Optum Uses Content Marketing to Educate Customers on the Opioid Epidemic
The “opioid epidemic” is a concept too large to fathom for many, with phrases like “tearing families apart” and “devastating communities” losing their meaning after repeated use. So, when marketers at Optum, a health services and innovation company, decided to create a content marketing campaign to educate customers, they had to be very deliberate in their choices.
“Because of the nature of this devastating epidemic,” says Jennifer Hovelsrud, senior brand director at Optum, “our primary objective was educating our audiences, with integrity and expertise, on an epidemic that is devastating the lives of neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members. Not only was this story, and its focus on education, the right thing to do for our brand, it was the right thing to do as a health system stakeholder.”
Challenge: Thought leadership, brand awareness
Solution: Content marketing
- Reached more than 500,000 unique visitors
- 2X time spent vs. benchmarks
- 8% increase among healthcare decision-makers naming Optum as their first choice
Concentrating on the right thing to do meant finding the most appropriate audience to educate. Optum marketers chose The Washington Post’s content marketing arm, WP BrandStudio, in part because the newspaper reaches one in three Americans. But Optum went beyond that targeting and chose to reach the Post’s influencers, who educate themselves on an issue before speaking about it.
Annie Granatstein, Head of WP BrandStudio, knows that about the paper’s “influencer” segment due to data analysis. In addition, before creating a multimedia investigative feature with Optum titled “Working to End the Epidemic,” WP BrandStudio considered three storytelling insights. Cultural, editorial, and brand insight guided the storytelling method.
“Working to End the Epidemic” ran during February 2018 and linked back to “a landing page highlighting our efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic and offer resources: optum.com/opioidepidemic,” Hovelsrud says.
“It was the largest investment made in brand-level content in 2018 and supported all other brand efforts in the awareness and perceptions it achieved,” she says.
Among many favorable results, the feature garnered double the time spent by readers vs. WP BrandStudio benchmarks, reached more than 500,000 unique visitors, and caused an 8% increase in healthcare decision-makers saying they’d pick Optum first — showcasing the power of well-executed content marketing.