What’s hindering your content marketing efforts?

Many health care marketers view content as a powerful engagement tactic, but many struggle to measure effectiveness and to create consistently high-quality articles and videos.

How are health care marketers handling content strategy, and which key issues keep them from delivering engaging communications?

Tandem surveys found that content marketing has become mainstream for health care organizations. In The 2017 State of Healthcare Content Marketing, TrueNorth Custom surveyed mostly B2C health care firms, as did DamoDigital in Content Marketing and the Battle for Attention.

Of the B2C health care firms polled, 69 percent say they already are engaging in content marketing and 17 percent plan to start creating content in 2017.

Why are marketers creating content?

B2C health care organizations say the primary objectives are brand awareness, engagement and patient/customer loyalty, but that the top content creation goal is generating leads:

Developing pieces for a broad range of channels

The researchers found 10 common content types:

1. Social media posts

2. Website articles

3. Videos

4. Digital newsletters

5. Blogs

6. Content for in-person events

7. Print newsletters

8. Digital magazines

9. Print magazines

10. Microsites

For B2B health care marketers, the top content types being developed are:

1. White papers and blog posts

2. Website articles

3. Sales collateral (case studies, data sheets, etc.)

What’s working in social media

B2C health care marketing firms rank the most effective platforms as:

1. Facebook

2. Twitter

3. YouTube

B2B health care marketing firms rank the most effective social channels as:

1. LinkedIn

2. Twitter

3. Facebook

For health care marketers, social media has evolved into an important paid approach, with 75 percent of firms saying they’re investing in social media ads in 2017 to promote and distribute content. This exceeds the share that is budgeting for marketing spending by other means:

How are health care marketers measuring success?

The top metrics being examined by B2C firms are:

1. Website traffic

2. Call volume

3. Qualitative feedback from patients/customers

4. Search engine traffic

Areas of concern for B2B health care firms include:

1. Leads

2. Website traffic

3. Social media engagement

Health care marketers seem to be fairly pleased with their content marketing efforts to date:

· 67 percent say their organization’s efforts are somewhat effective

· 28 percent of respondents report their efforts as very effective

However, these health care organizations are still struggling with content marketing.

B2C health care organizations reported issues including:

· Measuring effectiveness

· Producing engaging pieces

· producing a variety of pieces

· Budget constraints

· Gaps in team skills/knowledge

· Difficulty finding staff

· Lack of integration across departments

B2B health care marketers say the top challenges they face with their content marketing efforts are:

· Maintaining quality

· Producing enough pieces

· Publishing consistently

Despite these challenges, the future looks bright for health care content marketing. Some 60 percent of B2B health care firms plan to increase their content budget in 2017, and 48 percent of B2C health care firms expect to increase their content budget this year.

What will all that additional spending go toward?

B2B health care marketers say their priority is to invest in more thought-leadership pieces, specifically white papers and articles.

Top initiatives B2C health care marketers are focusing on include:

· Creating more visual content

· Creating more high-quality content

· Working to better measure content effectiveness

· Becoming better storytellers

Michael Del Gigante is the president and creative director of marketing and communications agency MDG Advertising.

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