Just when you thought you had the world of social media figured out, it goes and changes again…and may even be dead in the water. Channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Google are now saturated, and the world’s top brands have cut their social media advertising spend. So where can you put your marketing and advertising dollars to maximize your reach and minimize your costs?

In this episode of the DrMarketingTips podcast live from Content Marketing World 2019, Jennifer and Corey break down how social media has changed and why having a content strategy is key to long-term success and controlling your destiny.

Tune in to discover:

  • How exactly social media marketing has changed and continues to evolve
  • Why the world’s leading brands are pulling back on their overall marketing and advertising spend
  • How you can apply industry-leading marketing practices to your medical practice
  • The importance of having your marketing agency be a strategic partner as well
  • Why having a content strategy is critical for long-term success

Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Dr Marketing Tips, paging Dr Marketing Tips. Dr Marketing Tips, you’re needed in the marketing department.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Dr Marketing Tips podcast, your prescription to the answer you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes, and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Corey: Hey, guys, welcome to the Dr Marketing Tips podcast. I’m one of your hosts, Corey.

Jennifer: And I’m Jennifer.

Corey: And we are coming to you live from the Content Marketing World 2019 conference in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio.

Jennifer: It’s beautiful because it’s, basically, the last day of their summer, the first day of the fall, the sky is blue, and we’re only here for a few days.

Corey: Couldn’t ask for better weather. Today was the first day of the conference and we did some deep dives on a couple of different topics. Now, Jen, you went to a topic on …

Jennifer: I went to a topic that talked about top level content strategy, specifically for agencies like ours working with clients. And so I go into that through the lens of as somebody who works with medical practices, what can I learn from other industries of what industries are doing that is very successful and then how I can take what other industries are doing and then morphing it into the industries that we work with? Granted, some of these pie in the sky things that the big companies are doing, it’s never going to fly when we’re talking to a practice administrator that’s got 20 doctors in 50 different directions, but there are some things that we can take away from each of the little strategies that we can use and that we’ve used over the years to really bring together a full content strategy.

Corey: And so that’s what you guys were talking about today is how to apply those things to businesses of all different shapes and sizes?

Jennifer: Yeah, it was very generic in terms of industries that we were talking about, but it was very top level, just about developing a strategy that goes around content, a big re-enforcer that we’re doing the right things. But some things that I highlighted out of my notes that I think are worth talking about, just maybe exploring a little bit, one is that, as a measurement of GDP for, let’s say, since the 1920s, marketing and advertising spends have been about 1% to 2% of GDP across the board. And in the 1920s, it was actually a little high, then it dropped down, the spend drops down during World War II, then you see a big boost during the heyday of television, and then you saw another big boost in the dotcom boom, but what we’re in now is what we refer to as the digital age and, right now, spending is flat, if not decreasing. And what they’re saying is you’ve got a lot of people spending a lot of money only with a couple of networks, and those networks happen to be Facebook and Google and then just a hodgepodge of others.

Jennifer: And so we’re seeing, actually, brands pull back on their overall spending right now and part of those dollars are being reallocated to things that are content specific. And so one thing that I really took from that is, let’s say, giant media companies are now becoming their own agencies and branding companies. It’s very likely that you can go to your local newspaper and that local newspaper will also help you buy digital ads, will help you in developing content, things of that nature, and so just the whole dynamic of content is changing.

Corey: Yeah. We were just talking to a radio station about some radio ads and, as we were discussing that with them, they presented that exact idea to us. They were like, “Oh, by the way, we have a full service digital agency based out of …” wherever their headquarters is, I think it’s Atlanta or something, and they have a whole team that just does the digital side now. To your point, they’re trying to get their fingers in as many pies as possible because people aren’t spending as much, even on traditional, so they’re trying to supplement that with digital and vice versa.

Jennifer: Absolutely. And a big piece of the advice came as when you’re choosing the agency you’re working with or vice versa, when our clients are choosing us, you don’t want someone that’s just going to choose you just to buy some digital ads or just to write a piece of content. You want someone that’s going to be your strategic partner because the industry is changing so quick and you really need someone that’s looking at the big picture. That really was one of those moments where I was like I feel good about that because I feel like we are a strategic partner with our clients and so that was an interesting take on it.

