From healthcare content to Olympic tweeting bans – content marketing trends

Why healthcare content needs intensive care

B2B healthcare marketers are experiencing a high effort-to-reward ratio when it comes to healthcare content, and the strain is starting to show. doctor_writing_medical_report_iStock_Small

According to the 2016 HIMSS Media Content Marketing Survey,  74% of healthcare marketers intend to increase their content production this year, but only a tiny 4% rate their current efforts as “highly effective”. What is going wrong?

The answer would seem to lie in marketers’ priorities:

  • 58% said their top priority was lead generation
  • 17% prioritised thought-leadership content
  • 15% focused on brand awareness
  • 7% prioritised lead nurturing

This mindset fails to recognise that neither healthcare nor content marketing are quick-win areas. Trust, authority and education are what’s at the heart of successful B2B healthcare content. Focusing mainly on lead generation at the expense of thought-leadership, brand awareness and lead nurturing misses the point of content marketing.

In a high value industry with a long sales cycle, such as B2B healthcare, it would be naïve to think that a valuable contract would come about simply because the prospect downloaded an ebook, for example.

Chris Sheen, head of marketing at SaleCycle, admitted that his company’s lead generation focus led to the failure of 80% of their B2B content. This only changed when they decided to “focus less on the number of blogs we’re posting and more on the impact of those blogs themselves.”

Marketing strategists must therefore come up with imaginative and engaging healthcare content ideas. The priority should always be to build a loyal community of readers by publishing a full range of educational, informative and interesting content that establishes your brand as the ‘go to’ source of information in your niche. Lead generation will be a natural by-product of this approach, alongside thought-leadership, brand awareness and lead nurturing. After all, why settle for one when you can have them all?!

Email marketing just got a bit more interesting

The KISS mantra (Keep it Simple, Stupid) is the default option for most content marketers. However, new research from Touchstone suggests this simplistic approach might actually damage your email_inboxemail marketing performance.

The virtual subject line testers combined data from two related indices (the Coleman–Liau index and Automatic Readability index) to assess and categorise the complexity of email marketing content into one of three subsections:

  • Suitable for ages 5 – 8 (e.g. “Big food savings”)
  • Suitable for ages 9 – 14 (e.g. “You qualify! Claim your subscriber bonus today”)
  • Suitable for undergraduate university students (e.g. “Fast. Tasty. Nutritious. Our scrumptious salads will leave you wanting more”)

Though received content marketing wisdom demands we aim for the simplest possible option, the outcome of this study showed that engagement increased in line with language complexity. The category that received highest average open rate, click rate and click-to-open rate was the undergraduate student content group, followed by the 9 – 14 age group.

Flying in the face of received wisdom, this study shows that – in an ever more congested digital environment – people welcome a bit of colour, complexity and originality in their email marketing content. Try split-testing a couple of subject lines of varying complexity in your next campaign, and see what happens!

You’re banned from tweeting about the Olympic Games: here’s why

The Olympic Games is the height of athletic competition. However, major sponsors have taken steps to make sure that event-related promotions remain a one-horse race.Olympic_games_Rio

If you’re just a regular ‘José Bloggs’, then you can get away with sending out Olympic related posts on social media till you’re blue (or green) in the face. But, if there’s even the tiniest smidgen of commercial interest, you might just end up staring down the barrel of a cease and desist order.

It all comes down to little-known ‘Rule 40’, which the IOC defines as follows:

“Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, team official or other team personnel who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”

To help prevent you from getting sued when tweeting about the Olympics, here’s a list of all the phrases you’ll need to avoid hashtagging until this unholy lycra-thon has come to pass:

  • ‘Olympic’ (including simulations, e.g. ‘Aqualympics’)
  • ‘Olympian’
  • ‘Olympiad’
  • ‘Team [country]’
  • ‘Future Olympian’
  • ‘Gateway to Gold’
  • ‘Go for the Gold’
  • ‘Going for the Gold’
  • ‘Let the Games Begin’
  • ‘Paralympic’
  • ‘Paralympiad’
  • ‘Road to Rio’
  • ‘Rio 2016’
  • ‘Summer’ (in certain circumstances, e.g. ‘Summer Games’)

Staying the right side of the IOC might be complex enough to become an event in its own right. But, this is no reason to cut the Olympics out of your summer content plan altogether. Just remember the phrases to avoid and continue to use that attention to your advantage.