’t matter who the outlet is or where will it be seen. Make sure your doctors know all the details ahead of time and encourage them to do additional research so they will be a shining source. After all, they’re the experts.

2. Boring the audience.

Your doctor might be the leading expert on a certain disease or health condition, but if she cannot deliver the information in an interesting, engaging way, the story falls flat. On TV and radio, the audience will be bored to tears and in print or online, their quotes might be weak or paraphrased.

Find a consultant who provides media training to help your source or at the very least, rehearse with her beforehand.

3. Talking on and on.

Some doctors love to talk and in fact, that’s probably why you chose them to be sources in the first place. Although your physician shouldn’t give one-word answers, he should answer the questions in sound bites, regardless of the format. Getting succinct quotes and quick sound bites always makes the story shine.

4. Dumbing it down or making it too complicated.

When your physician gives an interview with a health journalist, there’s no need to clarify abbreviations like ICSI or explain what the microbiome is. The reporter speaks your language and they will ask for clarification if necessary.

On the other hand, make sure the physician avoids medical jargon because the reporter isn’t likely to include a quote that includes words like “immunocompromised” or “cryopreservation.” The same goes when your doctor gives a TV or radio interview: KISS—keep it simple, stupid.

5. Having an agenda.

Even if they come prepared, it’s common for doctors to veer off course and talk about what they think the story should be. This can certainly give the reporter ideas for another story, but make sure they know to leave those ideas until the end of the interview.

6. Plugging your company.

When giving interviews, a physician may be asked to talk about what she sees as a trend or what common practice is at their hospital. Yet this isn’t an opportunity to sneak in a shameless plug. Unless the story is about the hospital itself, the interviewee knows who the doctor is and will not talk about how great your company is.

 7. No added value.

The last question I always ask on interviews is, “Is there anything else that’s important?” When I ask this one simple question, 9 times out of 10 I get some of the best information of the entire interview, something I never thought of or an entirely new story idea.

Before any interview, advise your physician to have additional thoughts or ideas prepared. If he can give the reporter something extra and of value, chances are he’ll be called again for future stories.

10 Questions To Help You Discover Press Release Ideas

10 Questions To Help You Discover Press Release Ideas

Although there are so many ways journalists, editors and producers find story ideas, the press release is still a tried and true method for getting the media’s attention, especially for healthcare companies who have new studies, survey data and stories to pitch.

In fact, 70 percent of reporters use press releases to get supporting facts and 66 percent use them for interesting story angles, a Business Wire Media survey found.

Not only do trade outlets and business journals need these types of stories to keep their readers up-to-date on industry happenings, but simply distributing a press release is good for SEO and brand awareness. Although you certainly don’t want to inundate the media with tons of emails, you should aim to send a press release at least once a month.

But what if you don’t have anything “new” or news-worthy to write a press release about? No problem. Here are 10 questions your team should be asking to uncover new ideas.

1. Has your company hired a new C-level executive, recruited a new employee from a competitor or promoted a key player?

2. Have you seen an increase in your quarterly sales or a surge in stock value?

3. Will you roll out a new product or service?

4. Have you expanded into a new market, merged or acquired another business?

5. Have a forged a strategic partnership?

6. Have you implemented a new way to reduce costs, improve customer retention or increase ROI?

7. Is your company hosting an event or attending a conference or trade show?

8. Do you have a new spokesperson or are you partnering with a celebrity for a new campaign?

9. Has your company earned a ranking or special recognition?

10. Have you teamed up with a non-profit or are you participating in a charity event?

5 Content Marketing Tips for Healthcare Companies

5 Content Marketing Tips for Healthcare Companies

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.

5 Ways Healthcare Startups Can Get Media Coverage

5 Ways Healthcare Startups Can Get Media Coverage

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.

4 Tips for Healthcare Marketing Case Studies That Convert

4 Tips for Healthcare Marketing Case Studies That Convert

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.