By Pete Johnson, Lasso MD

You’ve probably heard it before, but content is king—especially when it comes to digital marketing.

Publishing high-quality content audiences find engaging (i.e., content marketing) is a great way to educate and build trust with prospective patients. The effort could ultimately lead them to choose you as their provider.

But without a content marketing strategy, success or failure is a matter of luck–and you risk wasting all the effort and resources you invested. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 63% of businesses don’t have a written content marketing strategy.1 It’s no surprise a similar percentage of businesses (64%) say learning how to build one is one of their highest educational priorities.

In this article, we’ll focus on creating a content marketing strategy focused on the goal of generating new patients. We’ll explain why having one is important and give you a blueprint to create one on your own.

What Is It?

A content marketing strategy is a plan you develop to use content marketing to help you achieve your business goals. Content is especially important in a complex market like healthcare, where many patients are not experts and want help understanding important choices they face.

A good content marketing strategy for your practice can educate prospective patients and alleviate their concerns, tell them what makes your practice unique (and why they should choose you over the competitor down the street), and help you form a relationship with them.

Set Goals.

The first step is to define clear and measurable goals for your content marketing strategy. You can adjust your strategy according to the success (or failure) in achieving your goals.

For example, your goal might be to implement a search engine strategy that:
• Generates 1,000 new views of your website
• Generates 100 new inquiries
• Converts 10 prospects to new patients

Write a Mission Statement.

Next, write a mission statement for your strategy. You should include following.

Target Audience

One of the most common mistakes in marketing is trying to succeed with everyone, which usually results in succeeding with no one. Instead, find a segment of the market that matches your strengths and is not already dominated by a competitor. Pick your target prospects carefully. Think like a general: concentrate your forces, divide, and conquer.

Example of a target audience: Families with a household income of over $100k that live in zip codes: 92130, 92014, and 92075

Content Type, Benefits

Next, determine what your target audience’s concerns are. This will guide you on what kind of content they will want to read or see—and that you should provide.

Then identify how your targeted audience will benefit from your content marketing. This should be related to your target audience’s concerns, identified in the previous step.

Example:
Audience Concerns: Financing, patient comfort, whitening, flexible hours
Benefits: Prospective patients will be able to educate themselves on the services we provide, discover how beautiful our practice is, receive promotional pricing, and schedule an appointment online without having to call the office.

Determine Preferred Delivery Channels. Develop a Distribution Strategy.

You’ll also need to determine how your identified audience likes to consume content—e.g. some like to read, others like seeing pictures or watching videos. Also, find out what channels are more frequented by your target—social media, search engines? Then you can determine the type of content to produce and deliver.

You’ve defined your audience, the topics they are searching for, and where it goes for information. Now, how will distribute your content?

Social Media

If your strategy points to social media, focusing on your personality and friendly staff is a good bet. You’ll want lots of photos with smiling faces and video with a personal touch.

You can include use of a social media holiday calendar to figure out which holidays line up with your social media strategy and add them to your content calendar.

Search Engines

A search-based strategy relying on search engines needs content that’s much different from a program based on social media.

People searching on Google for a product or service you offer will be more interested in educational content and the big picture. If you provide this, you’ve taken the first steps towards building trust with your target audience, and they will come to you for more information. Spend time to do a thorough SEO (search engine optimization) analysis and carefully choose your keywords. Your research and targeting can really pay off.

Example:
Channels Frequented by Target Audience: Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, NextDoor, Yelp, Google Reviews
Type of Content We’ll Provide:
• Website and blog content (SEO focus)
• Video for website (SEO and social media focus)
• Promotional content (social media focus)

Create Content.

Now you’ll need to decide what content you’re going to create and produce it. Use a strong mix of text, photo, and video content in your strategy so you communicate through all available media, regardless of the channel.

Create a Content Calendar, Execute.

It’s time to create a content calendar and finally execute your strategy. You can always make changes as needed.
When you succeed in the targeted audience segment, you can leverage that success and your growing reputation to add additional segments.

If you’re struggling with any of the above steps, there are plenty of companies that will gladly assist you. If you choose to work with a marketing company, it’s still a great idea to create your content marketing strategy mission statement and share it with them. This produces a more collaborative approach that will result in authentic content your target audience will find engaging.

Lasso helps dentists create predictable new patient flow through innovative digital & video marketing strategies. Its ROI software gives practice owners the ability to track where their marketing dollars are being spent and verify the effectiveness of the campaigns. Lasso is offering exclusive pricing to TDA members: Create a year’s worth of video & photo content (plus much more) for $850/month with its “Captivate Plan;” which includes 15+ videos, 12+ blogs and 20+ photos.

1Rose, R. (May 6, 2020). “Content Management and Strategy: A Disruptive Change We Need [New Research].” Content Marketing Institute™. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2020/05/content-strategy-research/