what is content marketing, alternative medicine professionals, secret weapon

Use your imagination here and it might open up your mind to content marketing

Your best friend turns to you, looks deep in your eyes and says, “I have something to tell you”.

You can tell by the tone in their voice that nerves are clenching onto their neck and it’s squeezing the emotion into every syllable. Their hands shake as they wipe the uncomfortable feeling off of their mouth in that nervous way people do.

You want them to spit it out, but you’re also scared and just wait silently…

You step in a little bit closer to show them you’re emotionally invested and they can trust you. “you can tell me anyth…

SMACK!!

Someone walks between you and hits you with a slimy, smelly, wet 7 pound trout right across your unexpecting cheek.

That’s traditional advertising.

In the midst of life, businesses want to sell you stuff often unrelated to what you’re doing at the moment.

There’s a better way for you to communicate with potential clients, and it’s content marketing.

Content marketing is defined by Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute as:

… a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Now in plain English it mean’s you’re creating something, content, that is desirable for people to consume on it’s own merit. That way you can attract and retain communications with potential clients without selling anything(yet). The best content helps create an audience and followers that engage with you around an idea other than just your business. I’ll give you a tip. Your customers don’t care about your practice and don’t want you to talk about it. Take the stance of a consumer and think, “what’s in it for me?”, and then give them what they want.

Good content creates trust

Creating content, whether it’s a blog, videos, photos, infographics, research, and the list goes on, is a fantastic way to show expertise in an area. Not only does it simply display your intelligence but it adds a little something extra. There’s a heightened perception when you read someone’s name on a book, watch their face in a video, or hear them speak on a stage. The automatic perception is they are the expert. And so you should be! This association with expert status gives your audience a trust in your ability.

It also creates a 2-way (YES! 2-WAY) relationship and trust level that allows them to feel comfortable in making a purchase from you. Advertising is a “smack and dash” attitude, whereas content must be a “here this might help you with what you need, let me know if you have other questions I can answer” type of attitude. The digital space makes it so much easier to have back and forth interactions. This gives your audience a trust in your personality. Being overly helpful to the customer, before they even become a customer can create a wow factor that sticks in their mind like a terribly catchy pop song on the radio.

Even more than just comfortable, if you consistently deliver free valuable content they will want to buy from you.

This is because you have their attention for starters, but more importantly they feel you truly care about their needs and want to help them. Even if it’s for free. They will see the value they get for free is high. Then the value if they pay must be extraordinary! (Be sure not to disappoint here though. Continue to make it extraordinary and they’ll be a client for life and spread the word).

Take this statistic for example:

60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after viewing custom content on its site(Content+)

Content marketing is a journey

Success in this area does not happen overnight in the slightest. Content takes time, consistency, and dedication. It’s not a “campaign” in the traditional sense of marketing by which there would be a start and an end. It’s a fundamental change in your approach to communicating with clients. Some content types like video series, books, or webinars might seem like 1 time campaigns but the real results come in the repetition and incremental improvements made throughout.

The immediate payoff for your online marketing

Search engines will serve you clients on a silver platter if you have valuable and relevant digital content.

While you might not get a lot of viewers and paying clients right away, it does immediately affect your online marketing. Every word on a blog post, every picture and video is all indexed into search engines so when keywords are typed in, the most relevant and worthwhile webpages will show up. Hopefully that means you!

You do have the best service in your niche and location right? If you’re truly confident in that, you have an obligation to the people who really need you, to make yourself known to them and easily accessible.

I believe a blog is the best place to start with content marketing. They’re easy to set up, and the benefits stack on top of each other. It makes your website really come alive and stay alive on a consistent basis. All of your content is searchable by Google and other search engines, and if you incorporate useful and consistent keywords it will increase your traffic immensely. Comments on blogs allow 2-way conversations very easily, and they can be shared on social networks very easily. Here are some great ideas and stats on popularity for other types of content tactics if you’re ready to really dive into it.

most popular content marketing types used by businesses

Image courtesy of Marketo.com

Even though social media can be considered a type of content, I think the other forms are really the engine to social media.

Whether it’s a picture of your lunch or a video explaining the difference between acupuncture and acupressure, it’s all technically content. (Social is good for other things like customer service but that’s a different topic). The sharing ability of social networks give reach to your content that you won’t find anywhere else either. This is another huge reason you want high value content. Your audience will share your message for you if it’s compelling. Again the key is to focus on what’s in it for them.

Content marketing has been around for ages

All different kinds, from entertainment to straight information. I would argue that even the Roman Colosseum was a form of content marketing. Obviously tragic and I don’t agree with it, but it served as entertainment(content) in which the ruler could assert his power to achieve likeability(a profitable desired outcome). Just something to keep in mind when considering content marketing. It might be new to you, and the tools may be new, but it’s an old technique. The internet just makes it easier than ever.

So here’s your choice:

Pay to show an ad and get ignored most of the time(think smelly fish), or create value they will seek out, connect with and share with others. Okay it might not be that cut and dry, they really do work together well. But you can’t ignore the phenomenal spectrum of benefits content can bring you.

What’s the biggest thing stopping you from starting into or stepping up your content marketing? Technical knowledge, time, motivation? Go ahead and leave your comment in the section below.

– Joel