One of the biggest marketing challenges facing therapy business owners across the country is that when we advertise or promote our services, we often neglect to create interest and emotional appeal. Instead, we try too hard to sell. We take a 3” x 5” advertising space and pack it with a 12-bullet-point list of services we provide. We spend our promotional dollars simply talking about what we do instead of truly communicating the impact we have on people’s daily lives. Blah, blah, blah: Our message often is all about us. Dull. Boring. Who cares?

Instead, why not channel the perspective of our marketing target—consumers—and connect with them on the problems they are having? Why don’t we use our expertise to create relevant content that addresses a timely topic in an interesting and emotionally appealing way? When done right, content makes consumers want to learn more. Why? Because it’s all about them!

Dubbed the new trend in marketing, content marketing gives rehab therapists across the country the perfect opportunity to inform the general public on timely topics and points of interest via social media. According to a recent Health Leaders Media article on healthcare giant Cleveland Clinic, Paul Matsen, chief marketing and communications officer at Cleveland Clinic pairs cost-effective social media strategies “with the best practices in content marketing by creating content based on user needs…The key takeaway from Matsen: 'Sharing useful, helpful, and relevant information is the main driver of our success.’”

Let’s explore an example. As many of you know, September is National Pain Awareness Month. Pain is the number-one reason that the average person visits his or her physician. Pain is also the number one-reason that patients seek physical therapy treatment. So, why not take the topic of pain and apply the power of content by creating social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) posts, educational articles, or blog posts focused on pain. For instance, you could talk about all the crazy ways people try to manage their pain. Take a moment to consider the range of failed strategies, from double-dosing with over-the-counter medications to suffering in silence. Many people in pain simply stop doing certain activities and thus, cease participating fully in their home lives, work lives, or recreational activities just to avoid worsening the pain.

To that end, you have an opportunity to offer information about alternative approaches to managing pain. More than that, though, you have an opportunity to really hook your audience by inserting some of your personal voice and humor—just be sure to balance it with helpful, accurate information about some of the best ways to manage pain. That might include things like exercise, physical therapy, and relaxation strategies. This type of content-based approach requires some basic research, which you can easily do online—on the American Chronic Pain Association’s website, for example. That way, you can include some fun facts (or even some not-so-fun facts) in your post—for example, you could cite a statistic about the number of people who suffer from chronic pain. Or, to make it even more engaging, you could turn the information you find into a brief quiz about pain and how it impacts quality of life. Then, at the end of the quiz, you could suggest a variety of alternative ways of dealing with pain (e.g., acupuncture, massage, or behavioral therapy). A well-crafted social media posting or written piece on pain has the potential to generate tremendous interest. Plus, if it’s written by a physical therapist, it reinforces the quality of the PT’s expertise, lending credibility to the physical therapy field as a whole.

So, how about we abandon all of the bullet points and start delivering value through content-based marketing?  To learn more about why healthcare professionals should embrace content marketing, check out this article.

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