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When folks talk about marketing innovation in the healthcare space, they predominantly focus on mHealth or digital health. In short, they talk apps. However, all the hullabaloo over smartphone apps and gamifying health and wellness has given way to another healthcare marketing tactic that’s just as innovative. I’m talking about content marketing.
What is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” In plain English, you as a rehab therapist know your audience, so you craft content—such as blogs, articles, editorials, and social media posts—that is not only relevant, but also demonstrates your expertise. You’re the musculoskeletal expert, and you show that through intelligent and educational communication. In other words, you’re educating, not selling.
How is it innovative?
Modern consumers are growing immune to traditional marketing techniques. They fast-forward through commercials; they ignore print advertising to the point where print itself has nearly died; they switch radio stations or listen online to avoid hearing ads; and they’ve grown numb to web banners and buttons.
As the avenues of traditional advertising become increasingly ineffective, you might ask yourself, “What’s left? How can I promote myself and my business?” The answer is content marketing, an innovative solution for reaching modern consumers who search the web for information on a daily—probably even hourly—basis. Your potential customers go online when they have questions, and as an expert in your field, you have a perfect opportunity to provide them with the answers.
Why health care?
According to a PwC study titled “Social Media ‘Likes’ Healthcare,” social media influences patients’ decisions about selecting health providers. In fact, 41% of those surveyed said social media sites would influence their choice of a specific provider, hospital, or medical facility. Another study found that people search for health and medical information online a lot—40% do so several times a month. With the public relying on the Internet for basically everything, it makes sense that they’d turn to the web for health-related information as well.
According to Venture Beat, “nearly ninety percent of all healthcare businesses are leveraging content marketing—tied for third among all industries.” In fact, many hospitals have become larger publishers than hometown daily newspapers. Furthermore, people consider hospitals more credible when it comes to health. In an article titled “Mayo Clinic v. WebMD: Have standards suddenly changed?,” journalists report that MayoClinic.com is a more trustworthy source for health news than WebMD.
How can you content market?
If developing your own content, like blog posts or articles, seems overwhelming, then turn your focus to thought leadership. Find educational content that you—and your audience—appreciate, and then share it. If you’re ready to delve into the world of content development, I recommend Dr. Ben Fung’s steps for creating content that will resonate with your targeted consumer base:
- Know your audience.
- Determine your strengths.
- Develop content.
- Market content.
- Forecast change and respond/adapt.
To read these five steps in full, check out his blog post. And one last thing: great content needs solid writing, so I recommend getting chummy with a writer friend or hiring a freelancer to copyedit your writing or ghostwrite your thoughts and opinions.
Do you use content marketing? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.