HIMSS recently published the State of Content Marketing 2016 report with data from healthcare B2B marketers across the U.S. There were some surprising results in that report, including:
- 85% of healthcare B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, but
- Only 4% of them said their content marketing programs are extremely effective.
This is a bit worrisome since 58% of respondents said that they use content marketing to achieve lead generation. Do you see the disconnect?
How are healthcare companies going to generate leads they need if they don't think their content marketing program is really working?
There are a few challenges that respondents are commonly experiencing:
- 41% said producing content consistently is is their top challenge.
- 26% said producing engaging content is the hardest thing to accomplish.
- 22% are challenged by measuring content effectiveness.
- 11% struggle with creating a variety of content.
The #1 problem of consistently producing content can be solved by adding staff, an agency or a freelance writer to pump it out faster.
However, no matter who is responsible for writing, if they don't know who they're writing to and what those people want, their success will be marginal. Here's how we suggest healthcare B2B companies work on increasing the effectiveness of their content marketing:
1. Define your Ideal Customer (aka: Target Audiences)
Create content that's "engaging" is a challenge for more than a quarter of healthcare B2B marketers. But what does that really mean? We've found that when we produce blogs, ebooks and interactive offers that they're most successful when we stay focused on solving a problem for a specific group of potential buyers (a persona).For healthcare B2B marketers this is often a hospital administrator or other decision maker in the healthcare organization. What is important to them? Things like:
- Saving time
- Saving money
- Demonstrating leading edge technologies
- Patient satisfaction
- Improving patient out-migration
Whatever it is, how can you help them address one of the issues they face every day?
That's why we always start a project by defining who we need to reach. This is even before we decide the specific strategy for that audience.
We use the HubSpot persona development process because it allows you to really think through who you're trying to reach and what's important to them.
Once you've completed this process, you're likely to find that writing content towards a specific challenge faced by your persona. Why? Because now you know more about their problems and how they like to consume content. That's where you need to be found.
NOTE: You're likely to have more than one persona. Create content that appeals to each one. One size doesn't fit all when it comes to addressing their concerns. Sometimes you can adjust your content to fit the needs of each persona.
2. Use Data to Speak the Same Language
Consider your persona's point of view as you start to create content. What phrases are they using? Or at least you think they're using. How do you know you're right?
The good news is there's software that can give you this information. If you're a HubSpot user you may be familiar with the keyword tool that will:
- Help create a list of keywords based on some information you provide
- Tell you how popular those phrases are
- Tell you how hard it may be to rank for the phrases
- And will tell you where you currently rank in search results for those phrases.
This information is not available through Google Analytics, and the AdWords tool doesn't quite give you all of this information. There are some other SEO tools out there besides HubSpot that will provide this information. Optimizing for the most important phrases makes it more likely you'll increase your visitors to the website. An increase in visitors can then result in an increase in leads -- if you're talking the persona's language.
With the keyword tool in HubSpot you can choose phrases to include in your content that you know are more popular and/or use the terminology that you persona is using.
You might also talk with members of your targeted persona to see what phrases they use.
3. Watch the Reaction and be Willing to Make Changes
Not everything we try in content marketing is effective on the first try. You have to be willing to play with it a little and make changes – sometimes big changes and sometimes little ones – to get results that you would consider "highly effective".
Here are some things you might try if you feel like your content isn't generating the leads you need:
- Adjust the title. Try to include a key phrase in the title, when logical.
- Add or change the key phrases you're primarily targeting in the blog or other content.
- Change the Call-to-Action that you use in the blog or in the downloadable content. If you've offered them something they're not finding valuable, what else could you offer instead?
If you're one of the many healthcare B2B marketers who wishes their content marketing were more effective you might want to
- Review your targeted personas in priority order
- Determine what their problems are, and
- Create content to address it.
Once the content is out there, feel free to change it up so that it can work harder for you. Not the other way around.
If you're part of the 58% of healthcare marketers who said they need content marketing for lead generation and need help reaching your goals, we offer a free marketing assessment.