by Bill Schroeder
Recently while teaching a class on digital marketing to a group of seasoned veterinary professionals, I led an exercise whereby the attendees were to compile and share a list of their ideas for marketing content and the most necessary “calls to action.” While many had great ideas, one student’s contributions stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Convinced that she was an experienced marketer, I reached out after the class to compliment her on her thought process and participation. She stunned me by confessing that she was nervous about the class because she does not have any marketing or clinical experience and that her role in the practice was administrative.
In class, this student demonstrated that she knew the conversations that were most important, those that would drive required actions, and was able to speak to advanced concepts like value propositions and imagery that would be most impactful. The troubling part about this situation is that the practice she has worked at for more than a decade reserves content creation to the owners.
It may or may not surprise you that it has been 3 months since the practice she works for has posted any social content, their blog has not been updated in years, and the content that was created is so clinical that it’s obvious why it wasn’t working to further their goals. Yet, there is an extremely willing and capable contributor sitting right in front of ownership. This got me thinking about the “hidden treasures” within veterinary practices and the benefits of unlocking the creative talent within team members.
Here are 5 tips on getting started:
Get the Team Excited
You know the old adage, “there is no better idea than mine.” As selfish as this may seem, successful marketers understand that involving multiple team members and having them develop content will increase “buy in” and dramatically change the way the team rallies around the effort. Content sharing, incorporation of the subject matter into regular conversations, and eagerness to contribute are known benefits of such an approach.
The veterinary world can be a super busy space (especially these days) and while I’ll handle content planning and organization in another blog post, I can’t help but mention how delegation and shared responsibility can help practices not only maintain their presence, but also do so in a manner that is in line with and relevant to the needs of local pet owners.
Consider running a contest within the practice around ideas for developing content. Provide a meaningful and perhaps substantial prize for the top contributors. I’ve had great success recently advising a practice to conduct a contest that created a year’s worth of content for $100/month. Read more about that contest here.
Educate the Team
Done properly, the content created by your team should be known and understood by all members of the organization. What if your contributors were to lead practice-wide training or informational sessions on their assigned topics? Could such an exercise be built into the job description of each team member?
Doing so could create a buzz around your topics and have a dramatic impact on the likelihood that the content will be effective. A piece of content could shift from being a “post” to an “initiative.” Line a bunch of initiatives up and you’ve got the start of a marketing plan.
Assign an editor
While I am a huge fan of delegation and promoting the genius within team members, I also appreciate the need and concern around maintaining control or branding. For that reason, I strongly suggest appointing a central editor. This individual is responsible for monitoring grammar, content, and brand alignment. This, along with a plan that allows for content to be created weeks or months before posting, will help ease concerns around having multiple contributors.
In the end, successful practices realize that great success comes with shared duties and responsibilities. Marketing content creation should be included in this mindset. Doing so will result in a greater ability to be consistent, have a wider knowledge base, and increase the team’s overall understanding of the information that is critical for their practice’s success.