By Barb Schmitz published November 12, 2012

Experts Share Best Practices from the Content Marketing World Health Summit

The first day of the Content Marketing World Health Summit was a whirlwind of great presentations, enlightening how-to tips, and thought-provoking discourse on the many strategies marketers in the health care industry can put in place to generate new leads and drive revenues.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights of the first day’s sessions:

Does Content Matter in Health Care Marketing?

Content Marketing Institute Health Summit - Margaret Coughlin

Margaret Coughlin at the CMI Health Summit

Margaret Coughlin, Senior VP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Boston’s Children’s Hospital

Health care marketers must tap their internal resources —  their physicians — to craft consistent, relevant content that engages their audience and guides them through their “decision journey.

  • It’s important to have an integrated marketing strategy that is consistent — not segmented — among social media outlets. Nurture the long tail by repackaging content for different formats.
  • The “decision journey” is no longer linear. If you are in the initial group of consideration, you are three-times more likely to win that business/patient. Customers (in this case, parents) look for information from an average of eight sources before making a decision of what hospital to use, so determine what content resources you can provide by focusing on what will be most important to this audience group.
  • Physicians are a vital source of content, so it’s crucial to engage them and nurture collaboration among them, as well as among your writers and content creators. The same content (e.g., research studies) can be used to appeal to different sets of constituents. Encourage/facilitate patients’ ability to share their own personal stories via social media.

Taking a Different Approach for Real Results

Ahava Leibtag, Principal, Ava Media Group

The biggest obstacle health care marketers must overcome is fear. They can do so by focusing on wellness and prevention and creating an environment of
trust with their audience.

  • Focus on health (and wellness), rather than illness, in your content to create an environment of trust. For example, you can rebrand common health-related tools (such as BMI counters, calorie-burner tools, nutritional guides, etc.) for use online. Develop your strategy with your desired end in mind and then support it with content focused on changing mindset and building trust.
  • Avoid words such as “complex,” “state-of-art,” “advanced,” and “world-class,” which are meaningless to consumers/patients. Make the distinction between content (blog posts, eBooks, videos, podcasts, etc.) and content delivery (websites, blogs, newsletters, social media outlets), but be sure to have a plan for both components of  your content marketing efforts.
  • Create value by remembering that content creation must serve your audience, not just your brand. Content should answer the consumer’s/patient’s questions, not just advertise your services. It may help to use narratives of patients to tell your story in a relatable way. Or, consider providing online content that helps and informs (such as how-to articles, recipes, web chats with doctors, timely blogs, and videos).

Content Marketing Strategy and Pharma

Buddy Scalera, Senior VP, Interactive Content and Market Research, Ogilvy CommonHealth Interactive Marketing

Content Marketing Institute Health Summit - Buddy Scalera

Buddy Scalera, at the CMI Health Summit

Effective content marketing only works when strategic goals — and the strategy to accomplished those goals — are planned out and aligned to move people through the consideration process.

  • Content travels across multiple platforms, so it should be developed and delivered in a way that is “platform-agnostic.” Strategic goals for content must be aligned to move people through the sales funnel or consideration process. Audit analysis must be conducted to determine if gaps exist.
  • Content should be personalized. Content creation should be a multi-phase process: Ask a lot of questions, figure out what your customers want, determine what already exists, think like a publisher, and make it part of your process.
  • Content is more than text and is not always consumed the way you think. Content is not limited; data the audience wants to consume on their mobile devices is different from what they want on their computers.

Content Creation and Social Media for Hospitals

Scott Linabarger, Director, Digital Marketing, Cleveland Clinic

Health care service providers, such as hospitals, have some unique considerations when it comes to content marketing, but that doesn’t mean they are exempt from having to follow the core principles of content marketing, such as engaging an audience, establishing credibility, and optimizing ROI:

  • Assign value to each site visit. For example, each visit to the Cleveland Clinic site yields $4.49 of value. Hospitals can’t market the way traditional marketers do (i.e., offer discounts, BOGO offers, etc.). Keep in mind that the top reasons patients choose a hospital are its reputation, insurance acceptance, doctor recommendations, and its use of latest technology.
  • Know your target audience. Eighty percent of users seek health care information online. Cleveland Clinic’s HealthHub content helps make sense of modern medicine, separates fact from fiction, and provides perspective on medical news. Content should enable consumers to get to know your health services and offerings before they get sick. If the site doesn’t include information on all the services you offer, it isn’t relevant/useful.
  • Align your resources and create editorial teams that can facilitate recruitment of and collaboration and communication between in-house experts and content creators. Use review boards to help maintain the consistency/accuracy of your health care messaging.
  • Know and leverage data by using appropriate metrics or analytics.
  • Experiment with content, and don’t be afraid to innovate.

Case Study: Cardiac Science

Joe Hage, Owner, Medical Devices Group

Content Marketing Institute Health Summit - Joe Hage

Joe Hage, at the CMI Health Summit

Content marketing boils down to three things: determining a strategy that enables customers to find you; being engaging once they do find you; and finding a way to entice them to share information with you.

  • Offer something of value to them as an incentive to share information (e.g., a free eBook, free services or discounts, an e-newsletter, etc.).
  • Find out who your potential customers are so you can begin a dialogue with them. Use some type of conversion tool, such as SnapEngage live web chat. In times of trouble, content can help you restore your reputation, and blogs also can help you craft media messaging.
  • Videos are incredibly powerful vehicles for content delivery. Look to create specifically to earn media pick-up, video impressions, timely page-one search engine positions, long-tail searches, and easy sharing and customer recognition.

Content Strategy: Your Key to Connection Without Creepiness

Margot Bloomstein, Brand and Content Strategist, Appropriate Inc.

When it comes to creating and delivering content in a personalized way, there’s a fine line between being useful and being “creepy”. Here are some tips for a content strategy that’s engaging, not invasive:

  • Maintain cohesion among content types and content delivery vehicles. Content must align with the needs of your target audience. The data you provide must have context for your target consumers, as well as relevance and value for them. Don’t confuse context with device.
  • Avoid “creepiness” by determining the context your potential users will view your content in. Provide custom marketing (coupons, discounts, user loyalty cards) that is perceived as useful and valuable. Pace yourself, and use a subtle approach so you don’t creep out customers. In the retail space, Amazon is a brand that does this well — it informs customers of items bought previously that are now on sale, sends reminders of items still in the shopping cart, and recommends items based on previous purchases.
  • Be transparent, let users see their data, and provide something helpful. For example, Netflix shows customers what they’ve viewed previously, and makes recommendations based on those choices. Date, don’t stalk, by getting to know the audience first, then use data to align and connect with them. Maintain consistency or cohesion of voice among channels.

Content Marketing Institute hosts several insightful events each year. Sign up to attend our next conference, Content Marketing World NYC

Author: Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz is professional writer with over 20 years of experience writing for B2B and B2C publications and web sites. She served as an editor on Computer-Aided Engineering magazine for over 10 years before starting her own PR/freelance writing business in 2000. Her expertise includes interviewing, researching and writing whitepapers, blogs, e-books, case studies, and feature articles. Follow Barb on Twitter @barbiethewriter.

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