But I learnt sweet lessons from this bitter experience.
I created a routine to thank God everyday for 392 says of bitter-sweet experiences. I have done this daily for the past 10 months.
I recall that I did not used to be this courageous. I mean, I had courage a few years back. However, those days of misery and depression turned me into a phoenix with a drop-dead kind of courage. When people call me strong, it is because they do not know what fire is.
Do not worry, I am a proof that fire refines. If you are seeking an example of what the Blacksmith does, you can read this story and pick the lessons.
April 4, 2016. Passing Out Parade: Batch A 2015.
Though I had reached out to a few people to keep their eyes open for opportunities that will suit me, that day was the official day my job-hunting journey began. I did not know the minister for labour, so I was not sure a godfather would dash me a job.
I bought a pack of brown envelopes. I liaised with a neighbour in Jos, who would give me discount on document photocopying. I went ahead to snap 80 copies of passports. I bought thirty 50 NGN stamps. I created an official template for application letters, saved in my PC. That template had just the date, addressee’s address and a few other things changed, each time I needed to submit an application.
I was ready for the job hunt!
I sent in a few applications, but I waited patiently. Within that period, I did not feel too bad, because I was attending dressmaking classes at a fashion school in Jos. It made waiting easier. Yet, I didn’t want to get to comfortable in that situation.
There I learnt my FIRST lesson.
I got busy in the waiting, but I became too uncomfortable with comfort.
July 2016: First job after NYSC
First job after NYSC lasted for one month. I was not exactly proud of this. I observed the way Oga insulted his staff, even with words like, ‘Fuck you!’
One day, something very abnormal happened. I had to call myself for a meeting. I decided I would resign immediately.
Some people blamed me for not changing the system. How did you want Jesus to save the dying thief who mocked him? No, you do not suffocate yourself because you want to give a dead situation the kiss of life!
I learnt the SECOND lesson.
Before you join any organization, define your personal values. Know the things you stand for and the ones you stand against.
Well! I got out of job and became depressed afterwards. I locked myself in my room and wouldn’t step out of the house for days.
August 2016: My Lagos Waka!
Ah! I would walk round Lagos in search of places to submit applications. Thank God for the likes of Ugochi Emeruwaonu, who saved me from moving aimlessly in Eko. She made me a list of all the places I could go submit my CV. I also contracted an agent to link me up.
Yet, every day was the same. I returned in the evenings with tears in my eyes and the words of Mrs Nina to encourage me.
The next day, I continued…
Once, I almost got a job. They told me they would call me the following week. They did not. One staff later told me that my negotiations were poor. That they thought my price was too cheap for their standards.
Therefore, I picked the THIRD lesson.
Never negotiate hungry! A hungry stomach is not the same with a hungry destiny: the standard satisfaction requirements are different.
I stepped up my game and continued the hunt.
I later met one man, who told me that he would pay me three times less that my last negotiation. I had learnt my lesson. After an unsuccessful negotiation, I shook my head eastwards and westwards, thanked him a lot for the opportunity and headed back to the large room my uncle gave me.
On to the next went location, where I met a senior colleague who would offer me an interview slot in exchange for an intimate relationship.
‘Hallo sir. Unfortunately I am married,’ I said as I flashed my ‘ringless’ phalanges at him.
‘You are not wearing ring na?’
‘Yes. In my church we do not wear ring sir. We wear it in our souls.’ I replied
‘So what are you saying, Chidindu?’
‘I am saying you prolly should get a lawyer to issue you a contract form. You sign it with another colleague and reach the agreement that she must marry you in exchange for ‘an interview slot’.
I tell you there is no specie of nonsense you will not find in Lagos. All of them are yet to be classified in the Carl Linnaeus’ binomial system of nomenclature! After Homo sapiens, we have ‘Homo scratch-my-back-I-scratch-your-back’. Some want relationship, others want situationship.
I declined the shameful offer! Not without a FOURTH lesson raised to power of the second lesson.
Be confident to take a walk out of nonsense.
In another facility, graduates from a particular state university were preferred. After coming tops with 77% percent in the written test, they told us to come in for the orals in descending order of test marks.
I walked in first. I did not get the job. The last four people got the jobs. They were from the same school. It took me time to rise from that shock. The shock and stress were so much that my period came two weeks late.
The FIFTH lesson:
You need to start building a healthy network of serious minded professions. Network with people who have gone beyond you in this practice.
The SIXTH lesson:
Not all places are meant for you.
Lesson number SEVEN:
A system that ‘intermarries’ itself for no reason will soon raise offsprings with nonsense codons. It means that someday, excellence will disappear so that favouritism will induce ‘suicide’ to such a system.
The EIGHTH lesson moved me more:
Make up your mind when the tables turn in your favour, to make excellence your value. Excellence in attitude, skill and qualifications. If Commander Ochagu would do it for you, you should go on doing the same.
