New Research on the State of Healthcare Content Marketing in 2017 [Content Marketing Podcast 232]
If you work in marketing for a healthcare organization, today’s podcast is for you: We’re exploring the results of a new study by Healthcare Insight magazine on the state of healthcare content marketing in 2017.
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Welcome to Episode 232 of the Content Marketing Podcast!
If you joined us for last week’s podcast, you’ll recall we shared some real-world advice for the Class of 2017 as you begin the quest for your first content marketing job. (Need to get caught up?)
Today’s episode goes out to my peeps in the healthcare industry, as we look at some eye-opening research on the state of healthcare content marketing in 2017.
Give today’s episode a listen to hear:
- How to grab your copy of our complimentary e-book “Ninja Secrets of B2B Blogging“
- Our latest News Feed segment:
- Facebook testing video cover images
- Twitter rolls out a new look for mobile and desktop
- Content Hit of the Week: “5 Reasons No One Cares About Content Marketing (and What to Do About It!),” by Marcus Varner on the Convince and Convert website
- Results from Healthcare Insight magazine’s 2017 State of Healthcare Content Marketing survey (download a free copy here)
- The percentage of healthcare organizations producing content daily (hint: it’s not a small one)
- How much of their budgets healthcare organizations are spending on content marketing, and how that will change (or not) over the next year
- The most popular content marketing tactics and social media platforms among healthcare content marketers
- The average size of healthcare content marketing teams (hint: think “small”)
- Tip of the Week: Why it’s so important to embrace the power of personas
Please remember that this podcast is about you — your questions, your frustrations, your hopes and dreams for your content marketing program. So please take a moment to send me your feedback, questions, or comments via email, on our Facebook Page, or via Twitter.
Today’s Video Transcript
Content Marketing Podcast 232: New Research on the State of Healthcare Marketing
June 22, 2017
This is the Content Marketing Podcast, episode number 232: New Research on the State of Healthcare Content Marketing
Hello, and welcome to the Content Marketing Podcast. This is the show where we help you grow your tribe and your bottom line through insanely good content. I am your host, Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing, and today is June 22, 2017.
Hello, hello, or as we say in Texas, “howdy” — or” howdy y’all” if you want to be real proper, and thank you for joining us for today’s episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. Just a reminder: This podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music, so if you like what you hear, please feel free to click on over and subscribe. O I’ve got a visitor, Sophie the Pug wants to join us for today’s podcast. Hey Soph! I also invite you to download our complimentary e-book, Ninja Secrets of B2B Blogging. Download today to learn the secrets to a B2B blog that will enchant your customers … and leave your competitors green with envy. To snag your free copy, go to contentmarketinggift.com.
Last week I had a little graduation gift for our recent college grads: we gave some real-world advice for landing your first content marketing job and I got some great feedback on that. So hope our new grads find something useful there. If you happened to miss that episode, feel free to check it out on iTunes or via the RSS feed.
Today’s episode is for my friends in the healthcare field — we’re looking at some new research on the state of healthcare content marketing in 2017.But first, it’s time to check in with our News Feed for this week’s rundown of News You Can Use.
News You Can Use
There is a super cool feature coming to Facebook, or at least we think it’s coming to Facebook. Back in April, Facebook confirmed that it was experimenting with allowing certain pages to upload videos as cover images. These are short videos, between 20 to 90 seconds long, that play as a loop in the space where your cover image currently lives.
To see what that looks like, check out the Facebook page for the Netflix drama Narcos, facebook.com/NarcosNetflix and they also have it up for Flixel photos page, that is facebook.com/flixelphotos.
Pretty cool feature like I said, it’s a short video that plays as a loop and it is currently being rolled out to a few brands, and one would think that if it goes well that it will at some point be available to all page administrators, so Stay tuned! For updates on video cover images on Facebook.
