During a recent project, I got a crash course in Healthcare Reform. Not ObamaCare but rather the undercurrent of initiatives causing a major paradigm shift in the industry.
To survive the shift, healthcare entities will have to marry new-school technologies with old-school industry values. And, the key initiatives, when stripped down, are strikingly familiar.
That’s when it hit me: Is Content Marketing experiencing its own form of health reform? As we forge ahead into new opportunities and media, are we realizing a need for a firmer grasp on the values of old?
Let’s look at the similarities more closely.
1. Quality Focus
In Healthcare: Profitability is still a goal but it’ll no longer be achieved just by seeing as many patients as you can. It’ll be about quality service and keeping as much of the population healthy as possible.
In Content Marketing: SEO and SEM are no longer the golden goose. Good content doesn’t just entice as many clicks as possible in an attempt to hock as many widgets as possible – it’s not that selfish. It respects the savvy consumer that wants to be educated and empowered rather than sold to. It strives to solve problems, add real value and create mutually beneficial relationships.
2. Engagement and Relationship Building
In Healthcare: Proactive outreach is replacing periodic visits with the chronic few. There’s a focus on creating stronger relationships between physicians and patients, and engaging patients to be participants in their own health outcomes.
In Content Marketing: “Insights” content like white papers, blogs, worksheets and other resources make connections and add value – especially to B2B relationships. Aimed beyond just winning the immediate sale, Insights content establishes the source as the industry leader, authority or innovator rather than a quick-fix vendor. And it arms prospective clients to be educated partners in their own business solutions.
3. The “Meaningful Use” of Audience Data
In Healthcare: A focus on the “meaningful use” of electronic medical records and technology to provide the best, most comprehensive care possible. The use of timely and relevant patient data also optimizes office visits and helps with preventative care.
In Content Marketing: Smart content strategies begin with audience discovery and persona profiling. It’s no longer just about what they’re searching for and how. It’s about discovering their problems, motivations and sales barriers. And every touch is optimized to begin creating meaningful interactions.
4. Preventative Maintenance
In Healthcare: Patient data and clinical expertise is combined to proactively identify, reach out and address risk factors. When done well, that process is automated. In between visits, patients can be proactively engaged with online tools and apps designed for self-maintenance and the prevention of chronic illnesses.
In Content Marketing: Smart content addresses the audience’s pre-existing conditions and risk factors, if you will – educating and addressing sales barriers even before the first sales contact. Smart content also doesn’t just sit around on a website waiting to be discovered, it also seeks and socializes. Smart content introduces itself wherever it can: on your blog, your social networks, press release sites, and your printed marketing pieces.
5. Quality Measurement
In Healthcare: Profitability will no longer be the primary measure of how well a health organization is doing. Dollars will still matter but physicians will receive incentives based on the quality of service provided and their ability to keep their entire patient population healthy.
In Content Marketing: Traditional ROI is not the sole metric. Return on Engagement – and its various measurements – has emerged as an equally important metric that translates into both dollars and consumer loyalty. We’re looking more closely at things like lead generation from gated content, the conversion rates of consumers who’ve visited (and educated themselves) on our blogs, the satisfaction of customers as expressed on social networks through likes, follows and +1s. And we’re not only concerned with the folks we’ve already converted to trackable leads and contacts, but with every audience member and fan that engages us on every channel.