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Content Marketing for Life Sciences Companies 2018

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April 24, 2018

Content Is (Still) King

Content marketing is a critical element of a digital marketing strategy and it centers on creating and publishing content for your target audience with the goal of attracting new customers through the sharing of valuable information. This content can take many forms and in this blog we’ll share the “what, how and why” of a strong content marketing campaign.

When it comes to life sciences companies, content should be the foundation of your digital efforts as it fuels your inbound marketing—such as social media, email, and organic search. It doesn’t replace traditional online advertising, but does amplify all digital efforts. There are many reasons why a life sciences company would turn to content marketing and one of the foremost is that roughly 70% of consumers would prefer to learn about a company from an article or other type of content versus an advertisement. These days, just like physicians, life sciences companies must “publish or perish” and that means having a comprehensive content marketing program.

Defining Your Content Strategy

It is critical that life sciences companies have a clear and defined content marketing strategy that underscores the brand’s mission, core values, and point of view. Having this strategy will help you uncover your target demographic, set goals, and create valuable content for the people that you are trying to reach. 
Amanda Todorovich, the director of content marketing at Cleveland Clinic and the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketer of the Year, said it best, “Content marketing in healthcare is all about building relationships—because, typically, in healthcare you can’t create demand; people are either sick or they’re not, they need surgery or they don’t.”

Developing Your Content

Regardless of the type of content you create, your content should always highlight your brand’s value-based innovation if you want to have any hope of standing out in the crowded digital space. You must define your unique selling proposition and know how to communicate it to your particular audience.

It’s probably not news to you that in healthcare we have an efficiency issue, and it should come as no surprise that the top-rated consumer brands—like Amazon, Apple, Google and Netflix (all Category Kings)—are companies focused on making people’s lives easier. As healthcare consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and looking to providers for easier access to information, products and treatments, you should be thinking about content that speaks to how your product serves that need and provides that ease of access.

Content can be in the form of video, blogs, infographics and animations. The sky is the limit when it comes to the various ways that you can serve up content to your audience. If you’ve put in the work to know your audience, then you should know what kind of content will most appeal to them. If you don’t, test different types of content to see what performs the best.

Once you know what kind of content you want to serve to your audience, you can then create various versions for your digital platforms. For example, in 2017 Grey Matter Marketing released a whitepaper titled "The Rise of the Empowered Patient: How to Gain a Competitive Edge in the New Healthcare Ecosystem." This whitepaper was the epicenter of multiple other forms of content that we created to share with our audience.

We broke up salient points from the whitepaper and shared them on our social media channels along with corresponding graphics (charts, tables, and quotes), in an effort to gain inbound leads when users clicked and arrived on our landing pages. We sent out dedicated emails to our subscriber list, tested subject lines, provided a snapshot of what readers would learn if they downloaded the whitepaper, and created CTAs (call to actions) that prompted specific action—in this case downloading the asset (the whitepaper). We also promoted the whitepaper on our blog with a dedicated post that included a CTA to download the asset and a web form to capture emails. You can see how we took one single piece of content and through a multi-pronged approach, disseminated that content across multiple channels in multiple formats.

Video Is Quickly Becoming a Shining Star

Video is an important part of content creation for life sciences companies. Over one hundred million people watch video online every day and 90% of those watching report that they find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. Those are numbers that cannot be ignored. Video is no longer relegated to video-specific platforms, like YouTube. Instagram launched their Stories feature in August of 2016, and to date, Instagram Stories has already accrued more than 250 million daily users. Social media and especially video-based platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories have been such successful tools for healthcare providers that there’s even a company called Figure 1, that was billed as the “Instagram for doctors” when it launched in 2013. Today, Figure 1 has registered users in 190 countries and 75% of U.S. medical students use the app.

Healthcare marketers are finding that video is actually fueling online conversations more so than text articles. It is also more likely to get shared and foster engagement. Here’s the takeaway: If you’re not taking advantage of video in your content marketing strategy, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach your target audience online.

Social Media Is Still in the Running

In 2018, we’ll see higher engagement rates between brands and consumers on social media platforms. According to the Sprout Social Index, one in three consumers mention a brand while sharing a personal accomplishment on social media.

You may have heard that Facebook is prioritizing their news feed to favor social interactions versus other kinds of content. This is actually a good thing for brands as it signifies that consumers are becoming more comfortable being vocal online about brand preference. Instead of brands talking to consumers, you’ll see more consumers talking to other potential customers about their experiences using services or products. And since we are in an era of institutional mistrust and consumers trust their peers more than brands, you want them to be talking about your brand as much as possible. It’s your job to make sure that you define that narrative with strong content shared on your social media channels.

The Roundup

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” The key word here is valuable. In a crowded space, you can only stand out by creating content of value. The digital marketing landscape is constantly shifting as new tools and platforms are introduced into the space. This is especially true for healthcare and life sciences. While there is not one answer for creating the perfect content marketing program, what you can do is focus on a variety of valuable content that intersects with your potential customer at the moment they are searching for the solution only you offer.

When you take a look at today’s top companies, you’ll find that they are all Category Kings that are thriving because they are improving lives and know how to communicate exactly how they do so. In such a crowded space, if you are not communicating exactly how your medical device or drug is making people’s lives easier or better, you will lose the customer to the company who is.

If you haven’t implemented a content marketing strategy and program at your life sciences company, you’re missing out, period. Remember, it’s not just what you’re saying with your content that’s important—it’s the reason your audience was searching for it in the first place that you have to identify. When you put in the work to truly know your audience and the reasons behind their search inquiries, you can better speak to your audience through your content. And when you create valuable and engaging content and share it across your digital channels, you greatly increase your chances of reaching your target audience.

If you’d like to speak with a content marketing expert at Grey Matter Marketing, click here.

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