Twitter has revamped its desktop and mobile apps to make them “faster, lighter, and easier to use”. The new features include a new side navigation menu, which means fewer tabs at the bottom of the app, and also more intuitive icons such as the speech bubble to indicate Reply. These features are available with the latest update of the twitter app and on Twitter.com
Our Content Hit of the Week is:
“5 Reasons No One Cares About Content Marketing (and What to Do about It!),” this is by Marcus Varner on the Convince and Convert website.
When I first rebranded my company as Resonance Content Marketing in 2012, I got a lot of blank stares. People said “You mean content management?” people would ask. “You mean, like Sharepoint — are you in IT?” and I said no Content Marketing, trust me it’s going to be big.
Low and behold Fast-forward five years, and there’s still a whompin’ lot of confusion over what content marketing is and why it’s important — important enough to deserve the respect of the C-suite and, of course, important enough to deserve a healthy slice of our marketing budgets.
In this post, Marcus describes five reasons content marketers and content marketing are underappreciated, and he also offers some solutions for getting those who matter to see the value in what we do. It’s an excellent read, and I will of course include a link in the blog post for this episode at resonancecontent.com/podcast. (http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/no-one-cares-about-content-marketing/)
That’s it for this week’s update — if you stumble across something you think might be of interest to your fellow content marketers, please feel free to tweet it to me at @rachparker so that we can share. Now it’s time for this week’s spotlight segment: New Research on the State of Healthcare Marketing in 2017.
As I mentioned, today’s episode will be of interest to my friends in the healthcare marketing field and it’s certainly of interest to me because I have several clients in the healthcare industry, who will find this research very interesting.
What research are we talking about? Just a couple of weeks ago, Healthcare Insight magazine released the results of its 2017 research on the State of Healthcare Content Marketing. As I understand it, this is the third annual survey that they have conducted and they have just released the 2017 research.
If you’re involved in content marketing for your healthcare organization — or if you work in healthcare marketing and you’re starting to have those conversations about launching a content marketing program — you might want to download a copy of this free report, and I’ll give you the link in the blog post for this episode at resonancecontent.com/podcast. (https://info.truenorthcustom.com/get-the-state-of-healthcare-2017-report-comparison)
First I want to share a statistic that is not from this research, but it’s quoted in the introduction to this report, and it comes from eMarketer: 60% of healthcare marketers create at least one piece of content every day. That surprised me — I didn’t think it would be that high. When they talk about creating one piece of content I assume that includes like Tweets and Facebook posts, so 60% of folks are doing something every single day, and that gives me hope for the healthcare industry, because they are getting with the program, that content marketing is not a campaign. It’s something that we do every single day, week in, week out, year after year, no matter what else is going on.
Sometimes clients in the healthcare industry will contact me about my services and they’ll say- “well you know I’ve been working on my boss and he finally gave me the budget for one blog post a month.”
Now, I applaud these folks for pushing their organizations in the direction of content marketing, and for having those conversations, and fighting for those budget Dollars and it’s certainly not their fault that their boss would only give them enough for only one blog post a month, but think about it: If you’re up against organizations that are creating content every single day, how much impact is that little once-a-month blog post going to have?
I understand the struggle is real, I understand that and I so appreciate all of you who are in the trenches, fighting for those budget dollars, fighting for that respect from the C-Suite and if your CEO or CMO wants to give you one blog post a month, you might want to bring out that statistic, you know 60% of healthcare marketers, which includes our competitors, by the way, are creating at least one piece of content per day. Like I said that’s not part of the main report but I definitely wanted to share that with you, because I found it very interesting. Okay, now let’s get into the meat of the results of this report. I’m going to share some highlights here, it’s not everything that we’ll share here in the survey, like I said you can download your own free copy of this report and I will provide the link in the blog post for this episode:
Does your organization use content marketing?