I kept moving, even with the ‘go-slow’. I moved on to another offer that I got. I was glad I negotiated and had my way with my dream salary until a senior colleague later told me something that would change me.
I learnt the NINTH lesson, as a magnified version of the third.
‘You negotiations reveal your mindset. But if you change mindset you will realise that you could have had more…’
May 2, 2017: First Day at Work
A great work environment, I must say, with regard for excellence in delivering good healthcare products.
Yesterday, I nominated this particular work community –DCL Laboratory Products Ltd– for an award. God bless their hustle.
I still have memories of my Lagos waka, especially, a huge scar on my left hand, from a cut in a rickety Lagos Danfo.
Every stage, I learnt lessons that textbooks did not teach me. These were lessons that my degree certificate did not capture. Oh! I do not blame them. They actually place a CAVEAT every conviction day:
“Today, you will graduate from the University of Nigeria Nsukka into the University of Life…”
I understand now that what a 5-year bachelors degree qualified me on paper only prepared me for what life qualified me. With the former qualification, I could do a thing for 35 years and stop when the government wants me to. With the latter, even eternity cannot stop it. No one retires from purpose!
In the University of Life, I learnt patience. I appreciated the value of time, most of which I spent writing. On that office table and chair, in the large room that my uncle gave to me in Lagos, I wrote over 33 short stories. Nine of those unpublished stories came from real-life drama that happened in the Danfo buses each time I jumped them to an interview or to submit an application.
I learnt to find and control thr things within. I learnt that if the things within were not nurtured the things ‘outside’ could crush them. I learnt prayer and a different level of spiritual communion.
The University of Life taught me that waiting time is preparation time. I appreciate the extra time I spent learning dressmaking, crafts, logic, critical thinking, social storytelling, startup strategy and money-making secrets. I am grateful that lives were not lost because these people learnt lessons from my narratives. All I see is a woman bent for a Higher Purpose.
Most importantly, I learnt intentional living. This same purpose drives me to share this dose of shamelessness and intentionality with you. I have captured them in a book.
Be Utterly Shameless: A Guide to Intentional Living, is a book of over 40 chapters, that teaches you, based on my experiences, a blueprint for living the life you dream of without fear or shame. It is my hope that you get to read this work and to pick up the great lessons that no school will teach you.
I have had an experience doing freelance writing. As a matter of fact, in the first week of this month, I successfully completed a project of over 18,000 words for a client.
How would I have gotten 18,000 words? From my brain or from Balogun market?
For writers and content creators who seek to create a clear and concise copy; creating a compelling content is non-negotiable. How will you create a compelling copy from your brain alone? I tell you, no good writer writes without:
- Research: Asking questions
- Critical Thinking: Questioning the Questions
- Writing for an Audience: Answering these questions
RESEARCH is quite important. I am yet to find a story (article, essay, poem, etc) that was written without an in depth study of the topic. It is like going to the movies to find a terrible scene where the nurse intravenous needle upside down; or a military rating hanging the bars of an Able Seaman but is referred to as an officer!
Research makes writers discover and differentiate the things that exist from the things that are no longer obtainable. Without research, the truth in a story is lost.
What do you do in a research?
First, define who your target readers or audiences are. Are they children, adults, professionals, laymen, politicians, masses, etc.
Again, Know what they are interested in and how you can bring a solution based on the value you have. For example, if they are adults who find it hard to keep to their daily routine, but you have a proven system that can help them to be time managers, then you have them.
Thirdly, ask questions. Let me tell you a mistake I made for a while: I used to blog about lots of personal in 2015 until I realized that no one was interested. I. Pulled. It. Down. Shikenan!
We are in a world of #HowETakeConcernMe. So you do not just wake up like these men in Ogbete Market, who keep on forcing your size 38 feet into a size 36 wedge shoe all in the name of, ‘Buy it and wear it! E go expand later!’
Another example to wrap this up is that prior to this post, I already had asked questions on my wall, in this group and one other group. So, if you sell coffins, instead of shouting
‘Buy your beautiful and long-lasting coffins from me!’
I would rather you start with
‘Five effective ways for helping bereaved find comfort.’
This answers the #HowETakeConcernMe. Rememer that only the living buy corpses for the dead.
CRITICAL THINKING is non-negotiable. There was a point in my life, I got used to listening and contributing to gossips that I began to sieve them. Infact to avoid people practically, I would put on my earpiece, head over to smartbcamp.com/live and listen to John Obidi’s village people’s beats. In one hour, I could come up with a well researched, written and revised 500-word piece.
Here’s the deal. In critical reasoning, we question the questions to discover the absolute truths, relative truths and the statements that no longer hold water. Here you question what you know and what you have researched, you argue your findings without eny emotional inclinations. The goal is to open up you to a higher reasoning on that topic and to avoid fallacies.
