What is “GOOD” Content, and How Does it Help Your Veterinary Business?
By Jennifer Reed, GeniusVets Contributor
Whether we like it or not, clients checking with Dr. Google before turning to their veterinarian is the new normal. When we have questions, want information, or need to solve a problem, we use the internet to discover solutions. The question is, when owners seek answers to their pet health issues, will your website show up in the search results? If not, you’ve lost an important opportunity to make a first impression -- and eventually get them in the door.
But don’t accept defeat just yet. With great content and some strategic guidance from your trusted veterinary marketing partners, you can successfully reclaim your rightful place as the best resource for pet care advice in your local community and online.
In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of content creation and how it can:
- Help you establish your practice as the go-to local pet expert
- Increase both website traffic and phone calls
- Put your practice’s unique approach to pet care on display
- Improve your visibility in search engines like Google
Your Customer Journey Starts Here
Content powers the customer journey, and it starts with awareness—that is, ensuring every dog and cat (and maybe rabbit or iguana) owner in your practice’s service area is aware that your practice exists. Content creation and marketing are critical strategies in this stage as they build a foundation for relationships with prospective clients long before they need your services or even step foot inside your hospital.
Consistently publishing interesting and informative blog articles about the services you provide and the needs of your clients and patients is one of the most important components of modern veterinary marketing. When done right, over time, building a library of high-quality pet care articles on your website can help you build a rapport with current and prospective clients—and give your practice an incredible advantage over your competitors.
Why is this important?
Research shows that 86 percent of buyers conduct nonbranded search queries. This means consumers like your clients are looking for quality, high-ranking content that delivers specific, trustworthy answers to their questions -- but they don’t necessarily seek that information from any specific brand source. In fact, the average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. Therefore, if local pet owners want answers from wherever they can find those answers, you can look at this as an opportunity for your content to become an important part of search results.
Still not convinced? Try this one: According to one recent study, 84 percent of people expect brands to create content that provides solutions, as well as experiences, entertainment, and events. Your practice can be one of the brands that meet consumer expectations...or hopefully exceed those expectations for digital content!
Show local pet owners that you love their pups and kitties just as much as they do. If you win their hearts when they discover your practice online, you're more likely to win their business and trust when they need pet care!
Content is King
By now, you’re surely familiar with the phrase “Content is king.” But what is content, exactly—and more importantly, what is good content?
Think of content as all the ways you are communicating with current and potential clients, even when you don’t think or even realize you are. This includes your website and blog, but may also include things like social media posts, on-hold messaging, client education materials, and in-hospital signage.
Content is any communication that is designed to educate, entertain, encourage, or engage. Consider these examples:
- A blog about canine influenza educates clients about a potential threat to their dog’s health
- A photo contest engages clients and strengthens their bond to your practice
- A video of your clinic cat on social media entertains and allows you to connect with clients outside the practice
- An on-hold message about heartworm tests encourages clients to make an appointment for this service
Put simply, content is really anything that is capable of being used to spread a message and accomplish a goal for your business—but there are some guidelines to follow.
First, your content must be seen. No matter how amazing your content is, it won’t matter if no one can find it. Understanding the basic principles of search engine optimization (SEO) can give you the foundation you need to create great content that will get noticed.
Second, your content should put pet owners’ needs first. Too often, businesses create content focused on their own interests and goals. Successful organizations realize it is not about them and focus instead on creating content that speaks to the unique perspectives of their readers.
Most importantly, good content is not about selling. It’s about building a relationship with current and potential clients by providing information that educates, engages, solves a problem, gets them to take action, builds trust, bonds them to your business, and establishes your practice as a trusted authority.
You love pets, and your prospective clients love pets. Build on that shared interest—and have fun doing it! Let your passion show in your content creation, and balance that with your professional ex-purr-tise (and go ahead with a great pun from time to time!). You’ll have an immediate connection with your desired audience, which is the ideal way to start out.
It is important to ensure content across every medium meets the requirements of great content. No matter what form it takes, it should always be:
- Consistent: How many times do you recommend a service to your clients before they take action? Content marketing is like compliance—it takes time. Writing one blog is a good start, but won’t produce much ROI. Sticking to a consistent content schedule is essential for getting the results you want.
- Strategic: Whether it’s to attract new clients, introduce a new product or service, share some important news, or just make your followers smile, you can’t reach your content goals if you don’t define them. Start by identifying one need your content can help you meet for your clients or your practice, set realistic expectations (remember, you shouldn’t expect the same results from content marketing that you’d get from offering a discount), and don’t forget to measure your results. Tracking your content’s success will help you refine your content and adjust your goals over time.
- Authentic: People appreciate real. Be genuine in building relationships through your content with no strings attached.
- Compelling: These days, no one has time for boring content. It is important to create content your clients are genuinely interested in (note: this is very different from content you are interested in!). Take some time to dig into the demographics and get to know your client base, and if you’re still unsure, remember there’s no harm in asking! Polls and surveys, either online or in your office, can serve as perfect inspiration.
- Valuable: Great content is useful, relevant, and timely. Ask yourself, how does this benefit my clients? If you can’t answer that question with one of the four Es (educate, entertain, engage, or encourage), go back to the drawing board.
- Optimized: Depending on how your content will be promoted, it is important to understand how to maximize the opportunity that each traffic channel presents. SEO helps ensure that content will be easily found in search engines. Great images and headlines are of the utmost importance for attracting people from social networks, blog feeds, and through content marketing networks, while influencers may be more drawn to specific topics or types of information. Have a plan for promotion and ensure the content you create will lend itself well to that plan.
The Important Role of Content in Your Overall Marketing Strategy
Great content is the fuel for every marketing strategy your practice implements, from social to SEO and everything in between. Without it, you’re simply not going to get very far.
Or, as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, “If you’re not putting out relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.”
Ready to market your veterinary practice like a genius? Follow us on Facebook for more step-by-step guides and insights from Team GV. And, of course, keep your eyes on this space for more of our own veterinary marketing content!