6 Tips for Using Content Marketing & Social Media for Any Doctor

Are you a doctor who’s interested in learning how content and social media marketing can help grow your practice?

For decades doctors were able to get away without investing too much money in advertising or marketing. Then when the Internet changed everything, many of you started to use (and are still using) costly methods of online advertising to market your practices e.g. banner ads.

The problem is patients have completely tuned out to some these tactics and developed chronic cases such as banner blindness.

According to Pew Research, today’s patients are increasingly turning towards the Internet to find information (not advertisements) about symptoms, treatment and support. That means if you want patients to find you when they go online, you need to be involved in content marketing and social media.

And in case you’re wondering how social media and content marketing are related here’s what you should know…

Both are about educating people, answering their questions, and sharing interesting news about your practice. When you do this primarily on your blog it is content marketing

But there’s more.

Social media promotion is critical to online content marketing success. Because there are millions of users on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social sites, it is very likely that people who need your medical expertise (yet don’t know that your blog exists!) are hanging out there.

The best way to reach them is by taking the stories that you’ve posted on your blog and placing them in these sites.

It’s that easy?

Well, yes and no.  Yes, because once you have all your content ready, all you have to do is promote it on your social media networks. But preparation is key.

Social media is a very active space. There are a lot of interesting conversations taking place at the same time and since your target audience has a short attention span, they can get distracted very easily.

The challenge for you as a doctor using social media, is that you have to be more interesting and more creative than the other people or brands in your target audience’s network!

How do you that?

Here are 6 content marketing and social media success tips for your medical practice.

#1. Blog Regularly

If you don’t already have one, develop an editorial calendar to help you blog regularly and consistently. Remember too that social media content benefits from planning and regular updating.

You need to plan for the interesting stories that you will share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Of course many of these stories will be inspired from your blog, but once in a while you may also need to add other content (photos, video, podcasts etc.) to engage audiences within those specific networks.

#2. Tell Awesome Stories

Use your blog to tell stories about your industry, practice, people and events. Each story should be unique and interesting enough to create appeal and draw new audiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites that you use.

Human-interest stories are very popular on social media. As a doctor, you have no shortage of such stories although you have to be careful not to violate patient privacy. Patient stories help to illustrate how your practice is impacting people’s lives, and thus generates more interest from other online audiences.

#3. Execute well

Even though 99% of patient stories are interesting by default, how you execute them on social media is very important.

For example on Facebook and Pinterest, posting visually appealing and well-edited photos will go much farther than posting links to your blog. On Twitter you will need different executions skills such as how to craft a compelling tweet with 140 characters, or how to use relevant hashtags to make it easy for people to find your content.

Every social media platform is different. It’s important for you to learn those environments and leverage their unique features to reach a wider audience with your message.

#4. Include location

One of your primary marketing goals is to attract more patients to your practice. So start by creating or updating your Facebook page, Twitter profile and Pinterest account and adding your physical location and your contact information.

When patients come in for their appointment, encourage them to ‘check-in’ to your location using Facebook Places.

Checking-in on Facebook has the same effect as word-of-mouth marketing. When a Facebook user sees (on her Newsfeed) that her friend (your patient) has checked into your location, she’ll be curious to learn more about your practice and will probably click through to your Facebook Page for more information.

#5. Work on your ‘About’ section

The ‘About’ section of your Facebook page should be optimized with keyword rich names, categories and descriptions. The words you use to describe your practice should reflect the natural conversational language that your audience uses. This will increase the likelihood of appearing on Facebook’s Graph Search results.

Similarly, the ‘About’ page of your website should not just focus on keywords that match the medical conditions you treat, but also on answering questions that typical patients would ask. Think about some of the common questions that your patients have asked in the past and update your About page with content that provides those answers.

#6. Consider contests, promotions & giveaways

Contests, promotions and giveaways are very effective ways of acquiring new clients via social media. Because contests can produce outstanding results, it’s important that you make yours stand out by offering a prize that will create excitement and enthusiasm among your audience. Giving away a free iPad has nothing to do with your practice, so don’t bother.

