Many medical organizations are business to consumer (B2C), meaning their primary stakeholders and communications are to clients, patients, and individual healthcare consumers. One of the best ways to engage with and communicate to these stakeholders is through content marketing.
Generally, when creating content for patients and healthcare consumers, it should be specific, logical, visual, targeted, reassuring, and/or educational. It can serve as inspiration or education, help generate leads, convert patients, and retain patients.
However, medical and healthcare organizations must often have a different approach to content based on the nature of their industry. We’ve put together some information about why medical organization needs a content marketing strategy, some content examples, and top healthcare content marketing best practices.
Why Do Medical Organizations Need Content Marketing?
Google receives more than one billion health-related questions and searches each day, signifying that many patients are using the internet to get health information, make health care decisions, and find providers.
Content marketing offers medical organizations the chance to get in front of and engage with those future and even current patients. It helps build trust in your organization by showing the expertise and people behind it. So much can be done with content marketing, ultimately contributing a return on investment (ROI) to the organization. This can be seen through:
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Converting traffic into leads
- Converting leads into patients
- Retaining patients long-term
The content you produce can also help differentiate you from the competition and make you stand out.
Top Three Content Buckets for Medical Organizations
When you start exploring a content marketing strategy for your organization, it may be helpful to keep in mind these three common content buckets for healthcare organizations. In essence, much of the content you should create should be able to fall into one of these groups.
Storytelling is telling stories about or using your physicians, patients, and other employees. This can be a very successful way to engage with your audience. In fact, according to a study done by SEM Rush, 33% of those interviewed said success stories were their most successful type of healthcare content.
Storytelling content can include success or follow-up stories, using a patient to explain or humanize a procedure or diagnosis, or using a provider to explain something, humanize the meaning of data or technical and medical terms, or showcase expertise.
Some examples of storytelling can include:
- A nurse who volunteers regularly in her community.
- A doctor who won a prestigious award.
- A patient who had an illness that was diagnosed and treated quickly by their provider.
- A patient who had a life-changing surgery.
Some content should be created solely to educate patients about their health, including illnesses, conditions, procedures, and similar topics. Writing content in this bucket enhances your expertise in the industry and helps build trust with your audience as the go-to for information and care. It also can overall help ease fears and anxieties around healthcare.
Common formats for educational content include blogs, tips, how-tos, infographics, or short videos, though you are not limited to those.
Some examples of educational content include:
- Top 10 tips to lower your blood pressure
- Cold vs. flu vs. allergies: What’s the difference?
- 5 things you can do every day to improve your mental health
- Warning signs of a heart attack
Informational content should focus more on your organization and industry. Content about your organization can include:
- Openings or closings of hospitals or medical facilities
- New doctors who have joined the team
This can also include news like:
- New insurance providers your organization accept
- The launch of a mobile application or new website
- Your new wellness program patients can enroll in
Creating content about your own organization can get you in front of your audience and keep them up to date on important things you’re doing, putting you top of mind when they are making their health care decisions.
Other news can include industry news, such as new treatments or technology that has developed, new studies (done by your organization or other reliable sources), and other new information about health care in general.
8 Healthcare Content Marketing Best Practices
As you build out your content marketing strategy and start creating content for your organization, consider keeping these best practices in mind.
1. Ensure You’re HIPAA Compliant
This is perhaps one of the most important best practices because if this isn’t followed, your organization could face serious legal penalties or fines. You should never share patient information or photos unless they’ve given permission. If a patient is interviewed or photographed for content, always have them sign a release form.
Also ensure no patient information is accidentally shared, such as in the background of a photo of a hospital worker or provider office.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Gather information about both your existing patients and your target patients or healthcare decision makers. Start with basic demographics such as age, gender, location, and income. Then, gather psychographic information like their interests. You should be able to answer questions like:
- What questions do they have that you can answer?
- What problems do they have that you can solve?
- What are their health goals and how can you support that?
- What are their preferred ways of communicating, including channels and content formats?
- What topics are they interested in?
Having this information handy will help ensure you’re creating content that your audience wants and will engage with.
3. Focus On Your Area of Expertise
If your facility specializes in one type of medicine, focus on that. Don’t try to be an expert in everything because it could make you look unfocused or unreliable. If you’re a larger organization or have multiple specialties, choose the top three to five to focus most of your content around, and fill in other topics as able.
To begin, use keywords and research to learn about the questions people have or information they want to know about your specialty. You can also highlight your providers who are also experts in those fields or tell stories about patients who have experienced something in this specialty.
4. Optimize for Search
Search drives 3x more visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search tactics. And, patients who book healthcare appointments run 3x more searches than those who don’t. This is why it’s critical to ensure your content is optimized for search.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of your website traffic from search engines, therefore improving your site visibility and positioning of your content in search results.
A few ways to optimize for search include:
- Make sure your content can be easily found on your website.
- Use main keywords early and throughout your content.
- Write unique titles and descriptions, and use headings in your blog content.
- Link to other internal pages or content, and/or to reliable external content.
- Optimize your site’s loading speed.
- Optimize your images.
5. Avoid Jargon and Complex Content
Patients and leads will range in age, education, and experience, so your content should be accessible and easy to understand by general public. Never presume your audience has any knowledge of any topic, so keep things simple.
Medical jargon can be confusing and defeat the purpose of your content, so it should be avoided. Additionally, sentences should be short and sweet, and you should break down lengthy paragraphs with headings, bullets, and other visual breaks.
6. Have A Distribution Plan
If you’re creating content, you need to have a plan for how you’ll get it in front of your audience. This can be via your website, blog, or social media channels. You may want to include email, either by using gated content to capture leads, content to nurture leads, patient education, or patient retention content. Just make sure whatever channels you choose are where your audience is and it’s in a format they engage with (Facebook vs. Twitter, videos vs. copy, email vs. website, etc.)
7. Play With Different Content Formats
Diversifying content and adding new content formats can keep your current audience engaged while also attracting new audiences. Health content doesn’t have to be stale – you can try blog posts, videos, interactive tools, guides, checklists, infographics, and more. There are dozens of formats you can create content in, so find the ones that work best for your team and audience.
8. Always Have a Strong Call To Action
Make it easy for patient to book an appointment, talk to a provider, or get more information. Link to other places on your website or provide phone numbers. But remember, self-promotion can decrease the effectiveness of your content. Don’t use content primarily as an advertising or sales message.
Remember, using content to build a relationship and trust takes time, but in the end will provide significant benefit for the organization.
Contact Dragonfly Digital Marketing
To develop your content marketing campaign and start seeing results, contact Dragonfly. We can generate results-driven content on behalf of your business that establishes your credibility and increases website traffic. Call (800) 636-0347.