In this article, I will be discussing what content marketing and how it is beneficial to life science companies looking to implement it.
As scientific content creation is one of the services I offer, in this post, I will discuss my experience in how content marketing can be used for scientific brands, examples of scientific content marketing and how is best to get started and implement it for your business.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an inbound marketing approach that focuses on creating a variety of content, designed to attract and retain a targeted audience. Content created as part of content marketing strategy should be informative and useful for its intended audience, rather than trying to pitch or sell a product or services.
Content marketing also works well as a wider inbound marketing strategy, encompassing SEO and social media to ensure that content reaches the right audiences at the right time.
Great content also contributes to your outbound marketing; having little to no content to share means you have no marketing assets when it comes to sending emails to your subscribers, running PPC or doing outreach with PR.
How Life Science Companies can Benefit from Content Marketing
Content marketing is for big and small businesses alike.
In fact, there are many occasions where content marketing can provide a larger proportion of business to smaller businesses rather than the well-established corporations.
However, content is content. There are various ways you can share and promote content, with some channels providing a better ROI than others. As long as you produce high quality content, you are likely to see some sort of benefits.
Content marketing done well can have multiple benefits. Content marketing directly impacts your website which in turns impacts your brand; do it well and you can reap the rewards from the following:
How do you starting letting know people about your brand if they’ve never heard of you before?
Produce high quality content that is interesting or useful and share it. Having more content available through more channels that is easily accessible will increase your chances of relevant visitors finding you.
Building Trust in your Brand
By providing content or solving problems related to your area of expertise or business, visitors will start to associate your brand with their problem. If you can demonstrate that you are an expert in any given field, people are more likely to trust you and listen to anything else you have to tell them.
Growing a Loyal Fan Base
You can generate fans or advocates without asking. If you can get people to trust and engage with your content, they are likely to share it, whether that be online or via word-of-mouth. And people always share information that is useful or interesting.
Set Yourself Apart From Competitors
The likelihood is that your competitors are also doing their own content marketing. But if you can make your content even better and more useful that theirs, then you will stand out. You don’t even need to make more or better content, simply make you content available on more online channels and you will be seen as the most authoritative in your niche!
Hubspot estimate that it takes on average eight touchpoints before you can convert a visitor into a sale. If you had to pay for each of these touchpoints, the price of acquisition per customer would start getting expensive. Letting content marketing take care of first or additional touchpoints whilst you work on something else sounds like a sensible marketing plan.
Creating Scientific Content
When it comes to creating marketing for scientists, you need to be thinking past publishing peer-reviewed studies.
Peer-reviewed papers can technically be classed as content marketing – they can get published in journals and publications after all – but it is only the minority that ever get accepted. Even then, the specialism of each paper usually means that the audience is incredibly small and highly targeted.
Therefore, when we think about a content marketing strategy for scientific brands, we need to look at the bigger picture. How can we generate or repurpose content that is informative yet understandable, and how can we use it to reach a wider audience?
Examples of scientific content
In this next section, we will look at a range of content marketing types and how they have been utilised by brands in the science industry.
Remember, the idea is to position your brand so that you can demonstrate an area of expertise related to your business, but in a format that is easy and informative to understand.
Blog posts are an incredible versatile format. You can publish long form content, industry reports , how-to articles or anything else. Combined with knowledge of SEO and keyword research, you can generate organic traffic that continues to drive visitors – long after you first publish your post.
Let’s have a look at an example.
Here’s a screenshot from Sigma Aldrich on how to clean laboratory glassware, taken from Sigma Aldrich’s cleaning laboratory glassware guide:
This is a great example of a content marketing blog post.
The content of the article is incredibly informative to users looking for tips on how to clean laboratory glassware. Although it isn’t promoting its own products directly, it gently directs users to what Sigma Aldrich do as a business, but also helps with SEO; creating relevancy to products and services that the wider brand offer.
A hybrid between charts and pictures, infographics were once the incredibly popular but quickly became a saturated tactic for link-building. However, high quality infographics with top quality data are incredible useful to share with audiences via social media or even email.
