What's It Take to be a Great Content Marketer?

Randall Gerber, CEO, The Gerber Group

To be a great Content Marketer for a healthcare system, it takes a person a bit left-brained (stats, internet savvy, good researcher, understand medical issues) and a bit right-brained (creative, skillful storyteller, solid writing skills).

Granted, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to find all these attributes in one person. 

You can find a TEAM that includes all these attributes and the accompanying skills. It’ll take a talented manager to deal with a group that tries to meld right-brained and left-brained talents.  Assuming you are or can find that person, let’s look at each of the roles.

INTERNET SAVVY.  This knowledge includes a voracious appetite for the trends in Google, Facebook and other platforms.  It’s not just knowing what's happening out there today is Search and Content Management, but what might be happening in the future and being ready for it.

STATISTICIAN.  You Internet Savvy person can pull down numbers for you.  But there is a difference between data (a pile of numbers) and information.  You need to be able to determine which numbers are most important, what do they mean and what trends do they reflect.

UNDERSTANDS MEDICAL ISSUES.  Hospital and healthcare bloggers need to grasp the difference between a hysterectomy and a myomectomy; why some orthopedic surgeons favor an anterior hip replacement; what specialist should review the article on Pessaries or the difference between a stroke and a TIA.

GOOD RESEACHER.  To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “Not all sources are created equal.” Many sources have specific agendas.  If you’re going to look for information that can be used to support your physicians, know the difference. Also, don’t be ethnocentric about research.  Other countries may have valuable sources. 

CREATIVE.  Keep the blog interesting.  Use meaningful, interesting examples. Think about adding charts, images or video to increase stickiness for readers.

SOLID WRITING SKILLS.  It’s more than knowing where the commas go.  Or matching nouns and verbs.  It’s understanding the subtleties of “tone” and “style.”  It’s knowing that writing an 85-word print ad, a 118-word TV commercial, or a 900-word magazine article of 900 words all require a different approach than a 400-word blog.

SKILLFUL STORYTELLER.  A hospital blog shouldn’t be all numbers and procedures.  Create realistic characters.  Let them explain the issue.  For instance, Alexandra sits in waiting room, anxious to know whether her fibroids will prevent her from having children. What happens to her and the chances of having a family?

If you have all these attributes and skills, your future is assured.  If not, look to build a team (or make friends with people) that encapsulate as many of these as possible.

Good Content Marketing isn’t easy.  If it was, everyone could do it. And if they say it’s easy…then 1) they aren’t doing it right or 2) they’re working with only half a brain.

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