According to Naomi Cooper, "'Content marketing' is definitely a hot buzzword, but it's also a fundamental component of a dentist's overall online strategy." Find out how any dentist can easily—and effectively—reign supreme online.
There's a familiar saying in the online world: "Content is king." But what does it really mean? And how does it apply to dentists?
In short, content marketing is about disseminating information that is useful and relevant to an online audience. "Content marketing" is definitely a hot buzzword, but it's also a fundamental component of a dentist's overall online strategy.
Online content can take a variety of forms, including articles, blogs, social media posts, images, podcasts, and videos. The more useful the content is to the audience, the more effective it will be in capturing their attention. Most of all, content marketing allows dentists to promote their practices in a way that feels natural and unobtrusive to both current and prospective patients.
Content marketing also boosts SEO, as search engines such as Google reward websites that produce a fresh stream of content with higher search rankings. This means that as you continue to create relevant content, Google makes it easier for patients to find your practice's website when searching for a dentist online.
If you've ever clicked on a video while scrolling through Facebook or read someone's blog, you've experienced content marketing firsthand. But what does it take to move from being a content consumer to a content producer? It can be surprisingly easy for dentists to launch an in-house content marketing campaign. When formulating your own content marketing strategy, here are two salient points:
No. 1: All hail the patient
Dentistry-specific news and research is often dry, difficult for laypeople to understand, and frankly, not of great interest to patients. Stories about dentistry that they can use in their own lives are more likely to catch their attention: how regular checkups can help with the detection of other diseases, how dental appliances keep kids' teeth safe during sports, or how patients can achieve smiles just like their favorite celebrities. Content like this is light-hearted, interesting, and relevant to patients, and that's what drives engagement.
No. 2: Mind your online manners
Have you ever been at a dinner party, stuck next to a guy who only talks about himself? It's annoying and off-putting. Online behavior is no different, so follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to online content: 80% of the content should be of interest and value to your patients; 20% of your content can be about your practice, including promotions, special offers, and information about services offered.
Luckily for dentists, a king-sized budget isn't required. Here are three cost-effective ways to reign supreme online:
No. 1: Blogging
If the concept of a dental practice blog is overwhelming, think of it instead as an ongoing conversation with patients. A blog is the perfect vehicle for answering common patient questions or explaining popular procedures. A blog post doesn't have to be long, but blogging should be done consistently to effectively create an online library of oral health-related information that patients can read through. This positions you as a local dental expert. Blogging is a one-two content marketing punch: It attracts newcomers to the site, and the varied content keeps existing patients educated and engaged.
No. 2: Social media
Similar to blogging, the practice's social media profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, need to be regularly updated to be most effective. However, social media often gets pushed to the back burner, resulting in sporadic updates and low patient engagement. One way to avoid this is to develop a social media calendar. The weekly office meeting is a great opportunity to start building one. Ask the dental team to prepare three to five ideas for different posts, which can be strictly dental-related, community-specific, or even general lifestyle pieces. The more ideas that include a photo or graphic element, the better-social media is a highly visual medium. Plug their posts into a calendar and delegate one employee to schedule them ahead of time using an inexpensive resource such as Hootsuite (hootsuite.com). With this plan in place, the practice's social media feed will be updated constantly with varied content that will appeal to a wide range of patients.
No. 3: Video
Video marketing is an integral component of content marketing. Take a quick scroll through your own Facebook newsfeed; there's a good chance that many of the posts include a video. Video content is incredibly engaging and it's easy for online patients to digest. Plus, producing videos no longer requires fancy equipment. Today's smartphones are well suited for taking web-ready videos. Video content provides dentists with the opportunity to showcase the practice, the staff, and the atmosphere of the office-all things that make patients feel more at ease.
If there's a person on the dental team who is particularly web savvy, helping spearhead the online content plan could be a rewarding new responsibility for that person. For those of you who are not fortunate to have a team member on staff who is capable and willing to help, you are not out of luck. Many dentists rely on companies such as My Social Practice (mysocialpractice.com), Sesame Communications (sesamecommunications.com), and WPromote (wpromote.com) to help manage their online marketing.
Naomi Cooper is the chief marketing consultant for the Pride Institute, the president and founder of Minoa Marketing, and the CEO and cofounder of Doctor Distillery. She is a respected dental marketing strategist, consultant, author, speaker, and industry opinion leader. She teaches Pride's marketing courses and consults with companies throughout the dental industry to help them develop a cohesive marketing approach and create momentum-and tangible results-for marketing efforts aimed at dental professionals. Naomi can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she blogs regularly at minoamarketing.com.
Author's note: For regular updates, including dental marketing and social media tips and tricks, follow me on Twitter (@naomi_cooper) or "like" Naomi Cooper - Minoa Marketing on Facebook at fb.com/minoamarketing.