Three tips to improve your SEO strategy from SEJ Summit 2016

3 Tips to Improve Your SEO Strategy

In the wee hours of June 23, 2016, Geonetric’s Digital Marketing team loaded up on caffeine and made the four hour drive from Cedar Rapids to Chicago for Search Engine Journal’s (SEJ) Summit 2016.

As you probably garnered from the name, the conference covered all things SEO, but also provided a broader view of today’s digital marketing landscape. This year featured speakers from several leading names in the industry, and our Geo trio was especially excited to hear from two of their favorites: Google and Home Depot.

There was a myriad of great advice and information presented during the nine sessions, but for your convenience, we pared it down into three main points that could have the biggest potential impact on your current and future SEO strategy:

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SHSMD Taskforce Unveils the Ultimate Healthcare Strategy Guide

Strategy GuideThe forces of change are arraying and the impact on healthcare marketing, public relations, communications and planning will be significant. The change isn’t just driven from healthcare reform, it’s also coming from health consumerism and advances in technology including big data, personalized communication and CRM.

I’ve had the opportunity over the past year to be part of a SHSMD think tank exploring the future of the strategy disciplines — marketing, planning, public relations, corporate communications, and physician relations — within the healthcare enterprise.

This task force, working with David Grandy and a team of design thinking consultants from HDR consulting, interviewed, work shopped and vetted its conclusions with hundreds of professionals, executives and CEOs from both inside and outside of our industry.

The result of this work is the impressive Bridging Worlds report. It provides a detailed and actionable plan outlining the changes that healthcare organizations need to make to succeed in the future.

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1 Tip That Will Improve Your Hospital’s Content Marketing Efforts

Brand-Driven-Sketch-NotesContent marketing is certainly a buzz phrase lately. And not just in healthcare marketing – in all industries. Everyone knows that content is king (excuse the cliché!) but not everyone knows how to actually go about producing valuable content.

I attended Brand Driven Digital’s Content Marketing Boot Camp yesterday and here’s a tip I learned that will help you up your content marketing game.

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Learning to Build a Better Team

team building with adhesive notes

What do you get when you gather 150 digital project managers together for two days? A well-organized conference that runs on time.

I spent two days in Philadelphia at the inaugural Digital PM Conference produced by the Bureau of Digital Affairs in association with Happy Cog™. This event is being touted as the first of its kind. There are plenty of conferences that include topics relevant to project managers as a side discussion. But to have a conference dedicated to the trials and tribulations of the digital project manager was definitely unique.

The topics covered how to manage projects from a variety of perspectives. The sessions shared ways to keep projects moving, clients happy and teams engaged. I have to say I picked up some really great tips and met a lot of “my people.”

Rachel Gertz presented “Clients Matter; So Put Your Team First.” This topic fits well into the agile culture we work in daily at Geonetric. Clients continue to make requests and our primary goal as project managers is to keep them happy, but sometimes we do this at our internal team’s expense. We are so buried in the weeds that we forget the needs of our team. If we lose our team’s confidences, we’re sunk.

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Fresh Perspectives: Build a Rewarding Long-Term Patient Experience

arms lifting ornate mirror into air

As healthcare marketers we enjoy being in control. So coming to grips with the fact that sometimes we’re not in control can feel quite uncomfortable. This growing reality was difficult to swallow a few years ago and even more so today. We need to embrace the fact we can’t control every single piece of the consumer experience. Sounds radical doesn’t it? Not being in control goes against the very nature of who we are as human beings and how we strive to become even more valuable as marketers to our communities.

Does giving up control mean losing control of your story or message? I submit to you, if done correctly, it does not.

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No Matter What You Call It, It’s All About Content Marketing and Brand Journalism

David Meerman Scott HCIC 2013

We opened the first full day of the 2013 Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) with a keynote by author David Meerman Scott. Scott’s been a regular feature at HCIC over the past several years, including last year’s excellent session on newsjacking.

This year’s focus was similar, but included two other ideas – writing for your buyer personas and creating content like a news outlet.

These are trends that are getting a lot of buzz right now and sometimes go by other names like content marketing and brand journalism.

Content marketing is all about using content to engage with your consumers. Health systems have a tremendous amount of reference content on their websites – content written in a very clean, professional way that explains what the organization does along with fundamentals of diseases, conditions and treatments. That content is great, but it’s not particularly engaging. It may answer a question when consumers are at a very particular point in their healthcare journey, but just as often, that content is doing little more than filling space. Content marketing is more about providing information that addresses the various needs of health consumers and patients at every stage of their experience with a health issue.

