Content Marketing in the Health & Wellness Industry

Elizabeth T
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Globally, the health and wellness industry is worth a staggering $4.75 trillion, and that number is only going up. It’s truly astonishing to look at the statistics and realize that the average person spends more on health-related experiences (including the growing practice of “wellness tourism”) than they do on traditionally popular categories, like fashion.

While growth is great news for businesses in the industry, it also represents emerging challenges. After all, startups are quick to jump on trends and try to disrupt things, and whether you’re a long-standing business seeking to outperform the newcomers or a newcomer looking to outshine the traditional, one thing is for sure:

A reputation and following have to be earned, especially in the health and wellness category.


Why Does Content Marketing Matter?


When it comes to ranking, modern businesses are taking a strategized approach to things. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing or rushing to build poor quality backlinks in bulk. With search engine algorithms constantly advancing, more businesses are getting back to the heart of the issue, adopting a content marketing strategy that serves the timeless purpose of offering real value to readers.

The right content marketing strategy won’t go out of style, because it makes for valuable, relevant, insightful content that naturally incorporates keywords, naturally earns reputable backlinks, and naturally attracts traffic to your website. That truly makes content marketing the best strategy on the internet, so, where do you start?

The Foundation of Effective Content Marketing

A lot of things go into effective content marketing, and while insightful content is a major component of it, any content you create will be in vain if you don’t have the foundational elements figured out. These elements include branding, customer personas, and keywords.

Branding

More than 8 in 10 people factor in a brand’s authenticity when deciding whether to support them. The same number of people say they need to trust a brand before they buy. These numbers are averaged across industries, but in the health and wellness industry, authenticity and trust are even more critical.

So, when it comes to who your company is as a brand, how do you weave trust and authenticity into your brand? A consistent image that your customers resonate with is fundamental. For those just starting out, this means reviewing the 12 primary brand archetypes and beginning to define your brand identity.

From there, companies need to lay out a brand book. A brand book is a critical company resource as it is able to consistently explain who your brand is to employees, outsourced labor, and anyone representing your company.

Brand books are great for any founder who wants to put their ideas on paper, and even better for a brand that has loosely defined principles that need to be narrowed down, tightened up, and clearly communicated.

Your Next Move: Create a brand book that explains who your brand is, who your audience is, and how your brand connects with your audience.

Customer Personas

A customer persona is a profile that represents your average customer. They’re often given names, like “Pilates Pam,” and they help your company visualize who you’re servicing. Most companies end up identifying 2-3 core personas and, in doing so, they’re much better equipped when it comes to:

  • Creating content that meets customer needs.

  • Proactively addressing the questions and concerns of leads.

  • Building a reputation as a knowledgeable niche authority.

  • Nurturing leads and moving them through the sales funnel.

By using personas, over half of companies discovered higher quality leads. The efficacy is so high that top-performing companies have used personas to map out over 90% of their customer databases, allowing them to better tailor and target communications and advertising.

When creating a customer persona, remember that you must base them in fact. This generally requires a fair amount of research and your persona will ultimately include data like average age, gender, job title, education, salary, and media preferences. As you learn more about your ideal customer personas, you’ll also gain information that can inform the development of your brand. After all, you'll base your brand’s entire identity on what your customers identify with and want to believe in. Your Next Move: Do your research and identify the top customer personas you’re working with. Give each persona a memorable name to aid communication between writers, marketers, and other departments so you can better tailor content to each persona’s wants and needs.


Keywords

Over half of all website traffic originates from organic search. That in itself goes to show how critical keywords are. When you understand what keywords your ideal customer is searching for, you can create content around those keywords and — with the right on-page SEO strategies — your site will show up in the search results.

With the right keyword strategy, your site can end up getting a major percentage of its leads from organic traffic to your website. That’s great news, because organic traffic is “free.” While you will have to invest time and money into creating the content that drives it, once you earn a ranking, it’s relatively easy to maintain, especially if you have a valuable content strategy.

So, how do you know what your audience is searching for? It starts with a tool like Google Analytics. Through keyword discovery, you can analyze the keywords people are searching for, along with the keywords your competitors are ranking for, and then compare things like search volume to lay out a keyword plan for your website.

With the right combination of short-tail and long-tail keywords, your site will begin earning rankings that will drive organic traffic to your site. Of course, it won’t happen overnight.

In the meantime, you may need to supplement with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and other methods of outreach, but your keywords should remain central to your plan. However, 60% of marketers say inbound traffic sources (i.e., SEO) are the best source of high-quality leads. So, any time you spend researching and optimizing for keywords is time well spent.

Your Next Move: Get to know some keyword discovery and analytics tools so that you can identify and target the right keywords through your content plan. Your customers find you (or your competitors) by entering search phrases - keywords - into the search engine. Consider how these keywords reflect search intent.


