Content Marketing: A Practice, Not An Event

In a commercial environment driven by this month’s figures, it can be hard to think about next month, let alone commit to a multi-year plan.

Yet, if you want to experience content marketing success, that’s exactly what you must do.

Content marketing is a winner-takes-all game. If you only put in a mediocre or sporadic effort, you won’t simply get mediocre or sporadic results. You’ll get NO results. Either commit 100% from the outset, or don’t bother starting.

So where’s the good news?

If you’re willing to commit – to truly play the long game, and to see it through – you’ll have remarkably little competition. The field is yours for the taking.

It’s time to either get serious or get out. Either way is better than muddling along.

If you want to get serious, we’ll teach you where and how to start.

On this episode, we discuss:

  • The Five Pillars of Successful Content Marketing
  • The most common types of content life science companies produce, and why you absolutely shouldn’t
  • What you should be creating instead
  • Why 99% of content projects fail
  • How to achieve content marketing’s exponential growth curve

Transcript

Recorded Voice: Welcome to the Life Science Marketing Society podcast, bringing you best practices, advice, and insight from marketing experts from across the life science industry and beyond. To get more insight from the Life Science Marketing Society, please visit www.lifesciencemarketingsociety.org, and grab your free membership.

Harrison Wright: Hello, and welcome to the Life Science Marketing Society podcast. I am Harrison Wright.

Kenneth Vogt: And I’m Kenneth Vogt. And today, we’re going to consider a webinar that was entitled “How to Use Content to Create a Permanent Marketing Advantage”, brought to you by Dr. Nick Oswald from Bitesize Bio.

As you know, Nick is one of the founders of the Life Science Marketing Society. So, we have a rather a great fondness for him. But the fact is this is a topic, on which he is a giant. He is somebody who’s been there, done that, and can prove that it works.

And he’s done a very good job of describing the process he went through. Some of it was accidental, but that’s to your advantage. You don’t have to do the trial and error that Nick did. You can follow this same pattern and get the same kind of results far more quickly because he’s already mapped the way.

So, that being said, Harrison, what did you notice out there about his map to really make good use of content to give you an advantage in marketing?

Harrison Wright: You know, Ken, this is one of those presentations that were so comprehensive and so packed with detail. I found it especially difficult to pick out just one or two things for us to talk about today, but I did get there.

So, one of the things that really stood out to me was I’m looking at this conceptually here, not looking at the details of the how to, but in terms of the mindset that you have to adopt to be successful with content marketing.

It’s not an event; it’s a practice. This is something you have to have as a part of your daily life in your company that’s as automatic as breathing. Great example for me is some people talk about going on a diet.

You know, “I’m going to suffer in the short term to achieve some result.” Though, I there’s a mindset behind that one, and that’s never going to work in a long-term. If you need to be in a certain kind of shape for a certain event, okay, you can go on a diet.

But then, the event will pass, and you’ll go back to your old habits. And you’ll end up exactly in the same place you were before, or if not, worse.

Kenneth Vogt: Sure.

Harrison Wright: Which is quite a common pattern. You know, I know I’ve been there myself in the past, that’s for sure. The contrast to that is if you want to make a long-term change, you know, with your health, you don’t go on a diet.

You don’t go to the gym tomorrow. You adopt a healthy lifestyle. You change your habits. You change your thoughts. You change your behaviors. You change the way you think about food and exercise.

And it becomes just a routine part of your daily life in the same way that having a Monday night pizza might be now. Instead of a Monday night pizza, or it might be the Monday night gym session or the Monday night jiu-jitsu.

And eventually, you engrain these habits. And you get the result that you want, even when you’re not necessarily thinking of any specific result. You’re just doing the things as a practice. You’re exercising.

You’re eating the right things. You’re adopting habits and even sleep patterns that support the lifestyle that you want to have. And the side effect of that is you get the result that you want, not just at a specific point in time, but indefinitely for the rest of your days, as long as you keep up the practice.

And I think you need to consider content marketing in the same light. If your goal is that you need to have 1,000 leads in the next 3 months, content marketing is not going to do that for you, at least not in 3 months time.

It may well be possible to get 1,000 leads every 3 months for the remainder of your company’s lifecycle after you’ve built it up and after you’ve adopted it as a practice. But you can’t think about it in that way. You have to think about what is a ultimate long-term goal.

What is the practice and the discipline that we need to adopt, in order to continually obtain that goal month after month, year after year? Although, we can talk about tactics here, and we will. We have to look at a starting point.

I think that’s the most important. It’s not an event; it’s a discipline.

Kenneth Vogt: Sure. No, I think a lot of times when we’re thinking about what we can do next, so the first thing we look for is what’s the low-hanging fruit. And it doesn’t take long before you run out of low-hanging fruit.

And you can’t live on low-hanging fruit. Otherwise, it’s just this constant scramble that, “Whatever I did yesterday doesn’t matter. I got to start from scratch again today.” Whereas the idea here is to build something that will progressively get bigger and bigger and bigger, to the point where you don’t even care about low-hanging fruit because you’ve got a whole larder that’s full.

