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.


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?

5 Questions to Ask Before Creating Your Content Marketing Strategy

5 Questions to Ask Before Creating Your Content Marketing Strategy - Halona Black, Freelance Writer, Healthy Brand Expert info@HalonaBlack.comNew and established healthy brands alike find themselves in an ongoing cycle of marketing their services. Customers are no longer paying as much attention to traditional advertising and are now looking for information to solve their problems. That is why content marketing has become so popular.

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract your target customer to your services or products. If you want to use content marketing for your healthy brand, don’t do what many companies do and just start writing random blog posts with no focus. You need a strategy. Here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself before creating your content marketing strategy.

#1 What are your business goals?

Sounds strange, but many healthy brands don’t have any business goals at all beyond sell more stuff. You know the old saying: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The same can be said with content marketing. Pinpoint what your business goals are before spending any time on creating content strategy. Do you want a 10% increase in sales? Acquisition of 10 new clients? Launch a new product? Once you have identified your goals, think about a time frame. Your healthy brand may choose to forecast 3 months into the future while others are looking at one to two years.

#2 What do you know about your customers?

Your customers are the reason you’re in business. So it is imperative that you do a little research to find out why they choose to buy from you, or at least why they are interested in your company. If you already have an email list, try creating a survey of 5 to 10 questions inquiring about their experiences with you. If they have made a purchase, why did they choose your company over others? If they have NOT made a purchase as of yet, what is holding them back?

#3 How did your customers find you on the internet?

Do some keyword research to figure out how your customers and enthusiasts found you on the internet. You may already know this intuitively, however using tools like Google Keyword Planner can give you some insight into the various combinations of how people phrase their questions. The latest Google search algorithm updates emphasize the use of natural search language and longtail keywords. Here is an example of keywords vs natural search language for an ayurvedic herb company:

  • Keyword: ayurveda, herbs, ayurvedic herbs, bulk herbs, wholesale, Portland OR
  • Natural language/longtail keywords: Who sells ayurvedic herbs in bulk in Portland, OR?

#4 What kinds of content do your customers need?

Once you know what kinds of questions your customers and enthusiasts are asking, and you know the words they are using to find you on the internet, you can now start to brainstorm the kinds of content your customers need to make an informed choice about your brand. Here are some content ideas to get you started:

  • Education or training – How can you teach your customer to need and want your product or service?
  • Discounts or coupons – How can you use this to lure customers in to try new products and services?
  • Thought leadership – How can you reframe old ideas about  your industry and bring more people into your “tribe?”
  • Giveaways – Can you offer people a mini experience representative of what you offer?
  • Testimonials – How can you use the experiences prior satisfied customers to your advantage?

#5 What is the best way to meet your content needs?

Now that you’ve done all the prior work, you can now figure out how to take your content ideas and figure out what is the best vehicle to deliver your message. Is it a series of blog posts — either on your blog or elsewhere? Is it a well researched white paper? Is it an e-book? Is it a presentation that can be displayed using Slideshare or Prezi? Is it an infographic?

Content marketing can be simplified with the proper guidance. If you are a new or established healthy brand seeking support for your content marketing, I am available for consultations and creating content.

What’s the hardest part about creating a content marketing strategy for your healthy brand?