Why the Health Care Industry Needs Content Marketing and How to Jump on Board

October 7, 2013

51,000 total views, 3 views today

Studies show that members of the health care industry are adapting modern content marketing tactics two years behind their marketing peers in other industries.

According to Content Marketing Institute, only 58% of healthcare marketers’ blog while 78% of their fellow marketers in other industries blog. Meanwhile, only 26% of hospitals partake in social media. Oh my.

The health care industry is also using a lot more print media than other industries. Yet, people seeking health care are searching for their answers on the web.

Why You Should Get on Board

77% of patients Google information and reviews about a healthcare provider before making an appointment. Don’t you want your service to be the one that they stumble upon during their research?

To make this happen, it’s your job to fill the web with resources that patients would seek out.

Before you dive in, though, be sure to do the research so that you can make a content marketing game plan. Be prepared to give this tactic the time it needs to succeed. Content marketing is a marathon as opposed to a sprint as some more traditional tactics can be.

The number one reason that health care marketers cite as to why they aren’t adopting content marketing as a strategy is because it’s hard to produce enough content. But with patients wanting content and needing to discover your brand through search it’s worth the money and time to invest in this tactic.

And as far as the money is concerned, content marketing is a lot friendlier on the budget than traditional advertisement. A lot of the “cost” is time.

What Should Your Content Marketing Look Like

The foundation of content marketing is constructed by content that HELPS customers. Content that patients seek out and rejoice when they find it.

Your content should answer questions. It should help patients and health care seekers through their particular journey in wellness.

What it never does is talk only about your brand. Your content marketing can link back to your brand or briefly offer how your brand can provide a solution to a problem, but the content is focused around your customer and what they need.

If you think you can dedicate the time and resources to grow your brand then keep reading and check out these key components of a content marketing strategy for the health care industry. You will want to adopt at least some of the following:

  • Your website is likely the first asset that patients will want to check out. It is your first impression. A poorly designed and lame website is the equivalent to a doctor’s office in a strip mall with dirty floors. Make your website sleek and modern so that potential patients immediately get a trustworthy vibe from your site.
  • Provide easy to access resources that patients may seek out. These are things like white papers, ebooks and guides. Consider having a resource library on your site and linking to it from your social media channels. Check out how UMPC provides a ton of resources for their patients, community members and people who come to their site out of curiosity. Seriously, read it and do this for your own brand.
  • Positive recovery stories. Positive recovery story with tips and a patient’s experience for other patients to relate to is going to be a great resource and will be sure to catch the eye of someone going through the issue at hand.

Look how Mayo clinic paid attention to one of their patient’s recovery stories that he posted on their Facebook page and turned his story into a great blog post.

  • An infographic that explains a health issue or is full of visually driven tips on immunity. Check out this one on heart health tips and heart disease.
  • Videos that a parent can show their child about a health issue or to take the fear out of surgery like this one put out by Children’s Hospital.
  • A blog with easy to implement wellness initiatives. From a workout someone could do in their office to healthy recipes and immunity tips, a blog is a great way to continue to help your patients. Look no further than Dr. Weil’s health tips blog.

This list is just a very small handful of ideas and tactics that you could implement into your own content marketing strategy but you get the drift.

Uncover Your Niche

One of the biggest mistakes in content marketing is trying to appeal to everyone. After all, everyone needs health care services at some point, right? Well sure but it’s an overwhelming and an impossible undertaking to market to the world.

Instead, check in with your patient personas and determine the resources they would seek out, the type of social media they would enjoy and the blogs they would want to follow.

Here are a few examples of how different health care segments can narrow down their content marketing efforts:

  • Are you a specialized provider like chiropractic, plastic surgery, eye doctor, etc? Instead of a marketing plan that tries to convince people why they need your services try only marketing to the people who are already interested in your services. Chiropractors can write about bone health, eye doctors about eye health etc.
  • Are you a local service? Write about the community. Let people know when schools are seeing more colds, when the community is experiencing higher rates of the flu, etc. You could even include community events in your social media and blog content. The point is to attract and keep the interest and trust of members of your local community.
  • Are you a dentist that specializes in children? Create a blog with content on taking care of baby teeth and provide visual content that parents can share with their kids.
  • Is your specialty babies? Provide how to’s and resources for new parents. Create apps that help them make decisions on baby health products and guides and posts on what to do when their infant gets sick.

Again, just a few examples of how to be creative and market only to your target consumers. Hopefully those examples inspired you to think of content based on your patient personas that you can develop.

So you’ve found your niche and content marketing is probably starting to sound great, even fun. You are probably even starting to see how this could be really useful to your patients and target consumers.

But the key isn’t just finding your niche it’s also finding what your target patients want and need right?

