Image source: JD Hancock on
Social Media and the Amateur Physicians
While I’m not a Facebook super-user, I do
like to scroll through my activity stream in the mornings to see what’s going
on with friends and family. Recently, I saw a post from a close friend. He was
not feeling well and posted his symptoms on Facebook.
By the time I saw the post, there were
over 20 comments with suggestions and
diagnoses. With a sarcastic tone, I wrote: “Why don’t you stop making democratic
decisions with your health and visit the good old doctor? He may also have an opinion
about what’s going on with you.”
A Similar Situation
A similar situation happened to me. I work
for DNN in Canada, but travel often to our headquarters in the Bay Area (U.S.).
Two months ago (while there) I was not feeling well. I was actually feeling
really bad. I wondered whether to visit the doctor once I was back in Canada,
or go in the US where I have no insurance.
So I did what many people do in the same
visited Google and started
searching. In reading articles that appeared in the search results, there
were a number of possibilities. The one I thought was the closest to my
symptoms was a peptic ulcer. Since tests would take a few days, I thought I
could wait: by that time, I’d be back in Canada. In the end, it turned out I
had nothing, just a temporary imbalance because of a change in diet and the
lack of exercise.
So, my initial diagnosis was wrong. I did a
few searches and found an article from CNN.com. The article mentions a study
done by the Pew Research Center that reports that
80% of internet users have looked up health information online.
The Importance of Content
Clearly, my friend and I are not alone. And
guess what? Doctors are not alone either. They’re not the only professionals
(or businesses) dealing with patients (or customers) who
perform research before they talk to a vendor. People perform “self-diagnosis”
when they need a camera, a computer, a software application, a trip, and
anything else you can think of.
The Internet has given consumers
control over the buying cycle.
According to Google, consumers make between
and 70% of purchase decisions before they talk to a vendor. They call this
the “ZMOT” (Zero Moment Of Truth). In this study, they also found that
consumers are using a higher average number of online sources in their research
(10.4 in 2011 versus 5.27 in 2010), and are spending more time in these sources
(17 percent of time in 2011 versus 9 percent in 2010). The key takeaway from
this research is that the
ZMOT is the
best time for organizations to influence potential buyers.
Provide Answers to Potential Buyers’ Questions
Potential buyers are looking to educate
themselves and the best way to engage with them is by providing answers to
their questions. The process of creating and distributing relevant and high
quality content is
Let’s revisit the case of my self-diagnosis.
As I’m researching the cause for my symptoms, how could health practitioners gain my attention? A clinic,
hospital, doctor, or group of doctors could create a library of articles or
blogs with information about the benefits, risks, and most common illnesses
When searching for symptoms related to my
condition, for example, I came across an article from Drugs.com. They published
article about peptic
ulcers and a number of the symptoms matched mine.
Define Your Objectives Before Jumping In to Content Marketing
By Israel Martinez
It describes what a peptic ulcer is, what
causes them, the symptoms, how they’re diagnosed, how to treat them, when to seek
Drugs.com is a website that “provides
accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs,
over-the-counter medicines and natural products.” By publishing useful content,
sites like these can answer questions for readers – and providing answers can,
in turn, lead readers to become future customers.
Use Content at Every Stage of the Sales Cycle
But the benefits of content marketing go
beyond the ZMOT. Potential buyers and advocates can use your content at every
stage of the funnel. Consider this example: a buyer looking for a content marketing
Prospective customers start with the
intention of buying a Content Marketing solution. At this phase, they may first
want to learn more about the content marketing process and what to look for in
- After learning about the process, prospects
can now start researching the solutions available in the market. For this, they
may ask friends in social networks or use Google to find lists of solutions and
- After narrowing the list down, prospects
can look for direct product comparisons and feature matrices to make a final
- After becoming customers, they may want to
stay engaged to learn about new products or updates. And at this point, you can
turn these customers into advocates if they like your product or service and
decide to promote your content.
And the last benefit of content marketing
is that your content pays ongoing returns. Once it is created and posted online, it
will stay there. As people gain value from your content, they may link to it
from their blog posts and articles. And day after day, your content pays
dividends via continual visits.
Now go ahead and give content marketing a
share your feedback and experiences in the comments area below.
Have a look through a related presentation on
“Why Content Matters”: