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7 Counterintuitive Tips: Creating Content that Actually Means Something

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Red dice with "W" "I" "N" letters on itThe overwhelming deluge of information spewing from the Internet—on any and every imaginable topic—implies that “more is better.” For proof, look no further than the most innocuous Google search. Type “doctor” and the world’s biggest search engine coughs up 248-million results in less than half a second.

There’s value hidden somewhere in that digital torrent. Certainly the technological capability is impressive. But information overload is a disadvantage and a barrier to meaningful content. More isn’t always better. It’s part of the reason that hospitals and healthcare providers fail to connect with their audience.

“The traditional push mindset works on the belief that everything from one’s own institution is valuable and, consequently, worthy of sharing,” Dr. Bryan Vartabedian wrote recently in his blog, 33 Charts. But the challenge is much deeper. “Marketing types like to impress senior leadership with the vast number of info boluses forced into the world.  But few seem to understand how to draw attention in a noisy world.”

Counterintuitive tips for thinking against the grain…

Here are a few fundamental ideas to avoid the popular, but misguided, mindset of manufacturing volume content instead of making content that actually means something.

It’s not always easy to mentally swim against the current, but being counterintuitive can be more unique, informative and effective in creating content for your blog, social media, email and most forms of healthcare marketing and public relations.

  • Think quality over quantity. Being authoritative, reliable and meaningful with one interesting and shareable slice of content (in any format) will be far more effective than a loaf of milk toast.
  • Think value, not promotion. It seems truly counterintuitive and counter productive to deliberately avoid an overtly promotional voice. In fact, content that has the greatest value to the reader has the greatest impact, is most actionable and is what is most often shared with others.
  • Be highly selective; not everything is share-worthy. It’s a tempting self-deception to believe that everyone cares about everything you do. Get over it. (And resist political pressures to promote private agendas.)
  •  It’s not about you; it’s about them. Content has got to be interesting according to the reader’s value system. In fact, people (readers, patients, friends) are highly interested in “what’s in it for them.”
  • Talk to only one person at a time. Content may be distributed widely, but it is consumed individually. A tone of voice that seems to talk to many isn’t heard as being personal. Think one-to-one communications in what you say and how you say it.
  • Touch people where they live and work. National data or broad trends can be important, but they require a local connection to have the greatest impact. “Big picture” content is intellectually detached, but people care about (and react to) their own backyard.
  • Greater utility produces greater response. Content that simply informs or educates has some value. But content that is actionable, motivates a response, and/or inspires sharing by the reader to others has greater reach and effectiveness.

Here’s our call to action…

For content that actually means something, adopt a counterintuitive mindset. Make it a cultural standard in your medical marketing and communications. Begin by sharing this post with others in your organization or team. It will help them and it will help you grow your audience.

For more on this topic, read our previous post: How to Engage and Inspire Action and Social Sharing.

And finally, please tell us what you would add to this list of tips. What other counterintuitive ideas have helped you produce more meaningful content for your audience?

Lonnie Hirsch

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