That might seem strange, but according to Xerox’s Director of Content Marketing Ken Ericson, for the past several years Xerox has been “like a hospital that’s known for selling shoes.” That is, what it’s best at doesn’t exactly match what people know it for.
Less than half of Xerox’s business today comes from selling copiers and printers, according to Ericson. With its acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services in 2010, the company boosted its business services line that provides IT, human resources, finance, vendor management and payment services across a dozen industries.
One of the industries it sees the most growth potential? Healthcare. But in order to grow in the shifting, highly regulated and complicated healthcare environment, Xerox needed to build credibility and trust among its potential customers.
So about six months ago, it launched HealthBiz Decoded, what Ericson calls “a knowledge site to build advocacy of our brand in healthcare.”
The site publishes about one story per day, diving into topics from healthcare policy to new technologies to regulatory issues. It’s sponsored by Xerox and is made up of a handful of Xerox staffers including Ericson, a former journalist who worked in the company’s public relations department. It doesn’t, however, have its own business model or bring in revenue.
The idea is that readers of the site see that the content is being produced by Xerox but don’t feel like it’s advertisement, because it isn’t. Only about a third of those stories either mention or are somehow related to Xerox. “It’s designed to build belief and join the conversation, but not to sell,” Ericson said, adding that even its design doesn’t look like Xerox’s site.
To achieve this, the team works with an outside agency and also creates content it thinks it can share with other sites to help create social conversation and trackback. So far, this content marketing experiment has had a few big breakthroughs.
In July, HealthBiz Decoded published a map of EMR adoption across the U.S. A few trade blogs (including MedCity News) re-posted the infographic, which Ericson said was flattering in itself. But then something really interesting happened. Two other companies that compete with Xerox shared the infographic on Twitter.
That’s the kind assurance Ericson needed to feel like his team was producing valuable, interesting content that would help Xerox move forward in healthcare. Ericson said his team will measure the site’s success not by clicks but by relevance of impact. “It’s not about how many conversations are happening out there, it’s about the quality of those conversations.”