You can give away a relevant product with a ‘limited time only’ message to create a sense of urgency and interest. Avoid giving away free services as this might encourage people not to buy until they find out if they’ve won. To ensure high participation encourage Facebook fans to submit photos of themselves, or share stories for a chance to win.

Your Turn:

Which of these content and social media tips have you used to market your medical practice? Please share your experience in the comment box below.

Do Healthcare CEO’s ‘Like’ Social Media?

We often hear that healthcare CEO’s don’t like social media.

It’s true they have traditionally rolled their eyes at social media. It’s equally true that healthcare has lagged behind when it comes to reaching out to consumers. In fact the industry didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet when disruptive technologies such as smart phones and social media made their respective debuts several years ago.

But now PwC has come out with a new survey indicating that healthcare CEO’s are changing their minds.

Healthcare getting social

Healthcare businesses have indeed moved beyond their casual experimentation with social media. Brands such as Cleveland Clinic, Boston Children’s Hospital and many others are integrating social media into their broader marketing and patient engagement efforts.

Not only that.

Conferences dedicated exclusively to healthcare social media marketing such as Mayo Clinic’s ‘Social Media Summit’ are cropping up everywhere and even the ‘Healthcare Hashtag Project’ was invented to keep track of various healthcare conversations on Twitter.

What healthcare CEO’s now know is that they are no longer in control of the conversation. In order to remain relevant their businesses have to engage in the kind of human, sociable and even likeable conversations that patients want – like a friend talking to a friend.

That means blogging more and marketing less. It means posting Facebook updates that are not only about their products, but about the dreams and lifestyles of their patients as well.

Coming full circle

As the idea of patient experience becomes increasingly important in healthcare marketing, CEO’s are beginning to see how social media can help with patient acquisition and retention. According to the PwC survey 81% of them plan to make changes designed to increase engagement with social media users.

Social media platforms especially Facebook and Twitter present the opportunity not only to address common concerns and frustrations that patients face e.g. parking issues, long wait times or how to get test results, but also to converse with them in a way that could turn a negative experience into a positive one.

For healthcare CEO’s who have come full circle their ‘big opportunity’ is to support training programs that empower employees to use social media in a way that improves patient experience, protects patient privacy and avoids communication that could potentially harm the organization’s reputation. Otherwise, the fact that they’re beginning to ‘like’ social media is in itself a huge step.

Your Turn: What role do you think CEO’s play in the future of healthcare social media marketing?

Effective Content Marketing: How to Solve Your Customers Problems

What problems do you solve for your customers?

A content marketer’s biggest challenge is to solve customers’ problems while maximizing the effectiveness of his or her content.

Now pay attention because this is important. No matter what you do in life you should be adding value to other people’s lives. The way to add value to others is to help them solve their problems or challenges and for that you need to have the mindset of a “problem sniffer”. 

What does that mean?

It means that people (i.e. customers) generally buy pain killers, not vitamins (even when times are hard and the economy is down). In other words people will pay more money to avoid a problem (loss or pain) than they will to gain a benefit.

So when you create a product or service that solves problems or fulfills a need, you get paid! For example Facebook solves a social problem and advertisers pay them big bucks for your personal data…and you thought you didn’t matter ;).

So what problem(s) do you solve?

Here’s a very helpful exercise that I want to share with you (it could take some time – or you might have to come back to it later but it’s oh, so worth it!). In content marketing, we call it creating customer profiles or buyer personas. Your customer could by anyone – your students, your co-workers, your neighbors, your actual customers or anyone who has a problem that you might be able to solve. Developing a buyer persona helps you to understand the people that you’re trying to target so that you can create something (a product or service) that solves their problem or fills their need. (That’s assuming of course that you’re in the business of pain killers not vitamins).

