Content Marketing For Dentists: 4 Steps To Creating An Amazing Strategy
I’ve talked about “content marketing” before, and how valuable it can be to your business. I’ve explained how I use content marketing for my business. Yet many people are still confused about how content marketing applies within their dental online marketing strategy. So today we’re going to give you concrete ways in which you can develop a content marketing strategy for your dental practice. While we will also briefly talk about why content marketing is important, the bulk of this post guides you through the process of creating your strategy. Hopefully, after reading this post, you'll no longer wonder: "Does content marketing for dentists really work?"
Let’s Talk About Content Marketing for Dentists
Many people think content marketing has to do with blogging or being active on social media. It’s so much more than that. Yet it’s also so much simpler than that.
Your patients have learned to tune out traditional marketing. Even online ads don’t have the click through rate that they used to because we’ve gotten so adept at ignoring them or use extensions to block them.
Content marketing is all about creating relevant content that provides value to your potential patients so they recognize you as an expert in your field, and therefore are willing to do business with you.
What content marketing is not is creating a lot of sub-par content on various platforms and then incessantly promoting it. That’s spam.
What content marketing is not is creating a lot of sub-par content
“Good content marketing makes a person stop…read… think… behave… differently.” – Content Marketing Institute
In a nutshell, you are educating your reader – who is a potential patient – on a topic. You aren’t pitching your product or service to them directly. You create relevant content that drives traffic to your business, (usually to your dental website) rather than chasing clicks with paid advertising.
How Do You Develop a Content Marketing Strategy?
So now you know what content marketing is. How do you develop a content marketing strategy? We’re going to break this down into easy to follow steps.
Step 1: Decide on Content Types
First, you need to decide the type of content that works for your business. There are many different ways in which I use content marketing for my business. I have a blog, ebooks, videos, and even a podcast. But there are many other types of content you could look into.
Infographics present data or information in a visual manner. They get shared up to three times more than other forms of content. While an infographic is a great way to share data or research, they are quite expensive unless you have an in-house resource. These can be a great way to share industry research in a visual manner.
Nearly everyone has heard of memes. Easy to make. Funny to share. They goviral easily. And with online meme generators, you don’t need a degree in graphic design to make one.
Your entire content strategy shouldn’t revolve around memes though because they typically aren’t providing educational value to your readers, but you can use them once in a while to add some humor to your marketing.
There are so many ways you can use video to market your practice. From making a video of your clinic, to videos showcasing your staff…the list is endless.
Posting them on YouTube and Vimeo is a great way to target a different type of internet user. This is one of the content types I use myself, and can’t recommend enough.
4. In-Depth Guides
Think of an epic blog post, one that covers a topic in extensive detail. The reader shouldn’t have to go to another source because you’ve explained it all, and done it so well that they want to share the information with others.
This can be posted on your blog, website, or even used to harvest email addresses. But the guide needs to be top-tier content.
5. Opinion Posts
A great way to share your opinions on changes in the dental industry, establish your position, and create some new content.
Since these types of posts can easily become long “rants”, make sure you outline your position, have research on hand to back it up, and then start writing.
How do people search online? They go to a search engine, and type in, “How do I…” followed by their query.
One great way to provide value – and attract new readers – is by answering just these questions within your niche.
“How do I take care of my braces?”
“How to take care of my teeth after (insert procedure)?”
You get the drift.
Create how-to guides or videos that clearly answer the question. This is both easy to do, and a great way to create relevant, valuable content.
We’ve all seen these. “10 things you need to know about auto repair”, “15 things you didn’t know about internet security”. List-icles (list-style articles), are so popular that even print magazines use them, so why not you?
To get started on one, just pick a topic, and then start listing down the ideas within it, for example, “5 ways to whiten teeth naturally”.
8. Link pages
This is a blog post where you provide links to other relevant resources on the Internet. Adding a blurb as an introduction to each item on the list is a good way to provide some context to the reader, and also prevents the page from looking like a long list of links.
An ebook is the longest type of content you can write, but the ROI on this can be huge. Most ebooks are downloadable, usually for free in exchange for an email address, but you can certainly self-publish yours if you want. It strengthens your authority in the field, and is a great way to share your knowledge with others.
Don't forget a Kindle ebook. I wrote one last year, and it wasn't too complicated, and didn't take too long. Check it out by clicking on the book below.
10. Case Study
This is a great way to showcase your patients. It’s a way of explaining what you do, and the services you offer, in a way that is relatable to the viewer. You will need consent from your patient, of course, but you should also spend some time developing the outline for how you will present the case study. Video or audio can be a great way to add some depth to it.
