October 20, 2021
Who, What, Why for Better Strategies
Nothing will make your head explode like writing an intelligent and actionable creative brief. The formulation is simple. We stole ours — Who, What, Why — from the first day of journalism class. Whether you're writing about a man being bit by a dog or crafting words for the rebranding of Nike, these three questions will serve you well. The idea is to be as precise with the language as possible. It should be dry (non-executional), a tad boring, and doesn't tip your hand as to the direction you want to go. Make the creative team work for it. Just don't give it away. From precision, you can manage accountability with creatives and clients.
Sure, you can add a few garlands to your brief, like "tone" and "consumer sentiment," but in reality, they never really move things along. "Who "describes the audience (please, one audience per brief). "What" is the claim. And "Why" is the support, or the SINGLE reason audience would be swayed by your claim. Let me repeat that last part: it's the SINGLE bit your target will believe and hopefully remember of your outlandish claims.
Let's pretend we want to sell a little red sports car. "Who" are well-heeled executives who just paid their last tuition bill. "What?" you deserve to splurge on this car as a celebration.
Huh? What does this have to do with medical device marketing or selling anything in the healthcare realm? Well, it turns out just about everything. Substitute our middle-aged doctor who's been in practice for 15 years and give them permission to buy a premium device brand. Who, What, Why works anywhere for any product or service.
Now back to the accountability thang. Say you ask for a spot to sell a little red sports car, and the team pitches you on a Geico-type ad that features a red unicorn with tires. Ask simple questions like how does this relate to the brief? It's a buzzkill, but it will keep you on track with your brand. If everybody signs off on the brief, everyone is responsible for making the magic happen.
Air Out Your Stress with Friluftsliv
Embrace your inner Viking and get on board with the Nordic concept of “friluftsliv.” (Free-Loofs-Leaf) The term roughly translates to “open-air living” and is popular in Nordic countries. Folks love getting outdoors, even in those cold northern winters of short days and freezing temperatures.
But why leave the cozy confines of your warm and toasty domicile in the winter months? Because getting outside in nature is good for your mental health. In addition to getting a boost of serotonin from the sun, walking (or jogging or hiking) around your local park can improve your mental mood, in addition to providing all the physical benefits a little exercise brings.
Friluftsliv can be a solution to Seasonal Affective Disorder, so if you suffer from the winter blues, getting in a little daily outdoor time helps. As the Norwegians say: “Ut på tur, aldri sur," which means “Out on hike, never in a bad mood!”
Do it as a group or do it alone
- Looking for a few suggestions for living your best friluftsliv? Try these:
- Skiing (duh!) Either downhill (or cross-country, if you want to feel the burn.)
- Make a checklist of parks or nature preserves in your area and plan to hike each one.
- Organize a backyard soiree with friends, complete with a bonfire and s'mores.
- Get a walking or running group together.
- Find a park near a coffee shop and meet some friends for a coffee klatch on the regular.
- Plan a fall/winter picnic complete with a thermos full of cocoa.
- Take a walk during lunch and find yourself getting happier and healthier.
- Get your downward dog on in an outdoor yoga class.
Hack Google with Search Operators
For any given search, Google spews out millions of results. Usually, we pick and click an item on page one or two. But what about the other zillion hits? Might they contain valuable information? Sure they do, and Google’s search operators help you ferret them out by narrowing the field of results. Insert the search operator before the subject of the search. For example, site:bioticahealth.com social media (Note, no spaces after the colon) This search returns all of the mentions of social media that appear in the Biotica site. Do you want to know if a competitor makes a specific medical device, try site:competitorcompany whatchamagig. In total there are 41 search operators. You can find a complete list here. (https://www.semrush.com/blog/google-search-operators). For the purposes of this article, we’d like to share a few that frequently cut our time on searches.
- “Quote” a quote around a word or phrase that must appear in the results. For instance. “Mr. Ed’s Horse” would yield results much different the “Ed’s horse” or “Mister Horse Ed.” This is an easy one that will narrow down your results quickly.