The Health & Wellness Customer Journey


Nearly 9 in 10 consumers agree that the best way to stay healthy is to take charge of their health, and that represents the mindset of most shoppers in the health and wellness industry. However, just because most shoppers have similar goals or motivations, that doesn’t make customers one dimensional.

In fact, NMI has developed a well-used model that divides health and wellness consumers into five categories, those being personas who:

  • Focus on Well-Being: This group of consumers focus on prevention by any means possible, educating themselves about supplements, healthy eating, and an active lifestyle.
  • Focus on Healthy Food: This group of consumers maintain a healthy lifestyle by prioritizing healthy eating. They’re choosy and likely to consume organic and natural foods.
  • Focus on Magic Bullets: This group of consumers aren’t committed to health in the long-term. Instead, they seek quick and easy solutions and generally spend a lot of money doing it.
  • Those Striving for Health: This group of consumers are considered “on the fence.” They want to be healthy, but they are not actively working towards it on a day-to-day basis.
  • Those Unconcerned About Health: This group of consumers is the least health-focused. They are not educated about health solutions and do not actively seek out healthy food or habits.

For a health and wellness business, the first four represent your potential customers, with the first two groups representing the potential for long-term, returning customers. It’s worth noting that consumers can always move from one group to another as their mindsets change, but as a business, you’ll want to target customers who are already actively doing something about their health concerns.

Understanding the customer mindset and factoring it into your customer personas will help you visualize the customer journey - the phases a customer goes through before making a purchase, signing up for a class, or getting a subscription.


Phase 1: Awareness

Depending on which NMI group represents your average customer, the awareness phase can look very different.

For instance, if most of your customers are striving for health (i.e., New Year’s Resolution makers, people losing weight for an event, etc.) and haven’t committed to their health in the long-term yet, the awareness phase for them will entail a lot of information gathering on general wellness and weight loss.

On the other hand, if most of your customers are in one of the first two groups and already committed to healthy living in the long-term, their awareness phase is going to be very short. They’ll enter the awareness phase when they first hear about your unique offering, and then quickly move to the consideration phase if they have any interest in hearing more about it.

Let’s say you sell foam rollers. Examples of keywords that point to the “awareness” phase include:

  • “What is a foam roller?”
  • “What are foam rollers used for?”
  • “Can I use a foam roller on my back?”

Phase 2: Consideration

Throughout the awareness phase, customers are collecting information about what, why, and how. If they find benefits that match what they want to achieve or achieve reassurance that the product or service will give them what they need, they’ll move into the consideration phase.

Now that a prospect is in the consideration phase, though, they have entirely different requirements for content and information. They’ve done the research and they understand what the offering is and what it could do for them. The consideration phase will now entail digging deeper into the details.

Generally, a consumer in the consideration phase will compare solutions, brands, and pricing to figure out what option they want to go with. For instance, someone considering foam rollers for back pain will need to decide whether they want a smooth or nubby surface, and then go on to compare brands and price points.

Examples of keywords that point to the “consideration” phase include:

  • “Type of foam rollers for back pain”
  • “Best size foam roller for lower back”
  • “Brand X vs. Brand Z foam rollers”

Phase 3: Decision

During the consideration phase, prospects will develop a preference as to which solution they want to go for. In the decision phase, they’ll make that preference clear by finalizing a purchase or subscription. These consumers are now using keywords that demonstrate “purchase intent.”

If you try to target keywords that show purchase intent, you’ll see that they are much more competitive. That’s because keywords that show purchase intent are very valuable, being that behind them is a searcher who is ready to click the “Buy” button as soon as an offering meets their criteria.

At this point, your job is to provide a frictionless purchasing experience. By minimizing the purchasing hurdles (which you can identify for each persona), you’ll make finalizing their decision as easy and effortless as possible. That’s the key to converting as many prospects as possible.

Examples of keywords that point to the “decision” phase include:

  • “Coupon code for ABC Brand”
  • “Best place to buy XYZ product”


Creating an Effective Content Strategy

With an understanding of the customer journey and all that comes before it (including your brand book and keyword research), it’s time to get to the good stuff. The following steps will help you bring your content strategy together in an actionable, practical manner.


Choose Your Formats

The first step of assembling your content plan is determining what types of content you want to offer.

  • Written Content: The basis of your SEO, written content is featured on many platforms — including on your blog, in your FAQ pages, across social media, and as downloadable materials, such as lead magnets.

  • Video Content: While it can greatly boost engagement, it generally makes sense to wait to produce video content until you can afford the investment. High-quality video content takes time and equipment, along with professionals able to represent your brand confidently on camera.

