Because I work as a content marketer, I often forget that other nurse entrepreneurs might only know the term “content marketing” as a buzzphrase. That’s unfortunate, because content marketing represents the easiest, least expensive way any nurse can promote her business. In fact, if you possess the writing chops, you even can produce your own content marketing assets and save the cost of a writer (like me)!
What is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing this way:
Sounds pretty. But what does it really mean?
Simply put, content marketing consists of various assets (blog posts, white papers, web page copy) that provide your prospective clients with information that’s valuable to their situation, relevant to the problems they face, and that positions you (or your product/service) as the best solution to their issues – which leads them to become your client.
If that still sounds convoluted, let’s use blogging to illustrate how content marketing works.
Perhaps the best recognized example of content marketing is the humble blog. I don’t want to imply that every nurse entrepreneur should run out and start a blog. That’s not the case. Your marketing should be driven by strategy, and if a blog doesn’t fit within your strategy, then you shouldn’t waste time pursuing it.
But for the purposes of illustration, I’ll use blogging because it epitomizes the definition of content marketing. A blog can provide prospective clients with:
Valuable information that is…
Relevant to their situation and the problem(s) they’re facing, and…
Positions you (or your product/service) as an authority on the subject who can best solve their problem(s) for them.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided to set up shop as a geriatric care manager (GCM). Who is your ideal client? Possibly a daughter who lives distant from her elderly mother, who has multiple health issues. Your blog can provide regularly published posts for that daughter that cover topics that help her better care for her mother, like:
How to evaluate an elderly parent’s cognition over the phone
What to do if your parent falls repeatedly
The importance of family caregiver support systems – and how to create one
How to obtain a medical power of attorney
You get the idea.
The daughter subscribes to your blog and regularly reads your helpful posts. Eventually, it becomes clear to her that her mother can no longer live independently, but arranging for consistent care from a distance is hard for the daughter, so she turns to…you. After reading your blog for several months, she’s convinced you really know what you’re talking about and clearly are the best choice to help her manage her mother’s care from afar. You wind up engaging her as a client.
In this case, content marketing via blogging led a prospective client down the sales funnel to your door and helped convert the prospect into an actual client.
What Content Marketing is Not
I think it’s important to note that content marketing should not be highly self-promotional. Using the example above, the geriatric care manager’s blog should not include (many) posts like:
How a GCM solves your care management problems
Why you should not necessarily choose the cheapest GCM
Why you should always engage a GCM and never try to care for your elderly parents on your own
These types of self-serving posts fail the “valuable” and “relevant” criteria for effective content marketing. An occasional post about a topic like “what do GCMs do” would be all right, but mainly your blog posts should confer direct value to the reader.
Types of Content Marketing Assets
I could go on for a long time in making a list of content marketing assets, but I’ll limit myself to the most popular ones any nurse entrepreneur could commission or produce herself:
Social media sharing (such as relevant news)
Resource pages on your website
Best of all, many types of content assets can be repurposed into other assets, giving you a lot of bang for your marketing buck. For example, a podcast episode could be repurposed into multiple blog posts, an ebook, a resource page or an infographic.
Bottom line: content marketing represents a very cost-effective way for any nurse entrepreneur to build her business, no matter what type of business she’s in!
How do you (or might you) leverage content marketing to promote your business? Please share your ideas and success stories in the comments!