How to write effective B2B content for digital health audiences
When creating B2B marketing content for digital health audiences, it’s easy to get caught up in the process and forget the core purpose of what you are trying to achieve. Admittedly, this problem isn’t exclusive to digital health but in an industry that isn’t exactly flush with #trending subject areas and national news headlines, when B2B content marketing is done badly, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Take a glance at LinkedIn or Twitter (seriously, do it now). What you’ll see is a stream of content from digital health suppliers serving little-to-no purpose, other than creating the illusion of being “seen”. But what if we were to step back for a moment?
Instead of getting caught up in the process of churning out content for the sake of meeting arbitrary posting targets, ask yourself: what value is this one piece of content adding to my business?
What makes an effective piece of content marketing?
All B2B content marketing outputs should be created with this in mind, taking into consideration the full B2B content cycle – from understanding your audience, to creating and distributing content. If you don’t commit to this process, you aren’t fulfilling your content marketing potential. Or to put it simply, you aren’t reaching your digital health target audience.
That’s why at Silver Buck when we begin working with clients, who express a desire to be recognised by C-suite digital health leaders, we start at the very beginning. To maximise the impact of your B2Bmarketing content, we need to understand your company on a granular level. Otherwise, we would be failing you as your PR and marketing partner.
Once we’ve done that, we build marketing content that connects to their digital health audience. Here’s a step by step guide to how we do that
Step 1 – Know your target audience
Good B2B marketing content starts with your audience. We actively avoid the trap of basing content strategies on keyword research because, while it may please the Google ranking overlords, it will positively repel your target audience.
By starting with keyword research, instead of writing good content that your target audience is interested in reading, you end up writing content based on what your competitors want their target audience to read. How many times have you read an article from a digital supplier explaining why their product is better than their competitors? Is it designed by clinicians for clinicians? Is it innovative without any real evidence? No, it’s boring.
The reality is, your audience wants answers to questions that are difficult to answer. They want access to the specific and detailed knowledge you and your team have learned from digital transformation projects – the how to go along with the what. That isn’t to say SEO isn’t important, but that you should consider it part of content marketing, rather than synonymous with it.
Step 2 – Find out what your audience is interested in
Ask your audience
It sounds a little obvious, but if you want to find out what your audience is interested in, why don’t you try… asking your audience? Interviewing your target audience is a good place to start, and with the majority of C-suite digital health leaders contactable on LinkedIn and/or Twitter, engaging with them isn’t as difficult as you might think. If that fails, read through your target audience’s social media activity and you’ll get a pretty good idea of their challenges, frustrations and insight into what drives them anyway.
Ask your team
Look for the people in your team who most closely resemble your digital health target audience, and find out what interests them. If you are reading this article, you more than likely work with former NHS employees – use them to your advantage. At Silver Buck, for example, we host bi-monthly meetings with our advisory board (the Silver Buccaneers) to learn more about industry trends and our client’s target audiences, or to broker meetings between our advisory board and clients. Sometimes the answer to creating compelling content marketing is right under your nose.
Ask the experts
If your organisation employs an expert in the subject matter you’re interested in, speak with them. If not, find an external expert instead – the kind of people your target audience would love to hear from – and ask for their opinions. For example, if you are writing content about EPR convergence, you might want to speak with a Chief Digital Information Officer (CDIO) of an Integrated Care System (ICS).
Ask your sales team
Nobody speaks with your customers more than your sales teamso havingan open line of communication with your sales team is very important. This will help you to learn what is at the top of your audience’s mind, and gain insights into their questions, pain points and any objections they may have.
By aligning your sales with your content marketing, you are making the job of your sales team easier. Good content should be as helpful for your sales team as it is for your audience.
Step 3 – Write engaging content
Right, so you’re armed with information, a series of unique perspectives and the audience insights you need to create content – now what? It’s time to write. A fundamental part of writing effective B2B copy is writing with a purpose. So to begin with, think about the core message(s) you want to get through to your digital health audience.
Once you’ve established your primary objective, take a stance, don’t be afraid to be controversial and make sure your message is consistent and on point. But above all else, don’t over complicate your writing by trying to sound clever. Digital health is already awash with jargon and convoluted language and, although you’re writing for an informed audience, it is important to communicate concisely, in plain English. Good content is either engaging or informative. Great content is both. Follow George Orwell’s 5 tips for effective writing and you won’t go far wrong.
Step 4 – Promote and distribute your content
B2B content marketing in the the digital health space leaves much to be desired. More often than not, content promotion and distribution looks like this: “Here is a generic statement about X. Did you know that 89% of clinicians think Y? Read our latest blog post to find out more. (Link in comments).”
What’s wrong with that? I hear you ask. For starters, if you’re posting B2B content in this format and style, you almost certainly aren’t driving optimum-levels of engagement. To produce effective social content, don’t just copy and paste parts of a blog into the body of a post and post a link in the comments, instead promote ideas in the blog and try to spark a debate amongst your audience instead.
Make your content work harder. Generate open-ended questions, promote the core ideas and themes in your piece, and take the time to curate longer-form LinkedIn posts and Twitter threads. In short, don’t be lazy.
Step 5 – See the results
Follow steps 1 through to 4, and it won’t be long before you see the fruits of your content marketing labour. Not only will your target audience be aware of your content, they’ll be actively engaged with it, which is exactly what you set out to achieve.