Direct mail is a fast-track to the recycle bin, the Yellow Pages work better as a doorstop and Internet users are essentially blind to banner ads. If you want to reach today’s aesthetic consumer — curious, committed, eager for information — you have to give them the information they seek before they pick up the phone or walk in the door.
That’s the essence of content marketing, which the folks at the Content Marketing Institute define as,
The technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined target audience in order to drive profitable customer action
As previously discussed (here, here and here), that content can take any number of forms but the definition leaves out one crucial consideration that most doctors face on a daily basis: After a full day of consults, surgeries and managing your practice, do you really have the time or energy to crank out a blog post or newsletter?
That’s where curating content, rather than creating it all from scratch, can help. As defined by the Macmillan Dictionary, content curation is
The process of analyzing and sorting Web content and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.
The benefits of incorporating curated content are manifold. Obviously, it can help you maintain a consistent flow of information without the need to create it from scratch each and every time. But it also helps demonstrate authority and thought leadership, which can help with search rank.
At the same time, curating content is a boon for aesthetic consumers because it mirrors the way they increasingly seek out information. Web-savvy yet time-crunched, they don’t want to go to 100 different websites; instead, they use news aggregators, RSS feeds and niche sites that do the information-gathering for them. Curating content, it turns out, is another way doctors can help aesthetic consumers reduce the friction they face as they gather the information they need to make confident, informed decisions.
As social media marketing expert Beth Kanter describes it, effective content curation is a 3-step process that involves seeking out appropriate content, making sense of it and sharing it with others:
There are countless tools for turning the flood of online content into a directed stream of relevant information. At the simplest level, Google Alerts monitors the web for whatever keywords you choose and sends relevant links to your Gmail account. With RSS readers, like Feedly, you choose the blogs and websites you want to follow and their content is turned to a stream of easily scanned headlines. Other tools, including BuzzSumo and Nuzzel showcase what’s trending on the major social networks.
Content curation is not merely sharing links or cutting and pasting articles into your blog; it’s about making critical evaluations as to whether a piece of content provides actual value and putting it into context for your readers. Adding insights from your own expertise, incorporating photos and videos, etc., personalizes the information, fostering a deeper connection with potential patients.
With an ever-expanding array of information sources available, content discovery is an anytime/anywhere activity, so simply publishing a blog post probably won’t generate a lot of traffic. In addition to promoting your curated content on your social media pages, you can use tools like Flipboard and Storify to create “personal magazines” that will tell your story in a user-friendly way.
Curating content saves time for both providers and patients
As the web continues its exponential expansion, aesthetic consumers clearly don’t lack for sources for information. What they really need are sources that can separate the wheat from the chaff and give them the confidence that they’re getting accurate and relevant information from people they can trust. Curating content facilitates the process even as it allows doctors to spend more time on providing medical care and less time on marketing.