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Content marketing generates long-term brand value

BY: Elise Oberliesen on April 25, 2018

When nurses click on a blog post about career skills or take time to read a digital edition about evidence-based care, the last thing they expect is a hard sales pitch at the end.

Although it’s a big turnoff, many organizations make this content marketing mistake.

A better approach with content marketing is to create articles that help readers solve problems.

Think content that exposes the reader to cutting-edge information — such as ways to mitigate diaper dermatitis, which we discussed in a Nurse.com digital edition article about the risks of this common disease in infants.

Evergreen content works too. Consider topics such as how to stay calm and focused when the patient-to-nurse ratio painfully reveals an understaffed ICU.

content marketing

Readers gravitate toward brands that offer content marketing in a friendly and authentic way, said Stephanie Pruitt, key account manager for OnCourse Learning.

She noted a content marketing blog post that did exceptionally well about the unexpected benefits of earning a BSN on our Nurse.com blog.

Instead of making a hard sell to the customer, which they dislike, Pruitt said “content marketing is a better way to build that relationship.”

By posting an informative article or sharing a compelling video, it helps customers get to know you and become familiar with your brand, she said. Plus, when nurses share content with colleagues, it helps expand the reach of your message and brand.

Content marketing builds trust over time

Wonder what these content examples have in common?  They provide useful information — yet ask for nothing in return from the reader.

That’s one way to earn their trust, said Robyn Herian Tran, marketing manager for OnCourse Learning.

“Content marketing is more about building your brand and building trust with your brand,” Herian Tran said. “No matter who your target audience is, you have to be seen as a source with value.”

Another way to bring value is by providing relevant and timely content. It is even more effective when the content is provided on a consistent basis, Herian Tran said.

But don’t post for the sake of posting content. Avoid topics that are oversaturated in the market. When certain topics are constantly published, readers won’t see the value or uniqueness of the content, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Deciding what to post boils down to creativity, Pruitt said. It might require several conversations to nail down a list of edgy and informative subjects that readers care about.

Checklist to create effective content

Instead of taking a shot in the dark when developing content, ask these important questions compiled from various industry experts via interviews and online industry reports from the Content Marketing Institute and sharethis.

  1. Will the content deliver what your nursing audience needs?

  2. Is the content relevant and specific? Or generic? Hint: look to social media channels for trending topics.

  3. Does the content offer a unique idea or is it over done?

  4. Does the content communicate your brand?

  5. How does it differentiate your brand from competitors?

  6. Does the content solve problems?

  7. Is it easy to read?

  8. Does the tone read as friendly and conversational? Or authoritative? What do the readers prefer?

  9. How frequently will nurses receive the content?

  10. If readers submit negative feedback, how will you respond?

Distribute content marketing with an integrated approach

“You need to be where the customers choose to be,” said Neil O’Keefe, senior vice president with the Data & Marketing Association.

To find that audience, O’Keefe said more marketing professionals use a multi-channel or integrated approach which lets messaging reach the target audience on many channels – which spans the world of digital and print. Branding cannot be an afterthought, he said.

“Whether it’s an online display ad, print or social media post, [content] needs to have a consistent look and feel,” O’Keefe said. “And the timing has to be well planned.”

All of the marketing collateral must be connected in a way that allows customers to easily execute on the call to action — like signing up for a program, he added.

No one likes to go down that digital rabbit hole that leads nowhere. Take the time to fix broken links and test landing pages so customers can take action.

O’Keefe also cautioned that if organizations rely only on one primary channel, such as email, they could be missing an entire segment of their audience.  That’s why he suggests using the integrated approach.

“With some businesses, 50% of their customer base has opted out of their email list,” O’Keefe said.

Wait for it … content marketing results take time

Patience is the most important character trait when it comes to assessing the success of your content marketing strategy.

Herian Tran and Pruitt agree that it often takes time to see the payoff.  But eventually, once the relationship is built and trust is established, adding a call to action gets desirable results, said Herian Tran.

“When you finally want to get in front of the audience with a targeted pitch, like signing up for a nursing program, now they will pay attention because you’ve established trust and are consistently delivering valuable information with no strings attached,” Herian Tran said.

Do you spend enough of your marketing budget on content?

Marketing departments are reported as operating far too lean and with fewer resources.

Generally, the sweet spot for content success happens when 40%of the total marketing budget is allocated to content marketing, a finding published in the Content Marketing Institute’s annual 2018 B2B trends and benchmarks report.

3 content marketing benefits of working with Nurse.com

  1. Build brand awareness and extend your reach in the healthcare industry
  2. Establish your organization as a thought leader for nurses
  3. Build trust in the nursing community

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Elise Oberliesen

Elise Oberliesen has 15 years of combined media and marketing experience. Her work appears on corporate blogs and publications, such as the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and AARP. Her specialties include healthcare, high tech and finance. Elise is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists and founder of Big Mountain Media.