So take a pen and paper and answer these questions:

  • Who are the people that could (potentially) buy your stuff? (Age, gender, occupation, title, industry, size of organization, income level etc?)
  • What do they do? i.e. what does their job involve, how long is their commute, what are their interests, what kind of problems are they trying to solve at work (or home), what are their career/life goals?
  • What frustrates them about their job or life? e.g. do they have a resource issue or a technical challenge that is holding them back? What do they need to improve their work process or their life situation?
  • What problems motivate them to buy? e.g. sickness, financial or legal challenges, relationship issues, lack of time, lack of help, troubled kids etc.
  •  What would actually drive them to make the purchase? e.g. a friend’s referral, cost, efficiency, good service, confidentiality, etc.
  • How much money do they have? (you’ll be more successful if you offer something they can afford to buy).
  • What would they expect from you? e.g. if they expect confidentiality about what they’re buying and you don’t disappoint them, then you gain repeat business.
  • What do they think about you? e.g. Do you have a reputation that makes it difficult for them to come to you – how can you solve their problems if they don’t even like you?
  • What do they think of your competitor(s)? Knowing what they think of your competition makes it easier to approach them and stay ahead of your rivals.
  • And finally how can you craft a message that appeals to this kind of person in their specific situation? (Hint: empathy, like-ability and trust come to mind. And by the way, this last part involves blogging and is really what content marketing is all about – get it right!)

The only way you can solve people’s problems is if you really understand who they are and what their circumstances are. If you don’t know them how can you presume to offer them something they may not even need?

And finally remember that content marketing success is not just about you. Even as you ‘sniff out’ people’s problems in order to offer them a solution remember to appreciate them for who they are as people, not just as ‘accounts’ or ‘opportunities’. Building strong relationships with your customers is a worthwhile goal too!

Your Turn:  How do you solve your customers’ problems? Please share your tips in the comment box below.

8 Content Marketing Trends for B2B: Research Review

Are you wondering if content marketing can help your business?

If so, look no further.

In this article, I examine a recent study involving 1,416 B2B marketers from North America from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

You’ll discover how B2B marketers were leveraging content marketing in 2012 and where their focus will be next year.

#1: Producing Enough Content Is Top Challenge

In years past, the biggest challenge for content marketers has been creating engaging content. But this trend changed in 2012 with 64% of marketers saying that producing enough content was their number-one challenge.

It is quite conceivable that this challenge will help to create more business and employment opportunities for content developers. In a related conversation, Nate Riggs, director of social business at the Karcher Group, put it this way:

“This is great news for displaced journalists and (content) producers looking to reinvent.”

Key Takeaway: If your plan is to produce more content next year, think of ways to recycle what you already have.

  • Spread existing content across different formats; for example, create an FAQ for quick tips or turn popular blog posts into a podcast, infographic or ebook.
  • Curate awesome customer letters, testimonials and positive feedback into a relevant, real-world information packet about “Why customers love our brand.”
  • Go back and see what was popular once-upon-a-time that is now buried in your online archives. Focus on evergreen content and republish as posts that speak to current problems in your industry.

#2: Marketers Using Average of 12 Content Marketing Tactics

The study revealed that large organizations (with 10,000+ employees) used 18 content marketing tactics on average, while small companies used 11. Companies of all sizes used an average of 12 content marketing tactics.

While it’s clear that resources dictate the number of content marketing tactics employed, it’s a good idea for you to evaluate your budget and figure out how many tactics you can commit to next year. Keep in mind that the more tactics you use, the greater your chances of amplifying your voice and extending audience reach.

Key Takeaway: As you brainstorm your content delivery strategy, become a “real publisher” and try to move away from web-only tactics. Figure out how you candistribute content through various devices and platforms including print. For example, use printed white papers – and yes, even books – as free giveaways after client meetings, workshops or conferences.

#3: Social Media – Most Popular Promotion Tactic

The study revealed that 87% of marketers used social media to distribute content– more than they used articles, email newsletters, blogs and other tactics.

This makes sense because their audiences (existing and potential customers) typically use social media for personal reasons – a typical case of “fishing where the fish are.”

