Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creating Value Through Content Marketing

Business isn't nice. Business isn't fair. Business doesn't care.

It's strictly business...

Healthcare professionals are rarely well prepared for the fact that in the end, if you're getting paid... it's business - and - business training amongst health professionals is really quite slim.

Some of the topics I'll be discussing in this post are really quite counter-clinical; in fact, depending on the vein of thought, it may even seem outright wrong. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is, we all have to make a living and in order to do this, we need to know how business works - no matter how ugly it may be.

Creating Value Though Content Marketing

Perhaps the best way to discuss this topic is in reverse. Say you are a consumer and you want to look online for various physical therapy specialists and content.

(Please excuse the terribly obvious plug-for-friends & self-horn-toot.)

Type in "manual therapy" on Google and the result is this:
Out of the ENTIRE web, coming in at #8... "Hi Dr. E!"

Search "physical therapy and kettlebells" on Google... what do you get?
Hello to me!

Look for "west coast physical therapy experts" and you see:
Hmm.... personally, I expected something show up for California more than Florida...

How about "physical therapy dry needling virginia" ???
No surprise here at #3, the first "real" hit: Ann Wendel.

Conversations with a good friend & marketing genius, Kyle Chezum, have taught me this:

"If you are the book, you ARE the expert!"

This goes in all veins of content marketing:
  • If you are the website, you are the expert.
  • If you are the audio CD, you are the expert.
  • If you are the speaker, you are the expert.
  • If you are the poster-child, you are the expert.
This concept carries over with a critical mass - a domino effect once enough of the market recognizes that you are the dominant presence for a certain subject, topic, and/or content. The trick is to choose the right media outlet. The other side of the coin is to key in on the market demand and focus on their desires.

But how does this work? How do you get started? When does one compose & actively market said content?

Step One: Know your audience
In my current setting, in a senior community with an on-site SNF, the independent living residents severely dislike seeing anything to do with the SNF itself. My residents generally tend to hate the idea of nursing homes, hospitals, rehab facilities - AND - BINGO! Content of choice: physical rehab & wellness services is not simply for the "crippled" (for this is the perspective they hold), our expertise is for those who wish to stay as healthy as possible and avoid BECOMING crippled. Sure. It's utilizing pretty harsh terms. But, let's be honest, the consumer ultimately must make the choice to buy - smart business practice caters to such demands.

Step Two: Know your strengths
Personally, I feel that my strengths are in speaking, teaching, and writing. Therefore, presenting at health fairs, health conferences, etc. are one way I can go. Additionally, blogging, is a marketing outlet of choice for me. What are your strengths?

Step Three: Develop content
Once you've drilled in on your consumer segment's perspectives of choice, and, you have decided upon the outlets you wish to pursue, now you must develop the content. If you've chosen to be a blogger, plan on several weeks - even months - of content BEFORE you go public. Why? See step four.

Step Four: Market content AFTER a repertoire has been gathered
There is almost nothing worse than publicly proclaiming content without actually having enough to share. This is like publishing a big fat book with only one or two chapters - the remainder of the 1000 pages between the covers... BLANK! If you are planning on launching a blog, be sure you develop enough content to share so that you don't "run out." However, perhaps you only have so much content to be shared. That's okay! In fact, that is a good thing to realize it. That means there exists a natural exit strategy - embrace it!

Step Five: Forecast change and respond
The marketplace is ALWAYS changing. This is especially true in healthcare. Firms that market only to the here and now forget that marketing is not just creating demand and filling said demand; marketing is also the prudent research of WHERE the market is developing - and - WHEN. Just as meteorologists give us forecast to the weekend weather, strong business strategy demands that firms look ahead at what is coming down the pipe. The here and now is great; but, it doesn't do me any good if today is the calm before the storm & I didn't prepare for the hurricane coming tomorrow.

Finally, a quick tweet to share:

Another "Godfather" quote comes to mind:
"Why come to me? What have I done to deserve such generosity?" - Don Corleone.

Well, I share all this because of the principles I discussed in my "Competition vs. Collaboration" post; principles that I will continue to bring up for the benefit of the profession, healthcare, and the public at large. Looking at the big picture, if a cluster of clinics/facilities/hospitals begin to market this way, we will create a market shift in demand for such services. Public awareness of physical therapy (and allied rehab therapy services) will necessarily elevate to new levels of exciting demand. At this point, we will only cripple ourselves by competition. However, by collaborating, we would be creating demand and increasing the brand equity of our expertise for rehab therapy, physical health, fitness, and wellness.

PS. If you're interested in more perspective on marketing, I suggest you explore my post on "Marketing vs. Advertising."

Until next time, I remain yours in service,
-Dr. Ben Fung


  1. Excellent..... The foundation that ALL HealthCare needs to move forward in the Consumer driven world.

    The cure for Healthcare is to learn business so that we can then demand what we need to do whats best for our patients! Without the business side there is NO clinic or practice to see patients!

    As an Italian I was always intrigued by the Mafia and love the business knowledge that can be drawn from the Godfather as well as Sopranos.

    My favorite Tony Soprano quote regarding this topic (he was speaking with his wife who was "on him" for the the way he spoke to one of his men).... "Im running a business here Carmela, NOT a fucking popularity contest" Take home... hold yourself your employees and your business to HIGH business standards!

    Thanks Again Ben....

  2. Great post. As with all content marketing - the key is to get into your customer's head and think about what they'd type into google. I'd suspect they are more often searching because they are in pain more than for physical therapy (or specific treatments).

    A good way to test this is to come up with some ideas as to what you think people might search for then prove your hypothesis using the google keyword tool. It'll tell you how many people search for that phrase (even break it down by location).

    If you see it's got a lot of people searching for it... It's probably worth writing some content because it will both help people and get your name out...