And you don’t have to scramble ever again. And that’s the thing about this. When you build up your content marketing the way that Dr. Oswald talks about here, you will get to that point where whatever it is you’re looking for, you want 1,000 leads this quarter, that’ll just be the automatic. It’ll just be what happens.

To get specific about this, one of the first things that I noticed was he talks about having a blog. Pretty obvious, most companies do. The problem is their focus is completely wrong. They don’t put the right content in the blog.

They don’t put content out there for the right reason. They’ve got to think in terms, not of, “What do we want to say to the world,” but, “What does the world want to hear”. And specifically, “What do the prospects that we’re after want to hear about?”

So, it means that you focus on search value. That is, you want to create content that answers the questions that people are searching for on the web that your favorite prospect is searching for on the web.

And then, you’ve got to turn it into something that answers their question. When they put in their search, and they see the link to your article, your blog post, that post better give them the answer they’re looking for, and not a sales pitch.

You know, not just what you want to say about it. But where they walk away feeling like, “That helped. That solved my problem. I can trust these people. They know what they’re talking about.” And that is far more valuable than just an impulse, “All right, fine, I’ll give them my e-mail address.”

You’ve got to establish not just your brand name with them, but your brand authority that you are the people to go to, to solve whatever problem that they have. And then, the final thing he talked about in focusing on the right kind of content, it’s content that’s evergreen.

You want to talk about things that are going to still be worth reading next year and the year after. And it’s true that a lot of things are fast moving. You know, there’s latest research results and stuff like that.

But that doesn’t have shelf life, and you got to keep doing it month in and month out. And you just got to keep cranking that stuff through, whereas there’s tons of fundamental information that can be put out there that’ll just keep delivering for you and will keep drawing in the right people.

And it’s a different way of thinking about things. And it’s a way your manager may not think about things, or your boss’s boss may not think about things. Your CEO may not think about things. You got to think about this.

And then, you need to champion this kind of thinking that, “We’re not going on a diet here. We’re getting healthy,” as you were saying.

Harrison Wright: I love the term “brand authority”. I think it just encapsulates the purpose of this so succinctly.

Kenneth Vogt: I’m with you.

Harrison Wright: One thing that also comes from that is when you’re engaged in content marketing, you have to think about competition in a different way. If you’re building your content plan, your competition isn’t necessarily the people who sell similar products to your customers.

The competition is the people that are writing for the same audience as you.

Kenneth Vogt: Right, right.

Harrison Wright: Your competition is who else is ranking on the first page of Google for the search results you want. They might be selling something completely different. I think it’s important to note that if you want to dominate search results and dominate with your content marketing efforts, it’s not just enough to be better than everybody else selling the same products as you.

You’ve got to be better than the people that are trying to reach the same audience as you. And they might be selling something completely different because no matter how much content is created on the web, which is growing exponentially, or whatever time period – I’m not sure, but there’s a lot of new content being created everyday – no matter how much of that happens, there’s only ever going to be one first page of Google.

Kenneth Vogt: Yeah, that’s right. The idea that you are competing against other people who are trying to reach the same audience is really important. It’s a shift in your thinking. You’re not just competing against the guy that sells a similar product to your product.

You’re competing against different solutions. Those solutions might just be information based. They might be service based. They might be product based. That is what you’re really wanting to come up against.

And you need to think about it differently. You can’t just get caught up in, “I want to talk about the features of our product,” because that doesn’t work in the long-term. It can get you a bump in the moment, but if you want something that’s going to endure and you want something that’s manageable…being in a sprint everyday is exhausting.

You want to be in something that’s more long-term, so that the work that you do this year is going to make your career better next year and even better the year after that. And you want to propagate that through your team.

You want to make your team have a nice, safe, comfortable place to continue to produce because otherwise, everybody burns out. We’re going a little bit away from what Nick was talking about here, but this is the result.

And he’s talking about what you can do to get the best possible result.

Harrison Wright: I think it’s worthwhile dwelling on the conceptual side of things here because it’s the foundation for everything else. And the way I see it is it’s always optimal to invest in something that has compounding results.

And if you look at your personal finances, what’s the better plan? Is it to do what a lot of people do, and spend your entire salary every month and more and rack up the credit cards? Or do you look at, you know, “Maybe I can take some portion of my salary and invest in real estate maybe.”

And then, in 20 years time, you’ll have this income stream from real estate that means that your work becomes optional, something you do because you want to do and not something that you have to do, because you invested earlier into creating something that will pay far greater dividends in the long-run, rather than just consuming what you got that day or that month.

And if you look at it from the perspective of content marketing, you take pay-per-click advertising, for example. There’s definitely a place for that. Companies have made many fortunes on the back of Google AdWords, that’s for sure.

But you’re only getting out what you put in right now. You pay X amount, and you get Y dollars out if you’re tracking your conversion ratios properly and you’ve got everything optimized. But you’re never building anything for the future.

Just in that specific example, you might – you start to build something for the future if with your ads you’re also collecting e-mail addresses, in addition to sales right now. You know, then you’re building the asset, in terms of an e-mail list.

But the ultimate form of asset building is content. And if you think, you know what I said before, you’ll only ever have one page one of Google. You might think about that, and you might think about the competition that’s out there.

