Content Marketing for Doctors
You’ve probably heard the term “content marketing” lately. It’s all over the web, and by all accounts, it’s going to be around for the long haul. If you’re responsible for marketing at your practice, you’ve probably even given it some thought
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing involves drawing your target audience (current and future patients) to you by giving away entertaining marketing material that they want to look at.
It can involve just about any kind of content, including offline articles, books and speeches. But primarily it’s focused is on digital online marketing content, simply because the results of a strategic online content marketing campaign are far easier to track and improve. Some of the online content can include items such as blog articles, web page content, Podcasts, videos, social media updates… All of these are forms of digital marketing.
When you create any of these forms of content, distribute them in ways and at times that your target audience (patients) can find them, and then engage the patients in discussion about the topic. This is “marketing with content”.
Why Do Doctors Need To Try Content Marketing?
Content marketing caters to the patient’s strong desire for information by providing what they’re looking for, when they want it, and in a form they can easily understand. Unlike 20 years ago when most people chose a doctor based on a friend’s verbal recommendation and/or a yellow pages ad, these days most people are going to choose a doctor based on a Google search followed by a review of the practice’s website and a search through social media marketing like Facebook and Twitter… looking for comments from previous patients.
Your potential patients now have access to tons of electronic information and digital marketing about your practice long before they consider picking up a phone and calling you for a consultation. So, if you’re actually creating, distributing and monitoring content, you are in a powerful position of being able to control (at least, to a limited extent) your online reputation.
This is huge when you consider the potential damage just one disgruntled former patient or negative media reference can do. If you’re not supplying a steady stream of positive, helpful information linked to your practice, it’s possible that your potential patients will be dissuaded from even contacting you.
An effective content marketing campaign can also help you stand out in a crowded and ultra-competitive marketplace. Most medical practices are still happy to pay for yellow pages ads and ads in print media, and there may still be some benefit to that. But for a practice to dominate search results in a local area, really becoming visible to the higher number of potential patients who are now searching online rather than in print media, requires a different mindset and a different strategy. An SEO for Doctors program can be devised to include all the key concepts of your practice fashioned in a way to give you a high ranking on search engines and web crawlers while protecting your image.
How Do You Make Content Marketing Work?
Step one of any online content marketing strategy is to establish a “hub” in the form of a blog-enabled website that you own. This allows you to build an archive of great content that visitors can bookmark or subscribe to, and return to as often as they need to until they are ready to become patients. This also provides you with far more control over how your content looks, sounds, and feels. Once you have established a central “hub”, in the form of your website and blog, and “outposts”, in the form of social media profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, you are ready to start creating your content.
Content marketing is a long-term commitment. It’s not necessarily going to produce overnight results. So, rather than focusing on making every single piece a home run, get some solid base hits out there as you test the waters and start conversing with the audience you attract.
Remember that you don’t need to do it all alone. Outsourcing the production of content is extremely popular and can do wonders for the quality, quantity and consistency of your content marketing strategy. If content production is not your strong suit, you may want to consider hiring a professional who can help.
The main thing to remember, however, is that your goal is to be visible to potential patients and to help them gain a positive view of what your practice can do for them. Content marketing can and should be a potent weapon in your efforts to make a digital marketing footprint.