Key Takeaway: As you think about the most effective tactic(s) to use for your content distribution, think about where your audience hangs out and focus on those social channels. If Facebook and Pinterest are major distribution channels for your brand, remember too that images are eye candy and the time to sharpen your image-based content campaigns is now.

#4: LinkedIn – Most Popular Social Media Channel

This was a surprising find. It turns out that LinkedIn was the most popular social media channel for content distribution. More marketers (83%) are using it compared to Twitter (80%), Facebook (80%) and YouTube (61%). Even if the difference in usage between Twitter and LinkedIn is very slim, it still says a lot about a platform that is not considered as sexy as the others.

Key Takeaway: Marketers should learn how to leverage LinkedIn because key decision-makers are more likely to hang out there than on other platforms. One of the best ways to do this is to become more active on LinkedIn groups.

Find discussions that you can contribute to by adding something helpful and valuable. Then once in a while, modestly mention in an “oh-and-by-the-way” fashion that your business solves this or that problem and attach some relevant content to back it up.

#5: Brand Awareness – Top Content Marketing Goal

Another surprise was that increased website traffic was not the top goal for B2B content marketers. The study found that brand awareness was the number-one priority for 79% of content marketers, followed by customer acquisition (74%) and lead generation (71%).

Nevertheless, website traffic was found to be the most important measure for content marketing success. This presents an interesting juxtaposition, as content marketing success is typically linked to organizational goals. When it comes to brand awareness, website traffic was seen as the measure of success.

Key Takeaway: Businesses looking to increase brand awareness will benefit if theytrack specific website indicators such as number of unique visitors, page views, amount of traffic that’s referred to their sites from search engines and even how much time visitors are spending on their site. Google Analytics gives you lot of data toanalyze trends and new insights on your website.

#6: Most Content Made In-House

The study showed that 56% of companies are creating content in-house, while only 1% are relying exclusively on outsourced content. But there’s a nice balance of 43% who are developing both in-house and outsourced content.

outsourcing word in vintage wood letterpress type blocks, stained by color ink, isolated on white

Key Takeaway: This trend reflects the reality that outsourcing vs. hiring decisions are tough when it comes to content marketing. Content marketing is something that has to be nurtured on a regular basis. If your organization has the resources to produce enough content in-house, then outsourcing may not be needed unless a particular skill set is lacking internally.

#7: Content Marketing Budgets to Increase in 2013

More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets for 2013.

While the report was not specific about in what areas of content marketing budgets would increase, we learned that currently, the average amount of budget spent on content marketing is 33%, which is up from 26% in 2011. This is yet another indicator that the future of B2B content marketing is bright.

#8: Most and Least Effective B2B Content Marketers Compared

The study also found that the most effective B2B marketers spend a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing than the least effective B2B marketers.

Most effective content marketers also:

  • Use more tactics
  • Tailor content to specific customer profiles (or personas)
  • Are far less challenged in terms of producing engaging content
  • Are less challenged by lack of buy-in from top management

Key Takeaway: This is an eye-opener for those who are still on the fence about content marketing. Just as “practice makes perfect” says, we see here that the most successful marketers are those who invested the most resources on trying new tactics to produce compelling content.

Final Wrap-Up

The state of content marketing is bright and B2B marketers are looking forward to doing more with content in the coming year. Content budgets are also set to increase and B2B organizations will be using both in-house and external sources to increase content production.

Over to you. What are your content marketing plans for next year? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

4 Ways to Make Your Content More Likeable

Are you struggling to write more likeable content?

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a tremendous need for businesses today to be more approachable, and this usually starts with creating likeable content.

Why is this important?

Because for most people, your content (website, blog, social media content, or other print media) is the first point of contact with your business. If they’re turned off by what they read, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to do business with you.

However if your content resonates with them on a personal level, chances are they’ll like it, subscribe to receive it more frequently, and (possibly) even purchase whatever it is that you’re selling.

