Thought Leadership

Educating vs. Advertising: How to Be a Trusted Resource and Build Relationships

Andrew Stark, EVP, Marketing Technology Group, PulsePoint

MediaPost
February 8, 2018

Speaking with someone is more effective than speaking at them. The same is true for marketing; it is always better to engage your audience by sharing useful information as opposed to simply showing a concept and hoping for a positive reaction.  Ultimately, this is the main premise behind content marketing: creating a meaningful connection which serves as a foundation for a lasting relationship. 

 

Content marketing is a key area of opportunity for many categories, but it is especially relevant for healthcare, as it addresses a critical market need:  useful, accessible health-related information. Consumers are taking more control of their health care decisions, so providing content that is informative and deemed valuable is a prime way for marketers to form bonds with their audiences.

 

When evaluating how to best create content, it is important to understand that content marketing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.  Many types of content are effective; it just depends on the product and the target audience.  Here are a few content types and when to use them:

 

Lifestyle tips

Lifestyle tips educate consumers about how to incorporate changes into their daily lives to improve their own health or the health of their loved ones.  Lifestyle tips are useful in many circumstances and can be either seasonal or evergreen.  Seasonal topic examples include allergy content for minimizing reactions to outdoor and indoor triggers, cold and flu content for how to nurse a sick child back to health, or skin care content for a safe summer routine.  Evergreen subjects range from weight loss hacks, to healthy travel tips, to creating a bedtime routine for preschoolers.  Whenever a marketer can put the consumer in charge, it’s a win-win. 

 

How-tos

How-tos provide practical examples for accomplishing health-related tasks or goals. How-to content can be tailored to certain age brackets, such as coping with acne, specific life events, such as fitness for each stage of pregnancy, or health conditions, such as a restaurant-healthy eating guide for diabetes sufferers. How-to’s are most valuable when they address specific topics and provide clear, step-by-step guidelines.

 

Education

Educational materials are of great value to consumers at each stage of their patient journey and can provide help and peace of mind.  Prevention-oriented materials can be useful in letting people know how to avoid certain conditions.  At diagnosis, patients want information about their condition, treatment options or relevant clinical trials.  During treatment, materials about drug protocols may be most useful.  In recovery, diet and exercise information is frequently sought after.  There are many opportunities for healthcare marketers to provide true value to their consumers by removing the mysteries surrounding their illness through straightforward content. 

 

Living with

Living with content is designed to make life easier for people diagnosed with conditions. Once again, there are many ways to address these needs.  For example, recipes are great for people with dietary restrictions, and home gadget guides are helpful for people with arthritis.  Living with content provides useful information and solutions for living your best life, and serves both patients and caregivers.

 

Content is a great way to deepen ties with many audiences, especially since there are so many content options.  When determining the best content marketing approach, marketers should consider their audience and what will work best for them. Content that is informative, relevant and easily digestible will help form a meaningful bond of trust between brand and consumer.

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