This is specific to healthcare marketers. 69.2% yes; 17.3% no but we plan to in 2017; 13.5% no, and we don’t plan to in 2017. Okay there is hope there. So nearly 70% nearly 7/10 said yes we do use content marketing. We are on board, and then another 17 % plan to get rolling in 2017, but there are still those organizations who say no we’re not going to do it and we have no plans to do it, and I wonder when, as we have an expression here in the States “When the other shoe is going to drop?” When are they going to wake up and realize that they are losing out to their competitors because those folks are creating content, some of them on a daily basis and they are reaping the rewards
So if your organization is in that 13.5% group that is not doing content marketing and has no plans to get involved in it, then it might be time to eat your Wheaties and suit up and get your ammo together to have some of those conversations with your leadership, because others are getting on board, and those folks if they are competitors of yours, they might be winning over part of your market share, so definitely this is the time to take action.
Overall, how effective is your organization at content marketing?
So 69% said yes we’re doing it but this question is to do with how effective they are. 27.8% said they are very effective; 66.7% said they are somewhat effective; 5.6% said they are not at all effective, just about a quarter say they are very effective, and the majority are in that kind of gray area where we’re somewhat effective and I wonder how they made that assessment.
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Whether they’re not measuring, or not measuring the right things, maybe they are just taking their best guess and saying well we’re getting some boost in traffic and we’re getting some results, or if what they’re doing is just kind of meah in terms of effectiveness, or if it has to do with our expectations? You know if they got into content marketing thinking it was going to; within the first couple of months drive hoards of business to their door, or hoards of new patients to their door, and it’s not doing that as content marketing is not designed to do, maybe that affected how they are thinking about this.
So when you think about your organizations, when you sit across the table with your CMO and they say- okay Is this working? Make sure that you think through your response, because if your expectations are out of line with what content marketing is designed to deliver, then, of course, it’s not going to be effective or of course it’s going to be just kind of meah, just kind of so, so in terms of effectiveness. I think it’s important that we think about 1. What content marketing does, 2. What it’s designed to do and how that lines up with our expectations, and then how are, our actions delivering those results, those returns, how are we looking at that, or measuring that effectiveness, I guess is what I’m saying here.
Next question I want to look at is: Does your organization have an overarching content marketing strategy in place?
This reminded me of the content marketing institutes research of the overall marketing universe where they ask this question, and the results from the healthcare field from this survey are very much in line with what the content marketing institute found. 21.2% said yes, we have a documented content strategy, less than a quarter; 30.8% said yes, but it is not documented; 34.6% said no, but we’re planning on putting a content strategy in place within the next 12 months; 13.5% said no, and we don’t have plans to create one in the near future.
So this is kind of all over the board in terms of those responses. Less than a quarter, have that documented content strategy in place. For the rest either it’s not documented or are planning to put a content strategy in place. By the way I look at a lot of these survey results, and I see a certain percentage of respondents saying “no we’re not doing this, but we’re planning on doing it.” I wonder how many of them actually pull it off, you know and I’m not pointing fingers hey we’re busy, we’ve got initiatives, we’ve got you know the CEO rolls out of bed one day and decides he wants a new website, I get it. But I wonder how many are able to say we are going to do this, this year and actually push that to completion.
But you know it’s a little dismaying to see that just over 1/5th have a documented content marketing strategy, and you know that documentation is so important, because you put that strategy together and you say okay this is what we’re going to do, and then life takes over and time goes on, and people say okay what are we doing here? What is our mission? And that strategy, if it’s not documented, can get to be a little bit cloudy, so it is so important to have a documented strategy in place and to review it regularly, at least once a quarter. Pull your team together, pull out that strategy and say okay how well are we doing in terms of meeting what we have promised to do, in terms of fulfilling our mission? And you may come to a point where even that strategy needs a little tweaking, there may have been something that you set out to do, that is not working, or is not working as well as you thought, or there may have been something that you might want to add. Or maybe Instagram wasn’t part of your strategy, but after seeing what’s going on, what’s occurred in the marketing world over the first six months of the year, it might be time to adjust in that direction. So again, it is so important to have a documented content marketing strategy, and so important to review it on a regular basis.
