By Jeff Walter, Senior Editor

Everybody knows that search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to 21st-century businesses vying for online market share, but it shouldn’t take precedence over the customer experience.

That last part is the main takeaway of Google’s new search algorithm, which it has dubbed the “helpful content update.” This change, the technology giant says, is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.” The update, announced August 18, was set to begin rolling out last week.

In a nutshell, the new system works by deploying a signal that detects and penalizes sites with high amounts of unhelpful content. Even helpful content will be less likely to perform well if other content on the same site is not helpful. This emphasis on quality over quantity means some businesses would be advised to remove website content that falls short of the standard. 

What distinguishes helpful content from its evil twin?

To Google, it’s a matter of whether it was created primarily for people (and by people) or for search engines. Would the intended audience find the content useful, or feel let down by “click bait”? Does it demonstrate firsthand expertise, or is it simply others’ recycled wisdom with no value added? Will readers learn anything from it? Will they have a satisfying experience?

While analytics, traffic monitoring and website scanning can help organizations assess how they are faring with the new algorithm, a bit of soul-searching is also in order: What is the real purpose of the content we’re providing?  At Hammock, we’ve long preached the gospel of “help not hype.” That means taking time to get to know the audience and what kind of information is likely to engage them, and then delivering it. Data, perhaps? How-to guides? Informed predictions about coming trends?  

If you haven’t been providing helpful content, it’s not too late to change your ways. The pressure is on to share what you know!

Image: Getty Images

 



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

By John Lavey, President

We view helpful content as one of the highest forms of marketing. Helpful content is superior marketing to content that hypes a solution.

Sometimes the most helpful kind of content, particularly for B2B marketing, is educating your customers and creating resources that they can use to do their jobs more effectively. 

Helping educate your audience to help them be better at their jobs can take many forms. Here are three ideas:

User conferences
Many of our clients host user conferences, assembling a curriculum to introduce customers to the latest and best ideas about their job. These two-day or three-day events are big lifts for companies to put on, and they can be expensive, but they are viewed positively by customers. 

Client universities
Some clients we’ve worked with have adopted the idea of themselves as a university, continually teaching their customers how to be better at their job. When the customers are a channel seller of their solution, it’s not only helpful but also savvy. The university model differs from the user conference model to the extent that the teaching and the messaging last beyond the three-day span. The investment in that kind of marketing spans year round.

Library of resources
This kind of content marketing offers clients a library of resources to help them do their jobs. Providing presentation decks, e-books, videos and more, marked with their branding so they can use them in their marketing or sales to clients, is good content marketing.

How can you help teach your client and sharpen your content marketing?

 
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About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

Every healthcare organization has stories to tell, and case studies based on success stories can be a powerful form of content marketing. A thoughtful and well-executed case study can:

  • Promote your organization’s role in helping a client address a challenge or make an improvement

  • Provide actionable strategies and insights that other clients—and potential ones—can use for the betterment of their own organizations

  • Prompt other organizations to look into your services for the first time or expand the scope of the work you are already doing for them

Unfortunately, many organizations find it daunting to convert these stories into studies that produce results. They struggle with finding the right client or story to feature, they overcomplicate the story by getting bogged down in minutiae that nobody really cares about, or they fail to make the story relevant to a larger audience.

At Hammock, our decades of experience in helping healthcare industry clients tout their successes have taught us some essential lessons about what makes a great case study:

  1. It addresses a common problem. Today’s healthcare organizations share an array of challenges, from controlling skyrocketing costs to improving the patient experience to recruiting and retaining qualified staff. What relevant lessons can others learn from your client’s experience?

  2. It focuses on results. What improvements can you point to as evidence that the client emerged from the process in a stronger position than it was before it engaged with your organization? If you have statistics to support your story, use them; quotations from client leaders can also be impressive. Can you help other organizations achieve the same results?

  3. It relates the story in a compelling way. A case study should engage readers’ interest by making them care. It should be clear, concise and unambiguous, offering relevant details about your client’s journey from point A to point B (or point Z). However, it should avoid getting so far “in the weeds” that it’s too specific or technical to be widely useful. Use of multiple formats, such as blog post, website, e-book, video and social media, can give the story staying power while accommodating people’s varying preferences.

  4. It spurs people to respond. A strong call to action encourages people to learn more about your company, whether by making a phone call, scheduling a demo, downloading an e-book or otherwise engaging.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about how we can help you turn your success stories into case studies that help you build on those recent successes.

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

By John Lavey, President

With the labor market as tight as it is, it has never been harder to attract and retain talent. If your company is like some, the move to remote work means that you are no longer just competing with companies in your geographic area; you are competing against the rest of the world for the best people in your industry. 

Finding ways to stand out from the competition and truly engage potential candidates for hire is hard to do, but using video to assist your recruiting efforts is a dynamic way to meet that challenge. 