So what should you do to make your content appeal to them? Here are 4 ideas to apply to your written content:

#1. Lose the corporate speak and write like a person

Please, please, please write like a person. I know you have a master’s degree in English Literature and your favorite pass-time is reading Poetry and Prose by John Donne. But the people you’re trying to reach don’t care. Beneath their buttoned-up suits, they’re just regular folk trying to learn and share ideas simply and conversationally. So drop the jargon and opt for a more personable style of writing. Copyblogger does this well.

#2. Show backbone and give an opinion

Many writers are afraid that if they give a strong opinion about something they might come across as being arrogant or overly critical. Sure, there are some who may read your content and have a different opinion. But if your opinion is respectful and useful, readers will be attracted to your personality and your ideas. Besides, a little backbone differentiates you from other writers and tells the world that you’re not afraid to say what you think. This is appealing on so many levels. Ask the SalesLion.

#3. Tell stories, not theory

No doubt you’ve read many books written by super-intelligent people that bored you to death. Their ideas are solid but you had to wade through a lot of boring stuff to get the big picture. Be entertaining, be useful – tell interesting stories. People forget theory, but they never forget a good story. And because not many writers can do this well, be one of the few that can! Influential Marketing Blog does this well.

#4. Show different sides of the story

Perhaps your audience is diverse – they may come from different industries, brands, and company sizes. Don’t tell the same business story to all of them, all the time.

Find different examples, case-studies and feature different experiences that resonate with the particular group you’re trying to reach. Talk about big brands, small brands, local brands, global brands, and so on. Find stories that apply to your audience’s situation. Social Media Examiner does this well.

Key Takeaway

Businesses today face an uphill struggle of persuading consumers that they have something interesting and worthwhile to offer. No matter what you’re selling, it starts with connecting with people and building relationships that will get them to know, like and trust you. Why not start by creating likeable content (both digital and print) and show them how approachable and human your business really is?

Over to you: Is your business approachable? What other tips can you share about creating likeable content?

5 Ways Hospitals Can Use Facebook Timeline for Content Marketing

Many of you have had a chance to play around with Facebook Timeline on your personal profiles.

But by March 30th 2012, Facebook will roll out Timeline for business pages as well. Timeline will change the design and layout of business pages and make them look like personal profiles. Here’s what they will look like:

University Hospitals’ Facebook Timeline

The new focus will be to make your content more compelling by using visual elements to tell your corporate story i.e. content marketing. Hospitals will have a great opportunity with Timeline to share some of their history, their current activities and perhaps even their vision with their fans by using photos, videos, apps and company milestones.

Essentially Timeline will give hospitals (and all brands for that matter) a blank template and a chance to share how their story has been built up over the years.

Here are 5 ways that hospitals can use Timeline for content marketing (i.e. to tell their corporate story)

#1.Timeline Cover Photo

The new Timeline cover photo will give you a banner space of 851 by 315 pixels across the top of your new page to create a visually stimulating narrative that symbolizes what your hospital is all about.

Keep in mind that with the elimination of welcome tabs (customized landing tabs for brand new visitors) your Timeline cover photo is the first thing that new visitors will see on your page.

Make sure that it is a vibrant image that intrigues your visitors from the get go. Some experts suggest that you should change your Timeline cover photo every so often to keep things fresh and interesting.

#2. Larger, Highlighted and Pinned posts

To help you tell your corporate stories, pictures and videos will now be larger and more eye-catching. You will also be able to highlight a story by clicking the star icon (on the top-right corner of a post) so that it spans all the way across your Timeline and therefore captures even more attention.

Another new feature is that you will now be able to pin a story to the top of your Timeline for up to one week. To do this you will click the pencil icon on the top-right corner of your post and select ‘Pin to top’. This will give more emphasis to your story as it remains pinned to the top of your Timeline for a longer period of time.

Pin a story to the top of your Timeline for greater emphasis

#3. About Section

While this section is not new, it has been given more prominence right below your new profile picture. Be sure to provide a concise and accurate description of your hospital and to include relevant keywords and your website url as well.