By the way, these questions are all direct quotes from the report. Thinking of all the marketing strategies you employ in your organization, how large a priority is content marketing?
This was kind of encouraging 34.6% said it is a High Priority, so over a third say it is a high priority; 50.0% said a Medium Priority, so yeah we’re doing it, and it’s kind of working, we’re kind of doing what we’re supposed to do; 13.5% said it is Low Priority; 1.9% said it is Not a priority. So what are we to make of this? Again I get it there is a lot of stuff going on and marketing teams are just strapped we’re going to see in a minute just how small the marketing teams are, that are trying to get everything done, but content marketing as my friend John Bosco said “It’s a commitment, not a campaign” and if it’s not a priority then you know I can’t make you make it a priority, but if it’s not a priority then don’t go looking for the results that you were hoping for. It’s just like going to the gym, and I know I’m a bonafied gym rat, I am always talking about correlations between content marketing and the gym, but really if my workouts are not a priority that’s fine, but you know don’t go looking for those results I was hoping for, or don’t go looking for those abs that I was hoping for. If you are strapped, if you are a small team as most of you are, and trying to make it work in the healthcare industry, you know we’ve just got to find a way, we’ve got to find a way to make it happen, whether that is hiring more people, or whether that is outsourcing part of your content marketing or whatever that is, you have to do, but if you want to achieve those results that we have set out to achieve we’ve got to make content marketing a priority folks, no question about it.
In the next section they asked these health care marketers to rank their top 5 content marketing tactics used by their organization:
So each responded to rank their top 5 and then they compiled those results into a final list. The most frequently cited was social media, followed by articles on the website, videos, e-newsletters, and blogs, and there is another eye opening response about blogging that I will get to in a minute. So that’s pretty much the effective content marketer’s toolbox. You’ve got e- mail in there, you’ve got blogging in there, and you’ve got social media and videos. By the way, #7 on the list was print newsletters — now if you remember a few episodes ago when we talked about the renaissance of printed content? And it’s not just for these older audiences, you might think oh hospitals, they are trying to reach the grandma’s who are always dealing with something health wise. But as we talked about it a few weeks ago millennials are loving the print so if you are looking at how to better reach people for the rest of this year, maybe even into next year think about doing something in print, because a lot of healthcare marketers are getting on board, and as we talked about it a couple of weeks ago a lot of folks are responding to that printed content.
What social media platforms does your organization use to distribute content?
So we have established that Social Media is the most popular tactic that these healthcare organizations are leveraging, so which platforms: 1. No surprise big papa Facebook comes out on top with (93.9%) 2. Next was Twitter I was kind of surprised by that Twitter is next at (71.4%) Respondents said that yes they use Twitter for distributing their content 3. Next was YouTube at (65.3%), so happy to see my healthcare folks getting on board with video. 4. Was LinkedIn at (40.8%) and LinkedIn you may think well hospitals or healthcare organizations are trying to reach, consumers yes, but remember that there is also in many areas of healthcare there is a recruiting crisis going on and there are shortages in many areas of the country, in many different specialties. So remember that LinkedIn is vital for connecting with those folks and getting those positions filled 5. This will crack you up Google+ with (40.8%) E- God someone else is using Google+ besides me, isn’t that crazy. Yes I still use Google+ because guess what it’s frikin owned by Google and until Google puts the last nail in the coffin I will have a presence on Google+.
Do I interact there on a daily basis? No, but you better believe my content is out there, so I don’t know if this Google + the 41 % who side Google +, I don’t know if they may have signed on when Google + first came on board and just haven’t adjusted their strategy, or maybe they do realize that it’s freaking owned by Google and if they want to get that search bump they are well advised to be on there. I was impressed by how highly Google+ ranked in terms of distributing content. No one knows what’s not in the Top 5, Instagram, I think it was maybe either number 7 or number 8. So if you are looking at ways for promoting your organization, don’t forget Instagram is growing, growing, growing in popularity, not just for kids anymore. So keep that in mind as you look at your Social Media plan.