Do not ever force people or your characters. Arguementum ad bacculum is the fallacy that forces people to accept your conclusion. You should know too that when you try to force characters, you begin to lose your audience.
You cannot force a ‘Zone 4’ Abuja girl character into ‘a worker in Family Worship Centre’. There’s a gradual process of plot and critical thinking that gives live to that character.
WRITING FOR AN AUDIENCE is the stage where you put all your thoughts together as a means to answer these questions. Here you:
Put your thoughts into a TOPIC. A topic is not a story. An average of 60 characters (topic) should make up your topic. Your topic should to its work as a title that compells the reader to stay with you until you have aired your thoughts. Use power words where necessary. Let us, for a second time, consider this example:
‘Five effective ways to help the bereaved find comfort’
The power words here are ‘effective’ and ‘comfort’.
If you go by the topics:
‘Five ways to help the bereaved’ or
‘Five ways to help the bereaved so that they can cope with the death of a loved one’
The former is vague whilst the latter is already a story. As a matter of fact, the bereaved can also find comfort in suicide, drugs, unhealthy habits, etc; but the power words here are effective ways for comfort.
Next is an INTRODUCTION. Never, except you are at an informal gathering, start an article with these words:
‘Let me tell you a story.’[We are here to read it already]
‘Story! Story!’[This one is a cliché that only children could get interested in]
‘I want to tell you something.’[The topic brought me here already. Or were you planning to tell me something else?]
‘This article is the best you will ever read.’[We have not read the article and you are already writing a review. Powerful!]
Use words or sentences that draw attention to begin your introduction. For example
‘Imagine you were in a world with a loved one, filled with laughter and kindness…. Suddenly death came pressing the doorbell; before you could go get the door, he had gained entrance into your home.’
Introduction opens the curtains to a stage. It is the welcome address you give to an audience that keeps them from leaving the room until the show is over. If you want to spice it up? Use metaphors and pose a main question. For example, let’s assume that the statement applied to a character, Mrs. Omotosho; we can pose a question:
‘How then can we help the likes of Mrs. Omotosho, walk down this road of pain and loneliness in the shoes of bereavement?’
Next is the BODY OF THE ARTICLE. Here you will face the business of providing answers. Describe specifically in five paragraphs, the five effective ways that the bereaved can find comfort. As much as possible, use transitional words for each paragraphs. For example: firstly, secondly, also, in addition, moreover, in conclusion, etc. Each paragraph must address a method as already given in your topic. Do not use ambiguous words; keep in mind who your target audiences are. There’s no need stating the relativity theory or Hooke’s law in a story for 5-year olds.
Next is a CALL TO ACTION. Remember that this content marketing strategy is for a coffin seller. How does he #SellHisMarket without actually sounding ‘OMATAish’ [OMATA: Onitsha Market Traders Association]. He puts a call to action. In this age of blogging, calls to action are of various varieties. What I am referring to is a call to action within the article. This is sometimes not necessary to may people, or often ignored. However, it is great to have one, asides the ‘Share now!’ ‘Get a guide!’ ‘Download your free ebook!’ buttons located on target areas of your blog.
So, the coffin seller can say:
‘In my business of coffin design and making, we do not just aim to sell the best coffins that help the bereaved give the dead a befitting burial; we also take them through a coaching session on how to function well, inspite of their pain, but to the happiness of the one who has them behind.
In the case of Mrs. Omotosho, XYZ coffin sellers took them through a 5 day mental exercise, helping them reinforce the values that their mother left behind. We also reassured them of Mama’s philosophy to be a good ancestor to her children, as well as encouraging them to carry on this legacy down to her generations of children….’
Last is the CONCLUSION. How dare you write an article without a proper conclusion? It is like being invited to host a party as an MC, and you leave after refreshments have been served. Do. Not. Try. It. Mbok!
A conclusion usually is a single paragraph that SUMMARIZES (not begins another plot) in your piece. The coffin seller can briefly say:
‘In the long run, _ , _ , _ , _, and _ will not just help the bereaved carry on the legacy of their loved ones, but will help them infuse meaningful energy into live…’
You can also make a RECOMMENDATION in this part of your article. You can use words like
‘I advice’, ‘It is advisable’, ‘I suggest based on already proven results…’ and so on.
There are other necessary things you should indicate in an article.
Your name, contacts and a bio in a few lines, especially when writing for a newspaper or popular blog.
When you use quotes, remember to use them appropriately and to reference these quotes. You may or may not reference clichés.
If you cannot afford an editor; write your first draft in a different font [say, Times New Roman] and change the orientation when proofreading [I love to use Courier New font, double spacing when editing]. Always check for errors, including factual errors. Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation must be ‘tight. Use a dictionary or thesaurus, please.