#4. Milestones

The Milestones feature is new and will enable you to highlight the most important dates and events in your hospital’s timeline.

For example University Hospitals Timeline illustrates dates when they received some of their biggest donations, when they were featured on the news, pictures of a new medical center under construction, stories of collaboration with other brands for community development programs, short video clips of patient testimonials and many other stories.

Keep in mind that because your fans’ posts are in a different area of your Timeline, your Milestones will be more focused on your story and so you should make sure that they are visually interesting to draw more fans to them.

#5. Tabs and Apps

While many brands are upset about the disappearance of their custom landing tab (or welcome tab) the new apps are an opportunity for you to be more creative with your hospital’s branding.

For starters, choose your most engaging apps and display them prominently where fans can see them. Consider making one of your apps a welcome app and illustrate it with a label that says ‘Welcome’.

Use an eye-catching image and rename the app with a call to action

Then re-name the app with a call to action such as ‘Click me!’ And because you can change the position of (some of) your apps, be sure to give the welcome app a prominent place where fans can see it and click on it.

Key Takaway

The new Facebook Timeline for pages is finally here and it is here to stay. While some of the changes it brings are frustrating, be encouraged that you now have a great opportunity to tell your corporate story in a more creative and unique way.

The more you can make your Timeline visually appealing, the more successful you will be in telling your hospital’s story on Facebook.

Over to you: Has your hospital switched over to Timeline for pages? How have you used the new features to tell your story? Please share in the comment box below

The Difference Between Content Marketing & Social Media Marketing

There’s not a single person I know that doesn’t know what social media marketing is. At the very least they understand that it has to do with marketing on the different social networks – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and most recently Pinterest.

But content marketing…what is that?

Is it print publishing, as in magazines? Is it some branch of journalism? Or perhaps the marketing of books?

Content marketing is the kind or term that people understand when you describe the kind of work it involves. I recently read an article in which one commentator rendered a rather creative interpretation:

“Content marketing is like organising a party in your own house. It’s your own real estate and you can party as long as you wish (and decide the music and drinks). 

Social media marketing is more like organising a party in the local pub. If the pub owner (or Mark Zuckerberg) decides that tonight is alcohol free, what can you do? If the pub owner shuts the pub you have nowhere to go…”

Toby Murdock over at Content Marketing Institute wrote an excellent piece that describes in the best possible way the difference between content marketing and social media marketing. I don’t think  you’ll find a better explanation anywhere else. Please take a moment to read it, and learn something that is truly valuable.

Over to you: How would you illustrate the difference between content marketing and social media marketing? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Should Hospitals use Pinterest for Content Marketing?

When Pinterest was first launched in March 2010, it was widely regarded as a feminine space for sharing cute ideas such as recipes, crafts and home decor.

Today, it is the highest growth social network on the Internet! And it’s not just women who are pinning stuff! Well known brands such as Starbucks, University of Virginia, Dr. Oz, The Bone Marrow Foundation, Bissell and Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge are using Pinterest for content marketing.

Consider these compelling statistics.

Pinterest-ing Stats

  • TechCrunch announced recently that Pinterest hit 11.7 million uniques per month, “crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.”
  • An average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site according to comScore. Remarkable considering the stats for other social giants: 2.5 hours onTumblr, and 7 hours on Facebook.
  • Core users appear to be 18-34 year old upper income women, hailing from America’s heartland.

Advantages of Pinterest for hospitals

  • Pinterest fits naturally when a brand has visually interesting elements (pictures or videos) tied to it. Hospitals could experiment with visual resources that point to healthy living, disease fighting foods, miracle stories, YouTube videos, health books, and other compelling content. Check out MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Pinterest profile.
  • Pinterest is generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Hospitals (which have traditionally lagged behind in social media) could benefit tremendously from social-media induced traffic. Images speak a thousand words and if users like the image, they’re able to double-click on it to proceed to the hospital’s website.
  • Then there’s the size of Pinterest’s audience – almost 12 million unique visitors per month which has to be attractive to healthcare marketers.
  • Also consider that those 12 million pairs of eyeballs belong to mostly upper-income women – the same ones who make the healthcare decisions in American households. That’s another compelling reason for hospitals to consider Pinterest