Jennifer: And one thing that really came across is that, as marketers, our sole purpose is to maximize reach, it’s all about identifying audiences, to maximize reach and to minimize frequency because we all know that frequency costs money. I want my potential audience to see my “Let’s alleviate joint poin” ad 17 times. Well, to show that ad 17 times, it’s going to cost money. The audience is changing and where those people are, so one thing that was brought up, I actually asked you about it out before we started the show, but, historically, you’ve got people that are getting their media from the New York Times, the local newspaper, the local TV syndicate, and then in the last couple of years, where do we get our media? It’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram-

Corey: YouTube.

Jennifer: … Google, YouTube, but those are very saturated channels at this point and I’ve been talking about this for a while now. I think that we’re about to see a shift. I don’t know if it’s next year or the year after, but we’re going to see a shift that your social spend is no longer going to be on the table. There’s something new that’s about to happen because it is all so saturated. As marketers, we need to go find out where those audiences are and change our mindset. Corey, do you know what this website Twitch is?

Corey: I do. I’m familiar with Twitch.

Jennifer: What is it?

Corey: It’s basically a streaming of people sitting in a chair playing video games.

Jennifer: Okay. Twitch, at any given times, has almost a million viewers on it. That’s crazy because I didn’t know what Twitch was. I’m sure our listeners don’t know what Twitch is. You happened to know it because you’re geeky and you like video games.

Corey: Thank you.

Jennifer: But the thing is, Twitch probably has more viewers right now than ESPN or CNN.

Corey: Right. And, interestingly, I think it was last year or the year before, Twitch got bought by Amazon, so Amazon saw the writing on the wall with Twitch and they just bought them outright because they knew what was happening.

Jennifer: As marketers, we’re continuing to spend dollars in a local magazine or on Facebook or on Google, but do you we need to be looking at those other audiences or building our own audience? We talk about that all the time and it was discussed in the session, is you can spend all those dollars on Facebook to get your content out there, because that’s where you’re going to share the content, but what if Facebook decides to change the rules next week and you don’t have the owned content? You own the content, but you don’t own the distribution channel.

Corey: Yeah. To explain that, if you own the content, that’s when it’s your audience. Let’s say you have an email list of either you’ve got a segment of my patients or people that have just signed up for some sort of newsletter or updates on your website, those are yours and you can do whatever you want with that audience and you can even put a value on that audience because, if you went through it and figured out how many of them converted, you could figure out the cost to acquire a new audience and actually put a number on how much that’s worth to you. Whereas, on Facebook, you’re just quote-unquote leasing space on their property, so at any point, like Jen was saying, they could change the rules and, suddenly, since you don’t own the audience, you no longer have access to it.

Jennifer: Yeah. And so as we’re talking about content strategy, what was suggested is that we have to look at this a different way. Let’s look at it as you’re a rehabilitation clinic and you’re not sure what the plan is going to be. Yes, you’re going to produce some content. Yes, you’re going to take that content and you’re going to maximize the SEO value on it. Yes, you’re going to put a few dollars behind it so that you can get it onto social media channels and put some dollars because you know organic reach doesn’t work anymore. But, basically, that’s the extent of your content strategy. You might do what we suggest, which is put the patient forward, but what if you took it a step further?

Jennifer: In the session, there were a lot of conversations like, for example, Johnson & Johnson puts together a parenting blog. That parenting blog, they put out content on it. It doesn’t say Johnson & Johnson. They are the go-to experts for parenting, but then that parenting blog becomes the focus group for them to bring out new products. When you sign up for the newsletter, you’re signing up with your zip code and with your email address, and Johnson & Johnson knows that you live at this zip code and that you have a one-year-old child because you’re searching on the website for party planning ideas for one-year-old birthdays, and they know that you start planning for those parties when the child is 10 months old. Then now they have a window for delivering ads to you and delivering things that are online and offline.