How often does your organization publish new content across the following channels?
Now this chart was a little complex and I will try to explain it orally as well as I can. So they looked at 3 different channels: social media, website, and blog; the choices were daily, weekly, monthly or less than once a month. On social media, most of the respondents said they post daily (53.1%) as it should be so good job guys; on the website, most post monthly that was (38.8%) that said they post monthly on their website, and I’ll get into how to interpret that in just a second; but on the blog, get this (38.8%) a plurality of respondents said they post less than once a month. On the blog, the place on your website, that is supposed to be the hip hot happening, latest insights and the latest trends, most of them post less than once a month. So they didn’t get into detail about what they are talking about.
But when they say they post monthly on their website what are they posting? I would hope they are posting articles. Things like if you are a major hospital system and on your Cardio Vascular section of your website, you are posting things like warning signs of a stroke, and things like that. I make the assumption they are talking about articles, I am hoping they are not talking about things like press releases, but you never know. And yes that evergreen content absolutely needs to be on your website, and it makes sense to have that posted in certain sections of your website that people are interested in. For example the cardio vascular section makes sense to talk about stroke prevention. But on the blog I’m surprised that most are posting less than once a month, and I think you’re missing out on some tremendous opportunities particularly as it has to do with news-jacking.
Now I know news-jacking sounds like a sketchy practice but it is absolutely bonafide, all it means is tailoring your content to what’s going on in the news, to what people are talking about around the water coolers. So for example at the Rio Olympics last year, one of the swimmers was born with, I believe it was a congenital heart condition, don’t quote me on that, I don’t remember the story exactly, but a lot of healthcare organizations took the opportunity to say yes one of the swimmers does have this condition here’s how it occurs, here’s how it presents, here are the symptoms and here is what can be done about it.
They took that opportunity to take those water cooler conversations and leverage it for content purposes, and I think healthcare organizations have a lot of opportunities to do that and to talk about, for example, we’re getting into summer it’s a good opportunity to talk about heat stroke because families are heading to the beach, they’re spending time outside, and heat stroke becomes a possibility, terrific opportunity to get on your blog and talk about that very timely issue. It’s not something that’s going to interest people in December, but it’s definitely going to interest people today. So if your bog is languishing with a post of less than once per month take a look at it and see what you can do to pump some new life into it, and to get it going on a regular basis with that more timely content, if you want to keep the approach of keeping that evergreen content housed in articles in different sections of your website.
Approximately what percentage of your budget is allocated to content marketing?
This chart was a little confusing, but I can tell you that nobody apparently reported more than 10 %. So 10% or less of the marketing budget, is devoted to content marketing, and I believe that is quite a bit less than the average that the content marketing institute found in their review of the overall marketing community. I was a little bit surprised that so little of the budget is being allocated to content marketing, because I’ve been to healthcare marketing conferences and I have met those marketing managers and those marketing directors and these are sharp folks, they know that content marketing is important; they know how many people turn to the web for advice on healthcare, and they know that they could be tapping into that market in terms of promoting their brand and getting their name out there.
I’m guessing that the reason those budgets are so small is leadership, that has just not bought onto the content marketing idea yet. Those marketing teams are forced to be, are forced to do more with less, and they’re having to make it work, so folks my hat is off to you. If you are dealing with a tiny, tiny budget and trying establish, and maintain a robust content marketing program in your organization, my hat is off you because that is a staggering statistic, no more than 10% of the budget is devoted to content marketing.
Now in terms of that budget they then asked the question: How do you expect your organization’s budget allocation for content marketing to change in your next budget cycle?
