Q&A With Amanda Todorovich, Content Marketing Director, Cleveland Clinic

On April 20th at Cibreo Privato in the Public Square District, Amanda Todorovich will share how the Cleveland Clinic has evolved its content marketing efforts over the last three years, with content distribution strategies, staffing/structure/talent, garnering leadership support, measurement and testing, among other things.

Amanda’s team runs the #1 most-visited hospital blog in the country, Health Essentials. In less than 4 years, the Clinic went from zero to more than 4 million visits per month! It also built and established an integrated content marketing department responsible for both on-and-off-line content production as well as social media management, email marketing and brand management for the enterprise. Its content marketing efforts support both B2C and B2B goals.


What are some of the biggest challenges that you face running a Content Marketing program?

Constant change and growing demands on our time. There is more demand for content in our organization than we can keep up with, and the distribution channels for the content are constantly changing and evolving. It’s critical that we stay on top trends and what’s coming, but at the same time, we have to excel in the current state of our team and work.

The Health Essentials website is four-years-old. What is the measureable impact you have seen? What about other, more intangible impacts?

We have grown from zero to 4 million visits to our site per month in 4 years! We have seen incredible traffic growth, but more than that we have seen an impact on our national brand awareness and patient volume. The site has also established us as the healthcare industry leader in content marketing. Health Essentials is the #1 most-visited hospital blog in the country.

We are also monetizing the audience on the blog and actually bringing revenue INTO the marketing department.

Were there any challenges in selling Health Essentials to upper management? If so, what were they and how long before they were overcome?

Health Essentials started small as a way to re-purpose some offline content we were producing. We didn’t go into it with this vision of becoming a robust, revenue-generating brand publisher. It evolved over time, and so the sell wasn’t hard. The numbers speak for themselves, and we have an incredible CMO (Paul Matsen) who gets it, and is extremely supportive.

How big is your team? How did you put it together? What qualities did you look for in your employees that convinced you that they could contribute toward the site’s success?

I have 24 people on my team, but it’s important to note what all we support for our organization. Our team is not only responsible for Health Essentials and social media, but also all offline publications (50+ annually), collateral, email newsletters, a physician blog, and enterprise brand management.

We didn’t create this team from scratch. It’s evolved and grown over time out of a desire to align our on- and off-line content strategies. We have an incredible mix of talent across many functions – writers/editors, designers, digital strategists, project managers, print production/traffic, and so much more.

How do small and medium-sized business break through the noise and deliver impactful ROI through their Content Marketing strategies?

Three words – useful, helpful and relevant. Find a way to be those three things to your audience/customers with your content and you will win. People flock to brands they trust. Show them you care about them, even when they’re not shopping for your products. Find a way to help them in their everyday lives. Solve their problems.

Is there a way for Content Marketing programs to measure success directly, or will it always be measured in relation to other marketing efforts?

Yes, you can directly measure. How complicated that becomes really depends on how you define success – which you MUST do before you even do anything. What does content marketing success look like, feel like, sound like when you imagine presenting it to your leadership? Start there and determine what you can do. What data is available to you and/or what tools do you need to consider investing in UP FRONT.

How did your career evolve toward Content Marketing?

I started my career doing traditional media relations and “pitching” stories. I did that for ten years, and I absolutely loved it. Around 2008-2009, I had an opportunity to join a start-up and help build MedCity News from the ground up. As part of our business model, I started helping hospitals and other healthcare organizations with content projects and social media. In just a few years, we were working with some of the biggest and best health systems in the country and content marketing was building momentum during that time as well. I fell in love with the opportunity to help brands tell their own stories and build owned media channels that have audiences as large (and sometimes larger) than some media outlets.

I eventually found my way to Cleveland Clinic, and it’s been an incredible journey here. I am blessed with an amazing team, supportive leadership and the opportunity to share content that truly does help people.

What advice can you give to those who have an interest in beginning a career as a content marketer?  

Content marketers need to have an incredible mix of skills – both creative and analytical. Look for ways to establish and build a solid foundation for yourself. Understanding data and analytics is just as important as being able to write and create amazing content. Read and read some more – find and follow all of the great blogs and resources out there that share examples and case studies of amazing content marketing work. Go to Content Marketing World. Network

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