And it might be quite daunting. “Wow, that’s a big hurdle to climb.” That same thing that’s daunting is also a great opportunity because a lot of people aren’t willing to make that investment. And if you are willing to do it, you know, once you’ve built that moat, the better and better you get at it and the longer you’re in the game.

And it really is just about staying in the game.

Kenneth Vogt: Right, right.

Harrison Wright: The longer you stay in the game, the harder it’s going to be for anyone else to come and compete with you. And the more someone who is thinking of setting up a company in a similar space to you, what’s going to be more daunting to them than seeing your name everywhere on the internet?

“Oh, how can we possibly compete with these guys?”

Kenneth Vogt: Right. And everybody started from ground zero. If you are seeing competition that looks intimidating that way, it’s because they did this. And the thing about building content is it works cooperatively.

So, when you put out a quality piece of content and Google notices it, that’s great. When you put out a second one and Google notices it, they start paying attention. And it actually rate your past stuff a little higher.

So, when you come out with that third piece of quality content and it’s good stuff, they rate piece number one and number two a little higher. And it just keeps building. And then, you finally get to the point where you have search engine authority.

That is you are a trusted source of information. Now Google rates your new content highly right out of the gate. And we’ve all seen this. You go and you look out there, and here’s something that’s brand new and it’s on the first page of Google.

How did they do that? Well, they did that because they’ve established their reputation with the Google algorithm that, “When these people talk, we should listen.” And it’s just done by that methodical effort.

You know, you don’t get to be that all-star athlete because of today’s workout. You are an all-star athlete because you’ve been working out for some time. And it’s the same thing with this. And it just becomes your regular routine.

You switch your thinking to the kind of content that’s going to work at Google and the kind of content that’s going to work for my prospects. And you keep putting it out. And you keep putting out that quality.

You keep establishing something here that now becomes an intimidating force to your competition. And the simple answer is, you know, it’s like, you know, as the adage goes, “How do you eat an elephant? Well, one bite at a time.” But you need to start eating.

That is the message that Nick has been putting out in this webinar. And he has the data in it to prove what he’s saying. When you look at what he’s talking about and the millions and millions of annual visitors that Bitesize Bio has now, and you can do that with your company too.

The kind of content that’s on Bitesize Bio, anybody else, you know, in the scientific field could be doing too. There’s no reason that you couldn’t build the same kind of monster that Bitesize Bio is on your company’s website.

Harrison Wright: That’s exactly it, Ken. One of the ways I think about this that might be quite helpful to some people is if you think about your content marketing program as a business in itself and think about your content assets as products, in an ideal world at least, when your company is developing new products, marketing new products, or…theoretically, you’re thinking about, “What is the problem that this product solves, and how does that fit into the overall theme that the bigger scale problem that are company solves, overall?”

And if you think about it, your content, in the same way, I don’t think you can go too far wrong because with each piece of content, you’ll be thinking, “What problem are we solving for the reader? And how are we going to solve it better than any other results that exist on this topic right now?”

And then, you can tie that into the theme of your overall content program. Now, if you’re making sure, as far as possible, that every piece of content you’re producing is not just valuable, but relatively valuable compared to what else is in existence, eventually you’re going to get it right.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of things you can do to accelerate your success. But the important concept here is you need to think, in terms of solving problems, not in terms of, like you said earlier, Ken, “This is what I want to talk about.”

Kenneth Vogt: Exactly. And it’s a different mindset than what a lot of management teams think. And we have to champion that. Something that’s a huge problem in the life science market is we have brilliant science and not so brilliant commercial work. It’s a shame.

So, we’re the people on the commercial side of the business. It’s up to us to bring that same kind of quality to our side of the work, and help the scientists recognize that this notion that, “Build a better mousetrap, and they will come,” no they won’t.

Help people solve their problems, and they will come to your mousetrap. That is what we have to do. And this is not just about doing a better job. This is also career building for you. This is how you get noticed by upper management, because you’re bringing true professionalism to this, and in many cases, educating them that there is this level of professionalism on the commercial side that they thought might be excusive to the scientific side.

Harrison Wright: Absolutely. I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that. I think we covered the concepts here. If you want to get the details, the best thing to do is to watch a presentation.

Kenneth Vogt: Absolutely. He had a lot more to say. And it was entitled “How to Use Content to Create a Permanent Marketing Advantage”, and it was an excellent presentation. And you should go listen to it.

Harrison Wright: And you can do that by visiting the Life Science Marketing Society website. And the specific link that will take you directly to this presentation is bit.ly/lsms.nick. So, you do have to sign up, but it’s a free membership.

So, you just put in your details there. You will get to see Nick’s whole presentation, and also all the other great content that’s on there, as well. So, we’re going to say goodbye here. This is Harrison Wright.

Kenneth Vogt: And this is Kenneth Vogt. Thank you for listening to the presentation, and we’ll look forward to speaking to you again.

Recorded Voice: To get more insight from the Life Science Marketing Society, please visit www.lifesciencemarketingsociety.org and grab your free membership.

[End of Audio]

Photo Credit: John Triffo

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