Content Marketing in Today’s Times for Senior Living and Care Providers

This blog focuses on the heightened interest and buzz surrounding content marketing within the Senior Living and Care sector. Since the onset of COVID-19, these businesses have been capitalizing on content marketing. It is on every marketer’s radar.

Act without a Plan

Astonishingly, the Content Marketing Institute reports a whopping 63% or nearly 2 out of 3 B2B marketers today utilize content marketing without an overarching content marketing strategy and plan. As an early adopter of content marketing, I too initially was guided by the misconception that content marketing is publishing blogs, videos, podcasts, webinars, white papers, infographics and more. However, I soon learned that working diligently to develop, sometimes curate, publish, and distribute various types of information on a regular basis to drive action from my target audience was a lot of work and yielded less than desirable results.

Plan to Act

What was wrong? Creating and publishing content without a content marketing strategy as the foundation to drive action from a target audience IS NOT content marketing, it IS merely content. Without a content marketing strategy and plan as guiding us, we are strictly publishing “stuff”.

The Success Factor

A content marketing strategy is the difference between strategy vs. scattered tactics consuming valuable time and resources, and between desired outcomes vs. underwhelming results. To be successful, everything we create, curate, publish, and distribute online must fall under a content marketing strategy or ‘umbrella’ that is thoughtfully formulated to drive desired results from our respective target audience.

Gaining Control through Content

While content marketing is certainly not new, its buzz has been accelerated since the onset of COVID-19 because most businesses were forced to move quickly to marketing content digitally. It is here to stay as an essential component of digital marketing. Why?  Because content marketing allows us as the marketer to be in control of our brand, and turn it into a valuable, trustworthy resource.

What Really is Content Marketing?

While like most, you may have already adopted some form of content marketing, let us pause briefly to ensure we are on the same page when it comes to this term. What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation, production, and publication of materials in a digital format that brings your business to your target audience and influences them to act in a desired manner. While some content is published for non-digital consumption, content marketing primarily refers to digital platforms.

A Strategy to Content Marketing

Now that we’ve defined content marketing, let’s look at what a content marketing strategy actually is. It is the overarching bridge that gets us from where we are now (point A) to where we desire to be (point B). And, while some tactics can and may move us in the right direction, an undisciplined approach of chasing tactics will only get us so far. A content strategy will get us over the finish line (point B).

Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

What makes up a content marketing strategy?  Let’s turn it now more directly to you and your business. It starts with the definition of your specific goal and purpose. More importantly, where and how your goal and purpose intersect with your target market’s needs, desires and solutions.  It requires specifically:

Defining your goal and purpose:
-What are you intending to accomplish through content marketing?
-Are you looking to grow your audience, build awareness and authority presence, develop qualified leads?
-What is your WHY factor?

The WHY Factor
Developing a content marketing strategy starts by answering these three questions. I find many businesses struggle with the third…defining the WHY factor.  Why are you in the business you’re in?  Once you answer this question, your opportunity is to make your unique WHY factor resonate in your content marketing strategy, plan, and tactics.  Every piece of content you share needs to further emphasize your unique WHY factor.

From Why to For Whom
With a clear understanding of your WHY, you can now turn your attention to FOR WHOM? Who are the people (the audience) you are benefiting? What do you know about them? Do you truly understand their needs, pain points, desires, and the ideal way to target and reach them?

Where the Two Shall Meet
Assuming you have now answered the WHY and the FOR WHOM, you are now ready to answer the HOW factor. How are you going to deliver results while achieving your strategic aim? The HOW factor considers the medium, distribution channel(s), and frequency of your content.

Preferred Content Mix
While your target audience will be unique, as marketers we need to learn and consider the kind of content preferred by each specific audience. According to HubSpot, video is now the most common format in content marketing, overtaking blogs and infographics.

What is your target audience’s preferred method of content?  We cannot assume that video is, perhaps they prefer audio or written content instead.  Discovering which content or mix of content is ideal for your audience allows you to produce the right form of content aligned to your specific target audience’s preference.

Preferred Channel Mix
With the content or content mix selected, the decision moves to what distribution channels will most likely reach your target audience.  Once you discover this, informed decisions can be made on which channels to USE and which ones NOT to use.

For some, it may be only one or just a few social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, podcasts or blogging networks.  For others, it may be emails, newsletters, downloadable content via a pdf.  Your decision on distribution lies with the channel(s) that your target audience prefers and regularly uses.

Frequency Preference
How often is ideal for creating and publishing content? It depends on a few things.  The first consideration is your audience and the type of content they prefer.  The second is your own ability to either do it yourself or hire out to engage the resources to develop and publish meaningful content in the right format on the optimal frequency schedule.

The What: The Content
Last, but certainly not least…the WHAT factor.  This is what the content actually is and what it contains. The WHAT factor of your content strategy is at the nexus or sweet spot where your own goals and the goals of your target audience intersect.

In considering the WHAT factor of your content strategy, it is important to develop a content mix of rank-worthy content and link-worthy content.  While a discussion on rank- and link-worthy content lends itself to a dedicated blog, the ‘net-net’ of this is that your content strategy and plan must contain a mix of rank-worthy and link-worthy content to help you increase organic traffic and build brand awareness and presence.

Rank-worthy & Link-worthy Content

Rank-worthy content is content created with the goal of ranking well in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Rank-worthy content increases organic traffic to your website, while building brand awareness and brand authority and presence.

Link-worthy content is equally important.  It is often referred to as content that earns backlinks. Backlinks are not easy to get, so having a strategy devoted to building high-quality backlinks is necessary to scaling growth. Link-worthy content earns backlinks because it is viewed as engaging and appealing content.

The Lasting Impact of COVID-19

This pandemic has been going on for so long that it has and continues to ‘re-wire’ our target audience behavior and motivations in many unexpected ways. As marketers, we cannot assume anything and must reconsider everything when it comes to marketing.

These changes in habits, attitudes, and values certainly impact a content marketing strategy. If you think you know your target audience, please think again. 2021 is a time for us as marketers to engage fully in listen, learn and discover mode. In doing so, we will be positioned to create a content marketing strategy aligned to our specific target audience in 2021 and going forward.

Desired Outcomes Take Time

Finally, as I often must still remind myself and share with clients, content marketing takes time. In fact, it usually takes six months to a year before seeing any significant traction and milestones. Yet, like most successful marketing investments, a solid content marketing strategy and plan will provide returns that continue to multiple over time. The more strategic and higher quality that the content is, the higher the returns will be.

Need some help? Just let us know.

Marketing Matters based in Stamford, CT in Fairfield County serves diverse businesses and organizations including providers of healthcare, senior living and care in CT, NY, NJ and throughout the US. We help clients across the marketing spectrum from gaining research and insights, strategizing, planning, traditional and digital marketing and communications, and enabling sales to drive growth and success in today’s evolving market.  For questions or to learn more, contact us by phone at 203.329.7773 or online.