Want a More Effective Content Strategy? Listen Better

Don't google it from Gezondheid en Wetenschap on Vimeo.

How long does it take you, on average, to answer a client's question with a point of view? How quickly fo you take over a conversation? A time equivalent to a tweet? That fast? So certain?

There is value in experience and a body of work, and in being responsive; however, we all practice in our respective domains, we do not know them. Think about it, we say doctors practice medicine, and they are responsible for the direction a treatment takes.

Would you rather they blurt out a long list of tests (expensive and potentially painful) after narrowing the conversation and practically guiding you into localizing an issue, or that they first look to understand what is going on with your life when you mention something is off?

Mind you, the two are not mutually exclusive, it is just the order in which they occur that I want you to consider.

My family physician is a bit old school, despite strict marching orders from the hospital system that took over his practice to allot shorter time windows to each patient, he starts our annual visits with a conversation.

That is good. Because during that initial chat, he learned to ask open ended questions and listen carefully. We talked about his process the last time I was in — and he explained how starting broad helps him uncover clues that help him see where he should look.

Healthcare is about diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, illness, injury, etc. A proper diagnosis, however, is not the result of a fishing expedition — get a lot of tests done to figure out what is going on — it is (or should be) the result of a thoughtful process.

Starting broadly with open-ended questions is how strategic processes help us uncover hidden gems (and where the issues are) before we get into confirmation bias mode.

A defined process that helps us listen better may seem to some like a waste of time. Yes, precious minutes are taken up front to set up the conversation, do preliminary research. It is by determining what is going on that matters — to the patient within the context of his life/work — that the doctor can align a treatment, or recommendations around health goals with the real issue.

Don't google It from DDB Brussels on Vimeo.

Marketers talk about serving up content at the right time, in the right place. Yet they often approach the content strategy question through a fairly narrow campaign frame and get into tactical mode and content generation rather too quickly. 

When you want something to be true, you tend to pay attention only to the information and data that makes it so. Never mind big data, many organizations have a hard time utilizing the little data they have creatively, to offer a solution to a real problem through content.

These videos are the work of DDB Brussels for a healthcare campaign sponsored by the Flemish government to cure hypochondria — "Don't google it, check a reliable source." They were able to use the word 'google' in the AdWords campaign since it's a verb in Dutch. [via]

Solutions can be simple. They can stare you right in the face. You might miss them when your field of vision it too narrow. Want a more effective content strategy? Listen better.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.