- "-" The Exclusion Modifier. Use this when what you’re hunting for has a similar name or place to your search. For example, search = Hamburger Recipes -Wendy’s -McDonald’s -Rally’s –“Burger King”. In other words, don’t give me recipes from fast-food chains!
- Specify a Date. This one is worth its weight in gold if your search is technical in nature or you need the most current information. For example, search, IBS Allergen Testing –“Scratch Test”
- Search Within a Range of Numbers. For example – “Coffee Mugs” $12… $25 – or “Coffee Mugs” 8oz to 20oz.
- Find out what your competition is up to on social. @NAME-OF-PLATFORM ACCOUNT. For example, @twitter bioticahealth. This also works great with other social platforms like LinkedIn, Reddit, and Facebook
- Likewise, search a hashtag by inserting a… hashtag! For example, #pumpkincarving
- Boogie with a Boolean to combine search terms, for example, “TV Horses” OR “movie horses” – Mr. Ed, which also shows how you can combine more than one operator. Note: Type your Booleans in all caps, so Google doesn’t think they’re part of normal text.
- “And” is another Boolean that indicates that two or more terms must be present in the search results. For example, “Manufacturers of “Diagnostic equipment” AND Nanotechnology and “mini robots”
- Find Related Sites. Use this formulation, “related:CNN.com” to return a listing of sites with common themes. This is a great SEO tool and useful for unearthing competitors. One caveat, Google tends to offer related results for high-volume sites.
- Inurl is an operator that tells you if the URL includes specific terms. For example: InURL:”Stephen Hawkings” Black holes. Incidentally, the presence of search terms in an URL is also a positive Google ranking factor.
- Intitle:query, the Title Specific Search is similar to the InURL operator, except you’re directing Google to find specific words in the title of a page. This is another supposed ranking factor, because a keyword in a title shows that the site considers it an important topic. For example: Intitle: “Pumpkin Pie” AND “Gluten Free”
- Did you miss the big download at the Orthopedic conference? Never fear. “filetype:query” For example if your tracking down a presentation from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, your search may look like this: filetype:pdf AAOS 2021, and you’ll have a listing of all the pdfs the academy website has associated with the show.
Mastering a few of Google’s basic search operators can save you gobs of time and lead you to difficult, if not impossible to find, information. And get creative. Most of the time, two or three operators can be used in a single search, so if you want to know what Mr. Ed ate for dinner, try: “Mr. Ed” AND “talking horse” English OR Yiddish OR Mandarin. Have fun, and power to the Booleans!
Throw Your Best PR PitchPitching a story to a (seemingly) uncaring Media is challenging. A pitch fights through an army of SPAM filters, voicemails, competing pitches, and the siren song of a journalist’s invitation to happy hour. And while the digital world has made access easier in many cases, it has its own set of obstacles to overcome.
Here are a few tips to make sure your PR pitch gets a fighting chance
Do your research. Compile a list of the outlets that make sense to your brand and line products. Identify the writers, editors, and producers at those outlets and get their contact info. Keep it updated. People in the media move around a lot, so keep your lists current.
Pinpoint your targets. If you're pitching a story about the latest medical device in the ophthalmology field, chances are Martha Stewart Living magazine is not your best bet. Unless you've heard that Martha is designing a new line of phoropters, then go for it.
Follow your favorite journalists on social media. Interact with them. Get to know their digital personas and the kind of stories that pique their interest.
Think bigger. If the story is about a new product line, how can you make it attractive to those outside of your company? Does it play into a larger trend happening in the field? How can the reporter make the most of the story? And how can you help them do that?
Make it easy on a reporter. They've got deadlines to meet and are (usually) overworked. As a good public relations practitioner, make sure you provide everything they need, from compelling quotes to hi-res digital photos. The less legwork they must do, the easier it is for them to say yes to a pitch. And if you can make all the resources easily accessible in a digital location (think Dropbox), all the better.
