With thought leadership generating so much noise these days, I invited Director of Marketing Matt Barker at TeleHealth Services to describe how he convinces his executives to share their insights through blogs and bylined articles. His secret: Tracking the results generated by their content, and using those results to push for more and better contributions.

With more than 2,500 customers, TeleHealth Services is the nation’s leading provider of interactive patient education and communications solutions (such as hospital TVs for patients) for the health care industry. Upon taking the lead marketing role last year, I began looking for “thought leadership” opportunities to spread the word about our products.

One piece that generated quantifiable results described how our interactive patient care systems help educate patients and staff. After the piece ran in one of the largest hospital executive publications in the country, and was featured online, we saw a spike of over 500 visitors to our site from the publication’s domain. Adding a form to capture visitors’  contact information resulted in more than  32 “warm” leads, of which two turned into sales that generated more than $200,000 in revenue.

I not only gave my sales team reprints, but touted the results of this and similar efforts within TeleHealth Services. As a result we were able to create an internal group of experts who meet regularly to generate ideas. After each meeting, I cross check the topics with my healthcare contacts to make sure the subjects are relevant.  The result is that with very few man-hours we can develop collateral that drives leads to the sales force, saves them significant time in the sales cycle,  and spreads my organization’s thought leadership.

As with any thought leadership strategy it takes some time to get the ball rolling. Currently my team is still writing the pieces, but I have begun rallying executives and subject matter experts to begin blogging and experimenting with social media. While traditional media is still a large focus for us, our main goal is to spread the team’s knowledge, and to become trusted partners in our client’s success, which is where social media comes in.

Our plans for the coming quarters are to begin delegating some of the writing duties and to branch into blogging, social networks, and other digital marketing arenas. With both types of media, the lesson is if you track and publicize your results, you can get your in-house experts to share their knowledge and boost sales.

As Matt says, it’ takes time to get a thought leadership strategy going. If strikes me that another strategy would be creating internal processes to repurpose content (such as translating market updates for the sales staff into external-facing blogs or newsletters about industry trends.) Thoughts?

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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