Corey: Hey, guys. Corey here, cohost of the Dr Marketing Tips podcast, and I wanted to interrupt this episode just for a minute to tell you about Insight Training Solutions. Insight Training Solutions is an ongoing employee engagement and training platform for your medical practice, meaning employees can log on and take these medical practice specific trainings whenever and wherever they are. And each training is meant to increase employee engagement, improve practice reputation, and develop some patient service mindsets, if we’re being honest, something that we all know some of the employees may lack, not calling anybody out by name, but one of the cool things about Insight Training Solutions is they’re always developing new content.

Corey: And they just released 10 Steps to a Phenomenal Patient Experience, where you’ll learn how to create a phenomenal patient experience, strengthen job security, and discover customer service secrets for your entire team. This course is in addition to the other ones they already have, which include Communication Across Generations and How to Understand Today’s Multigenerational Workforce, and How to Develop Overall Patient Experience. This is another course, The New Approach to Customer Service. We’re also got Eight Ways to Wow Patients. And you can sign up for a free trial to see what everything is about at InsightTrainingSolutions.io. That’s InsightTrainingSolutions.io or just Google Insight Training Solutions. You’ll be glad you did.

Corey: And that’s the power of content marketing, right, is you’re marketing and you’re focused on creating and publishing and distributing this content for a specific audience and you’re not selling your service, but you’re providing this information, and that’s why that can be so powerful for someone like Johnson & Johnson because, if you sign up for this … Is it a printed …

Jennifer: It’s a blog.

Corey: It’s a blog. Okay. You sign up for this blog so you get updates from them and that subliminally says, hey, they are the go-to when it comes to parents, and they’re not advocating for their services or their products and whatnot, but they are saying, “We are a resource. We are an authority when it comes to parenting,” so when you need something, you probably are going to look for the J&J logo.

Jennifer: Absolutely. And so go back to the rehabilitation clinic as the example here. How could you look at your content strategy differently? Could you go into a more traditional set and try to lean into the active lifestyle or stories or traditional journalism type of content, focused around maintaining an active lifestyle because, really, that’s what rehab clinics do? Ortho clinics too, could you focus on the active lifestyle, getting back to doing things that you love doing, let that be your content and not so much about the doctors or the surgery that was performed, but more like, “Meet Jane. Jane plays golf four days a week. Here’s her story. Oh, and by the way, she had shoulder surgery because she couldn’t play golf anymore,” but it’s woven into the story, but you almost have a separate brand. And so that’s what they were talking about and saying that part of the trends of the most successful content marketers are out there recreating their brand or creating a separate brand underneath that content.

Corey: And if you have an audience for that publication, like you were talking about, then that’s another example of an owned audience. If you have subscribers to that, whether it’s a newsletter or a printed piece or whatever it winds up being, that’s your audience, so you can do with it what you see fit. You can control that and there’s no risk of any sort of PHI or anything there. You can treat it as a traditional vehicle to drive content.

Jennifer: It’s almost like a secondary business within the business-

Corey: It could be.

Jennifer: … looking at content that way. Another piece of advice that I thought was really valuable is, as you’re looking at content, don’t look at one-off pieces. Don’t say, “I’m a gastroenterologist and I’m just going to focus on colon cancer awareness during the month of March,” instead, think of it like you’re a TV network and you’re going to focus on colon cancer awareness first quarter and maybe into April too, so a little bit of second quarter, and as a TV network, “On Tuesdays, we’re going to deliver this quick live piece on Facebook. On Thursdays, we’re going to deliver a new blog post. On Mondays, we’re going to do something in-office,” and start looking at the content calendar holistically, big picture, revolving around a campaign, but don’t let a single piece of content drive the strategy.

Jennifer: Instead, think of it like a TV network, you’re CNN, you’re CNBC, you have to run 24 hours a day, your shows are coming up, where are the shows going to be? Are you going to be consistent in voice? Are your hosts going to be consistent? And then look at, we’ve talked about this before, but look at it like I record a video, that video gets transcriptions, those transcriptions become a long-form, that long-form runs into social, so you create it once and then you have it. It has a lifecycle all the way around. But it all feeds up to a bigger strategy.

