In the rapidly evolving world of digital marketing, one tagline remains constant: content is king. And how could it not be? Content is the foundation of the entire Internet, after all. Without content, or information and descriptions about anything from the latest foam roller to the local news, the Internet would cease to lure us in daily.
So how is it that content became the so-called king of digital marketing? To answer this fully, we need to revisit why you’re “marketing” at all: because you want your practice to be found. Or more specifically, because you want to increase your patient base and to do so, you need to be found by a greater number of potential patients. When you’re doing this online, as with digital marketing, getting found becomes a question of how well your presence (aka, your website) ranks in the search results of the leading search engines, like Google and Bing.
Once again, we find ourselves circling the inevitable topic of getting top ranking in the search results pages, or search engine optimization (SEO). But how can we avoid it? With over 90% of searchers only clicking on the results from the first page of the search results, it’s literally begging for our attention. And our mastery.
Which brings us back to content. Specifically, it focuses us on what’s often called “content marketing.” Content marketing is different from traditional marketing techniques in that it seeks to provide valuable information to its readers, generally without any overt sales techniques or offers being made. The idea with content marketing is that by providing consistent value through helpful and detailed information, the content creator (website/business owner) becomes established as an authority or expert on the particular topic the content focuses on. It’s more of a soft sell, as the logic predicts (and often proves) that readers will then independently seek the services of the content creator since they’ve developed a trust of that person’s knowledge and professionalism simply by following their content.
Content marketing is versatile: it allows content creators to develop a relationship with their audiences, share helpful information in a variety of forms, and naturally improve the search result rankings of their websites simply by adding more content. That last point bears repeating: generating content is one of the most effective SEO techniques used today. This is great news for website owners since content creation can often be done with little to no expenses. The reason increased content improves a website’s ranking is twofold—content related to a common theme will naturally include keywords (or words that are often searched for) pertinent to that topic, and quality content will often be shared by other website owners.
Keywords are important, and any solid content marketing piece will have several of them placed throughout. Search engines don’t only rely on content when displaying their results for a keyword, such as “earwax” for example, but they do still rely heavily on it as an initial filter. Suffice it to say that if your content only mentions “earwax” once or twice—ever—that anyone looking for “earwax removal” would not end up finding your website.
Having your content shared by another website can be an excellent boon to your website’s ranking in the search results, serving as a type of natural SEO. This one can be a bit tricky, however, as search engines are looking for specific parameters to be met when it comes to websites linking to one another. The bottom line here is that great content will get picked up by others, and chances are good that, if the content is high quality, the websites linking to it will be too.
Short of reaching out to your distant cousin who interns at the Huffington Post, the best approach here is to just focus on creating great content, be it blog articles, infographics, recorded videos of you sharing helpful tips, or any other delivery method you prefer. When we begin trying to tailor our content to “get picked up” or to “go viral,” the authenticity that our readership appreciates us for is quickly squandered. Remember, more than anything else, this content is serving to build a relationship with your growing audience of potential patients. If you always put their needs first, your content marketing goals will eventually take care of themselves.
If you feel intimidated by the idea of establishing yourself as an expert or authority in your field, it helps to know that for every piece of information you share, there will always be people who find it helpful and people who don’t. Consider that you have something to share that is, at the very least, a few steps ahead of the knowledge that some people have. Even just helping a handful of people is always better than helping none. Take it gradually and commit to producing content on a regular basis—say, once a week. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your archives will fill and your website will rise on the search results page.