Short videos that tell authentic stories about who you are and why someone would want to work with you right now can cut through the details you will likely have to share in a job posting. 

Here are some of the tips for what you will want in an effective video to accompany your recruitment postings:

Short—The most popular format for viewing videos right now is on TikTok, and the sweet spot for length of video there is 7 seconds to 15 seconds. Chances are you can’t communicate the value of a role in a TikTok video, but you should aim for brevity. There are industry-specific and platform-specific standards, but getting a video to 1 minute is a good goal.

Authentic—Letting your passion come through about your mission as an organization and why you care about what you do is important. It’s not so much what you say as how you say it. That energy is contagious.

Clear—Get to the point quickly, or create a clear call to action about what they can do next if interested. The platforms themselves can provide an assist here. But if it’s important, for example, to make it clear whether you are open to remote work, say it out loud.

Storytelling content is a critical part of every stakeholder journey, not just your customer journeys. Think about how you can help your prospective employees at each stage of their search. Video can help. 

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

We often take it for granted that a content calendar is part of the value we provide healthcare clients, but being able to provide timely, consistent, relevant and highly engaging content requires planning, a structured slate of content and an accompanying schedule. 

For social media, blog posts and content campaigns, having a content calendar helps you avoid duplicating content, saves you from last-minute (poor) planning, and helps you visualize your content strategy well into the future. 

Our approach to creating content for healthcare clients means creating content in advance while allowing room for timely opportunities to respond to something newsworthy that captures the attention of the audience.

Our experience over time is clients need real-time visibility (or close to that) into the status of projects in the works. So, creating a schedule in a shared, collaborative platform can be the basis for a good workflow.

The calendar, combined with status updates and performance reporting, feeds best practices and a great partnership. 

Most companies can’t create content effectively on their own. It’s too specialized and expensive to create content across media types, distribute across multiple channels, and measure to determine success.

If you are struggling to share the great stories you have to tell, consider what it will require to stay on track. A content calendar is a wonderful start.  


Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

upcycle content

By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director

Recently, one of our healthcare clients reached out and asked for our help brainstorming some new ideas. She had a white paper that her team had developed, but she wanted to find a few creative ways to repurpose the information into different forms of content.

I got to work immediately, highlighting sections of the 15-page white paper that I thought could be broken down into shorter e-books, strategy guides, tip sheets, infographics and more. I quickly realized that the white paper was chock full of insightful and helpful information that could be broken down into easier-to-digest pieces of content. 

If you have a white paper, blog post, infographic or other piece of content that needs a new lease on life, consider repurposing (or upcycling) it. Turn a series of blog posts into a guide; turn an infographic into a video; or use testimonials published on your site on your social media. The possibilities are endless. Repurposing your content has a number of benefits, including:

> Reaching a new audience. Everyone learns differently and consumes information differently. Repurposing your content in a new format—such as an infographic, a video or even a podcast—can reach an audience segment that otherwise might not have found it. 


> Boosting traffic. The main goal of repurposing content is to drive more traffic to your site—and improve conversion rates. One study found that organic search still holds the majority share among traffic sources. This means that publishing your existing content in new formats can boost traffic and drive conversions.


> Building credibility and strengthening messaging. Google likes credible, authoritative websites. Repurposing your content in new formats can help build credibility with Google because you have more content about a specific topic on your site. Plus, it strengthens your messaging, positioning you or your organization as a thought leader.

Ready to upcycle your existing content in new, fresh ways? Let us help. 

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

By John Lavey

Some people think about content marketing campaigns in healthcare as providing thought leadership, then pushing engaged leads into a call to action where they are entering the sales process. But sometimes that formula isn’t helpful enough, or you may want more tools to try when you are rolling out campaigns. 

One option that some healthcare marketers are succeeding with includes deploying more collaborative content tools, where the call to action might be an interactive calculator tool or worksheets to help guide a collaborative session. That session might help a customer work through an approach to a problem. 

This is a smart way to think about engaging your audience, as an alternative or supplement to e-books and webinars. 

Developing interactive calculator tools is a terrific option if you can do it in a meaningful way that your customer will trust. There are lots of options for how to build calculators, or you can select an off-the-shelf option. If building out a tool is too big a lift, offering to take your customer’s data and come back with a savings estimate provides you an opportunity to maintain a consultative role. 

One of our clients uses worksheets to facilitate a conversation with prospects. Given the complexity of the problems faced by some of your customers, this is a wise way to think about building a relationship. When you roll up your sleeves and sit down to help a prospective customer, it really changes the dynamic and builds trust.

If you want to be a truly consultative seller, then supporting your efforts with collaborative content marketing tools is something you should consider. It supports our highest aspirations: content that works!

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

rule breaker

By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director

As marketers, we can often get bogged down in adhering to the “rules” or best practices of content marketing. How often should we post on social media? What’s the best time to send a weekly newsletter to customers? How frequently should we update our blog? 

