Powerful Content Marketing Needs Empathy for Customer Workflow

(Screenshot of DM from @jslentzclifton included here by permission!)

[This post was written in preparation for Healthcare Content Creation for the Audience Economy #HITsm Chat with @jslentzclifton, @sarahbennight, and @shimcode.]

The opposite of empathy is apathy:

“By definition, empathy is the opposite of apathy. Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” — within + feeling or inside + suffering. Apathy is defined as “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern” — not + feeling or without + suffering.” (On Empathy and Apathy)

The opposite of useful is useless (I don’t think you need a quote!)

Now comparing the following possible combinations:

1. Empathic but useless
2. Useful but apathetic
3. Apathetic and useless
4. Empathic and useful

Which combination do you think is the most attractive and relevant to marketing health IT? Of course: Empathy and usefulness!

Now, empathy and usefulness do seem kinda, sorta, almost at odds. I don’t mean they are contradictory. What I mean is that the kind of content that establishes empathic connection is very different to the kind of content typically used to establish the utilitarian goal of illustrating usefulness. Think: romantic novel versus technical manual.

What if I told you there is a foolproof way to create content that is both empathic and useful? Yes, you know where I am going: workflow!

At this point, rather than repeat myself in great detail, see my 2015 post Marketing Workflow Is An Incredible Opportunity To Differentiate Health IT Products, And You!

But I will summarize that post:

Everyone is an expert on their own workflow. If you can vividly and credibly show ME, an expert on MY workflow, that your product fits perfectly into my workflow, I’m yours! There is no more intimate AND utilitarian act than to truly understand someone’s workflow in terms of how your product can make their lives better. This is why I so often tweet and write about “empathic workflow.”

Today’s #HITsm tweet chat pivots off last week’s ultra successful #HITMC (Health IT Marketing & PR Conference). The questions really resonate for me. I like to think of myself as a healthcare workflow SME (Subject Matter Expert), but the real SMEs are the folks who use health IT every day to do their work and live their lives. These people are actually, literally, embedded in their healthcare workflows. Forget pretty computer GUI screens. The true user interface between people and technology is the workflow of those people and that technology. Health IT marketing SMEs need to partner with healthcare workflow SMEs to tell their workflow stories, in all their warts and glories. (Many thanks to @sarahbennight for reminding me that the HITMC crowd are also SMEs themselves!) Tell that story! All the way from the programmers who create the software that partially determines workflow, to the users who partially determine workflow, to the dance between software and users that completely determines workflow.

Whew! I enjoyed writing that.

Emphasize your customers workflow and make your content both empathic and useful!

I look forward to enjoying this weeks #HITsm tweetchat about #HITMC!

In order to optimize my workflow during the tweetchat, I’ve written drafts of tweeted responses to each other topics (plus the de rigueur introductory tweet). See you there!

Chuck, #cbus (but in #DC), workflow! I’m a workflow SME (Subject Matter Expert). Workflow posts, tweets, webinars, white papers, videos: LOTS! #HITsm #HITMC #HITMCworkflow

T1: What are some of the ways content & messages can be made inspirational and humanized? #HITsm

Stories = workflows. No, really! Linguists analyze narrative using workflow like systems of notation. I studied this! #HITsm #HITMC #HITMCworkflow

T2: What are characteristics of a ‘good’ SME and how do you identify SME’s in your organization, tribe, circle of associates? #HITsm

Great question! Whoever is most systematically kept AWAY from marketing folks, that’s the most valuable subject matter expert. #HITsm #HITMC #HITMCworkflow

T3: What are most effective types of ‘personalized content’ to share w/ a buyer & at what point in their journey? #HITsm

Whenever you can describe YOUR product in terms of THEIR (detailed!) workflow, that is the most powerful way to communicate your value. #HITsm #HITMC #HITMCworkflow

T4: What are some of the ways video can be used to market and support healthcare products/services? #HITsm

My favorite? #Periscope a story/workflow behind the scenes. Group video chat (#Blab #Firetalk) w/Subject Matter Experts #HITsm #HITMC #HITMCworkflow

T5: What’s not going to change in Healthcare in the next 10 years and how will content remain the same as it is today? #HITsm

Respect for expertise. That is what will not change over the next 10 years. You’ve got to get to and cultivate your Subject Matter Experts: they are gold #HITsm #HITMC #HITMCworkflow

Bonus: What are some of the best content marketing tips you learned at the HITMC? Or would like to share if you didn’t attend? #HITsm

I had some excellent feedback re my #HITMCworkflow Top Ten at the 2017 Health IT Marketing and PR Conference post. Basically, you’ll see more-and-more workflow at future #HITMC conferences!

@wareFLO On Periscope!


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