Get relationship-ey. You don't have to be a reporter's best friend, but a warm relationship goes a long way. And if they know you are a reliable source of information, it's a win-win.
Keep your pitch short and sweet. According to surveys, most journalists (over 90 percent) prefer pitches under 200 words.
Don't send your public relations pitch as an attachment to an email, as this triggers a lot of SPAM filters. Put it in the body of the email and avoid SPAMmy words.
Don't forget a clear and accurate subject line and under 50 characters. Write it like you would a headline and make it alluring, so recipients want to open and read. For example, “Tech changes the way patients see Optometrists.”
Eccentricity Creates Recall, Yeah!
We count on marketing to persuade, educate, and grab attention. What might not be so obvious is that the good stuff literally changes our brains.
That’s what researchers at Stanford University realized when the tested a visual theory called the eccentricity bias, which says, “that the size and location of a dedicated region in the brain depends on how much of our visual field the objects take up and which parts of our vision – central or peripheral – we use to view them. This means, in short, that weird things get remembered and everyday things, not so much.
The Stanford research showed that the occipitotemporal sulcas (OTS) in adults who played Pokemon as children, their OTS’s were more activated than the control group, i.e. the repetitive exposure to novel Pokemon characters changed their brain development.
The Stanford News says that “Playing Pokémon on a tiny screen means that the Pokémon characters only take up a very small part of the player’s center of view. The eccentricity bias theory thus predicts that preferential brain activations for Pokémon should be found in the part of the visual cortex that processes objects in our central, or foveal, vision.
What does this mean for marketing and communication? Different, weird, and eccentric stimuli generate attention and generate recall when people are exposed to them at a young age. From our observations, it seems these oddball stimuli are wired into our wallets. Think about getting some!
Is Your Website a Bouncer?
How will you convert visitors to your website into customers if they’re saying “Let’s bounce” as soon as they walk into your digital door? They don’t even have time to see all your technologically advanced medical devices or read all your cool and persuasive healthcare marketing copy. You want to keep them on your site so they can come to understand just how amazing you and your products really are.
So, you need to find out why they’re bouncing. A high bounce rate can be indicative of a couple of things.
What is Bounce Rate?
When a user visits your site on any page and leaves without visiting other pages on the same domain, that’s a bounce. So, bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.
One potential problem is poor user experience. Your site is slow or ugly or poorly laid out or all the above. So, they say buh-bye. There’s a sleeker, faster site just a quick search and click way.
So how do you keep visitors glued to your website? Here are 11 ways to improve your site, so you get fewer bounces, and with luck (and some great marketing), more conversions.
- Make sure the page downloads in under three seconds. Get a web mechanic to look under the hood and make sure everything is in good working order and optimized for speed.
- Improve content readability. In this day of petite attention spans, think short paragraphs, snappy copy, and make sure the copy is broken up—subheads, pull quotes, etc. And pay attention to grammar, spelling and sentence length.
- Make sure the page works technically – NO BAD LINKS, fast download times, easy to follow navigation. If the page is extremely long, would it be easier for the user as separate pages?
- Write the search title in the meta tags is similar to the headline of the story. The idea is to confirm to the user that they are in the right place.
- Create headlines that communicate the essence of the story. Don’t bury the lede.
- Improve your storytelling. Get creative with your content and make it compelling. Dry, boring copy makes for itchy clicking fingers.
- Keep it fresh. Regular blogging keeps your site fresh and provides new stuff for visitors to peep. And more reasons for visitors to click around on your site.
- Optimize your meta descriptions. The optimal length for a meta description is 155 characters, so make them count. And make sure they are accurate and match the content.
- Avoid Popups. Don’t disrupt the flow with annoying popups.
- Open external links in new windows. You don’t want visitors to click away and leave you.
- Be mobile-friendly. It's non-negotiable these days. Most visitors are now looking at your site from their phone. And fun fact: 75 percent of Americans admit to using their phones while on the toilet.