Key takeaways in this post:

  • A content strategy helps businesses connect with people who are interested in what they offer.
  • A good content strategy helps a business achieve its goals while giving people what they want.
  • A content strategist can guide you toward what works and away from what doesn’t.
  • While content strategists can add value at any point, involving them from the start of a project is most effective.

Content strategy may seem like a buzz phrase — but it’s a discipline with a long history. And digital content strategy has been “trending” for well over a decade. Needless to say, content strategy has staying power. And for good reason. A well-thought-out content strategy can align your healthcare business goals with the wants and needs of your consumers. That’s where a content strategist comes in.

At WG Content, we’ve seen a growing need for content strategy partnerships among our clients.

I recently sat down with content strategists Nikki Breen and Stella Hart to learn how they define content strategy and where it can have the most value.

They also offered six tips for avoiding content creation mishaps. Read on for my Q&A with our content strategists.

Nikki: It was an odd progression for me. I was working at a healthcare think tank as an editor and was around a lot of the content. I then moved to a large healthcare system where I did a lot of marketing work and project coordination and ended up leading oncology digital strategy. I then moved outside healthcare and into a B2B content strategist position.

Stella: I started in a role right out of college where I wrote small websites for a variety of industries. Then, I wrote patient education materials for several years and learned a lot about medical conditions, treatments and health and wellness. From there, I moved to the social work setting, where I worked with people who had disabilities and women who experienced domestic violence. I then moved back into healthcare, working for an agency as a content strategist and writer. That’s where I got my formalized training in the discipline.

How do you define good digital content strategy?

Stella: Good digital content strategy is when user or consumer needs — the tasks they come to your site to accomplish — are aligned with your organization’s business goals and objectives. When that’s in alignment with your website or other digital tools, that’s effective content strategy.
It’s all about creating a nurturing user experience. And when it’s done well, users don’t see all the work and research that goes into it — it just feels intuitive and as easy as possible.

Stella: Whenever you bring someone in from outside your organization, there’s great opportunity for fresh perspective. They can really put the consumer needs front and center. They don’t have the same understanding of your organization, how it operates and how things have always been done. So, they can come in and learn your goals and really champion what’s going to be the best experience for your consumers.

Nikki: With our content strategy team, specifically, you get the perspectives of people who have experience with multiple healthcare systems. We can see trends and guide clients toward what’s working and steer them away from what hasn’t.

Nikki: I’ve been in a position where someone has come to me and said, “We want you to do this, this and this to drive traffic to the website.” As I dug in, I found that approach would yield very low return — if any.
A content strategist can point to best practices, data and research to show, for example, that if they took half of those dollars and did something else instead, they could get quadruple the return.

Stella: We can help teams prioritize. We can identify what will give the biggest bang for the buck and align resources strategically.

Stella: A content strategist can bring value at any point in a project. But, if you want the most value, content strategy should be engaged from the start. If we’re involved and embedded from the beginning, we can be much more effective.

Nikki: If we are there from the start of the race, we can help drive the car and navigate around issues. If we’re pulled in later in the game, we’re more like an ambulance performing a rescue mission.

What is the biggest misconception about content strategy?

Nikki: The biggest misconception about content strategy is that it’s an option. That it’s a “nice to have,” not a “need to have.”

A content strategist can help you avoid content creation mistakes, like putting too many resources toward efforts with low return. Nikki and Stella offer these six tips to avoid content creation mishaps.

Before starting just about any content-related project, it’s important to know who will be involved. Ask yourself:

  • Who’s on the team? Does the team include a content strategist?
  • Who’s in charge?
  • How will you involve stakeholders?
  • Who’s accountable throughout the project? In other words, who monitors quality and ensures you achieve your goals?

2. Know your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)

Not all marketing and communications teams have meaningful ways to measure performance. It’s important to understand your organization’s strategy and business goals. It’s also important to develop key KPIs to identify, monitor and measure value.

3. Know what you have to work with

Before starting any content project, you should understand your digital ecosystem well. Find out what you own in terms of the following assets:

  • Websites
  • Social channels
  • Microsites
  • Blogs

4. Understand your brand competitors

Find out who you are competing against in your market — geographically and online. What search terms are your consumers and potential consumers using? And what do those terms yield? Where your competition falls within those search results is their SERP (search engine results page) ranking.

5. Develop a style guide

Establish your organization’s brand voice and tone and develop editorial web writing rules for content creators to follow.

 6. Establish governance

Set up your digital ecosystem so it will continue to run smoothly and remain current. Doing so from the start will save time in the long run.

Create specific rules around the following processes:

  • Decision-making
  • Content updates
  • Crisis communications
  • Planned and unplanned updates

Create accountability, tools and workflows for content development or placement.

Content strategists can help with many projects, including but not limited to:

WG Content has 20+ years of experience crafting custom healthcare content and strategy. Contact us to learn how we can help you reach your goals

It ensures the information you share is accurate, relevant and effective in reaching its intended audience. It also helps maintain consistency and clarity in messaging across all platforms.

A content strategist can add value at any time during a project, but to produce the best value he or she should be brought it at the beginning to help establish goals, messaging and keywords.

Yes, content strategists can conduct SEO audits and reviews to improve search engine rankings. They can also provide guidance on incorporating keywords, optimizing content and improving overall online visibility.

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