Limitations of Pinterest for Hospitals

  • The downside to all this is that hospitals that have invested a ton of time and resources developing other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare may find the challenge of managing a brand new social site to be quite daunting.
  • Another limitation is that images pinned on Pinterest Boards can only go so far. Unless a user really likes the image and proceeds to click through to the source site, the hospital’s ability to communicate its message is lost.
  • Pinterest was not originally designed for marketing purposes so there are no analytics features to measure a brand’s performance. This is a problem for hospitals whose resources are tight and where any additional marketing efforts must be well justified.

Quick Takeaway

Whether or not Pinterest has staying power remains to be seen. However because it is so radically different from other social sites, it does show a lot of potential and might turn out to be the picture powerhouse of social media. Hospitals should certainly keep an eye on it, and then make the best decision for themselves and their audiences.

Over to you: Do you think Pinterest is beneficial to hospitals? Why or why not? Please share your comments in the box below.

How Brands Have Become Publishers

A  lot of people think of content marketing as a ‘new thing’. But the fact is content marketing has actually been around for almost a century.

Back in 1931 John Deere created ‘The Furrow’ magazine, to educate farmers on new technology and how it could help them become more successful. This publication is now widely accepted as being the first example of corporate story-telling (content marketing).

Today all brands have become publishers and are creating content in one form or another (the barriers to corporate publishing are gone). The only difference between traditional media publishers and non-media publishers is how the money comes in:

For a media publishing brand, content is created in order to make money either through direct selling of content (e.g. newspapers and magazines) or advertising sales. But for a non-media publishing brand, content is created to attract and retain customers.

In this exciting piece, Joe Pulizzi (founder of Content Marketing Institute) illustrates how far we’ve come from the days of John Deere to today and how we (non-media publishing brands) can tackle the monumental challenge of creating compelling content that actually engages our audiences. Read the full article here.

Cultivate a Big Content Mindset – Get a Bigger Frying Pan

The story is told of a man who went out fishing. One day a friend stopped by and observed that the man who was fishing was catching a lot of fish.

But the strange thing was that he would only keep the smaller fish and throw the larger fish back into the water.

Confused by his approach, the friend asked the fisherman, “Why do you throw the big fish back into the water?”

And the fisherman replied, “Because I only have an 8-inch frying pan.”

How big is your content marketing mindset (frying pan)? A big content mindset means always being on the look out for content possibilities. It means preparing for and expecting content ideas to happen in the ordinary course of the day.

How to prepare for a big content mindset

  • Keep a notebook or a voice recorder – every time you have a great idea for a list post, a how-to article or a short video, you can record the idea immediately and brainstorm it later.
  • Carry your camera or iPhone at all times – how many times have you been at an event, and something cool happened and you wished you had your camera to record it. You never know when a share-worthy moment might happen. So be prepared to capture cool things as they happen so that you can turn them into useful content later on.
  • Motivate and engage executives to get involved in the content creation process. Earlier this week I had a conversation with a prospect who asked me this question, “How can I get our CEO involved in all of this…I have a feeling we should be getting him involved.” (speaking of their social media content strategy). If your boss is involved in the content process, he’ll be less likely to reject it. Ask him if he would be interested in creating a 5-minute video during the next golf outing, product launch or Holiday party.
  • Talk to your team – look for anyone and everyone in your team who is able to provide insights and inspiration for new content ideas. Make it fun and rewarding for them so that their levels of creativity are enhanced.

Key Takeaway

Remember, a big content mindset starts with the front-line activities i.e. the little, routine things that tend to go un-noticed but present huge content possibilities. Like the fisherman, it is easy to throw away big content opportunities simply because we’re not prepared to capture them!

Over to you: Do you have a big content mindset? What kind of front-line activities are you involved in right now?