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Question: Who Should Own Social Media? Answer: Yes.

nails and thread

Last week I had the great pleasure to attend the Mayo-Ragan Healthcare Social Media Conference in Rochester, MN and I found myself amazed at how far some healthcare organizations have come in their use of social media. However, while there are trailblazers, many more healthcare organizations are still trying to figure out how the proliferation of channels fits into their communications strategy, and how to be effective given their limited resources and ownership of social.

The conference format was heavy on case studies, but often light on models and theory, so what follows are my personal insights from the sessions:

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3 Reasons the 2013 SHSMD Annual Conference Made Me Happy


I recently returned from the 2013 SHSMD annual conference in Chicago. And let’s just say I am a new man. I have a new found pep in my step.

As a creative director interested in the current state of healthcare marketing, the SHSMD annual conference offered me a Cliffs Notes overview — packing a lot of learning and face-to-face interactions into a short span of time.

Thankfully, I returned from SHSMD13 with confidence that Geonetric is doing things right. Here are a few observations:
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Understanding Your Goals and Analytics Through Dashboards and Scorecards

Let’s face it, most online marketers (especially in healthcare) have trouble understanding their online goals and initiatives. Heck, a lot of organizations don’t even know what their goals are or how to generate good goals (I am not going to touch on how to generate good goals today, that’s for another post). And a lot of times, when organizations do have goals, they aren’t measurable.

One of the workshops I attended at the SHSMD Annual Conference this year in Chicago, IL was centered on dashboards and scorecards — specifically the right and wrong ways to do them and the information that should be going in each. Let me first go over what all of these different pieces are.
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Streamlining the Patient Experience Online

Ball in Maze

A few years ago Alicia Jansen, associate vice president at MD Anderson Cancer Center had a problem on her hands. As she explained at the SHSMD Annual Conference, potential patients were having a hard time getting that first appointment. In addition to being scared and emotional with a new cancer diagnosis, they had to jump through a lot of hoops to get something scheduled. There was a lot of back and forth as well as repeated paperwork. So Jansen decided to take on the project and make the experience better.

After analyzing the procedures and talking to the call teams, she decided to create an online experience that would make the process easier on patients and the clinics.

With the new site live and performing well, Jansen shared these keys to engaging and empowering patients online – and provided lessons learned:
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Live Longer, Better

Daniel Buettner presenting at SHSMD 2013.

Daniel Buettner presenting at SHSMD 2013.

I’ve been a Dan Buettner fan for several years now. The “Blue Zones” author has started a movement to make us healthier, not one at a time, but by creating communities which make us healthier. In fact, my community in Iowa is going through a Blue Zone transformation right now!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First off, what are Blue Zones? Buettner began his career as a reporter. The Blue Zones project began as a feature article for National Geographic. Visit a handful of Blue Zone communities around the world and identify the features that cause the members of these communities to live longer with fewer chronic diseases and other health issues.

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My Favorite Shatner

When I heard William Shatner was keynoting Content Marketing World in Cleveland this week, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. My knowledge of him was pretty limited; my impressions not altogether favorable. Before he got started, I posted this slightly snarky tweet.

I was clearly in the minority when I walked into the conference center. An interactive poll on the screens to either side of the stage asked:

 Who’s Your Favorite Shatner

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Confab Minnesota 2013: More than Words


This week, resident content experts Maggie and Jill joined me at the Confab Minnesota conference. We were among more than six hundred content strategists whose projects run the gamut from global enterprises to two-person Web teams, manufacturing to healthcare, retail to non-profit.

Much time was spent as you’d expect: talking about words. Creating the appropriate voice for your organization, dealing with content overload, and, in general, creating better content experiences.

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Brand Isn’t about Advertising, It’s about Experience


Conferences like the Healthcare Marketing Strategy Summit that I attended this week are always part education, part commiseration and part inspiration. That last bit is typically the role of the keynotes – someone from outside the industry comes in, preferably with a recognizable name or at least a few recognizable highlights from their resume, and gets all the attendees re-energized and excited about what we can accomplish when we return to work.

Former Starbucks and Nike marketing guru and author of A New Brand World Scott Bedbury fit the bill.
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