How to Internationalize Your Health Content Marketing Strategy

How to Internationalize Your Health Content Marketing Strategy - Halona Black, Health Writer info@HalonaBlack.comAs a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (from Togo, if you’re interested…), the focus on all things international in American consumer trends for 2014 makes me happy. I am fascinated by international foodways, culture, and language. I hang out with people from all over the planet who also hang out with other people from all over the planet. I even studied different ways of learning and understanding in international contexts as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for International Education. It’s no wonder why I continue to bring that global perspective to my clients.

So why the big consumer focus on all things international? Consumer market analysts* state that 67% of Americans who consume alcohol are interested in buying drinks from other countries. While your company may not sell, or even encourage the consumption of alcohol, this interest in products originating from other countries can be found everywhere. Think about the use of shea butter from West Africa in just about every natural body care product at Whole Foods Market. Not only do skin care companies use it as a raw material, but they will tell you how your purchase improves the lives of the fair trade cooperative members that produced it. The consumer gets a great natural product that works AND they feel connected to these women on the other side of the world.

Need more proof that internationalizing your health content marketing strategy is a good idea? Think about this: 42% of US adults love the idea of international travel.* Now, the idea of international travel is vastly different from actually doing the international travel. However, this finding poses a great opportunity for health and medical providers to bring the international travel to their customers and patients through content marketing. Do any of the following suggestions spark any new ideas for internationalizing your medical content marketing plan in 2014?

Focus on Traditional Health

Every culture on the planet has some kind of traditional healing techniques or foods that promote good health. No matter what kind of health business you own or work for, there are plenty of opportunities to quench your target audience’s thirst for everything international. Try highlighting traditional Chinese herbs that may prevent a nasty cold in your newsletter. Share a soul stirring soup for cold winter days from the ayurvedic tradition of India in your company’s Facebook status. Write a guest blog post about how Buddhist spiritual traditions help busy Americans find peace in a chaotic environment. There is so much global inspiration for your content marketing that you should never run out of things to say.

Be Inspired by International Events

Just because your medical practice is local doesn’t mean you have to only talk about local events. Many of your patients use international sports to socialize amongst friends. 2014 is the year of two of the biggest international sporting events: The Winter Olympics in Russia (February) and The World Cup in Brazil (June). How can you leverage these events to create rich content marketing material for your health business? Try writing a free report that offers health and wellness secrets from your favorite Olympians. Are you a dentist looking to reinvigorate your dental marketing plan? Why not create an email marketing campaign that encourages fundraising for a dental charity for children in Brazil? Connecting your dental practice to a Brazilian charity may work particularly well if you happen to serve a large population of Brazilian immigrants.

Health Marketing: Lost in translation

As health companies are looking to internationalize their content there are several pitfalls that health companies make that can tear down all the work you put into your content marketing strategy. The use of the Spanish language in the US is increasing as more Spanish speaking immigrants come to the US to live and work. Many health organizations want to use this as an opportunity to market to that audience. However, rather than taking the time to personalize their content for that community (or communities as all Spanish speakers are not the same…), they just take the same old patient education material used for an American audience and translate it into Spanish. Take a look at these translation failures and you’ll understand how potentially embarrassing this can be for your health company.

Global Content Works for Local Medical Providers Too

Internationalizing your content marketing strategy works whether you are an international food, health, and wellness company or a local medical practitioner. Although you may serve people in your local town, think about how many more immigrants have sought out your business in the last few years? Think about how many more ethnic foods are available in your grocery store or the increasing number of ethnic restaurants popping up in big and small towns alike. Television and other media demonstrating how easy it is to buy real estate in some of the world’s most exotic locations indicate a consumer that is hungry for international perspectives.

The world of health marketing is changing as consumers are becoming much more health savvy. They no longer depend solely on the advice of doctors to get their medical information. They want health products and services that are inspired by nature and can be integrated in their day to day lives without a lot of fuss. Help your customers to relate to your brand by giving them the relevant content that feeds their international curiosity. I am sure you will find that this will not only excite your target audience, but it will bring new energy to your everyday work.