Use dialogue where necessary. It gives live to your characters.
I do hope that this article gives answers to the questions that you have concerning article writing. Do you have QUESTIONS? Leave them in the comment section.
Would you like to learn more? Type MORE in the comment section too.
Did you get to this point, reading this post? I have finally won the SEDUCTION contest. You have just read 1,642 words.
Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Ime Asangansi. He is the Chief Excellence Officer (CEO) of eHealth4Everyone, a healthcare company that uses digital strategy and analytics to solve current challenges in the healthcare industry.
We talked about the things we had in common as writers and storytellers; as health professionals seeking to build customer-centered relationships… As I made for home yesternight, I was left to ponder on a lot of things: the aftermath of these discussions.
Whilst some of us healthcare providers have our eyes solely on dragging, shifting, claiming, maintaining professional boundaries and crowning ourselves kings of the jungle; people like Dr. Ime are busy carving and owning niches, dominating the markets by weaving their talents, gifts and experiences into unique businesses that solve day-to-day problems.
Two things stood out for me, that one does not know where one is heading to until one eventually starts. Again, that the worst part of the writing battle is usually the first paragraph; once you begin, the ideas come flowing towards you like the river.
Last year, I took my writing seriously. I did not know where I was heading to. Today, I have one parking lot in the line of Brand Storytelling/Content Marketing Strategy/Social Media Strategy. Call it whatever you want, but they all have the same aim: to tell stories that will persuade people take action. All I can say is that consistency paves way for clarity.
So when you begin with the end in mind today, do not try to build the house all at once. One brick today, one brick the next day… Voila! We have a house!
Own Your Hustle.
Until, 2014, my year of internship, I used to think that life was JUST about graduating with a good result from the only indigenous University in Nigeria.
For you see, I was a good student of all my teachers. I had stopped lending notes to some course mates, because one returned it after the exam.
My project supervisor took pride in reading my work. After the eighth read, she ‘abandoned’ me in the hands of an external supervisor, who took me from my comfort zone to the land of clinical pharmacology.
“Why did you use Cimetidine?”
“What did you think made the alcohol group develop deeper ulcers?”
“I see you have also written in the embryology of the stomach, would the dopamine content from this extract…”
“Why use Aspirin as negative controls? Why not Indomethacin alone?”
Defence, turned me into a ‘Daniel’. I survived enough to earn a handshake from my examiner.
So, I walk around with certificates looking for a place of internship. Ask another man in this profession about the tragedies of internship interviews…
Until, I find a system in this country, once headed by Cdr. O. R. Ochagu; where excellence was not exchanged for ‘Nna, put my guy in your list na?’ or ‘See me in my hotel room.’
I still carry the passion and the bitter-sweet experiences, from a system that made me. If I had worked where I wanted, maybe they would not have taught me the nitty-gritty of quality assurance, give me the full access to a computerized information management system; or learned me the importance of mortality and morbidity meetings and how to stand in front of uniformed men to make presentations. Believe me, there’s order even in military presentations and a unique style for taking minutes of meetings. That is why we are called B-L-O-O-D-Y C-I-V-I-L-L-I-A-N-S.
For once Oga Ochagu takes you on, he will disturb you until you bring his deliverables: worksheets, SOPs, presentations, Workload monitoring, Levey-Jenning’s chart, Occurrence reports, Root-Cause Analysis etc.
In that environment, refusing to run controls before running a test was a mortal sin. You could go to confessions to get your sins forgiven! Your penance was an ROB (Remain on Board). Your ‘born-again’ or ‘born-against’ was measured by bench-work proficiency. If you observed the patient’s sample closely during the procedure, you would find Omenụkọ there.
I also learnt that a system worked better if the core team collaborated to render the outside competition irrelevant.
Believe me again: nothing brings down a system like an unhealthy competition between teammates. It is like all the players in a football team trying to score goals to impress the coach. Could this be the reason why I was made to draft an SOP on Conflicts of Interests?
Recession. Start-ups and Small businesses are booming. No one needs your plenty certificates…
But. Hey. That’s not it!
“I have a first class in Accounting!”
Gịnị mezia? Come and use the Sage Accounting software let us see?
“I have been selling ganja.”
Ngwanụ, explain the conversion rate in your ‘smarketing funnel’. How many strangers did you turn to loyalists?
For the first time in my life, this year, I had an interview, where I’d be tested for 1 hour on pure laboratory practicals. Who your grammar help, Chidindu?
“These are the tests you are expected to run in sixty minutes…” Mr. said to me….
Do not throw away your certificate o! I never said so in this post. You can use it to vie for a position as a local government council
Mmmh! One day, one day, you can use it to become the governor of Imo state, a town crier in Lake Chad or even a whistle blower in Ndjamena.