Don't be intimidated by the word 'podcast'. They actually are quite easy to create!
All you need is a good microphone and some basic software. If you can get a transcript of the podcast and put it up on your website, you’ll be able to add to the SEO value as well.
You can even embed it on your website so people can listen to your podcast on your services pages, homepage, blog, or wherever you want. Check it out:
By no means is this an exhaustive list of content types, but we've covered some of the more popular content formats, and this is a good list to pick a few that work for you.
You might not have the budget for Infographics (these can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars to create), for example, but maybe you can commit to a monthly podcast? Or if your entire content marketing strategy is focused on written content, that’s fine too, but you can divide it into different types of content over the course of the month.
Step 2: Generate Some Ideas
Now that you’ve picked out the content types you’re going to focus on, let’s look into how you will generate ideas. Coming up with actual topics/titles is the hard part as you can’t randomly choose topics that you think might interest your readers.
So how do you go about generating ideas? Here are a few ways.
1. Ask your patients
Use your already established mailing list to ask patients what kinds of content they would be interested in receiving, and the topics that interest them. You might not get a 100% reply rate, but even 2 ideas will be better than none. It’s a good way to establish a starting point for your topic research.
2. Use Google Analytics
Mining Google Analytics for ideas is one of the most popular ways to generate ideas. Track the pages on your website that get the most views and traffic, and look at the how different posts are shared on social media. Understand what drives people to your website, what keeps them there, and replicate it.
3. Read the comments
Go through comments on your blog posts, Yelp reviews, Facebook page and even Twitter. These offer great insight into what people who are already interacting with you online, think of your services. Address pain points, questions, and concerns in your content.
4. Use other online tools
Once you have a list of topics you want to cover, categorize them based on the content type that works best for them. Some might be better off covered in short videos, some might need an in-depth guide, and even others can be covered in a number of ways.
Step 3: Establish a Calendar
You’ve picked the content types you can create; you’ve got your topics. Now you’re going to plug them into your content calendar. Wondering what a content calendar looks like? Well here you go:
You can pick up your own content calendar template at CoSchedule.
1. Choose a format
Use any calendar format that is comfortable for you. It can be as simple as a printed 1-page calendar or a WordPress plugin. What’s important is that it’s easily shareable with everyone involved in the content creation process, and that you follow it.
2. Mark Important Events
Start by marking all holidays, and events relevant to your industry. It’s easy to create content themed around a holiday, such as “3 tips for dental hygiene on the go” during the holiday season.
3. Pick a Frequency
Decide on a number of posts per content type. This is different for every practice and even content type. There is no “right” formula. However, aiming for 1-2 blog posts per week, one podcast every two weeks and one video every two to three months is a great starting point.
4. Establish deadlines
Mark the topic being covered, and the content type, on the calendar. Assign responsibilities across your team, and work backwards from each deadline. A video will take longer to produce, so you might want to get started on it a few weeks in advance. A blog post can be written much faster, so you can set aside X amount every week to work on those.
Step 4: Promote, promote, promote
You wrote a great blog post. One worthy of a Pulitzer (let’s assume). But if no one reads it, what’s the point. Right?
Don't forget to promote your content. Rarely does content get eyeballs and gain traction simply because it is good!
No, that's not how it works.
You'll need to promote every piece of content you produce. And when I say promotion, I do not mean clicking the “share to Twitter” button on your blog.
Here's a screenshot inside Hootsuite's dashboard:
As soon as you publish your content, you can set it up to share it across your Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn page (if you have one). Share it on any relevant email lists you have, and also make sure you share it on relevant LinkedIn groups (where possible).
With tools like Buffer, you can then set when you want these posts to be re-shared. Essentially, the same content gets shared again (a week later, a month later…) in a different way. A great way to re-share it is by taking a quote from your post, and sharing that as an image or with a link to the original post.
Respond to all social media replies and blog comments. Thank people for sharing and re-tweeting your content. Encourage others to re-tweet it
Sound complicated? Perhaps on the surface, but once you dive into it, it really isn't.
Following these steps, one by one, as laid out, can help you develop a first-class content marketing plan that you can easily follow. You don’t have to devote 10s of hours every week for successful content marketing when it can be done in just a few hours a week.
Before we finish this post, here is a great infographic detailing content marketing trends.
Alright, let’s hear from you. Is there anything else we can address to help you develop a solid content marketing plan? Leave us your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll be sure to get back to you! Need help getting online? Let us help. Pick up the Five Part Series: The Beginners Guide to Getting Online for Healthcare Professionals.