Check out some of the following strategies—we’ve got you covered.

Your Consumers Tell You What They Need, Just Listen

Using a brand monitoring tool, find the articles that mention your health care facility or services and gather up all of your consumer reviews.

  • Look at the negative reviews and consider what you need to do to make your image more reliable and trusted. Create content to negate the poor reviews and mentions.
  • Check out the questions consumers are asking on social media and use these for posts and topics that you turn in to guides and ebooks.
  • Use the positive reviews as springboards to amplify the things you are doing well and keep doing them.
  • Place positive reviews, tweets and Facebook mentions on your website’s home page for your potential patients to see.

Present Your Best Foot Forward—Your Staff

In healthcare, more than in any other industry, people want a human connection. Your website should be full of staff photos and personality to give potential patients the personal connection and humanness that they crave.

There should be an easy to find section on your website dedicated to your staff. Provide staff headshots and personal bios. Make sure that the bios are full of personality maybe even have the staff write their own bio. Tell them to write the bio like they’re having a conversation instead making it dry and technical. Health care seekers are looking for that little clue that says they are going to go to your facility and be treated kindly and reliably.

Amplify Your Social Media Efforts

According to PwC Health Research Institute, 90% of adults said they’d trust medical recommendations shared by their peers over social networks. This is huge.

Make sure you are active and consistent on at least Twitter and Facebook. Encourage your patients to follow you and share their experience on social media.

Of course you are not going to Tweet and post about how awesome you are but you can share resources and continually stay connected with your patients so they keep coming back.

Curate the Latest Health News

Your social media channels should be a source for the most reliable, accurate, up to date and important information about the health care industry and latest health news.

Whether it be a weekly blog post or a monthly newsletter, let your brand be the one that keeps patients informed about all things health and wellness but curating news and distributing it.

Establish Your Goal

Before running off and starting your new content marketing program full of creative tactics and life changing content, don’t forget to establish your goals.

You can create tons of awesome content but you need to establish why you’re creating it. What part of your brand do you want to grow through content marketing?

Goals keep marketing efforts focused and provide a way to measure efforts. Here are some popular goals to set in the health industry, tactics to execute those goals and how to measure them.

  • Build a Bigger Digital Network
  • Tactics: Create calls to action after every post that tell readers to follow you on different social media channels, make sure you have obvious social share buttons on your website, email all of your patients and tell them to follow you on social media to stay up to date.
  • How to Measure: In a spreadsheet track how many new followers you gain each month on each social media channel.
  • Create Awareness of Your Facility in Your Community
  • Tactics: Create awesome newsletters with curated health news and community events and mail them out to people in your area, write blog posts that are community specific, and streamline your brand by having a consistent presence across social media.
  • How to Measure: Measure website traffic, social media shares of your content and new social media followers. Track per month and watch that line graph climb!
  • Establish a Larger Patient Base
  • Tactics: Create resources that link back to your brand as a solution for a health issue they’re experiencing, incentivize current patients to bring in new patients, provide resources on your site that are accurate and helpful so that site visitors look at you as reliable.
  • How to Measure: When you get a new patient have a conversation with them as to why they chose your facility or brand. Also, track how many new patients you get per month after you push “go” on your content marketing efforts.
  • Strengthen Your Reputation
  • Tactics: Hire someone to design a sleek and modern website, curate customer reviews, empower and reward advocates to recommend your brand, share crucial health news and tips in posts and on social media.
  • How to Measure: Sentiment is hard to measure but are your positive consumer reviews going up? Are you getting more patients? Are you getting more conversions from your site now that it comes across as trustworthy?

Now it’s Your Turn

If you’ve made it through this article you should have the foundation of what content marketing should look like in the health industry. You should feel inspired to implement your own tactics. You should be ready to listen into your patients so that you can create exactly the content they need.

Time to go develop your plan! If you need any help, this is where I excel. I’m happy to simply answer any questions and talk strategy just email me at [email protected] for any help you may need!

Have you seen any health industry folks do content marketing exceptionally well? Please share in the comments below, good examples are great inspiration!

51,001 total views, 4 views today

About Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, an SEO and content marketing agency. Pratik has contributed on sites like Moz, Fast Company, Social Media Examiner, KISSmetrics, and Content Marketing Institute to name a few. He's a "must-follow" SEO expert according to Search Engine Watch and has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica. He's passionate about fitness, entrepreneurship, start-ups, and all things digital marketing. Hit him up on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik for a quick chat on any of these topics.

  • Hey there… this was a very insightful read..
    I’m a dentist in Delhi, India.. and for a while now ive been considering content marketing…
    Would love to have a conversation with you regarding the same