About 47.9% said it will Increase; 47.9% said it will remain the same; and 4.2% said it will Decrease. So the good news is nearly 50% of these respondents say that they are going to increase their content marketing budgets and again these might be marketing directors who are hoping they’ll be able to increase their budgets next year. Maybe the CFO might have something to say about that, but that’s encouraging, that these organizations are looking at adding the budget dollars to their content marketing initiatives over the next year. That shows that they see the importance of content marketing and they are willing to fight for the budget dollars they need, to do what they need to do, to get in front of that audience.
This is the last question, it’s striking but not surprising: What is the size of your in-house content marketing team?
58.5% said 2-5 people; 24.4% said 1 person so nearly a quarter of these organizations said they have one person on their team devoted to content; 14.6% said 6-10 people; 2.4% said we outsource our content creation, and I wonder how they gauged those factors because outsourcing as we have talked about many times doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. It doesn’t have to be- o we outsource everything or we do everything in house, and I’ll be willing to bet that some of those smaller teams, especially those one person teams are outsourcing at least part of their content creation, and that’s something I want you to keep in mind.
I talk to a lot of healthcare marketers, who say: you know we’d like to have a blog, we’d like to be doing more video, we’d like to be doing this and that, but we just have such a small team and we’re struggling to keep up with what we already have in our plates, well remember that outsourcing is available to you, and like I said it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. You can maintain your own social media and hire an outside resource to write your blog posts, or something like that, or there is a way to make it work where you are maintaining control of some things, but also trusting those outside resources to lighten your load on certain other areas.
So those are my key takeaways from this report on the state of healthcare content marketing in 2017, and again if you want to download that report for yourself I will have the URL in the blog post for this episode at resonancecontent.com/podcast. If you have any questions or want to add to the conversation, feel free to tweet me at @rachparker. Now it’s time for our Content Marketing Tip of the Week
Tip of the Week
A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of presenting at the Social Media in Health Care Marketing conference in Washington D.C., and I had the pleasure of delivering a workshop on personas. We’ve talked about personas on this podcast several times before, not just for health care, but for absolutely any organization.
It is so important as content marketers that we tailor our content to our target audience, and the best first step for that is creating personas. Sometimes people say “O it just seems like a fun exercise, but I don’t see the connection to it.” Remember that personas let you create a flesh and blood or imaginary flesh and blood representation of the people you’re trying to reach, and if you have those personas prominently displayed in your content department, people can look at those folks- these made up people and say- “Okay does this make sense to Jacqueline?” “Is this of value to Rick?” and it really helps our thought process in terms of creating content that resonates with those people.
Now remember, you can have different levels of personas that you are dressing. If you work for a large hospital system, you might have personas for each key area, and the persona for your breast center will probably look very different from the persona for pediatric oncology. So just keep that in mind, personas are not a once and done things, and personas may change over time, so it’s important not only to create them, but to make sure that they stay updated, with those preferences of those personas. For example many healthcare consumers out there are very active on Instagram, and you may do some research and find out that the woman that you’re targeting for your Breast center are very active on Instagram, so it might be time to add that to your content marketing strategy.
So bottom line Trust me, it is worth the time and effort to create detailed, robust personas because these are going to serve as the inspiration for every piece of content you publish and help you better connect with the folks in your target audience.
OK, campers, that’s it for me today — hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. If you like what you’ve heard today, please feel free to subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via our RSS feed. And if you REALLY like what you’ve heard, please leave us a quick review on iTunes. I would so appreciate it.
Also, if you want to learn more about content marketing, you’ll want to grab a copy of my book, The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and Win, which is available in book and Kindle format on Amazon. To learn more about the book and to download a free chapter, visit contentmarketingcoachbook.com.
As you know, I always like to leave you with a quote, and today’s comes from Eleanor Roosevent. She once said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Again, this is Rachel Parker with Resonance Content Marketing. Thank you again for listening and we will see you again next week. Take care!
Remember to snag your copy of The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN! — now available on Amazon!
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About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!
This will be so helpful for my business, thanks so much!