Content Strategy: Why It Works — And Why You Need It
A content strategy is your digital marketing foundation. It’s what you do before you do anything else, including wireframing, content creation, or social media.
As you develop and document your content strategy, keep in mind that it must define three things:
- Your target audience
- Your organizational goals
- Your key messages
That means when your strategy is developed, your team should all have the same answers when asked about the target audience, goals, and messages.
Together, these three buckets make up the entire blueprint you’ll need to develop a website that allows your audiences to get their questions answered or complete a task.
What Should Healthcare Organizations Keep In Mind About Their Content Strategy?
One thing to keep in mind is your content strategy’s value. Many organizations don’t have a content strategy at all. They simply start cranking out web pages, blogs, social media, graphics, and videos that:
- Don’t spark interest from the audience
- Don’t communicate their key messages
- Don’t help their organization meet its strategic goals
- Overstretch their teams’ bandwidth
Too often, healthcare marketing teams function like a McDonald’s. They take orders for content and deliver it. That might satisfy the people who requested it in that moment, but it usually ends up being a rushed decision that you later regret.
A content strategy gives you permission to say no to ad-hoc content requests that do not support your goals, speak to your target audience, and communicate your key messages.
What Are Some Not-So-Obvious Signs That It’s Time To Develop A Content Strategy?
One common sign is you’re pumping out too much content, and not all of it is meeting your needs or getting engagement.
Here are some other signs it’s time to create a content strategy:
- Patients or other key audiences say they never go to your website for its intended uses, like learning about your services
- Your site has poor analytics (e.g., low readability, low website traffic)
- Your site has low conversion rates (i.e., clients are not answering your calls to action)
- Google search rankings put your site on page 3 or 4 search results
- You have few blog subscribers, comments, or other measures of audience engagement
- There’s a new competitor coming on the horizon
Who Should Be Involved In Creating A Content Strategy At Your Healthcare Organization?
Mainly, the marketing team. They’re in a position to define your organization’s key messages — but they’ll need input from stakeholders in your organization. Besides the CEO, they should cherry-pick:
- Senior leaders with the keenest understanding of the company’s challenges, opportunities, and strategic goals
- Clinical directors and other staff who understand why a documented content strategy is critical to increasing client volume
Warning: Don’t turn the development of your content strategy into an audition in which anyone can come and share their thoughts. Not everyone will understand that a content strategy has to be selective by nature. Only include people who can give insight into your organization’s audiences, business goals, and key messages.
That said, consider also consulting some savvy staff on the front lines who know the “pain points” of your customers. Depending on your organization, they can include:
- Receptionists and complaint-takers
- Providers, such as nurses and physical therapists
- Clinical staff or patient educators
Once the content strategy is finished, the CEO and other senior leaders should give the greenlight or offer additional feedback.
What Should You Look For In Potential Vendors Or Partners To Help Create Content Strategy?
Look for an organization that cares about your target audience.
Sounds basic, right? But it gets overlooked. Some consultants don’t talk to clients or patients, preferring instead to “go halfway” and include only the input from senior leadership.
That’s critical, but the best partner will also talk to your site’s end users. All the messaging in the world won’t be effective unless it gets the audience interested.
Make sure your partner is comfortable doing discovery interviews and really pulling out the information you need from that audience.
Look for a push-the-envelope partner who helps you work on weaknesses and build on strengths in your strategic thinking. Otherwise, you won’t get the level of service you need.
Also, look for a partner who will do a thorough assessment of your current content efforts, and isn’t afraid to pinpoint any needless or outdated material. To meet your strategic goals as an organization, you’ll need to delete that content or revamp it.
Another tip: Look for a partner who doesn’t inflate your production timeline with unnecessary meetings and presentations. Most of them do that just to bill. Yes, it’s important to keep key stakeholders involved at important milestones on your journey, but the goal is to deploy the strategy to get genuine feedback about whether you’re on the right track.
Why Are RFPs (Requests For Proposal) Not The Way To Select A Content Strategy Partner?
An RFP might be terrific for finding an auditor, a website coder, or even a landscaper. But when you’re looking for content strategy team, it’s not the best path forward.
Content strategy is an investment, but RFPs create a temptation to go with the cheapest vendor. And “cheap” doesn’t necessarily mean “creative,” “smart,” or “competent.”
If the vendor isn’t competent, you’ll be wasting your investment, regardless of how little you spend.
What Should Factor Into The Cost Of Overhauling Your Content Strategy?
Here are some key factors to be aware of:
- What are your timeframes? Delivering content on a very aggressive deadline will cost more.
- Onsite visits from your content strategy partner (particularly those from out of town) also involve expenses that add to the cost.
- What is the volume of content that needs to be assessed? A high content volume takes time to evaluate and those hours will add up on invoices.
- Discovery interviews with a large number of stakeholders and clients also will factor into the cost.
That’s not to say these things are not worthwhile; they’re just factors to consider. Only your organization can determine the approach that best meets your needs.
How Do Search Engines And Other Marketing Tactics Factor Into Your Content Strategy?
CareContent approaches this a little differently than many agencies. This is because we put people ahead of search engines.
Among the factors that drive people to your website — email marketing, internet searches, social media, public relations — searches are perhaps the hardest to corral. Why? You have no control over the search engines and their algorithms.
Basing your entire content strategy on what the search engines want can risk leaving out what makes sense for the people in your target audiences.
Why Choose CareContent For Your Content Strategy?
As a healthcare organization, your website may be the first stop on a patient’s road to learning about health and medicine. That gives you the responsibility to have an up-to-date website with reliable, understandable, and comprehensive content. You need to provide the right mix of content for consumers, professionals, and clinicians.
Ultimately, your content strategy will act as the north star for your entire web presence and even your print marketing materials.
This is a chance to examine whether you’re communicating messages that strike a chord with your audience.
We’re With You From The Start
The process of creating a content strategy can seem overwhelming, but we will be with you every step of the way.
Every organization has their own goals, so we customize the process to best serve your company’s individual needs and desires.
Each process usually involves:
- Conducting discovery interviews with stakeholders and members of your target audience
- Developing a strategy that addresses your organization’s needs
- Receiving and incorporating feedback from your organization
We’re Experts At What We Do
Many companies offer content strategy services. So, why should you choose CareContent?
At CareContent, we take pride in the fact our staff members do not just have the skills — they have the passion. Each person on staff has a desire to help others through spreading comprehensive, educational, and engaging content about health and medicine.
Our goal isn’t solely to create content. It’s to create content that can make a difference.
And isn’t that what every health organization wants?
Ready to get started on making that difference? The experts at CareContent are here to discuss your organization’s needs and goals, and to create a one-of-a-kind content strategy.