Whether it’s sharing your mission and events on social media or delivering content that strengthens your audience’s trust, content marketing is the key that connects people to your brand.
The Definition of Content Marketing
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “…a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing content that’s valuable, relevant, and consistent to attract and retain a clearly defined audience…”
While consistent (content posted regularly) and relevant (content that’s appropriate and interesting to your audience) are easy to define, “valuable” content is a little more difficult.
What is Valuable Content Marketing?
But how can we judge whether your content is valuable? Consider these five criteria:
Timely content is newsworthy – sometimes linked to recent events, holidays, seasons, and more.
Consumable content is interesting, engaging, and relies on user-first standards for audio, video, imagery, and text presentation. In text, this often includes visual architecture like subheads and bulleted lists to keep the content engaging; in video or podcast, it might be video or audio length and production quality.
Credible content is written or referenced by proven authoritative sources. In a healthcare system or hospital, this is often your doctors, nurses, volunteers, or medical team members.
Audience-focused content is content that speaks directly to the intended audience or engages with them in some way. Audiences crave information that is interesting to them – and if they find it’s not, they’ll quickly go somewhere else.
Actionable content ties your efforts to a conversion, whether it’s picking up the phone, filling out an online form, or downloading a brochure. Move your audience to engage with you!
Avera Balance’s May 2017 article about flip-flops hits all the marks: It’s timely for the summer season, relies on a podiatrist for credibility, speaks directly to the reader, employs subheads and short, easy-to-read paragraphs to keep it consumable, uses high-quality imagery, and includes a call to action to subscribe to an e-newsletter.
Shapes of Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t just text. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Long-form text, opinion or personal stories, and listicles are just a few of the text formats for content marketing, but don’t forget about infographics, memes, podcasts, and videos.
Anything can be content marketing if it’s digital and it has value to your audience.
Choosing the format for your content depends on your:
- Topic – Is it serious or lighthearted?
- Audience – Who are you targeting? Teenagers, new parents, older adults…?
- Resources – What time, knowledge, staff or equipment is at your disposal?
- Goals – Are you trying to entertain, inform or drive action?
This infographic about diabetes from Patient, a UK patient education site, makes an impact with bold numbers, source citations, easy-to-digest graphics, and a call to action that encourages the user to learn more.
Not to get too philosophical, but ideas for great content marketing are all around you – no, really!
First thing’s first: Identify your audiences. Who are they? What are their values or needs? What do you want your audiences to do after they interact with your content?
From there, you may have opportunities for topics. You can also:
- Ask your customer service or front-line patient teams about the questions or concerns they’re hearing from patients and visitors. What health topics are brought up regularly?
- Check Google and other search engines to see what healthcare-related questions are commonly asked. If it’s seasonal – like “Why are my allergies so bad?” – you might have an opening for a great Q&A with your allergists!
- Google Trends reveals what health topics are trending now. Often, these topics are related to recent national or global news, but even if they’re not, you might be able to eek a great health story out of it. Back-to-school season isn’t necessarily health related, but how about a short video with your pediatricians about common illnesses or conditions to avoid this fall?
There’s Always Somewhere to Start
Content marketing is a big undertaking, but there’s always a step you can take in the right direction. Introducing content marketing to your marketing team or C-suite may be step one, but or maybe it’s creating an editorial calendar or establishing social media sharing guidelines
No matter where you want to start and what direction you want to go, Geonetric can help. Contact us today to learn more about digital services, including designing a great content marketing hub for your site, developing valuable, user-focused content, and boosting the SEO of your digital marketing efforts.