Here’s an example of a simple infographic sharing a basic insight to the everyday tools that a forensic science technician might use:
Although it doesn’t share any exciting or new information, the way the data is shared is incredibly visual. The format makes it a great asset to use for sharing on social media or via email for example.
Also, if somebody else shares this infographic on their site, it should be shared with a link to your site as reference. With the right outreach strategy, creating infographics can result in other relevant websites linking to your website; helping to demonstrate authority and referral traffic.
Everyone’s doing a podcast these days. But the thing is, you can talk about almost anything. Discuss industry topics, case studies, interviews, the possibilities are endless.
Podcasts offer a unique form of content marketing as they offer a convenient solution to consuming content on the go. This example from Scientific American produces content on a daily basis, offering podcasts of just a few minutes long as part of their ’60 second science’ channel.
The benefits of podcasts as a marketing channel are vast; they are relatively inexpensive to setup and run, there’s lower competition than other marketing types and you can quickly become an influencer in your niche.
Anybody can create a video these days, and if you are trying to explain how to do something in the lab, creating a video – like the one below – should be your first point of call.
With smart phones equipped with top quality cameras, and online platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, you can share video via these hosting platforms or even embed them on your own site or other social media pages.
You should be making the most out of any video that you make; have one long video for a piece of content on it’s own, break down long videos into shorter clips that can be used for social media or to add into blog posts for example.
Don’t forget, hosting video on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo can bring even more traffic if you properly optimise videos using best SEO practices!
Whitepapers are long form articles that share information in a detailed or authoritative way. Usually published in the form of reports, information is usually more detailed and presented in a factual way.
For a scientist, producing a whitepaper type document may feel fairly similar to many reports you’ve written. However, the purpose of any white paper needs to be clearly defined.
You need to outline a problem and propose a solution.
This might border on writing sales copy when you propose a solution to a problem, but if you can use a whitepaper to target, answer and resolve issues that scientists are continuing to face, then it is a no brainer!
Ebooks are commonly associated with lead generation – allowing website visitors access to a file online or as a download once they submit their details – usually an email address. Content in ebooks is usually longer than a whitepaper or blog posts so allows the reader the read content when convenient.
This example from NASA is 200 pages long and is probably the most in-depth pdf about the earth as possible. Just high quality content that keeps NASA at front of mind of its readers.
Webinars are real time conferences although they are flexible in format. Whether they be video or audio streaming of live lectures and seminars or video conferences.
Webinars are a useful format because they look more ‘professional’ and can utilise the authority of one or more of your staff members.
Webinars on their own aren’t much use for content marketing, but promoting them on external channels – such as YouTube and Slideshare above can reach a wider audience. But you can also repurpose content into a blog post or podcast for example.
Although these webinars are free to access, webinars are a popular lead generation tactic; access to the content in exchange for some information – usually a name and email address.
Very much related to the above, but if you have any slide decks from online or real live presentations, sharing these as as downloadable files or even via LinkedIn’s Slideshare.
If somebody in you business has recently completed an external talk or presentation, why don’t you share the content on Slideshare? It takes little more effort than uploading an existing piece of content, which can then be embedded in other content such as blog posts.
Content on external sites like Slideshare is another channel for people to discover your content, and in turn, your brand.
Creating Scientific Content Marketing Materials
If you have ever come across any of the content marketing examples mentioned in this article, then you have probably viewed content that has been produced for a content marketing strategy.
So if you recognise the benefits and advantages of a life science content marketing strategy, you may be considering using it for your own company.
If you would like to discuss ideas or strategies for a life science content marketing, get in contact to see how I can help you build your brand online.
The points I have covered in this article are a very top-level overview of content marketing within the life science industry and barely scratch the surface.
However, you should now be able to identify the basic elements of a content marketing strategy; what is required and examples of pieces of content that will help formulate your overall digital marketing strategy.
If you are looking for additional help and require external scientific content creation services, then this is one of the services I frequently help clients with.
If you have any further comments, queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.