But we must know, that one of the keys to earning a fulfilled life, is summed up in these words by Bishop David Oyedepo:
‘Knowledge is not marketable. It is skill that you market. Skill is not a function of the papers you carry, It is a function of the tactics and strategies you engage in handling your assignment.’
I don’t know about you, but
Or, wait o!
Maybe we should owe it by owning up to it
My attention was drawn to the profile of a native doctor [babalawo] who gives charms for happy marriages, exam success, business success, etc. I have gone through his content on Facebook. Believe me! This guy is good with the kind of job he does.
Is that what you just said to yourself?
Have we not been on Facebook since two-thousand-and-God-knows-when? How many years now? What have you achieved with your data? Did the network service providers give you special scholarship for buying 10Gb fortnightly?
Friends, here are a list of Facebook communities that you should seek to join, participate, learn and grow.
Please, do not go there to begin network marketing promo and Ponzi o! The admin will block you. You may be unblocked the day he hands over the administrator-ship to his grandson.
This is a business community for entrepreneurs and leaders. This comes as first because, I learnt almost everything I needed from this community. The vision of the founder, John Obidi, is for serious people to connect learn and grow. Every Thursday, we take lectures from business lecturers within and outside Nigeria. Come with a pen and a large notebook; you will need those. Join the group here
You have tried to let people hear about what you do. You create a post and tag 10,000people to it. It did not work. So you decide to make the 10,000 of them your page admin. Sister, did it work? Mbanu [No]! It did not. Biko [Please], go and join OVH so that you can learn how to build visibility for influence and profits. Joy Eneghalu, the founder, will help you. I like her patience and her ability to listen and give solutions.
Mastering The Business of Your Talent, is a PAID group, owned by Steve Harris. Why is it Paid? Because a human being spends his time watching over you to make sure you are bringing results each day into your life. What if I do not have money? Please contact Steve Harris
The story is in the name. Emeka Nobis, is the founder. The platform gives writers the opportunity to hone their writing crafts. We have weekly giveaways through creativity contests.
Alright, so you are a content creator who creates spoken word content: like podcasts. Dayo Samuel, the founder, has a step by step guide for helping you start your own podcast from the corner of your toilet or kitchen. He even has a free course on that. I was able to create my first oral story which I published on SoundCloud after taking his course.
I read a lot of post about women ‘yabbing’ other women for being full time housewives. One woman, who doubles as housewife and lawyer, is helping other women and full time housewives make millions of money. Listen, if you are a full time housewife with or without a home business, you need to be here. I have met Temi Ashabi Ajibewa severally, her passion to achieve is like no other.
Igbinoba Esohe comes with all the skills in digital and trans media storytelling. Allow her to fall on you today. Visit and do a brand audit for yourself today.
Children of God, you can be a lawyer earning 30k and you can also be a lawyer earning 300k weekly. The difference is in this group and in having a good time with Victor Bassey.
Brother, how long have you been in that line of industry? Can you mentor other businesses in that area to do better. ‘I never coach before!’ ‘I nor sabi…!’ is not when you come to Deji Sobanjo’s group.
In 2014, one woman came to the hospital at noon, she couldn’t walk because of her weight. She died in the evening. Earlier she’d told me one thing whilst I carried out the phlebotomy procedure: she thought she would ‘reduce’ because she had been taking weight loss medicines.
Nwanne [Brother/Sister], if you are in this category, go and join TMP. The founder, Remi Owadokun, used to be a heavy mama, she didn’t use any melecin’[medicine] to achieve her current stature. Her natural weight loss journey made her enroll to become a certified weight-loss coach.
So you have been kposala [arranging] your market in the shopu [shop]; behti [but] people are not buying it. Imagine! Even though your shop is located at a strategic place in Lagos Island! Chai! God knows your hustle! See, before August turns to December and you cannot pay rent for next year, kindly run to Padebi Ojomo here. The good thing about working with her is that your shop now, used to be like her shop then. The wisdom is in allowing her to tell you what to do.
This is what you have been doing every Dec 31st, when the priest says you should make a new year resolution
2014: One day I will write a book.
2015: I am going to write a book soon
2016: When I write my book eh!
2017: This book will be powerful.
Powerful! Book that is still in your mind? It had better not become a bomb explosion o! Edirin Edewor, is here for you. Get in here and learn how to make and sell the Ebook, before God will pass on the idea to someone who does not know how to even speak English.
For those looking for Freelance writing opportunities or to contribute or participate in writing contests, Damilola Jonathan Oladeji, is there to keep you up to date.
You have been taking and no one is listening! Maybe you are not speaking their language that your audience can understand. Get in there and hear what Phinnah Chichi Ikeji has to tell you.