Corey: And just like a traditional TV or radio station, you can have reruns, right? That’s okay. It’s not like, like you said, you just create the one piece that goes up and then you take it down. That piece or that awareness, depending on the way that you phrase it, using the colonoscopy as an example, there’s a Colonoscopy Awareness Month, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t want a colonoscopy in November, that they’re not looking-

Jennifer: Well, Corey, nobody wants a colonoscopy.

Corey: Well, they don’t ever want one. But if it’s something that they need, they’re going to be on the lookout for it anyway after its designated month, so it’s okay to reuse and recycle and rerun some of this content.

Jennifer: Yeah. And I think that it’s important to note that a content strategy is a long-term strategy. It’s never going to be a quick fix. Part of the reason that we do content is so that we can become an authority, so that we can really juice up SEO because the search engines love fresh content, and it also gives us something to stay relevant and in the conversation, but it’s a long-term game. And so go back to the colonoscopy example, we have entire campaigns around colonoscopies or around Colon Cancer Awareness Month that we’ve been running now for three years in a row and, each year, what we do is we freshen that content up. We might spend 30 hours the first year, we might spend 20 hours the second year, and then we’re able to take that same content, maybe we’re going to spend 10 hours this year, but it’s going to be better and better and we’re just refreshing the content each time. And so when it comes to having a content strategy, it’s a long game, not a short game.

Corey: Yeah. And the more content you create, the more opportunity you’re going to have to leverage that. For example, if you have a blog on your practice website, I’m sure you’ve seen it, when you get down to the end of a blog post, it’ll say something like, “You might also enjoy,” and then have a couple of posts. Well, there’s plugins that can just pull those things, but if you’re paying attention, you can actually see what posts are converting the best and then you can very explicitly say, “You might also enjoy,” and then just put four other pieces of colonoscopy content right there because the person’s looking at a piece of colonoscopy content.

Jennifer: I wouldn’t say “You may also enjoy,” because there’s nothing about a colonoscopy you’re going to enjoy.

Corey: But, again, but you know that that person’s interested in whatever the topic is, so then, at the bottom, you can feed them more of that topic in hopes of driving them to convert into a patient. And if you have a content strategy, you’re developing those things all year long, so then you can use them and leverage them against each other within your website, which is great for search, but it also, again, shows that you’re in this for the long game and you’re not some fly-by-night organization or practice. And so if you leverage that with the story of your physicians that have been there for 50 years and you use the latest technology and look how happy all of our patients are, and then, oh, by the way, we also have all these resources that you can’t get at any other practice in the region, then you’re set up for success.

Jennifer: Yeah, and I’ll leave it at this. I think that, if you are listening to this and you’re thinking, “Okay, do I have a content strategy, yes or no?” And even if you do have a content strategy, don’t go to the practice manager or the next person up and say, “I want to put a bunch of dollars into this next year and, at the end of the year, I’m going to show you XYZ ROI,” because the fact is is content, because it is a long game, takes years to truly, truly monetize itself and until you put the I in the R and the O, until you actually invest dollars into promoting the content, you’re not going to see it come around full circle. I think if you’re a practice manager and you’re thinking about implementing a marketing plan that is heavy on content strategy, which I would truly suggest because I listen to these big, deep sessions, and then I go back to what we do on a day-to-day basis and we really simplify it, but really everything’s all around the content strategy.

Jennifer: If you’re going to go back and say, “We’re going to do this for six months or a year and I’m going to show you huge returns,” I would say hold on, you’re going to need to set the expectation that I’m going to lean into content on a three-year plan because it takes time to build that up, but once that engine is turning, those wheels turn fast.

Corey: Yeah, exponentially. We see that all the time with certain pieces of content for clients. Once they take off, they go.

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. All right. I think that’s good for the content strategy and we’ll be talking about this in the next couple of episodes. Corey and I are at this … 6,000 people that are at this conference this week, so we will be getting lots of great information and we will be bringing it back to you for one of the upcoming episodes of the Dr Marketing Tips podcast.

Corey: Awesome, guys. Thanks again for listening. I’m Corey.

Jennifer: And I’m Jennifer.

Corey: And we’ll talk to you soon.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the DrMarketingTips.com podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out DrMarketingTips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mention during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes. And if you haven’t given us a rating or review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening and we’ll catch you next time, doctor’s orders.

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