Eighty-nine percent (89%) of B2B health care marketers intend to produce the same amount or more content this year versus last year, according to the 2016 HIMSS Media Content Marketing Survey. Does the investment in content marketing signal that it’s been a successful tactic for health care marketers? Unfortunately, not yet. Only 4% of the health care marketers surveyed believe their content marketing programs are extremely successful despite the fact that 85% have a content strategy. So why do they plan to continue to invest in content? Quite simply, the rest of B2B marketers are making good progress: 62% say they have been much more or somewhat more successful with content marketing than a year ago (CMI 2017 B2B Content Marketing report). They attribute the success to producing higher quality content more efficiently and their ability to develop or adjust their content strategy.

To achieve the same levels of content marketing success, B2B health care marketers need to play catch up and fast. Here are three strategies to help:

  1. Shifting the mindset

The biggest shift for health care marketers may need to be mindset. A look at the top challenges surfaced by health care marketers in 2016 reveals a focus on content production: how to make it engaging, how to include content variety and how to produce it consistently. Although those efforts are important, are health care content marketers too focused on being good at content production and not focused enough on the good content marketing can do?

Success with content marketing shouldn’t be defined by how much or which kind of content is produced, but rather the impact it has on business.

A recent article by Newscred reflects the shift in mindset that needs to happen. Experts point to a new era of content marketing that’s focused on performance and driving business results – one where content marketers no longer think of themselves just as publishers, but rather drivers of revenue. To be successful, health care marketers need elevate the role of content marketing to be part of the overall business strategy and redefine its success by how it impacts sales and contributes to ROI.

  1. Planning ahead and giving it time

Content marketing isn’t a quick fix. That may not be good news for health care marketers caught in the space between documenting a strategy and delivering results, but it’s true. Not only does it take time to produce content that drives results, its SEO value takes time to kick in and leads may require many points of contact prior to conversion. These results can take weeks and sometimes months.

But there is a silver lining: content marketing is one of the few marketing tactics with long-term, compounding results. Over time, quality content creates a cycle of attracting visitors and inbound links, raising site authority, driving more traffic and impacting sales. Regular SEO tweaks can help amplify results, but it will still take time. Factoring this time into the strategy is important for health care marketers.

  1. Putting the right people and process in place

Just as the strategic use of content marketing has taken a leap into the future, so have the requirements for content marketing teams. No longer is this the task of rogue marketers or interns. Today, content marketing that contributes to an organization’s success requires a team with a broad range of skills – strategic thinking, marketing, writing, editing, analytics, promotion, optimization and more. Perhaps more importantly, it requires a process that fosters collaboration across departments, is responsive in real-time and easily scalable. These aren’t easy tasks for any organization, and sometimes a company’s business goals are best served by turning to outside content marketing experts like Media Logic.

No longer is content marketing a “nice to have” for health care marketers, nor is it enough to just be counting visitors and pageviews. Health care content marketing needs to be part of the bigger strategy, and health care marketers need to measure success by the impact of the content they produce, not its volume.