  • Audio Content: Podcasts seem to be everywhere these days, but you should only host one if you believe you can deliver unique insight. After all, content marketing is all about providing real value that customers can’t get anywhere else.

  • Image Content: Often overlooked when planning out a content strategy, image content is easily the second most important format next to written content. After all, relevant imagery should accompany all of your writing, whether it’s on your blog, on Facebook, or on Instagram where images are the heart of your content offering.

If you don’t know where to start, it’s best to stick to written content. After all, written content will be the basis for your keyword and on-page SEO strategies. Plus, it can be repurposed across platforms and it’s fairly evergreen, in most situations.

Once you have a written content strategy down, you can consider expanding to other formats as your time and budget allow. Of course, you can always make the most of your content budget by outsourcing writing, video creation, and other aspects to a freelance professional.

Select Your Platforms

As a brand, it can be simply overwhelming to consider how many platforms are out there where you might potentially have or need a presence. Fortunately, you don’t need to be everywhere to connect with your audience. Your brand should only be on the platforms where your audience hangs out the most.

Many businesses choose Facebook as their go-to social media platform, sheerly because it’s the largest platform in the world and, out of 2.7 billion users, you’re bound to find a segment of your customer base online. However, just because it covers all the bases, that doesn’t mean it should be your only platform or even on your list.

When building your customer personas, you learned a lot about them — including where they prefer to consume information. If Facebook isn’t one of their top networks, it shouldn’t be yours, either. Focus your efforts on the platforms where your audience is already most active.

You should also start by focusing on just 1-2 social media platforms (i.e., Instagram and Snapchat). Don’t spread yourself too thin. You want to get into a routine so that you can build up an engaged following on the platforms you are active on, and then maybe you can expand down the line if your audience warrants it.

Plan a Content Calendar

With the preliminaries sorted, you can finally see your content strategy come together. This is where all of your research will pay off. Your content calendar doesn’t define what you’ll post as far as topics go (we’ll do that in the next step), but it does provide you with a schedule as to when and where you’ll post your content.

For example, if you decide you’re going to publish a blog post once a week, your content calendar will say what day of the week it goes live. Since a consistent posting schedule is paramount to loyal readers and ongoing engagement, sticking to your content schedule is a must.

Beyond your blog posts, your content calendar should also have empty slots for your Instagram post, your Facebook videos, your podcast, and any other content formats/platforms you’re working into your strategy. A good rule of thumb is to lay out your content calendar for a full calendar year (January through December), as this allows your schedule to account for things like holiday promotions, seasonal content, brand milestones, and so on.


Put Your Keywords to Work

It will take a little bit of time to put all of the empty slots into your content calendar, but once you have a schedule in front of you, you’re ready for the fun part: Filling it in! Fortunately, while this can seem like a daunting endeavor, much of the work has already been done.

When you created your keyword plan, you discovered all sorts of content ideas. Your most basic ideas will target keywords directly (i.e., “What is a foam roller?”), but you’ll gradually expand on these ideas accordingly, like with comparison content, “top X” lists, and so on.

Some of your content will also be relatively unrelated to keywords, and that would include the branded content you publish that helps introduce people to your backstory and values. Think behind-the-scenes style posts and articles like “Meet The Team” that interview your key employees.

While it’d be great to fill in your entire content calendar for the whole year, most brands look just a few months ahead. However, to make sure that you stay ahead, it’s a good idea to keep an idea bank so that you can constantly be adding topics to your content calendar and never scrambling to find something last minute.

Examples from Health Wellness Companies

Now that you’re working out the finer details of your content strategy, here are some examples from leading health and wellness companies who are doing content marketing right.


Binto produces women’s health supplements and one of the best things they do in their content marketing strategy is allow their nurturing brand image to shine. They take a delicate, but knowledgeable approach to personal topics, showing empathy for their audience that builds authentic connections.



Spartan is more than a race series. Online, they’ve created a community of passionate, loyal racers who strive for fitness and support each other all along the way. Their content marketing puts an emphasis on this community building by routinely featuring racers who have persevered above all odds, demonstrating the values of teamwork and dedication that make the brand what it is.


Lululemon has become a trending success thanks to the brand’s combination of inspirational and welcoming content. The blog uses lots of imagery to help reinforce these concepts, and they occasionally feature products in their images, but never in a salesy form.


Your Strategy Needs The Right Content

As a health and wellness company, you have a lot on your plate. Staying above-board with claims and being transparent about what your product actually does, all while seeking to out-rank “magic bullet” solutions is tough. Fortunately, the right content marketing strategy will make reinforcing your authenticity easier.

Here at Scripted, we believe that the content marketing philosophy is the key to great content — and vice versa. That’s why we have a database of some of the best health and wellness writers in the industry. Interested in learning more? Browse our writer list today or reach out to the team to discuss how we can help put your content plan into action.

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