Educate, Inspire, and Advocate: Content Marketing for Healthcare Providers
Of all the industries that can benefit from content marketing, healthcare professionals may stand to gain the most. As a healthcare brand, you have a monopoly on the most important ingredient of content marketing: relevance.
While marketers in other industries have to devote precious resources to brainstorming topics, doing A/B testing, and running analytics, healthcare professionals can simply write about the topics they know best.
Although relevance isn’t a challenge, quality is. Even with a ready-made audience numbering in the billions and an abundance of important topics, content marketing must be well-crafted to succeed.
Here’s what you need to know to do it right.
Know your purpose
Whether you’re a hospital, doctor’s office, rehab center, or any other care provider, your overarching goal is to engage your target community so you remain top-of-mind during health issues. There are lots of ways to do that.
Most visitors come to your site looking for information: an illness that matches their symptoms, insight about a diagnosis they’ve just received, tips on living a healthy life. Educational materials are a great way to engage your community and establish yourself as a thought leader. The Johns Hopkins website, for example, publishes articles on everything from diseases and new treatments to heart-healthy recipes, with a functional search that helps readers quickly find what they’re looking for. Another page provides information about the latest research and clinical trials. And then there’s the Cleveland Clinic website, where laypeople and healthcare professionals can subscribe to any of more than two dozen e-newsletters on such topics as sports medicine and pain management.
Although there are certainly those who read healthcare content because they find it interesting or it helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle, many healthcare consumers are reading simply because they’re scared. They may have just received a diagnosis, or perhaps they’re still waiting on test results. In addition to information, they want reassurance. Reading about other patients with similar issues can help with that. Just ask Mayo Clinic: They have a website called Sharing Mayo Clinic, where patients, families, and staff members can post inspiring stories of people who have overcome serious health issues.
Inform and advocate
Whether you want people to change their behavior or donate to your facility, content marketing is a fantastic way to champion a cause.The American Heart Association, for example, produces content designed to persuade readers to make healthy lifestyle changes. And St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — where fundraising is especially important because patients are never charged — supplements their success stories with information on clinical trials. They understand that being among the best in the world is a valuable trait for fundraising, and they use their reputation well. Along with profiles of children who have been successfully treated, their content highlights both their clinical success rates and their research achievements, such as being one of only six hospitals in the U.S. researching influenza alongside the World Health Organization. Their content manages to both tug on heartstrings and spark pride in being part of something amazing.
Choose the right platform
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can identify the best way to do it. If you’re trying to convince college students to stay away from drugs and alcohol, your best choice might be Twitter, thanks to its younger-skewing demographic. If you want to educate people on health conditions, easy-to-read blog posts with attention-grabbing headlines on very specific topics would be a good bet. If you want to reach wealthy donors who like to invest in medical research, well-documented white papers providing details on past and current trials might be an option. Most organizations find that a combination of content types and outlets produces the best results. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for your particular purpose and audience, but the process will go much more quickly if you’re armed with data and information on best practices.
Write it right
Just because there’s an audience actively searching for your content, there’s no guarantee that they’ll read yours. Even the most interesting topic can be made boring or overly complex by poor writing. Sure, accuracy is important, but that’s just your entry fee. Your writing has to be easy to read, grammatically correct, interesting, and — above all — engaging. It’s important to strike the right tone. You have to simplify complex information without talking down to your audience. You want to offer encouragement and hope without downplaying the seriousness of a reader’s illness. You want to play to emotions without being depressing.
Sound like a tough challenge? It is. But the writers and editors at Prose Media are ready to help. From blog posts and white papers to web copy and social media content, we can work with you to develop content that makes a difference. Sign up today for access to our free, no-obligation platform to get started.