Your idea is not nonsense until you work with a team where it is proven feasible. Don’t come and ask me, ask Chinonso Ogbogu.
I have been talking about the good use of social media by health care professionals to keep lay Nigerians informed. Dr. ‘Malik Haruna King is the trailblazer for this movement. Please, before you get scammed with Staphylococcus disease, get in there and save your life.
Ehen! What did you people say that day? That we should run away from marriage coaches. You too, throw away all the 1000 Naira notes in the bundle because one of it is ‘tear tear’. With over 30 years of marital experience and years of expertise as a Christian marriage counselor, Madam Modupe Ehirim knows her onions. By the help of God she has a community for serious-minded people who are interested in making this institution work.
To get groomed as a leader for the 2025 Nigerian dream, Sir Fela Durotoye has a forum. Nor vex o [Do not be offended]! We are not doing patisan politics: APC and PDP, Biafra and Boko there o! Uche gi dikwa ya [Keep this in view]! He is raising whole men and women who will be capable to take over this land that God gave us.
- My Group ke? Join anyone of these. Choose the one that suits you. But, I want to see us having meaningful conversations on our timelines. Please run away from MTN, Glo and Opera Mini Cheat groups???
Happy Midweek friends,
Feel free to share this info with your friends.
In my last post, I tried to illustrate with a story that depicts the popular reaction of lay Nigerians when healthcare crises are properly communicated without delay.
First, Brand Awareness is a key goal. Visibility should be the goal of every health care brand. People and patients will interact with people that they know as professionals who keep to the task of providing information that stands them out from quacks and wanna-be’s. Every health care business must seek to achieve this. Clients will always take a second look at the face of your brand because it is familiar. Just as one would see another and ask: ‘Hey! Seems like we’ve met before. Have we not?’
The second is to engage your ideal audience. Have you ever wondered why posts about entertainment and fashion tend to trend more on social platforms? You are right to say it is because we love them. Is health not part of lifestyle? Are there really people who do not love life to the extent that they do not pay attention to their health? Why do health issues not attract as many shares and regrans and retweets?
The answer is simple: lay people do not feel engaged with medical jargons and statistics. As a matter of fact, graphs and charts and mathematical calculations will not even help a mathematician engage more with the information you are trying to pass. A story does the magic. To build influence as a health care brand, we must continue to speak in a language that lay [people can understand. Scary languages like hemoglobinopathies, enterogastritis and oligospermia must be broken down. Otherwise, you do not help anybody by that. The friends on your timeline, will jump and pass.
Once I made a Facebook post on why men should avoid certain unhealthy habits that affect their reproductive system. I knew my target audience. The medical professionals in my friends’ list will understand the jargons, but I wanted to pass new knowledge that ordinary men can understand. I am still surprised at the number of people who got engaged with that post
Engagement is a way to show that people are interested in whatever information you have to pass across. They express their reactions using the like, reply or share buttons. Some, for the sake of confidentiality, will come to your inbox to find out more. This will lead to the next goal.
The third is to generate leads. What is the essence of attracting and engaging, if you are not going to connect with potential customers? In the business of health care, there are two kinds of leads: a customer who will buy from you or a follower who is loyal to the offerings of your brand. Remember that after visibility comes the rest of the goals, especially lead generation. Human beings can only get involved in the things that they can understand. If they have known, liked and trusted your brand they would also get interested in the things that you have to offer. They will be faithful followers if they see the influence (benefits) your product/service will make in their lives.
As a health care provider, your leads are not just patients. Other clients you should seek to attract are partners, volunteers, sponsors, stakeholders and other professionals who show interest or support for your cause. Believe me, collaboration is the new competition. Since a lead is a potential customer, we seek to convert them into loyal customers.
Hold on! I do not mean that your clients should fall sick every day. Though it is proper to note that people do not just seek health care as a means to repair or cure an ailment; they also seek preventive health care maintenance. Just like our (medical) devices, human beings also need preventive maintenance. Converting leads to loyal customers is the final goal. This is the peak reached after all the previous processes have been achieved. People will always consult or refer to a provider who reduces the pains of clients or offers them increased options of fulfilling pleasures that are unharmful to their state of well being.
Always remember that conversion comes after attraction. Lots of people, make the mistake of doing otherwise. The general rule for successful sales (of products, services or ideas) is 80% attraction and 20% sales. If you appear too salesy, people will think you are desperate. They will abandon you and run away. First show them why you should be the authority that ought to be consulted, then ask them to consult you.
If a healthcare provider keeps this goal at the back of his mind, he will learn to create content or stories that speak to the minds of his ideal followers on social media. All these goals are obtainable in the healthcare business niche from leading online campaigns and offline outreaches, through communicating crises, giving information on prevention, care and treatment of certain diseases, to celebrating international health days. Social media helps the health care industry to achieve all these.
