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The industry’s shift to value-based care and the need to improve engagement with consumers have made traditional marketing methods, such as direct mail, print, and broadcast, no longer effective. The shift is underway to content marketing.

To properly engage with buyers, you need to modify your marketing tactics with a digital strategy that aligns with your customer journey, enables your Sales team, and creates personalized experiences for your prospective and current customers.

Before you can do that, however, you must refocus your marketing efforts back to content. With 92% of marketers viewing content as a business asset, make sure your 2018 content strategy is one for the books with these 5 tips:

Understand what truly matters to your buyers

Creating buyer personas for an organization is nothing new. But that doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, understanding your buyers is more important than ever in the digital age and should be reviewed on a yearly basis. Buyers now have access to more information before making a purchase decision, industry trends change, and you need to be front and center at all times for your buyers.

By creating, or refining, your buyer personas—you’ll be able to create a marketing mix that gains traction. Buyer personas can help you:

• Determine which kind of messaging and content you need

• Set the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content and campaigns

• Target specific topics that will resonate most with your buyers

• Understand where your buyers get their information and how they want to consume it

A buyer persona should accurately identify your ideal audience and reflect the specific desires your prospects have when it comes to your products or services. Your organization will likely have more than one buyer persona to express the diversity of your audience and that’s a good thing. You’ll be able to personalize their customer journey and enable your marketing efforts to be more impactful.

Develop an effective and scalable content strategy

Some individuals have a love/hate relationship with content marketing. Anyone involved in the planning, creation, distribution, or measurement of content knows how time consuming it can be and organizational leaders know how expensive it can be. Life sciences companies spend more than $50 million on content each year. But it doesn’t need to be that way if you create an effective strategy that can scale.

Many content marketers focus on creating one piece at a time for one specific buyer persona. But it doesn’t make sense to publish something, promote it, not leverage or tweak it, and never look back at it. It’s not a smart investment and this approach often leads to a poor experience for your buyers, an overwhelming number of content assets, and cluttered content repositories with pieces that go unused.

It’s essential to have a documented strategy for creating and managing content and it’s a lot less time consuming than you think. Planning your content upfront and getting everyone on the same page within your organization will save you hours when it comes time to create the content.

Also, start thinking about how you can leverage your content to streamline resources and processes. How can you turn one piece of content into 5 different pieces? What about 10? See how I plan to leverage one speaking engagement and turn it into 10 or more different content pieces in my upcoming webinar.

Step outside of your comfort zone and try new asset types

In past years, healthcare and life sciences marketing tactics have been largely driven by traditional marketing methods. Television advertisements, direct mail, clinical studies—while some of these tactics still prove their value today, marketers must also incorporate digital marketing that includes inbound methodologies and aligns with your customer journey.

By further defining your buyer personas, you’ll learn about where and when they consume most of their information, allowing you to have a better understanding of what content asset types to utilize. Maybe some of your buyers prefer infographics, others prefer data-heavy studies, and some prefer one-pagers. The point is: try taking a chance on different content types because you never know what will speak to your buyers or what will create a competitive advantage for your organization.

Just remember that creating content isn’t a one-and-done process; it’s ongoing. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay. Without trying and failing and learning and growing, you’ll never know the world of possibilities or what creative ideas you’ll come up with next. Savor the process and try not to be too hard on yourself in the meantime.

Optimize your content mix for different channels

So far, we’ve discussed how to optimize your types of content, but what about optimizing the distribution channels for each piece? The usual suspects for distribution channels include email, social media, and paid advertising, to name a few. But how can you use one cohesive message, optimize the types of content, and then distribute the different components of the content pieces where it will resonate most with your buyers?

Investment in paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising and email marketing is predicted to account for 46% of all advertising by 2021. While this will certainly create brand awareness and generate leads, you need to be smart about where you’re investing your marketing dollars in 2018 to prove marketing’s value within your organization.

Eighty-nine percent of marketers have stated that a connected customer journey across all digital touchpoints and channels positively impacts revenue growth. This means that your prospective customers need to be a part of an ongoing engagement cycle where they grasp brand recognition for your organization and are given different types of content across your several distribution channels at different points in their buyer’s journey.

Measure the success of your content marketing programs

Marketers typically fall back on the typical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like link clicks, website traffic, bounce rates, conversions, email opens, etc. While these indicators are still important, how much is that really telling you? Are the number of downloads really conveying that a specific message is resonating with your buyers? Maybe so, but can you prove that those downloads have contributed to your organization’s revenue? Probably not.

Your VP or Chief Marketing Officer could care less about certain KPIs. Tracking your content marketing programs at a granular level isn’t proving the value your efforts have generated. You need to take a step back and evaluate how each piece of content is directly impacting the business from a big picture point of view.

Is this piece of content being utilized by your Sales team more often than others? Are prospective customers spending more time on a specific page or data point vs. another within your clinical study? From one piece of content, where are you taking your buyers next? Are you measuring the conversion rates at each interval?

To successfully prove marketing’s value, you need to make sure you have the data in place to do so. Join me for a webinar on Thursday, November 16th to learn more about the 5 tips above and to make your content strategy a force to be reckoned with in 2018.