And the list goes on and on. 

Do a quick Google search on “content marketing best practices” and you’ll find about 580 million results. And that advice is worthwhile—understanding your audience and buyer’s journey, using data and analytics, repurposing your content, and determining your brand messaging are all incredibly important when it comes to content marketing.

But I have another suggestion: Don’t be afraid to break the rules and do what works best for your company. 

Recently, our team was speaking with the senior content specialist for one of our clients. He schedules a weekly newsletter to be delivered to customers and prospects every Friday at 5 p.m. EST. 

That sounds crazy, right? Many studies suggest that the best time to send B2B emails is around 10 a.m. in the middle of the week. With that research in mind, sending an email at 5 o’clock on a Friday afternoon seems counterintuitive—but for this client, it works. He shared with us that his company has a 35% open rate (industry benchmarks are 17–28%) and receives 250–300 clicks on each email. When he shared this information with us, I was impressed—but also not surprised. That email newsletter is often the last email I receive before signing off on Friday afternoons, so I am guaranteed to open and read it. Our client wasn’t afraid to break the “rules” of email marketing—and his creative thinking yielded positive results.

What are some ways that your company can be creative with your marketing efforts? Contact us today if we can help.

Image: Getty Images



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.


WhatWorks

By John Lavey

By far, the most common question I receive from healthcare clients and prospective clients, or even friends when we talk about healthcare marketing, is: “What works?”

That question is really an umbrella for more specific questions, such as:

  1. What is effective right now at helping me get my message across or growing my business?

  2. What is the best way to spend my marketing dollars, and how can I be sure they are being spent wisely?

  3. How can I partner with someone outside, and what marketing staffing should I have internally to be successful?

These are the essential questions any organization will have about its marketing, particularly for healthcare companies that are trying to market to hard-to-reach buyers in provider, payer and pharma organizations. So, what works? Here are three key places to start, based on your answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you have a clear picture of what your customer journey looks like? When we dig into a company’s marketing, we take a look at all aspects of what it looks like, from thought leadership to sales support, event marketing, even onboarding and customer retention. If you have a clear idea of what that journey looks like, and then, where you are weaker or stronger, you have an idea of what needs attention. Invest to address gaps in content that supports that customer journey.

  2. Are you committed to more closely linking marketing to sales? Many organizations have embraced account-based marketing. All organizations have content management systems. Most have marketing investments. Rarely are all of these investments as interoperable as they could be, or should be. If you don’t have connective tissue between sales and marketing, you should fix that first.

  3. Are you ready for lead generation, or do you really need to generate demand? We all want to drive leads, and create opportunities for conversations about our solutions. But the reality is that some companies aren’t well known enough to be the “go to” for when a customer is ready to evaluate options for solutions. Those companies need to invest in thought leadership, and meeting demand for solutions to problems, even shaping conversations at the awareness stage, before it comes to consideration and decision making

Give us a call if you’d like to talk more about what isn’t working for you, and where you might start. 

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director

In 1988, four men from Jamaica made history when they entered the bobsleigh race during the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Jamaica—a country whose tropical climate keeps it warm year-round—had never competed in the Winter Games before. But after seeing a local pushcart derby, two American businessmen living in Jamaica proposed forming a bobsleigh team—and earned the support of the country’s Olympic Association.

Now, a Jamaican bobsleigh team is sure to attract attention no matter what. But when the U.S. ice hockey team was eliminated, American media stations needed to fill airtime—and chose to focus instead on the Jamaican bobsleigh team’s four-man event, leading even more people to learn of this unlikely team. 

Jamaica’s appearance at the 1988 Winter Olympics inspired the 1993 movie Cool Runnings, which was a box office success and grossed $154.9 million worldwide.

Now, 34 years later, people still know about the Jamaican bobsleigh team that made history—despite not even placing in the top 10. Why? It’s an amazing story.

When we watch the Olympics from our living rooms, it can be hard to connect with the athletes. After all, not many of us can do backflips on a snowboard or a triple axel on the ice rink. But we may be better relate to the snowboarder who battles depression, the women’s bobsleigh world champion who is raising a child with Down syndrome, or the teenage skier who was adopted—and after we read or hear their stories, we’ll remember their names and root for them from our living room couch. 

Author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

When we hear Olympians’ stories, they become real people who face challenges, setbacks, disappointments and triumphs. We hear their stories and we learn their “why.”

So what does any of this have to do with marketing? 

As marketers, we’re all constantly seeking out ways to connect with our audience. Storytelling should be a priority for marketers because it forms a human connection and elicits a response. Storytelling is a powerful tool for transmitting knowledge and information, and, when done correctly, it differentiates you from your competitors and makes you memorable to your customers.


As you settle in to watch the 2022 Winter Olympics, take a second to think about how you can tell your organization’s story—and give us a call for help.

Image: Getty Images



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.