I recall one of my Lagos experiences late 2014, when one hero gave her life for the sake of other Nigerians, during the Ebola outbreak; I was in a commercial bus heading back to Ketu from Oshodi when the driver and his bus conductor began to haggle.
‘Oga, enter inside close door na!, Na wetin?’ [Enter the bus and close the door, Is there a problem with that?]
Usually, commercial buses in Lagos had their conductors hanging at the door whilst the vehicle was still in motion. This made the traffic authorities to sanction them: anyone caught in this unsafe act may forfeit business for the day, in addition to a fine.
‘Oga! I nor dey enter. LATSMA nor fit make me come die. Ebola dey! Abi you nor hear am?’ [Sir! I can’t enter this bus. The fear of LATSMA will not make me lose my life. There’s an outbreak of Ebola, or have you not heard about it?] The conductor replied.
[LATSMA stands for Lagos State Traffic Management Authority.]
Where you hear that one from? [What is the source of this information?]’
‘See you! You get big phone but you nor dey use am?’ [You have a phone that is internet-enabled, but you do not use it]
‘No insult me, just enter inside bus siddon. I take God beg you! [Don’t insult me, just enter the vehicle and take a seat. I beg you in God’s name]
‘Egbon, I dey tell you o! One woman and some other people dem die for Obalende last week o, because their body been touch another man body. I not wan try am for this Lagos. Na me be the only son of my papa. I never wan die’ [Brother, I am telling you the truth! A woman and some other died in a hospital in Obalende last week, because their bodies came in contact with another man’s body. I won’t try it again in Lagos. I am the only son of my parents, I don’t want to die yet]
‘How you take know? Nor be me and you dey work here last week?’ [How do you know? Were we not at work together throughout last week?]
‘Your phone get Facebook but you nor dey use am. No worry, when I enter Facebook, I go show you picture plus wetin all them doctor for we country don dey talk for this matter.’ [Your phone has the Facebook app, but you are not using it. Don’t worry, I will show you the pictures as soon as I log in. You will also know what the medics in Nigeria are saying about this]
This conversation gives life to the goals of social media marketing. Marketing is involved because it is a summation of activities involved in attracting, engaging and converting our target audiences into loyal followers (or customers) of what your brand represents and your mission.
This is foreign to some health care providers who seem to be strict with the health care regulations. Rules are made for man. If men were made for rules, there would have been so much counter-information on social platforms without any proof. If we lived by the law strictly, much more people would have been lost by the concentrated salt-water bath and drink that took the lives of a few during the Ebola scourge.
With a little digress here and there; I hope to drive home these goals, effortlessly. In 2014, a study carried out by the AIS Media Incorporated, in the United States revealed that 59% of adults search for health information online. 39% used the internet to figure out what medical condition they had- online diagnosis. 53% of online diagnosers asked for feedback by talking with a clinician about what they found. 41% of online diagnosers had their conditions confirmed by a clinician. All these searched promoted traffic to the sites that had the right content and stories for use by the readers.
In another of their study, 90% of patients in the US, trust medical information shared by peers on social media. 41% say social media will affect their choice of a specific health care provider or facility.
Let’s Zone this down to Nigeria. In Nigeria, statistics, show that we have a total population of over 180 million people, out of which 92 million people are Internet users. Other facts have it that 16 million of these people are Facebook users. Every day, 7.2 million Nigerians log in to Facebook, whilst 6.9 million people are actively online every day.
If you own a Facebook page, you will notice that if you can target at least 1.1 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 to 65 who are interested in the healthcare industry. This excludes all other keywords like healthy living, lifestyle, and so on.
By another insight through Facebook page audiences, a Non-Governmental Organization that wants to raise an awareness campaign on diabetes mellitus will reach out to 456,000 Nigerians via Facebook.
Hence, healthcare providers seeking the need to promote healthy living have multiple opportunities to do so through social media platforms that suit their goals.
It also implies that with effective campaigns, a pharmaceutical industry can sell one hand sanitizer each to over a million Nigerians who are interested in hygiene.
All these instances draw us back to why Nigerian healthcare brands should embrace social media.
I wrote in my previous post about how Nigerian Healthcare Providers Should begin to build healthy patient-provider relationships.
However, I realized that to effectively care for patients and to keep patient safety as the watch word, a provider must also be self-aware. You cannot build a formidable healthcare brand, or craft a compelling brand statement, if you have no idea of who you are. Your backstory is what propels you to mentor patients from the point they first encounter you, to their points of discharge from your facility.
Why are most Nigerian Healthcare Providers rich and yet unhappy?
Being rich and unhappy implies that you are actually dissatisfied, irritated about certain situations, but you have got to stay for the money. No wonder, the recent news on my Facebook timeline continues to rain insults on us for being money conscious. Now there are so many factors that contribute to this, but we will deal with the internal factors.