So let’s discuss! How can your company take advantage of global trends in health content marketing?


* from the report, “Mintel Reveals US Consumer Trends for 2014.”

Create Your 2013 Content Marketing Year in Review

Halona Black, Health Copywriter & Content Specialist 347-674-0841As December 2013 comes to a close, you are more than likely preoccupied with organizing your health business plans for the new year. Your brain is barraging you with questions about how you can increase your sales and serve more clients. However, before you take a look at 2014, take a moment to celebrate all that you have accomplished in 2013. How have your content marketing efforts  supported your accomplishments for 2013? It is difficult to make goals for next year when you have no idea what was successful, and not so successful, the previous year. Here is a list of 10 steps that will guide you through creating your year in review statement.

Your Content Marketing Year in Review: 2013

  1. Make a list of all your biggest accomplishments for the year.
  2. Did you make a list of marketing goals for 2013? Take that out and analyze how you fared.
  3. Do you have a blog? What were some of your most popular blog posts? This can be measured by the number of comments that were left, how many times was it shared on social media, and the amount of traffic your site received after publishing that post.
  4. Did you do any guest blog posts? What were the results of those posts? Did you get new business? Did your blog receive more traffic? Did you sell any products?
  5. Did you get any press mentions on the web, local, national, or international media? How and why did those press mentions happen? Press releases, personal relationships, contributed articles, etc.
  6. Did you create any new relationships with other business owners as a result of your blog, social media, etc.?
  7. What is the percentage of increase in your email list from the beginning of 2013 to now?
  8. How has your social media presence grown from the beginning of 2013 to now?
  9. What is your most successful content marketing tool? Is it your blog, newsletter, your Facebook profile, etc.?
  10. Now that you know what was successful for 2013, what content marketing tools will you use going into 2014? How will you use them to meet your goals for the new year?

If you are looking for a content marketing expert who can help you plan for business success in 2014, contact me for your free 15 minute consultation.


How to Use Facebook Groups to Build Your Money Making Email List Without Looking Like a Sleeze

Facebook Groups - Halona Black, Health Copywriter & Consultant 347-674-0841 info@HalonaBlack.comMany health and wellness businesses still believe that creating a social media presence means slapping up a Facebook profile, only using it to announce their latest blog posts. If you are only using Facebook as a space to distribute your business announcements, then you are not fully using all that Facebook has to offer.

Health and wellness professionals who don’t understand social media forget the operative word, “SOCIAL.” To be social means to  engage others in what they are doing. Take the time to learn about who your followers are and what they need. ENGAGE them by adding value to their daily lives.

What I like about interacting in Facebook groups is that the group does not have to belong to you — meaning that you are not responsible for the set up or management of the page. You are simply another member looking to help make the lives of other group members a little better by sharing your knowledge. Take a look at some of these tips that can help you to get the most out of your time interacting with people in Facebook groups.

  1. Know what you want to get out of engaging with people on Facebook. You want to get more people on to your email list, YES. But what else do you want to know? Are you a fitness trainer who wants to know more about what your target client is eating that is keeping them from weight loss? Are you a women’s health expert who wants to know more about your target client’s top health complaints? Having a goal in mind will help you to find the right group that suits your interests.
  2. Find relevant Facebook groups. Finding Facebook groups that are relevant to your area of expertise is essential to your Facebook marketing success. There are literally millions of Facebook groups out there, but honestly not all of them are any good. Many groups wind up being nothing more than a place for people to spam the group about their business and provide absolutely no value to group members. So be selective about what groups you join. Try joining 2 to 3 at a time and just linger around for a few days to get a feel for the quality of the group. Ask yourself, are the group members genuinely engaging with each other? If yes, then go ahead and introduce yourself to the group and tell them a little about your expertise. Remember, you are not there to sell, just offer yourself as a resource.
  3. Decide how you can add value to the group. Joining a Facebook group is not the time for you to tell everyone about your services and let them know about all your latest sales. Your approach should be a bit softer in a Facebook group. You want to woo them with your knowledge and make people remember you because of all the great information you were so forthcoming with. If you are a weight loss expert in a group for women who want to lose weight, have some practical tips ready when group members ask questions. If you created a blog post that is relevant to the group member’s questions, feel free to post it if it does not break the group’s rules.
  4. Make sure you are commenting using your business profile. If you are offering value to the group on a regular basis, you will find that people will become naturally curious about who you are and what you do. Make it easy for them by using your business page as the page you are commenting from. Make sure that all your contact information is available — including your website, email, phone number, and other ways to get in touch with you. You can even put a link on your business page tabs that invites people to join your email list from you Facebook business page.


