2014 was a phenomenal year for the marketing department at PreCheck. The health care background check and employment screening company’s three-member marketing team won eight awards for its content marketing efforts, including honors for “Best Blog Website” in the Web Marketing Association’s 2014 IAC Award Competition, three 2014 Hermes Creative awards and a Silver Davey Award for its blog, says Marketing Director Bryan Barajas.
Receiving a Crystal Award from the Houston Chapter of the American Marketing Association was a highlight for the team because they all got to attend a ceremony and accept the award on stage. Barajas says it was awesome to see PreCheck’s name on the screen, particularly since the award was based on marketing results as well as design.
Even more impressive than all the awards PreCheck won last year: The company only formalized its content marketing strategy three years ago and launched its blog in June 2012. “I can’t believe we’re approaching our blog’s third anniversary this summer, and we’ve really come a long way,” Barajas says. Last year, his team made the commitment to publish two blog posts a week — double what they’d been doing before.
Barajas and his team prove you don’t need a massive marketing team to do great content marketing and it’s possible to establish an impressive, effective content marketing operation in just a couple short years. To learn their secrets, I recently asked him several questions about PreCheck’s content marketing efforts. Read on to see what he had to say.
How did your team develop the PreCheck content marketing strategy?
We started formalizing our content strategy by setting up a spreadsheet to serve as our editorial calendar, which we still use today, although we’ve added a few more columns as we updated our strategy. We have monthly editorial meetings to discuss recent topics and events that are relevant to our audience. Of course, the calendar is always changing because we incorporate the latest industry news into our content. I also make it a point to attend the latest health care and compliance conferences so that I can stay abreast of the latest topics in the industry and create highly relevant, timely content for our customers and prospects.
Besides blogging, which content marketing tactics does PreCheck use?
We have a presence on the major social networks that are relevant to our audience, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. When it comes to social media, you have to be strategic about how you spend your time and where to focus your efforts. Content marketing is a marathon, so you just have to keep going and you’ll see results in time if you have the right strategy.
Our social media following grew exponentially across our networks last year, and we couldn’t have done it without the right content and strategy. We also author new white papers each year. For example, last year we published a white paper on the biggest challenges in healthcare recruiting, and we have two white papers in the pipeline this year.
Although we’ve had a Compliance Quarterly email newsletter that’s written by our vice president of compliance, Vu Do, last year we also released a monthly newsletter that showcases our latest white papers and blog posts, as well as industry news. We also offer educational webinars for our customers and prospects covering best practices in background screening and the latest regulatory updates. This year, we’re looking for ways to incorporate video into our content marketing as well as establishing a presence on SlideShare.
How many staff people are involved in executing PreCheck’s content marketing strategy?
Gracie Gonzales is our associate creative director, and she takes the creative lead in our campaigns, designs everything that we produce and maintains our brand standards. Antique Nguyen is our marketing specialist, and he helps me execute our content marketing efforts, from writing blog articles, to maintaining our social media channels, as well as assisting with our email and digital advertising campaigns.
We also have members from other departments who help us write blog posts from time to time, but within the marketing department, we are a three-person team. We’ve learned to become very efficient over time.
How does your team come up with its content ideas?
As I mentioned before, we have editorial meetings where we discuss the latest news and assign blog topics. I read health care publications such as Compliance Today and HR Pulse to learn about topics as well as attend webinars from the Health Care Compliance Association and partners like HealthStream. I try to do everything I can to stay informed with the latest news and best practices in the industry so that I can help educate our customers and prospects with content that is useful, timely and helpful.
How do you motivate PreCheck staff members to help create content?
When we have editorial meetings, I share the latest statistics and recognize the authors who have written the blog posts that have received the highest traffic. We also share the latest awards that our content marketing efforts have earned, proving that our efforts drive results.
Can you tell me about an especially effective piece of content or content campaign you’ve created?
We’re very proud of our blog, earning us multiple marketing awards in 2014. Not only have we significantly increased visits to our blog over time, but we’ve also increased the average time spent during each visit. Last year, I wrote a post titled “7 Key Healthcare Background Screening and Employment Qualification Trends in 2014” that was one of our top 10 articles of 2014. We had it printed as a handout for our trade shows.
What advice would you give other B2B companies that are trying to achieve PreCheck’s level of success with content marketing?
It’s important to start with a documented strategy, because that’s what helps keep you organized and moving forward. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Prioritize the channels that you want to focus on first. Start with a few channels or content types and then gradually incorporate others as you become more efficient and grow your content marketing team. It’s OK to outsource some parts of your content marketing efforts, too, if you have the right partner. You can’t do everything by yourself, especially if you’re a small team.
Let us know if you’d like some help with your B2B blog or other content marketing efforts. We can offer a little or a lot of assistance based on your needs.