Successful Content Marketing Starts With A Solid Content Strategy

Today on the CareContent blog, we have a guest post by Rebecca Steurer. Rebecca is the founder of ContentRS and the co-founder of Content Academy, both of which focus on helping organizations understand and implement successful content strategy and content marketing practices. Here’s what she has to say about the relationship between these two key concepts.

What comes first: content marketing or content strategy? My answer is content strategy—and I’m not just saying that because I am a 16-year content strategy veteran. I say this because developing a strategy for your content will have a significant impact on reaching your audience—while also saving you time and money.

To understand why this is, let me first explain what I see as the main differences between content marketing and content strategy.

The Difference Between Content Marketing And Content Strategy

Content Marketing Defined

Content marketing is what you do to share your brand message, knowledge, and experience with your audience. It puts your services within the context of your audience’s needs through storytelling.

In healthcare, content marketing might include:

  • Blogs that share patient stories, doctor stories, and clinical stories
  • Infographics that explain complicated procedures
  • Behind-the-scenes videos that help patients understand how the medical team prepares for surgery
  • Podcasts that share thought leadership

Content Strategy Defined

Content strategy is what you do to define what you want your content to achieve, how you’ll develop the content, where and when you’ll post the content, and what you’ll measure to determine if your content is successful. It helps you focus on developing the right information at the right time for the right audience and in the right presentation style.

While there is clearly a difference between content marketing and content strategy, the two must complement each other in order to be successful.

Why It’s Important To Have A Content Strategy For Content Marketing Efforts

I love the word “strategy” because it’s about having a plan to take action. It helps you define what you need to do so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel over and over again, which wastes time—and in this case, time is money.

There are several key content strategy tasks that you’ll want to complete to make your content marketing efforts successful:

1. Define Your Business Goals

According to a May 2017 report by MDG Advertising, healthcare organizations are budgeting more and more money for content marketing. This increased funding might be used to develop more blog posts throughout the year.

Before you begin developing your content, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of what you want your content marketing to achieve so that the budgeted funds are well spent. For instance, do you want your readers to:

  • Call for an appointment?
  • Share your story with their friends?
  • Visit your website?

2. Define The Content Elements To Include On Your Blog And/Or Website

Ensuring you have the right content elements in your blog posts and website to guide your audience to achieve the desired outcomes is the key to success.

Say you’re creating a new blog post to highlight a physician, Dr. Bob. The goal is to fill up his schedule for the next few months.

Your blog post will showcase Dr. Bob’s clinical expertise and compassionate care. While your copywriter will write a beautifully written story about Dr. Bob, your content strategist will also be working to include several key items.

content strategy

3. Create A Content Development And Posting Schedule

This is the step where organizational, planning, and communications skills are required. Use this step to help you schedule relevant information that is useful to your audience and supports your business goals.

4. Define The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Determine what you think makes your blog post a success—and then measure it. KPI can include:

  • Number of page visits
  • Number of shares
  • Number of likes
  • Number of appointments made

Once you determine the KPIs, create an easy-to-understand report to track findings over time, so you’ll know which content types work and which don’t.

5. Develop The Sharing Strategy

This step helps you determine where and when you’re going to let people know about the blog post.

For example, you might decide that sharing the latest stories on your hospital’s Facebook page is the best way to reach potential patients. Or maybe Twitter is more effective. Or it might be the case that sharing the content across several social networks is best. The answer all depends on your audience and goals.

Now You’re Ready For Content Marketing

Now that your content strategy is in place, all you have to focus on is developing the copy. Because you’ve created a stellar content strategy, your content marketing efforts should pay off.  This is why successful content marketing starts with a solid content strategy.

At CareContent, we’ve got your content strategy and content marketing needs covered. Contact us today to find out how to take your healthcare organization’s content marketing to the next level.