Content, content everywhere: How can your practice get noticed?
Getting your practice's content published is only half of the battle; getting it read is the other half.
Getting your practice's content published is only half of the battle; getting it read is the other half. While creating and publishing high-quality content for your practice is a priority, knowing how to get it the attention it deserves is just as important.
If you generate high-quality content that no one sees, you've proven that you know your industry-but you've proven it to an empty house. Is spending time and money on content creation really worth it?
According to HubSpot's State of Inbound 2014 Report, the answer is yes.1 Companies with the highest ROI focus on blogging, organic search, and content amplification, which means they are making content work for them. How do they do it?
The answer: They leverage every possible outlet for engagement, relying on the nature of social media to bring in viewers, and instead of just creating full-length articles, they create snackable, shareable content that is easy to promote and interact with.
The blueprint for successful content marketing has three steps.
Step one: Plan
This step requires answering two questions before you write (or commission) content:
1. Who is your audience?
2. What are their questions?
If your audience consists of parents of pediatric patients, they will probably be more interested in how to prepare their children for dental visits than the specifications of your latest piece of equipment. If you have millennials as a target demographic, they will want to know why they should spend money on preventive dental care even when they don't currently have any specific "dental issues."
Step two: Create
The content you create needs to be adapted for each platform. Starting with a full-length blog post or article for publication is a terrific first step-but think bigger. Each longer piece can be repurposed for different social sites:
• Take each main point and turn it into a short, snappy "tip" for Facebook (and link back to the source!).
• Pull out relevant issues and hashtag them in 140 characters or less for Twitter. A slightly longer text can be created for Google+, and you can add an image.
• Infographics can be created and then shared on Pinterest.
• Use a quote from the article laid over an image of a staff member or patient (with permission, of course) on Instagram.
• Don't forget mobile. Creating short, easy-to-grasp, and visually strong content is vital to grab and keep the attention of those viewing your content from handheld devices.
Step three: Engage
When you share your content, don't just throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. Invite people to share their own thoughts, give feedback, or visit another one of your profiles for more information. Twitter can lead back to a Facebook poll; Pinterest automatically clicks through to the source; Facebook can be a teaser for your practice blog. Use a call-to-action in every possible situation.
Ask what kind of content your audience would like to see. "Tell us" is an easy two-word phrase that has amazing power to inspire feedback on social media. Don't forget to listen to what they say; you might not have thought of doing a quick overview of toothpaste brands or tooth whitening options. This gives you a chance to create a short comparison article explaining why you recommend the one your practice offers.
Set up a regular thread every week for questions, and select one or more to expand into a full-length blog post. Have a wildly popular post that generates even more questions? Do a quick video as a follow-up to keep riding the wave of interest. Switching formats keeps your audience involved and captivated.
Creating an audience for your content takes time, so don't be discouraged. Build your social networks, feed followers your content in appetizer-sized bites, and then point them toward the buffet. Don't forget to track every piece of content on every platform, and note what works and what doesn't. Content marketing done right has amazing ROI, and your practice deserves the best!
1. State of Inbound Report. HubSpot. 2014. www.stateofinbound.com.
Kristie Nation is the founder and CEO of myDentalCMO, a marketing consulting firm that provides strategic marketing "treatment plans" exclusively for dental practices. The firm was founded with a mission to prevent dentists from wasting countless dollars marketing their practices ineffectively. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (877) 746-4410.