At 35, I’m a baby dinosaur. As I was earning my master’s degree in journalism from 2006 to 2007, my school was experimenting with an idea for a new journalism track – new media. But I was trying to focus on my thing: writing, editing and the public health model of reporting. Looking back, I erred in making digital storytelling peripheral to my study when I should have made it central. Palm to forehead.

Because as a writer, I want people to be able to find what I have to share in print and online. And that means I have some work to do. My new mantra is I’m not a dinosaur. I can and will learn new things and put them into immediate action in two areas. Last year, I launched a personal blog, and I want people to read it. In addition, my husband is in the process of starting his own dermatology private practice, and I’m helping coordinate branding, online presence and print materials. So clearly, I needed help.

But where would I turn? I’d never heard about the Kansas City Data-Driven Marketing Association, but when the symposium event popped up in my Facebook feed, it seemed to be the ideal opportunity for me to move out of the Paleolithic area and into the digital era. I learned that the KCDMA has been a driving-force behind many marketing initiatives for 79 years and offers monthly educational and networking opportunities. With over 400 members throughout the area, I was sure this was a place I would learn from a group of professionals on the forefront of the marketing industry.

In this second of two posts about the KCDMA symposium, I’m sharing what I learned about content marketing as it applies to one of my goals for this year: Effectively marketing Cornerstone Dermatology & Surgery Group, my husband’s practice scheduled to open in July 2018.

Content Marketing

Quinn Tempest, Phoenix-area graphic designer and marketing consultant, brought such fun and energy to the room along with her talk ‘To the Future and Beyond.” She emphasized that it’s not just the quality of the brand anymore, it’s about the values of the brand or business, how these are conveyed and how the brand engages with prospects.

People buy from businesses they like and that they feel they can trust. The content (information) businesses share lays the foundation for a trusting relationship. Content marketing, the art of providing relevant, useful information to prospects without selling to or interrupting them, is about playing the long game, Tempest said. You’re simply delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information to your prospects to make them more informed before they buy. Then when they’re ready to make a move, they reward you with their business and loyalty.

So, as marketers, how do we provide this valuable information? First, think about information people need and that you can provide. Locate gaps in content, and think in terms of themes. Then provide this useful information in the form of blogs, resource articles aimed at building relationship. This content is rooted in and drives SEO.

Tempest encouraged us to think of search engines as answer machines. As marketers, we should be engaged in the ideation process: reverse-engineering to create content that people are looking for online. To start, we should ask ourselves what kind of questions we get asked all the time.

For me, this was kind of an ‘aha’ moment. I am always getting the question: Hey, your husband is a dermatologist. So I was wondering _____________.  Shortly after the symposium, I decided to throw this question format out there on Facebook to get a feel for what topics would really resonate with people.

I received 29 comments on my personal page, many of them centered on anti-aging products and practices. This made us realize that while cosmetic dermatology is not my husband’s most favorite topic, it’s an entry-level dermatology topic that people are interested in and would appreciate his opinion.

In response, we plan to incorporate short videos and/or blog posts where I interview my husband and address the research as well as practical tips on these topics. (Once we find out where our people hang out most online.) This is just one KCDMA takeaway that I’m going to be able to implement soon in our small business.

As we start out, we are heeding Tempest’s advice and getting processes down to produce content that creates relationships with leads and nurtures them. And truly, in building an office that provides personalized care to valued patients, the long-game appeals to us. Because it’s not about providing anti-aging tips. It’s about providing expert, individualized care for the whole family. But if the Botox talk gets them in the door, then so be it.

Natalie Fieleke is a freelance copywriter and editor from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She blogs about eats, self, soul and style at her lifestyle blog, Lovely Inside Out. She’s helping launch Cornerstone Dermatology & Surgery Group, scheduled to open in July 2018. To connect with her, email