You might have the impression that "content marketing" buzzed its way into popular use a digital minute ago. In the "buzz-vocabulary" of healthcare marketing it's a timely (but not-so-new) topic.
Content marketing is a natural fit for many hospitals and healthcare providers. It's a means to speak to people and provide them with useful and engaging information. Among the benefits, it is a marketing tool for patient engagement, retention, branding and professional reputation building.
We'll be discussing Content Marketing in a series of articles. And this overview—the first in our series—offers some of the basics as a starting point.
You've seen the concept for years. Business brands—and more recently, medical practices and physicians—have been generating meaningful content marketing materials for many years.
Long before the digital dawn, businesses such as the Auto Club were a dependable source of maps and travel information, and food brands published cookbooks and recipes. That's an early form of content marketing. The availability of the Internet moved content online. WebMD is a well-established online provider of health and medical information.
Think of content marketing as long-form messaging. Definitions of content marketing vary a bit because it's one of those umbrella terms that embraces several forms and formats.
In general, content marketing is the timely creation and distribution of pertinent and engaging materials that are of interest to—and influence the purchase decisions of—select current and prospective patients or prospects.
Your long-form marketing message(s) can be communicated via (partial list):
Thought-Leader. Expert. Go-To Resource. A planned program of originating and disseminating authoritative information, a healthcare provider can achieve various business goals related to near-term and long-term new business development. The marketing effect is, in part, to be regarded as a trusted and respected resource that, above others, is the answer to a medical or healthcare need.
Content marketing delivers something of value to the public in a manner that is likely to inspire confidence in the practitioner, fuel informed word-of-mouth or referrals, and connect and engage the reader. It also plays an important role in being seen (and found) by patients using various Internet search engines.
Google—the dominant player in the world of search—increasingly stresses quality in online articles and sites. In a related article, see: Google's Penguin Algorithm Change May Be Killing Your Search Engine Ranking. And find out how developing a writing style guide can help you maintain quality content.