This is the first installment in the series Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices.
Remember when you used to go to the phone book to find businesses in your area? You needed someone to trim your trees? You’d find them in the yellow pages. Not so much anymore–now we just go online and Google it.
Over the last twenty years, the resources available on the internet have expanded exponentially and so have the users.
As of 2015, Pew Research reports that 84% of Americans use the internet. That includes nearly all young adults and more than half of all senior citizens.
Further, internet usage goes up with years of education as well as income. Ninety seven percent of Americans making more than $75,000 a year are online.
Where the people (with money) are, there too you’ll find marketers. Ads are everywhere on the internet. Sometimes one will catch your eye and maybe even result in a purchase, but they can be just plain annoying–especially the pop-ups that seem to have exploded in use recently.
With this kind of traditional advertising, there is a big disconnect between the users of the internet and the marketers on the internet. We (the users) go online seeking information or looking for entertainment, for the most part. We are NOT going there to get the hard sell from a barrage of ads. We just put up with that because it allows the internet to be free. Yes, we pay for our provider but not the internet itself.
What if you could bring the aims of the users and the marketers closer together? Wouldn’t this work a lot better for everyone?
Yes, and in recent years, marketers have begun to use a more creative form of advertising to sell products and services that also provides value to the user–that is content marketing.
Content marketing is an advertising approach that uses the consistent output of high quality, factual, and useful information to attract customers. In the healthcare industry, this comes in the form of medical blogs, condition/procedure pages, newsletters, news reports, practitioner profiles, and patient stories, to name a few.
While its use on the internet may just now be taking off, content marketing itself is not new. Pillsbury cookbooks are a great example of old-school content marketing. The cookbook has tons of recipes to help you make quick, easy and delicious meals—using Pillsbury products. There is value (or at least perceived value) for the customer for sure, and advertising galore for the company.
Think about what is more likely to get you to buy a Pillsbury product: a big shiny ad that says “Buy me. Buy me.” or a helpful recipe book?
While these books are certainly still around–possibly in your very own kitchen–you are even more likely today to get one of their recipes online. The iPad has replaced many a cookbook in the kitchen of today.
Online content marketing comes in many forms. Here are just a few:
The idea is, instead of just telling you to buy their product or service, a company provides you with something that is useful or fun to consume. The content presents them as a generous and likable (maybe even cool) expert so you WANT to buy their products or services. And it turns out, people like this approach.
A survey of Americans by Roper Public Affairs found that 74% of consumers said they preferred to get information about a company through a series of articles instead of ads. And, more than half said they would be more likely to buy something from a company that provides them with custom content.
Marketers are hip to this and content marketing is filling the internet in leaps and bounds. For this reason, it is not enough to just DO content marketing, you have to do it WELL to get noticed.
Over the next few months I will show you how to do that by fleshing out this series on the Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices. Next up I’ll be writing about why content marketing is such a great fit for medical practices.
Photo Credit: © SolisImages / Dollar Photo Club
Image Credit: adapted from PaperShapes template/ Amy Stafford of Blixa 6 Studios