Looking for the simplest way to manage your email list? Try Aweber!


If you implement these tips, you should get people who come to your website and join your email list. People will become naturally curious You will also notice that when group members have a specific question about something pertaining to your expertise, people will tag you on the post asking you to chime in. That is when you know that you are successfully branding yourself as a valuable source of information.

Want to know more about how to engage Facebook groups as part of your business marketing strategy? I currently have 5 spots per month to offer free 30-min consulting sessions for health and wellness businesses. Contact me today before those spots disappear!

The Truth About Writing Original Blog Content

The Truth About Writing Original Blog Content - Halona Black Freelance Writer & Healthy Brand Expert info@HalonaBlack.comEntrepreneurs often work very long hours — particularly in the beginning stages of their business. You find yourself not only responsible for serving your customers, but all the stuff that goes on in the back office as well. You are doing the marketing, the accounting, you’re going to network events, etc. The work never ends. As a result, you may be thinking about shortcuts that will help you to get more done in less time. Marketing is often one of those things that can be systemized to save you time.

Your blog is a marketing tool that many healthy brands either love or hate. If you’re a prolific writer, blogging may be right up your alley. Non-writers would rather scoop their own eyeballs out with a melon baller than to write something that other people will read.

Blogging is an important marketing activity because it builds credibility and it helps potential paying customers find you during online searches. However, as an entrepreneur building your healthy brand, you may feel like using pre-written content — or PLR (private label rights) content — is the way to go.

What is PLR content?

PLR content is pre-written blog posts or articles that can be sold to business owners to use on their blog. The same content can be bought by anyone who has the money to pay for it. It’s sort of like going to Macy’s to shop for a blouse. You may purchase a blouse you like, however it doesn’t mean you have exclusive rights to that blouse. Others are free to purchase a copy of that same blouse in Macy’s stores all over the world.

Just say no to pre-written content

When it comes to content for your blog, you want to make sure that the content you use is original. Why? For starters, one of the purposes of a blog is to differentiate you from others who may do similar work as you. Second, each blog post you write is another opportunity for search engines to rank you using certain keywords and phrases. The better quality of the content, the higher your chances of being ranked on the first few pages of Google’s search function. How will Google know that your blog posts on liver detoxification are quality if you and 100 other coaches used the exact same blog posts?

If you absolutely need to use PLR content for your blog, you can use it to inspire your own original blog posts. Don’t just copy and paste the material and slap your name on it.

Alternatives to PLR content

My advice is to avoid PLR content for your blog at all costs. If you really want to have a successful blog, you have to make the space blogging in your marketing calendar. Some tips to help you find the time to blog are:

  1. Decide how often you want to blog. Once per week? Five times per week? What matters most is that you are consistent.
  2. Look for guest bloggers. If your blog has a bit of a following, you may be able to attract quality guest bloggers who can write relevant content for you during the times you are too busy to write something for yourself.
  3. Hire someone to write for you. Partner with a profesional writer who knows you and your business.

Have you ever used PLR content on your blog? What would make blogging on a regular basis easier for you?




How to Win New Clients with a Guest Blogging Strategy

How to Win New Clients with a Guest Blogging Strategy - Halona Black, Freelance Writer & Healthy Brand  Expert info@HalonaBlack.comHave you thought about using guest blogging as a strategy to grow your audience? Guest blogging is the act of writing guest blog posts on another blog with a similar target market as your own. For example, if you are a health coach who serves people with stress management issues, you may want to seek out a popular blogger that caters to professional women in corporate America. This can be considered to be a complementary relationship in that it helps the both of you to expand your work to a new audience.

