Content marketing offers a great cost effective strategy for any type of business to use in order to build its brand and expand name recognition. Unfortunately, at Local Fresh we see a lot of our dental practice clients underestimate what content marketing can offer their business. Many successful dentists buy into the misconception that dentistry doesn’t get to play with the same marketing toys as other industries because of a lack of commercial appeal. Many patients tend to view visiting the dentist like a chore, so why would they want to read content produced by their dentist?
In truth, a dental practice has the same opportunity to implement a compelling content marketing strategy into your local advertising strategy as a bakery, boutique, or any other type of business that offers a more commercially appealing product. If you’re currently stuck on generating ideas or are wondering where to start, Local Fresh has you covered. Here are a few important steps your dental practice can take to develop a compelling and effective content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Primer
Before we delve deeply into how to build a successful content marketing strategy, let’s us first take a moment to step back and answer the question – What is content marketing?
At its root content marketing is just another means of advertising your business. However, instead of traditional advertisements, such as a commercial, a billboard, or a Yellow Pages ad, content marketing strategies advertise a business through the creation of blog posts, videos, infographics, images, and other commonly shared items.
To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, think about the last time you checked Facebook. If you noticed blog posts being promoted or shared, or see articles that include top 10 lists or that explain a certain topic, these are all examples of content marketing.
Where content marketing truly diverges from traditional advertising is in its focus on providing the reader or user with value.
Traditional advertising is focused solely on promoting a business or a brand. By increasing exposure, a practice hopes to attract more patients.
The focus of content marketing is to provide potential patients with valuable information. The patient reads the post, learns something of value, and then seeks out the business that provided the information.
For example, let’s say as a dental practice you publish and promote a blog post on the importance of patients using their insurance benefits by the end of the year. A Facebook user reads the post and thinks “I don’t want to waste my benefits, and I haven’t had a cleaning yet this year.” They then reach out to the practice who wrote the post to schedule an appointment because they were the ones that planted the seed and gave them the valuable advice not to waste money.
Content marketing also has an advantage when it comes to bringing new visitors to a business’ website.
With traditional advertising, a business places an ad online and hopes that the offer text is compelling enough to get users to click on the ad. This is the basic strategy behind ad platforms like Google Adwords.
With content marketing, a business creates an interesting blog post full of useful information. A user, interested in learning more about the topic, clicks on the post and is taken to the business’ website. Once on your website, it’s far easier to convince potential patients to further explore the products and services you offer. Just like that, the battle is already won.
Okay, now that we’ve established what content marketing is and how it can add value to your business, let’s dive into those steps:
1.) Know Your Niche
If you don’t have any experience with content marketing or even in content creation, you’ll need to start by gaining a better understanding of the types of content your audience – potential new patients – like the best. Look at national or local blogs to see what other dentists are writing about. Look to see what types of topics are trending on social media and in Google searches to see what type of dentistry related questions people are currently asking. By gaining a better understanding of the types of content your audience will find most useful, you increase the number of page views your post will receive and number users that will visit your website.
Also keep in mind that, as a dental practice, you’re not trying to have your content reach a global audience. Most patients will look, at most, for a dentist within 10 miles of their home. So make sure when looking for topics you consider what people in your community will find the most useful more so than what would appeal to people everywhere.
A good example of this are states like Oregon that require children 7 and younger who are starting public school to undergo a dental screening. If you’re a dental practice in a state with this type of law in place, then a blog post educating parents on the need to have their kids examined would be a great one to promote several weeks before school starts.
2.) Know What Types of Content You’re Comfortable Creating
The term content can apply to almost anything. From blog posts and white papers to videos and infographics, you will have plenty of options when it comes to creating content for your audience to consume.
When selecting the types of content to create, it’s important to play to your strengths. Blog posts require having the ability to engage with your audience while writing strong copy that clearly explains your point. Infographics require having some skill with design, while video requires having the right equipment and time, in addition to having the charisma and confidence to be in front of the camera.
Knowing where your strengths lie and being comfortable working within that medium will lead to you create stronger, more compelling content than trying something you’ll be less efficient and comfortable with.
3.) Generate Ideas
Now that you know what types of content you want to create and what your audience will find the most valuable, it’s time to start generating ideas. If your dental practice specializes in a certain field, service, or procedure, this makes an excellent place to start.
As a general rule, try to make your content as evergreen as possible. This means focusing on general topics your readers can use just as effectively no matter if they read the post tomorrow or in 2 months. Evergreen topics could include what to do in a dental emergency, when to get braces, how to care for your oral health when pregnant, the signs of gum disease, the best dental hygiene habits, etc. You get the idea.
Thanks to Google, when people search for the answers to these commonly asked questions, and have their location turned on, your blog will appear. Seeing the answers to their questions and then seeing you’re available to treat them will greatly increase the number of new patients you having coming through your doors.
4.) Create a Publishing Schedule
Consistency is key when trying to develop an audience. A content marketing strategy won’t work if you only publish new content once every few weeks or randomly from time to time. Unless you create an editorial calendar, you might also find it difficult to randomly find the time to develop the type of high quality content your blog needs.
By creating a content calendar, you’ll have the ability to plan in advance the topics, times, and platforms for publishing your content. This type of schedule can go a long way towards keeping you on track and your content at the quality level you need to be successful.
5.) Start Creating
Now that you know the basics of how to start your content marketing strategy all that’s left is for you to start creating. If you need assistance developing a compelling content marketing strategy, our team of dental practice marketing specialists at Local Fresh are here to help. We have experience managing content strategies for dozens of our dental practice clients and can help you develop the voice and content need to keep your patient calendar full. Click here to find out more about what Local Fresh can do for you.