An ‘unhappily rich’ (Nigerian) healthcare provider is one without personal core values. Now, this sounds like too much grammar; just read on. If personally, I define my core values to be family, community, influence or wealth building. It means that these are the things that are most important to me. It also implies that in all my pursuits, I have to keep these in view.
So, if I finally land a job with a jaw-dropping salary, where I have no time for family, no time or resource to give back back to the society, or mentally stressed to influence healthy lifestyles among my target audience; then conflicts begin to set in. These conflicts will show up in my work, in my family, in my community and those who believe in me. So it is possible to find a family of unhappy healthcare professionals who earn monies that can build an estate in a day.
How can we find happiness? Know who you are and what your passions and weaknesses are. Define your core values. Connect with people who share the same or similar values. Look for organizations that uphold such values and will give you room to ‘ruthlessly’ apply your creativity and values towards building wealth for such an organization.
I want to see professionals who are not just happy with what they do and how much they give; but also happy with how well they dedicate their time to help patients because their environment fosters their values and creates a balance for them.
My love for storytelling started way back from the cradle. growing over the decades and finally delving into the healthcare profession, I have realized that storytelling is one part of humanity that should not be taken for granted.
For those who have mastered this art, they know that nothing moves humanity more than genuine stories. These narratives bear a call-to-action that persuades the target audiences into changing the directions of their lives, from the point of crisis to victory.
Nigerian healthcare providers and Nigerian healthcare brands all need to learn this if they have in mind to build good and healthy Patient-Provider Relationships. A formidable healthcare sector should move beyond building unhealthy professional boundaries or threatening laymen with medical jargon. A good healthcare system can only be built when patient safety and client-centered relationships are the core goals of healthcare providers.
Nothing is as human as paying attention to the customers’ narratives. The relationships Nigerian healthcare providers build should go beyond being mere transaction-based relationships to helping patients truly ease the pains they undergo.
The business of healthcare is a very serious and unselfish one. Yes, we do not have shops in Ogbete market because we ought to be abide by the ethical guidelines! Providers should remember, therefore that we are like gods in the eyes of men: the human powers to kill and make live lie in our hands as licensed professional.
Nigerian Healthcare brands and providers must seek the live the goals of their brand stories. It is not enough to run all the ads on print and broadcast media. It is about time we become the mentor to our protagonists (patients) who are the heroes of every brand story.
I was born and bred in Aba, the engine room of the entire world’s hustle. She is the cocoon from which all species of butterflies are born. I cannot compare her to Lagos or Onitsha. She is a unique place known for her ‘Aba-Made’ goods and services; better than some of these imported, yet low quality goods that most Nigerians are crazy about.
Aba has all the challenges of bad roads, poor urban planning, poor electricity and unnecessary taxation of traders and craftsmen. In fact, name them all as they come to your mind; She needs a MAD (Made Absolutely Different) administration to bring back the glory that it once had.
I am glad that there is an ongoing revolution for made-in-Aba goods. I have seen videos on Facebook. I have also red people’s positive reactions on the need to be crazy about what we have. This is the voice that Aba (as well as so many other silent business cities) need to reach more customers beyond the shores of Africa.
Businesses thrive these days because of the edge that social media provides. As a matter of fact, even if businesses were located in hidden areas, their eagerness to be heard on the media would make them survive, to meet the economic needs of this nation. In as much as physical geographics is key for most businesses, the 21st century business must look beyond aiming for local championship with terms like ‘He is will known in our area’. We should aim for meeting the needs beyond our physical location, through social media impact.
The key question becomes: How will you make an impact with a voiceless business?
Why do some Nigerian business owners shy away from using the right content and the proper social media strategy to connect with their ideal audiences?
Do not also be deceived, there is so much ‘media noise’ these days. Everyone is saying something, but few are doing something. Why not talk about what you do and let people learn from you?
How about telling people how they can get to do something better? This is also building content around your business and creating an impact that makes you come to them as a first impression each time they need to purchase a product in your line of industry.
Do not run a voiceless business. Consumer behaviours are changing, this means that the shoemaker of Bakassi line in Ariaria international market can reach out to a fashion store in Abuja, Cotonou or Accra; Italy, America, London and all the ends of the earth.
The advents of social media platforms and the essentials of quality content have made all these things possible. You cannot own a business and shut up about it, except it is a glorified hobby. Businesses with no social presence or content may suffer more from this recession
As a story strategist, my job is to help small businesses (especially those centered on healthcare and lifestyle) master their messages and connect with their ideal audiences (who will buy from them) through day-to-day social media approaches.
Do not just get your head buried in the job; tell the world where you have been, what you have done and what you intend to do to make it better; and to enrich the lives of those who need your services.
BLOW YOUR TRUMPET