What can healthy brands gain from guest blogging?

Guest blogging is a great strategy to increase your ranking in search engines by creating links that are directed to your website. When another legitimate, authority website links back to your website, it tells Google that your site is also a reliable, professional website.

Guest blogging also allows you an opportunity to grow your audience. You are reaching out to bloggers that write about topics that complement your business, making it more likely that they will be interested in clicking on the link to your blog to join your email list.

Guest blogging increases your authority in the eyes of people who are looking for experts. Conference organizers, magazine writers, TV producers, and web writers are looking for experts every single day. They need these experts to give weight to the stories they produce. After blogging about fibroids on my other blog, I have gotten phone calls and emails from ABC News and many other health websites looking for quotes related to black women and fibroids.

Guest blogging also doesn’t cost you anything but maybe a couple of hours of your time. In some instances, you may even be paid to write a guest post. What more of a reason do you need to add guest blogging to your marketing plan than that?

Strategic Guest Blogging

It’s important to take a strategic approach to guest blogging because, let’s face it, time is money. You don’t want to waste your time blogging in places that don’t make sense for your business model. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself before approaching other blogs for guest blogging opportunities.

#1 What will guest blogging help you achieve?

What do you hope to achieve by guest blogging? Are you looking to add to your email list? Do you want to drive traffic to your blog? Do you want to introduce a new product or service to those who are likely to be interested? Your goal can be any one or a combination of these. Just be clear on what your goals are because that will influence what bloggers you approach and what you write about.

#2 What kinds of blogs or bloggers will you partner with?

Write for a blogger that has a complementary business or audience who reaches a similar market. For example, if you work with women who are long distance runners, you may want to approach women bloggers who write about running. Pay attention to the kind of following they have. Many of these lifestyle bloggers have thousands of subscribers and followers on social media. More importantly, they have a group of responsive followers who buy everything they recommend. Keep a list of all the bloggers you think you may be interested in writing for and why.

#3 What should you write about?

It makes great sense to do a bit of research on the blog to find out what kinds of posts are useful to their readers. What does the blog or the business aim to do? What kinds of posts are most popular as demonstrated by the number of comments, questions, and shares on social media. This is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to getting taken seriously when approaching other bloggers with ideas for guest posts.

It is also important to know that you should NEVER approach another blogger to write a post making a hard sell to their readers. You want to offer their audience information that gives them great value and will compel them to click over to your website and learn more about your services and products organically. For example, if you are an herbalist, you may choose to write about how certain herbs can keep you from getting sick during the cold and flu season. That is the type of article that will demonstrate your expertise. If the reader is interested in learning more about you, they will click on the link in your “about the author” piece usually at the end of the blog post.

#4 What are the requirements for writing the guest blog post?

Once you identify your list of potential bloggers to approach for guest blogging opportunities, be sure to check their blog for guest blog requirements. Many blogs will have a page on their website menu detailing what to do if you are interested in writing a guest post. It’s important to pay attention to those instructions as every blogger does it differently. If they don’t have any details on guest blog post requirements, you can contact them directly via email to inquire about how to do so using the technique in step #5.

#5 How do you write a guest blog query or proposal?

Again, it is essential that you pay attention to what the blogger is asking for in your proposal. If you choose to do your own thing, you risk your email getting deleted without so much as a “thank you for applying” note. Some bloggers require that you send them your piece completely written while others ask for a brief synopsis of what you plan to write. You can send an email that looks similar to the following,

Dear (Blogger Name),

My name is __________ and I do (your profession and website). After doing some research on your blog, I think that your readers would be interested in learning more about (give one potential topic with a tentative title). This topic is important to your readers because __________. I can be reached at (your email and other contact information.

Keep it short and to the point, making sure to focus on the value you are giving to your readers and NOT how you writing for them will do so much for your business.

Have you done any guest blogging? What gave you the biggest headache?