The simple phrase “content marketing” has become a buzzword; it pops up everywhere you turn. And chances are you know that content is king in our digital world today.
What is Content Marketing?
So what exactly is content marketing, and what makes it different from other forms of marketing?
For starters, content marketing is an effective way of marketing, even though disguised as information and, for the most part, flies under the radar.
As consumers, we are inundated with non-stop marketing messages: look at this, buy this, here is the latest and greatest. We’re pitched one product or another, no matter if we’re interested or not.
We’re surrounded by advertising all day long. We’re tired of it, and for the most part, tune it out!
Not so with content marketing…
If you come across an interesting piece of content, you choose to engage with it by reading, listening, or watching. It’s how you express your interest in the topic. And if the content is interesting enough, you may even decide to give your permission for marketers to follow-up so that they can provide more useful information to you.
Generally, content marketing is defined as creating and publishing relevant pieces of content to attract, engage, and ultimately acquire customers. When you give your customers information they’re already looking for, you keep them interested and engaged, without annoying them.
Is content marketing limited to blog posts or articles? No, it includes all types of valuable content produced and published, such as:
- Blogposts and articles
- Social media posts
- Powerpoint presentations
- Checklists and other worksheets
- White papers
- Case studies
These are just some of the more popular content forms used to distribute information. I’m sure you’ve experienced all of them first-hand.
How to Use Content marketing?
If you want to incorporate content marketing strategies into your current marketing mix, start with these steps to get the ball rolling:
- Define your goals. Don’t publish content for the sake of putting out content. Get clear on what you want to accomplish and what is the ultimate goal. Chances are you want to generate leads and attract clients into your practice. Then work backward. What do you need to do to achieve these goals?
- Define your audience. Who is your content for? What type of patient or client do you want to bring into your practice? What problems do they have, and what solutions may they be looking for? Think about this, because without clarity about your audience, you’ll be wasting your resources trying to market to everyone.
- Define your content. What will your content be about? How can you know what’s of interest to your audience? The easiest way is to ask for input. Ask your patients to fill out a survey about the topics they would like to see. Go online to find the keywords your audience is actively searching for. Alternatively, you could write about general health topics and solicit feedback. No matter how you choose your content topics, be sure to keep them keyword-focused; you want to create content people are actively searching for.
- Define your delivery. Don’t try to do it all but focus on a few forms of content. Will you publish blog posts, post to social media, or create videos? Or perhaps podcasting is a better fit for your style? Choose an option that’s comfortable for you, and you can commit to.
- Create a plan; set up checkpoints and deadlines. No need to go overboard here. Committed to publishing one blog post per week? Create a content publishing calendar that lists the topic of every blog post for the next month, quarter, or year. Just as goals are crucial to moving from point A to point B, having a plan is critical for accomplishing those goals.
Content Creation Tips
Let’s assume your focus is on creating content for social media. Here are a few pointers to make sure you create posts that get engagement from your audience.
- Use eye-catching visuals. The visual content is what will catch their eye! You want them to stop long enough to consider consuming your content. If you don’t have your own collection of images, you can find images from free sites like Pixabay or Unsplash.
- Write good copy. While the image gets them to stop, the words get them to click. Use proper grammar, flawless spelling, and appropriate punctuation with adequate spacing. Write in a conversational tone; don’t use overly complicated words or language.
- Don’t be self-centered. Focus on your customers and what’s important to them. Don’t promote your business and products directly every time. Post about topics of interest to them or repost items from other people. It will build your credibility and engagement with a broader audience.
- Use hashtags. For the majority of social media sites, your post might as well be invisible if you’re not using hashtags. Hashtags tell people what category your post falls into and draws in more engagement from people checking out what’s new in that topic.
- Be brief. Don’t make your posts too long, because readers will get weary and move on. Use synonyms for longer words, keep sentences short, and punchy. Remember, distractions are everywhere.
- Post at key times. While key posting times vary by social media type, if you choose the right time for the platform, it will get your post in front of a larger audience. Do a quick Google search to see what days and times are best for the social media platforms of your choice.
- Get your readers engaged! Include questions and surveys with your posts; they encourage discussion and response from your readers.
While content marketing is a long-term strategy and not a quick fix, it is a powerful way to market your business. As long as it’s implemented strategically, delivered with consistency, and provides real value to your audience, it’s worth to include in the marketing mix of your practice.
And, it will strengthen your authority and credibility, all while building better relationships with your audience.
Be consistent and persistent with your content marketing, and you will see results!
Are you using content marketing in your practice? Or are you thinking about adding it to your marketing mix? Let us know your plans… leave your comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.“